Modern software releases patches and updates incrementally, meaning you only have to download the code that is different. This allows for much smaller and more effective downloads. Patching systems such as this have been around since software had version numbers. Why then does Firefox require you to download the full program every time a new version is released?
Updating from v1.0.2 to v1.0.3 requires a 4MB download for a meager .01 version update. Don't get me wrong the security updates are welcome and show that the developers are committed to their product. It is the way that they are released I question.
If you step back and look at it, how hard is it really for the Firefox developers to release an incremental system, let alone a standalone patch? I understand it is nice to have precompiled builds for installs but using an archaic update system is inexcusable. Why then was it omitted?
1. Firefox developers thought their product was so good that it would almost never need to be updated
2. Firefox developers did not know how to program such a feature
3. Firefox developers did not have the time and resources to invest in such a feature
4. They deliberately omitted it so updates boost their media hyped Download Number
Whether or not this was intentional remains to be seen but it cannot be ignored that it is having this effect. Now think about it, say you have 10 million adopters of the initial v1.0.0 release, they all upgrade to v1.0.1, your download number now doubles to 20 million, these same users upgrade again to v1.0.2, you now have 30 million downloads. Finally to v1.0.3 with 40 million downloads and still only 10 million users! How much of the super hyped Firefox Download Number is due to the current users just getting the latest version? Much more than you think.