RETRACTION: OK - so I was wrong. Sometime between 1.01 and now it was fixed and an update using the update feature results in no new entries in your add remove programs control panel. Carry on and do not read the rest of the misguided tripe that follows in this post.
Firefox - the "other white meat" of the browser market wants to gain market share and eventually unseat IE as the dominant browser. However, no matter how "safe" it appears or how handy some of its features are - some of the little things that they do are going to hold it back.
I'm only going to talk about one of them today - and that is the upgrade process. 1.04 is now available with some security fixes so I went to their site to get it. They don't make it an integrated upgrade until a few days after a new version is released in order to spare the servers. However, even when it is integrated it doesn't actually "upgrade" your install. It replaces it.
Now this might not seem like much but if you are using a windows machine - which many of us are - then you will notice in the "add remove programs" control panel that all of the older versions of Firefox are still installed. However, you can't uninstall them since they are actually the same copy of Firefox that you are using.
Now, admittedly, I don't know much about creating windows installers - but I have used enough of them to know that you can upgrade something without having a new entry appear in the add/remove programs control panel.
Currently, the only solution I have is to download the update, uninstall firefox, then install the update into the location I always use. My profile remains after the uninstall (even though it says remove firefox and ALL OF ITS COMPONENTS) so all of my extensions are still in place as well when I reinstall. It's not a big deal for me - but for someone who is a bit less comfortable with a computer it might be.
If you were an everyday joe who had installed a bunch of extensions would you be willing to uninstall Firefox when it tells you it's going to remove all of its components - knowing you wanted to just upgrade? Probably not. How confused do you think that same Joe would be when they go to add/remove a program and see they have Firefox installed four times? Probably pretty confused.
They need to fix this. No it isn't a security vulnerability - but it is going to be a barrier to market expansion. People who are using Firefox might be inclined to switch back if they have problems with what should be a very simple upgrade process.