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HI, I have been using Firefox for the past couple of years. In the meantime I have always been updating to the latest version. But for that I have to download the setup file and have to reinstall from the very beginning.

Why isn't the upgrade done as a patch to the existing version which requires only a small file to be downloaded and no complete installation is required?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I would imagine it is for simplicity; both for the user and the developers.

It is easier for the developers to create something which will replace all the files and not have to worry about which prior version the user it running. If you make a patch you have to create separate installers to upgrade from each version, and that's a nuisance.

Also, the user doesn't have to make sure he's downloading the correct upgrade package - all he has to do is download the installer, run it, and be happy that he's got the latest version.

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1  
But I think according to a user this might be a burder. –  phoenix Jul 20 '09 at 6:14
    
Not really. It's easier to go to the website and click the big button which will give you something to install OR update the file rather than try to choose between different update patches for five different versions. I believe in this case fewer choices is better. –  Dan Walker Jul 20 '09 at 6:18
    
But what if there was a choice of upgrading to the new version and installing the update automatically when the browser starts. –  phoenix Jul 20 '09 at 6:22
    
You wouldn't be able to upgrade on-the-fly with a patch, the browser would still need to be restarted and some sort of installation run in order to apply the patch. As it is, Firefox already applies the update from the browser if you upgrade from the built-in updater. –  Dan Walker Jul 20 '09 at 6:30

Because they rewrote a lot of the program in the new version, and the update wouldn't fit into a "small file" as you said. I guess theoretically they could do that, but it would be basically the exact same thing as a manual installation, except automated. Also, it's much easier to just pack the entire thing into an executable installer, because people are going to want to install it from scratch, so why bother?

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Firefox does download a patch for major upgrades, in fact it's larger than the standalone installer.

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