[tor-dev] TorBrowser and Firefox ESR

Mike Perry mikeperry at torproject.org
Tue Apr 24 18:36:43 UTC 2012

Thus spake Jérémy Bobbio (lunar at debian.org):

> It looks like Firefox maintainers in Debian have decided to ship
> Extended Support Releases in the upcoming Wheezy release.
> This made me wonder if ESR changed any plans concerning TorBrowser. Will
> Tor Browser Bundle keep following upstream "personal use" releases or
> switch to ESR?

I am conflicted about this. On the one hand, ESR would appear to make
our lives easier, especially short term. On the other, I suspect that's
mostly an illusion long term, and any issues we have with rapid release
should be addressed by improving our dev and build processes.

The main advantages of tracking rapid release come in the form of
Mozilla actually able to more easily work with our patches and also
giving us the opportunity to communicate issues earlier as features
appear and solidify.

The disadvantages of tracking rapid release come in the form of build
overhead, periodic patch rebasing, and scrambling to review new features
for fingerprinting issues.

However, it's not like if we don't track rapid release, we'll suddenly
find the tor browser bug queue manageable. We're going to drown in
browser bugs no matter what, I think. I also don't think the number of
builds we'll need to do will substantially change. So far, there has not
been a rapid release that did not also contain security fixes. I assume
that means we'll have to do just as many ESR-based TBB builds for point
releases as rapid release-based TBB builds.

Since we're doomed either way with our current dev capacity, I think we
should choose the option that gives us the best chance of getting help
from Mozilla.

Therefore, my inclination is to keep trying to track rapid release. 

Mike Perry
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