Mozilla 0.9.1, AKA Netscape 6.5 beta-1, Behind Schedule Already
Mike Angelo -- 29 May 2001 (c)
Mozilla 0.9.1 should have been branched from the main Mozilla development-tree trunk Friday, 25 May 2001. However, at publication time it has not been branched, yet. This is the second time in as many months that a Mozilla Milestone release has not been branched on schedule.
With this many serious un-fixed bugs targeted to Mozilla 9.1, it easily could be several days or more before Milestone 0.9.1 is branched from the main Mozilla development-tree trunk. It's likely that some of the less severe 0.9.1 bugs will be re-targeted to later Milestones in order to get Mozilla 0.9.1 branched sooner rather than later.
Because Mozilla 0.9.1 is the "recommended' beta milestone, there is much effort to check-in lots of enhancements, improvements, and re-writes for Mozilla 0.9.1. That is so commercial vendors, such as Netscape, other organizations, and people that are building Mozilla-based products will have in Milestone 0.9.1 a fully-featured, solid, base upon which to build their product betas. It also helps to lay a better groundwork for Mozilla 1.0.
Incidentally, it appears that the Mozilla Milestone 0.9.1 branch also will serve as the branch point for the upcoming Netscape 6.5 beta-1, Mozilla-based, browser-suite product. That perhaps puts even more focus and pressure on quality of the Mozilla Milestone 0.9.1 release version.
Netscape 6.5 could be Netscape's last battle in the browser wars if NS 6.5 is not a winner. Please see our two-part article, Is Netscape Losing the Browser Wars? Part I: Linux Could Be Netscape's Last Browser Battlefield and Part II: Why Are Major Linux Distributions Rejecting Netscape 6?.
Another factor that enters into a schedule-wise tardy Mozilla 0.9.1 branching is that Milestone 0.9 was branched about a week late. That, in itself, puts the entire Mozilla Roadmap and development plan a week behind schedule. However, if you look at it from that perspective, then if Mozilla 0.9.1 is branched any time prior to Friday, 1 June 2001 the Lizard tamers are catching up rather than falling further behind.
The Mozilla browser-suite is built on top of the cross-platform (XP) and open source Mozilla applications programming framework. It is the basic, prototype, Mozilla-based, browser-suite application upon which other browsers, such as Netscape 6 are built.
Currently, Mozilla pre-1.0 Milestone and daily development builds are available for the BSD, Linux, Macintosh, Microsoft Windows, OS/2, Sun, and several UNIX platforms. Source code is available if you want to custom compile your own Mozilla builds.
Many new features have been added to the Mozilla browser suite recently. For example a Hierarchical History, Theme Uninstall, and Gopher Support were added in Mozilla 0.8.1. Also, lots of under-the-hood changes were made to ChatZilla, the Mozilla-based IRC (Internet Relay Chat) client in Mozilla 0.8.1. For more information about what's new and improved in 0.8.1, please see our article, Lizard On The Move: Mozilla Milestone 0.8.1 Browser-Suite Released.
There has been lots of rewriting too. For example the image library was rewritten for Mozilla 0.9. The disk cache subsystem is being rewritten also. The level-1 cache rewrite was included in Mozilla 0.9. The game plan is to include the level-2 cache rewrite in Mozilla 0.9.1. For more information about what's new and improved in 0.9, please see our article, The Snail Moves: Mozilla Milestone 0.9 Browser-Suite Released.
On one hand all these check-ins greatly improve Mozilla. On the other hand, so many check-ins mean lots of QA (quality assurance) work and they usually result in more bugs that need fixing. That slows things down some schedule-wise. The trade-off here is between closing the development-tree down to new features and improvements and maintaining release schedules, or accepting the new features and improvements and risk getting behind schedule. Certainly these are some tough choices.
Is Netscape Losing the Browser Wars?
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