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Mozilla drops ‘Train Model,’ shifts Firefox to a flexible release schedule

Mozilla has announced plans to move its Firefox browser to a flexible release schedule, shifting away from the “Train Model” that is currently in place. It’s expected that the first version of the browser to ship under this new routine will be Firefox 47, which is currently set to ship on June 7.

Version updates will now be released at intervals of six to eight weeks, rather than the present schedule of a new iteration every six weeks. The change brings Firefox in line with the tempo of updates to Google Chrome, as noted in a report from PC World.

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Previously, Mozilla had stuck to a strict six-week cycle of new updates, which was dubbed the “Train Model” upon its implementation in 2011. While that process proved to be successful enough to stand for several years, it should be noted that even its original announcement carried the caveat that it might be tweaked at any time.

In a blog post announcing the new schedule, Mozilla noted that the company “will now be able to adjust release dates to respond to emerging user and market needs and provide at least six working weeks for every release.”

Among other advantages, a flexible schedule will allow Mozilla to better cater to its staff and users around holidays. The prior system had been disrupted by Christmas, New Year, and other celebrations, which had sometimes caused Firefox to deviate from its mandated six-week pattern.

Mozilla has pledged to deliver the same amount of releases over a calendar year as would have been distributed under the previous schedule, but its published plans for 2016 don’t seem to line up with that statement. At present, seven numbered iterations are set for release this year, compared to the nine that came out in 2015.