Mozilla suspends Firefox updates

The Mozilla Foundation has halted the rollout of its latest builds of popular open-source browser Firefox following reports that the update was causing some users' machines to crash.

The flaw appears to have been introduced in Firefox versions 3.5.12 and 3.6.9, released last week, with the Bugzilla bug-tracking system showing a large number of reported crashes from clients across Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms.

The issue appears to make itself known as the browser starts up, with the majority of crashes occurring as the browser is loaded rather than while it's running.

Australian tech site ARN Daily received confirmation from Mozilla's head of engineering Michael Shaver that the updated version was temporarily removed from the in-built updating functionality within Firefox, stating that "we've limited updates to Firefox 3.6.9 and Firefox 3.5.12 at this time as we evaluate some early feedback which indicates that a subset of our user base may be finding the releases unstable."

Although it's still possible to manually download the updates and install them over the top of an existing version of Firefox, so long as you don't mind running the risk of having an unstable web browser installed, the decision to remove the update from the automated roll-out system could leave users at risk of attack.

With 15 security vulnerabilities in addressed in total by the latest update, eleven of which were ranked as of critical concern, leaving users on older - if more stable - releases could mean they are open to attacks which are by now common knowledge amongst the denizens of the Internet's seedy underbelly.

While a report over on ComputerWorld suggests that the updates have started flowing once again as of early this morning, there has so far been no official word from Mozilla on whether the root cause of the problem has been addressed.