Mozilla 0.9.1 Branches Behind Schedule
Mike Angelo -- 1 June 2001 (c)
With some 20 to 30 bugs still targeted to it, the upcoming Mozilla Milestone 0.9.1 edition was branched from the main development-tree trunk today. Mozilla 0.9.1 should have been branched from the main Mozilla development-tree trunk Friday, 25 May 2001. This is the second time in as many months that a Mozilla Milestone release has not been branched on schedule.
The Mozilla Roadmap and development plan calls for Mozilla Milestone 0.9.1 to have been released today. Due to the delayed branching, Mozilla Milestone 0.9.1 final release now is behind schedule.
As we "go to press" with this story, there are some 23 not-fixed bugs remaining targeted to Mozilla 0.9.1. Moreover, at publication time not all of the usual assortment of Mozilla builds are in the Milestone 0.9.1 branch in the public Mozilla FTP nightly-builds directory.
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 today's Mozilla 0.9.1 branching indicates the Lizard tamers might be catching up rather than falling further behind
The May 2001 Mozilla Development Roadmap designates Mozilla Milestone 0.9.1 as the "recommended beta branch time". That makes the Milestone 0.9.1 edition a particularly important milestone event for the Mozilla community. It also is an important event for those people and organizations that plan to base applications and browsers, or browser suites, upon the Mozilla application programming framework and/or the Mozilla browser-suite.
Please see our article Mozilla Roadmap Plan Changed Again -- Mozilla 1.0 Set Back to Q4 2001 for more information about the May 2001 Mozilla Development Roadmap and development schedule.
Because Mozilla 0.9.1 is the "recommended' beta milestone, there was 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 products. It also helps to lay a better groundwork for Mozilla 1.0.
Incidentally, it appeared that the Mozilla Milestone 0.9.1 branch was also to have served as the branch point for the upcoming Netscape 6.5 beta-1, Mozilla-based, browser-suite product. That perhaps had put even more focus and pressure on quality of the Mozilla Milestone 0.9.1 release version. However, it now appears that the AOL-Time-Warner Netscape Division might try to branch its upcoming Netscape 6.5 beta directly off the Mozilla development-tree trunk at a time later than the Milestone 0.9.1 branching.
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 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.
The good news is that it now appears some new direction within the Mozilla Organization might be putting these trade-offs into a better balance,
Download the Latest Mozilla 0.9.1 Branch Build
Is Netscape Losing the Browser Wars?
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