THE MOZILLA FOUNDATION has announced the end of the Test Pilot program for new features in the Firefox browser.
The not-for-profit has confirmed that, far from ending in failure, it is to a degree, a victim of its own success: "Test Pilot being disbanded is more-or-less a symptom of our program's successes both in terms of products shipped and cultural impact within the Firefox organization."
From now on, instead, the development of new add-ons will continue as part of the main development of the browser. Existing add-ons will continue to work, but will be migrated away from their Test Pilot Beta versions.
Firefox Send and Firefox Lockbox, which were both developed as part of Test Pilot, will continue as standalone products, whilst others such as Color, Side View, Price Wise and Email Tabs, will be moved to the main add-on store, and will remain available "for the foreseeable future" with some changes (for example, Tabs will be widened beyond a Gmail-centric product).
The main difference will be that these products no longer require the overall Test Pilot add-on to power the others, but instead will work independently. Visiting the Test Pilot site will trigger it to be uninstalled, or users can do it manually in settings.
Mozilla has confirmed not only that, for the most part, nothing will change, beyond the fact that these apps will be the responsibility of the entire development community, rather than a select working group.
In fact, it adds that there will be launches of new add-ons in the coming months, pointing out that the Test Pilot program is responsible in no small part to the feature-led focus of Firefox.
This year's focus will be on tracking protection, with the latest version of the browser offering to block all cookies, just the trackers, or just the trackers in Private Browsing mode. μ
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