> what makes Firefox and Chromium so special that they have to pop out a major new, compatibility-busting release every few months? Internet Exploder certainly doesn't; Safari doesn't (AFAIK); and neither does Opera (also AFAIK). This seems like a classic case of cranio-rectal impaction on the part of upstream.
When it's the Linux kernel release cycle, the words "release early, release often" come to everyone's mind, and the release speed is something of a lesson to be learned. An achievement of excellence with regards to software development.
Isn't the same thing that Firefox and Chromium are doing? Releasing early, and releasing often?
Firefox and chromium development cycles are focused on desktop users.
The position of "stability" in the priorities of many Linux distributions are IMO based on a "server room mentality": stability cannot be at _any_ risk, and there is a sys-admin. If new features are needed, the admin will manually do something about it.
Desktop users, in general, live a different life: (i) there is no "professional full-time admin" for the box (it must "just work") (ii) the whole point of that computer is to browse the internet, print flight tickets, and use VoIP. They need the features, and _some_ stability risk is an acceptable trade off. It just so happens that most desktop Linux users are comfortable as sys-admins.
Off-topic: FWIW _all_ desktop Linux users I knew during my PhD who were not comfortable as sys-admins are now MAC users. Every time I asked for the reason to migrate (these were people who had Linux installed at home) the answer was (in essence) that MAC/OS didn't require them to play sys-admin in order to get things to work.