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The more critical Firefox software bugs that Mozilla calls "hard blockers" form the main obstacle to the release of Firefox 4 on schedule, Nightingale observed.
"Each bug is evaluated against whether it's worth holding back the thousands of fixes that have already made it into the Firefox 4 tree," he explained. "A hard blocker is a failure of a core part of our release criteria -- a crash, a memory leak, a performance hit, a security issue, a UI breakage that can't be recovered from, an incompatibility we can't stomach."
By contrast, soft blockers are the "opportunity space" -- the work that lifts the quality and delight of the product. "Soft blockers are second priority to shipping," Nightingale observed. "People paid to work on Firefox will be focusing exclusively on hard blockers first."
Mozilla intends to hold up the final release of Firefox 4 until the last of the critical hard blockers are fixed. "The hard-blocker list is currently at 143," Nightingale noted. "When it hits zero, we can ship."