A very good post, but only when read together with a followup:http://evilbrainjono.net/blog?permalink=1097
This makes it clear that it's not that *updates* are bad, they are great, a developer tells you so.
It's the way FF handled them what drew people away.
There were 2 issues:
1. Updates were downgrades. They broke plugins. They made Firefox behave differently from what people expected and by doing so - turning them to permanoobs; always learning, always less productive than they could be.
2. They were intrusive. Firefox tries hard to force people to update and when they do - to restart the browser and actually make use of the changes. It was annoying, constantly nagging people to break their workflow and do what its devs considered important. See at how Unices do it. You can configure how often does the system update and how much automated is its work. It takes a few clicks to get no nags at all and an entire system that's always up to date (as long as you reset it sometimes). You can get a daily notification of what was updated. Or a daily prompt of where are updates available and a question of what do you actually want to update. Or yearly if you wish so. This is an area where Windows sucks and workarounds by independent software vendors like mozilla are messy and unorganised patches. Years ago Apple crudely copied the concept with iPhone's AppStore and - surprise - it was a huge hit. Then everybody started copying it on phones. Apple moved it to MacOS - congratulations Apple, you're just 10 years behind. Don't know or care about Windows 8, they may be baking something similar, but Vistas didn't come with anything like it.
To sum up, updates are great when they improve your product and furthermore improve it enough to be worth the time users spend to get them.
For *nix developers frequent *upgrades* are only good. For most Windows developers (who don't have automated update systems) they are good too; users spend exactly as much time updating their software as they want. Usually very little. And making updates frequently makes them run more current versions than otherwise. As long as updates are upgrades, it's clearly good for them and also good for you - because you have more satisfied users and less struggle with duplicate bug reports.
Mozilla showed a lot of disrespect to people it depended on. It didn't listen to feedback. It kept junking users' efforts to learn the browser. It kept junking partners' efforts to improve the browser. It kept nagging people for updates showing that it didn't trust they can make sensible prioritization by themselves.
They loved themselves and thought that users loved them too. Many did, many didn't. Both groups got smaller and it's all mozilla's fault. But it's not over. There are still many people involved in it and it can start growing again. The author says that things improved. I can't tell really because my relation with Firefox is much more distant than it was before. My main browser is still 3.x and while I use 13 at work, I don't look carefully at it, the home FF is a big part of my life and the work one - just a tool, far from the most important one. Anyway I'm not leaving FF (at least until competition roughly matches it in areas that are the most important for me) and I know I will give it another chance to get closer at some point.