[tbb-dev] Thoughts about future Tor Browser plans

Tom Ritter tom at ritter.vg
Wed Apr 7 19:01:42 UTC 2021

Does this mean that on Android, you're tracking GeckoView tightly, and
Fenix less tightly?  So you'd need to essentially uplift Fenix sec
fixes until you rebase?


On Wed, 7 Apr 2021 at 14:49, Matthew Finkel <sysrqb at torproject.org> wrote:
> Hi everyone,
> (tldr; read the last paragraph)
> In October [0] we were very excited about the prospect of all Tor
> Browser platforms following the Firefox Rapid Release schedule. However,
> in April (now), Android is still the only platform following the rapid
> release train and Windows, macOS and Linux remain on the extended
> support release (ESR).
> As we move closer to the next ESR transition, this year it is beginning
> at Firefox 91 in May [1], I am wondering whether we should reverse
> course and slow down. At this point, we cannot safely transition all
> platforms onto the rapid release train before October (when 78esr
> reaches its EOL), so the only option is moving all desktop platforms
> onto FF91esr and then evaluate migrating onto the rapid release train
> after that.
> Unfortunately, we are still a very small team, and the current situation
> is already pushing our team to its limits. Yesterday I spoke with Georg
> about another subject, and he briefly mentioned the idea of keeping the
> desktop platforms on ESR instead of moving onto the rapid releases. This
> alone wouldn't make much difference, and I previously discarded this
> idea, because we're already fighting all of the code churn for Android
> (although some of the code, like the automatic updater, is not used on
> Android). The important piece of this plan is reducing Fenix's burden,
> too.
> My current thought is that we move desktop platforms from 78esr to
> 91esr, and we begin rebasing our Fenix branches (and dependencies) only
> every 2-3 months. The only exception is geckoview where we continue
> rebasing our geckoview branches on the existing schedule. In addition,
> we drop desktop patches from the geckoview branches, and Android patches
> from the ESR branches. We could've (and should've) done the latter
> simplification earlier, but the former change makes future ESR
> transitions a little more complicated. I think we can live with that.
> - Matt
> [0] https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tbb-dev/2020-October/001154.html
> [1] https://wiki.mozilla.org/Release_Management/Calendar
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