Don’t Link FTP Mirror Downloads Before Firefox 2 Official Release

Asa Dotzler, a community coordinator for several Mozilla projects confirms that Firefox 2 final version will be released to the public on Tuesday. But he is unhappy about many popular blogs and technology sites pointing to the firefox 2 final downloads on the mozilla FTP servers. He suggests 2 articles which explain why you should not suggest and link to direct FTP downloads before the official release.

Preed the Release Engineer says: “friends don’t let friends download Firefox before it’s released.” He says that when people link to bits directly on a random FTP mirror, they’re doing a number of people harm.

How? Some of the points he makes are that it costs the operators of those mirrors expensive bandwidth bills, you don’t know if it is part of a Mozilla FTP Mirror Farm, and it could crash the project’s FTP server being of no use to anyone. It hinders their ability to remove/retract bits, may lead to incomplete FTP areas or mirrors, links to a wrong build and may spoil the user experience.

Beltzner says that this is exactly how every milestone release goes and it is not something special that the FTP servers are hosting the final release downloads without an official press release.

“first we put the files out there on the mirrors, then we update the website, and finally we announce the release. This isn’t news. It’s the way we do things. We rely on generous mirror networks to donate their bandwidth, and it takes time to get those systems primed. There’s a lot that goes into co-ordinating a release, and it’s not plausible to flip some magic switch and have it all happen at once, especially since we do everything in public.”

The checklist says it all. But the first question that comes to my mind is that why provide public access to final releases on your public FTP servers if you do not want the news leak to occur? And the article aptly answers that too…

“But that raises the barrier to entry for our testing volunteers who need to get at the release candidates to do QA. Mozilla QA days would become more complex, and how long do you really think it would take for the passwords to leak out? Or for someone to point to the closest nightly build? All locking things down would do is encourage people to game the system some other way.”

I support their viewpoint. Do not link to Mozilla FTP mirror downloads. It will be available to the public soon enough anyway…

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