As I signed onto MSN Messenger, a Neowin alert popped up. "Firefox 1.5 Available". I clicked on the link, and there was Neowin claiming to be the first to break the news that Firefox 1.5 was released. The story also made it onto the front page of Digg.
For some reason, the story seemed more focused on how amazing Neowin was rather than Firefox 1.5 being released.
On November 9th 2004, Neowin was one of the first to announce the official release of Mozilla Firefox 1.0. We get word from resident Firefox aficionado supernova_00, that Firefox 1.5 is slated to be released sometime today.
Talk about jumping the gun. The story title implied that Firefox 1.5 could now be downloaded. The story was "pinned" to the top of Neowin and the poster seemed 100% sure that the information was correct despite the feedback from members. When the post was made, Firefox 1.5 had not even been released and wasn’t even due to be released that day. Many users mentioned this but several posts were deleted.
The story was updated several times, and the following message was added:
Unless Mozilla decides to fix a new ‘show stopping bug’ (highly unlikely) those exact builds will become Firefox 1.5. Expect the release notes and assorted announcement pages to be up later today.
Several points. Neowin has quite a diverse group of readers. Many of these users will have jumped on this and promoted a nightly build to family and friends who believe they have the final version 1.5. What if a security vulnerability is found?
As the news spread through the blogosphere and IRC networks, mconnor from Mozilla wrote:
"I hate to rain on this parade, but today is certainly not the projected final release date. I’m not sure where supernova_00 is basing his information on, but we are currently planning on shipping an RC3 later this week, and we have not set a final ship date at this time. There are a number of fixes that have landed post-RC2 and need more extensive testing before we certify and ship final.
When we are ready to ship 1.5 final it will be communicated clearly to all parties in advance of the actual release date."
The story has now disappeared. In the future, is Neowin going to be better known for being one of the first sites breaking the news of Firefox 1.0 or better known for incorrectly breaking the release of Firefox 1.5?