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Adobe adopts monthly patch cycle

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Adobe has taken a leaf from Microsoft's book and decided to adopt a monthly security patch cycle instead of releasing software fixes on an ad-hoc basis. The move - which is geared to helping customers plan security updates on the basis of predictable schedules - is expected to begin within six months and will apply to most, though not necessarily all, Adobe products, IDG reports.

Macromedia was planning a similar move prior to its recent acquisition by Adobe but this has now been put back to summer 2006. The finer points of the plan, such as exact timing and whether to issue pre-alert bulletins days before the release of patches, are yet to be finalised.

More software firms are introducing regular patching cycles. Microsoft began the move with the first of its monthly patch batches in October 2003. Oracle moved to a quarterly patching cycle (a move criticised by some as too infrequent) in August 2004.

Adobe has fewer software packages to support than either Oracle or Microsoft but like all software vendors it still has to manage a steady stream of security fixes. Adobe software packages have been the subject of nine bulletins by security notification firm Secunia this year and eight notices last year. By comparison, Microsoft has issued 55 new patches this year. ®

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