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Mozilla 0.9.1 Branches Behind Schedule

Mike Angelo -- 1 June 2001 (c)

Webmaster´s Note: Mozilla Milestone 0.9.1 was released June 7, 2001. Please see our story, Mozilla Milestone 0.9.1 Browser-Suite Released, for download links and the details.

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.

  • Blocker - Blocks development and/or testing work.
  • Critical - Crashes, loss of data, severe memory leak.
  • Major - Major loss of function.
  • Normal - This is the run of the mill bug.
  • Enhancement - Request for enhancement.

From Help Using The Bugzilla Query Form. Link in Resouces section,

The reason Mozilla 0.9.1 was not branched from the main Mozilla development trunk on time is that there were many bugs targeted to Milestone 0.9.1 that had not been fixed at that time. On May 28, 2001 there still were some 65 assigned, new, or reopened bugs targeted to Mozilla Milestone 0.9.1. Five of these bugs were listed as blockers, 18 as critical, 13 as major, 27 normal, and one enhancement.

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.

Note: If the AOL-Time-Warner Netscape Division follows its Netscape 6 beta nomenclature you might see Netscape 6.5 beta-1 named Netscape 6.5 Preview Release 1 (NS 6.5 PR1) or something such as that rather than Netscape 6.5 beta-1. However, the Netscape 6 Preview Releases were heavily criticized. Netscape 6.0/6.01 has been heavily criticized also. So, do not be surprised if the Netscape Division tries to keep the NS 6.5 betas under wraps. It seems the Netscape Division's damage control strategy is to play ostrich and to go underground rather than to address the damage publicly and head-on.

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?.

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,

Stay Tuned.



The Snail Moves: Mozilla Milestone 0.9 Browser-Suite Released

More Mozilla Roadmap & Development Plan Changes: Mozilla 1.0 Pushed Back to Q3 2001

Mozilla 1.0 Release Pushed Back -- Milestone 0.8.1 Inserted into Development Roadmap Schedule


Lizard On The Move: Mozilla Milestone 0.8.1 Browser-Suite Released

The Lizard Marches On: Mozilla Milestone 0.8 Browser-Suite Released

Mozilla Milestone 0.8 Browser-Suite RPM Builds Released


Composer: The Netscape & Mozilla Graphical HTML Editor & Word Processor

Meet Bugzilla -- Mozilla's Secretary of Bug-Busting & Feature Requests Lizard

Netscape 6.01 Browser-Suite Released

How To Download, Install, & Configure Netscape 6.0 -- Safely!


Mozilla Organization Revises Development Roadmap and Product Release Schedule

MozillaQuest the Series: Building Your Own Mozilla-Based Web Browser

For more information about the Mozilla Organization, the Mozilla applications programming framework, and the Mozilla browser, please see:

Please do not forget to report bugs, problems, or suggestions for enhancements to Bugzilla.

For more information about the Mozilla Roadmap, please see:

Mozilla Development Roadmap


Copyright 2000, 2001 -- MozillaQuest -- Brodheadsville, Pa..USA -- All Rights Reserved


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