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September 14, 2001
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Mozilla Milestone 0.9.4 Browser-Suite Released

Mike Angelo -- 14 September 2001 (c)

Webmaster´s Note: Mozilla Milestone 0.9.5 was released October 12, 2001. Please see our story, Mozilla Milestone 0.9.5 Browser-Suite Released, for download links and the details.

The Mozilla Organization released a very buggy Milestone Mozilla 0.9.4 edition of its Mozilla browser-suite today. The Mozilla Milestone 0.9.4 browser-suite is cross-platform and open source. 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 Milestone 0.9.4 build.

The Mozilla Organization Roadmap and development plan calls for Mozilla Milestone 0.9.4 to have been released to the public on 7 September, seven days ago. However, it was not released until today. For more information about the Mozilla Roadmap please see Mozilla Roadmap - Mozilla 1.0 Set Back to 2002 - Mozilla 0.9.4 Set for 7 September.

The suspected reasons for the week's delay in releasing Mozilla 0.9.4 are bugs, poor program management, and inappropriate concessions to AOL and its Netscape Division. Mozilla 0.9.4 is the buggiest Mozilla Milestone ever. For information about that, please see our article, Turbo Mode & Bugs Slow Mozilla Development to Snail's Pace subtitled Milestone 0.9.4 Delayed and Turbo/Quick-Launch Examined -- Is Mozilla Really Open Source?.

Speaking of AOL-Netscape, current plans are to turn over the Mozilla 0.9.4 branch to AOL-Netscape. So look for some sort of AOL-Netscape release based on Mozilla 0.9.4 soon.

According to the Mozilla 0.9.4 Release Notes: The Windows-only Quick Launch feature (-turbo) is enabled by default in this release for installer builds, although you can turn it off in the installer or in Advanced Preferences. Turbo mode is not new in Mozilla 0.9.4. However, enabling turbo mode by default is new. That's not a good idea -- more about that further down in this article.

Mostly, the changes in this pre-1.0 edition of the Mozilla browser-suite are behind-the-scenes improvements in performance and stability. There are also lots of bug fixes in Mozilla 0.9.4. However, there still are many unfixed bugs in Mozilla too.

Target Milestone

The seamonkey project uses target milesones to plan Mozilla's development process. A milestone plan enumerates when different features are expected to be completed. If a bug is marked M18, it means work on the bug is expected to be completed by milestone 18. This field should only be set by the person responsible for the bug. From bugs, Mozilla Organization. (Link in Resources section below.)

Earlier today, there were some 44 bugs targeted to Milestone 0.9.4, 1,150 bugs targeted to Mozilla 0.9.5, 196 bugs to 0.9.6, 57 bugs targeted to 0.9.7, and 1,656 bugs targeted to Mozilla 1.0. That's a total of 3,103 bugs targeted to these five, work-in-progress, Mozilla releases. All these 3,103 bugs are in Mozilla 0.9.4. They just are not expected to be fixed until release of the specified targets.

Incidentally, there are some 4,694 bugs targeted to Future Mozilla releases. Please see the bugs list in the right-hand sidebar on the MozillaQuest Magazine front page (mozillaquest.com) for the updated Mozilla bug counts.

To learn more about how many bugs there are in the Netscape 6.1 and Mozilla Web browser suites, and to learn how the Mozilla and Netscape developers are sweeping bugs under the carpet, please see Mozilla 0.9.3 Branched Behind Schedule & Buggy and Mozilla Roadmap - Mozilla 1.0 Set Back to 2002 - Mozilla 0.9.4 Set for 7 September.

Some new, visible, features previously added for March's Mozilla 0.8.1 edition are a hierarchical history, a routine to un-install themes, and some Gopher support. There also are lots of changes to ChatZilla, the Mozilla-based chat client in that release. For more information about the features added or improved in the Mozilla .0.8.1 browser-suite Milestone, please see 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 was rewritten also. The level-1 cache rewrite was included in Mozilla 0.9, and the level-2 cache rewrite is in Mozilla 0.9.1. For more information about what's new and improved in 0.9 and 0.9.1, please see our articles, The Snail Moves: Mozilla Milestone 0.9 Browser-Suite Released and Netscape 6.1 PR 1 Browser-Suite Released.

Here is what the Milestone 0.9.4 Release Notes list as new in 0.9.4:

  • The Windows-only Quick Launch feature (-turbo) is enabled by default in this release for installer builds, although you can turn it off in the installer or in Advanced Preferences. We are hoping community members will test this feature for us. The performance increase is not as great as it used to be; however, Quick Launch now works with multiple profiles.
  • It is now possible to disable the JavaScript window.open() method during page load and unload events. When the dom.disable_open_during_load pref is set to "true", window.open will fail when called during an onload or onunload event, from top level script, or as part of a setTimeout or setInterval script. Setting this pref should turn off most pop-up and pop-under ads that appear when you load a new page. To set the pref, exit Mozilla, (On Windows, kill the Quick Launch in the task bar too) and add the following line to the prefs.js file in your profile directory. (Bug 92955)
  • user_pref("dom.disable_open_during_load", true);
  • Viewing Arabic language text should now work on Linux and other systems without Arabic shaping support (Arabic font required). Other languages using the Arabic script, are not yet supported but support is planned. 97235.
  • Mozilla Mail's sidebar panel can now display both the total of messages in a folder and the number of unread messages.
  • Mozilla's Address Book now supports searching LDAP directories. Win32 now supports MAPI address books.
  • Mozilla's Sidebar now has a new Address Book tab. To add this new tab, go to the Sidebar's Tabs menu, choose Customize Sidebar, and then choose Address Book.
  • Improvements to offline IMAP including undo of deleted messages, and Save as draft.
  • First pass of drag and drop bookmark filing works on win32 but is busted on linux and mac. (Bug 53707)
  • Mozilla allows you to set an arbitrary file as your bookmarks file, although there is no UI for this feature yet. To change your bookmarks file, exit Mozilla (On Windows, kill the Quick Launch in the task bar too) and add the following line to the prefs.js file in your profile directory.
  • user_pref("browser.bookmarks.file", "file:///path/to/bookmark.htm");
  • Note that if you have an alternate bookmarks file set up in Netscape 4, this will not be picked up automatically by Mozilla, because sharing the file between the two browsers can cause problems.
  • On Unix, Mozilla now uses MIME information from system and user mime.types and mailcap files if the appropriate preferences are set. (Bug 52441) Example:
  • user_pref("helpers.global_mailcap_file", "/etc/mailcap");
  • user_pref("helpers.global_mime_types_file", "/etc/mime.types");
  • user_pref("helpers.private_mailcap_file", "/home/USERNAME/.mailcap");
  • user_pref("helpers.private_mime_types_file", "/home/USERNAME/.mime.types");
  • Try out the new CSS2 Quick Reference and HTML4.01 Quick Reference sidebar tabs at DevEdge. Navigate the CSS2 spec with ease and get lists of HTML elements and attributes, and even see at a glance which are deprecated and which require close tags.

In July and August, the Mozilla Organization made some changes to its development roadmap and development plan which, in-effect, push a projected Mozilla 1.0 release back to January 2002 at the earliest. That tree diagram anticipates at least two more 0.9.x Milestone releases before there is a Mozilla 1.0 release.

For more information about the Roadmap revisions, please see Mozilla Roadmap - Mozilla 1.0 Set Back to 2002 - Mozilla 0.9.4 Set for 7 September.

AOL-Time-Warner's Netscape division's Netscape 6 browser-suite is based upon the cross-platform (XP) Mozilla browser-suite. The recent Netscape 6.1 (NS 6.1) browser-suite release was based on Mozilla Milestones 0.9.2 and 0.9.2.1.

We label AOL-Time-Warner's (AOL) Netscape division as a third party only because the Mozilla Organization claims that it is independent of AOL-Time-Warner's (AOL) Netscape division. Bah Humbug! This is no longer a creditable distinction.

The core Mozilla Organization is comprised mostly of people employed and paid by Netscape to work on the Mozilla project. However, there also are some core Mozilla Organization people employed and paid by other organizations to work on the Mozilla project or core Mozilla Organization activities. A few core Mozilla people are contributing to the Mozilla Project on their own time.

The lion's share of people working on the entire Mozilla project are people that are employed and paid by Netscape -- or at least were employed by Netscape. Netscape through its spokesperson Catherine Corre has refused to disclose how many Netscape employees work on Mozilla. However, it is likely that number is/was at least 100 people and could be more than 200 people.

In addition to Netscape, other companies such as Red Hat and Sun have people working on the Mozilla project. However there are not many people from other companies working on the Mozilla project.

There also are many independent developers and people helping with the Mozilla project. There likely are at least 100 of these independents involved with the Mozilla project and that number could exceed 200 people.

All-in-all, however, AOL-Time-Warner's Netscape division seems to pretty much dominate the Mozilla Organization and project. As a practical matter we now view the Mozilla Organization and project more or less as a division of AOL -- AOL's Mozilla division perhaps.

Now that Mozilla 0.9.4 has been released, the 0.9.4 branch is expected to be taken over by a third party to develop its commercial software release based upon Mozilla 0.9.4. The identity of this third party had been a closely guarded secret until a day or so ago -- so much for Mozilla's claims to being a true open source project.

So far, every time a branch has been taken over by a third party, that third party has been AOL-Time-Warner's (AOL) Netscape division. It again is Netscape that will be taking over the 0.9.4 branch.

The milestones are intended to be periodic check points for progress on the project, stability of builds, porting status, and are entry points for additional mozilla (sic) contributors to provide testing and engineering help on the project. (Project Sea Monkey. Link in Resources section below.)


Nevertheless, pre-Mozilla-1.0 development builds now are pretty much features-complete, stable, and usable. Mozilla development work now is focused on bug squashing, improved stability, and better performance. Browser-wise, we find current Mozilla Milestone releases good enough for regular use. We also find the latest Mozilla Milestones to be better, browser-wise, than Netscape 6.0.


MozillaQuest Magazine is giving the Mozilla 0.9.4 builds a preliminary try out now. Check back for more information soon. In the meantime, if you want to test drive the brand new Mozilla 0.9.4 builds now, we recommend that you install Mozilla 0.9.4 in it own directory, that you do not get rid of your current browser(s), that you do not enable turbo mode, and that you do not set Mozilla 0.9.4 as your default browser -- yet.


About Turbo Mode

Windows Memory includes both actual physical RAM memory plus virtual, swap file, memory on a hard drive.
The fairly new Mozilla turbo mode for the Windows edition loads some Mozilla code when the system is booted. That means that Mozilla will start more quickly when you open it because some of the Mozilla code already is loaded into Windows Memory.

The Netscape people call this turbo-mode feature Quick Launch in Netscape 6.1. It's meant to try to make Netscape 6 (and Mozilla) more competitive with Microsoft's Internet Explorer, which seems to start more quickly than does Netscape 6.

The upside to turbo mode is that Mozilla and Netscape 6.1 start faster than they would without turbo mode. One downside to turbo mode is that is adds a few seconds to the amount of time it takes Windows to boot.

Another downside is that you waste resources by using the turbo mode until you use, and if you actually decide to use, Mozilla and/or Netscape for that session.

Yet another downside is that Mozilla and Netscape 6.1 are very buggy and do a lousy job of memory management. So if you enable turbo mode, you are loading buggy Mozilla or Netscape code every time you run Windows -- if you run only Windows and have Mozilla/Netscape turbo mode enabled, you are loading buggy code every time you run your computer. With turbo or Quick Launch mode turned on, Mozilla or Netscape load whether or not you ever use them. Of course, if the Mozilla folks ever get the bugs out of the Mozilla/Netscape code, then this downside of loading buggy code would be gone.

For more information about turbo mode and Quick-Launch, please see our article, Turbo Mode & Bugs Slow Mozilla Development to Snail's Pace subtitled Milestone 0.9.4 Delayed and Turbo/Quick-Launch Examined -- Is Mozilla Really Open Source?.

Downloading & Installation Info


Note: usually the Mozilla Organization includes a simple, non-talkback, Milestone download build for the Microsoft Windows platform such as mozilla-win32-0.9.4.zip plus a talkback build. The Mozilla 0.9.4 release notes also call for such a mozilla-win32-0.9.4.zip build file and a talkback build file, mozilla-win32-talkback.zip.

1. Click the mozilla-win32-talkback.zip link or the mozilla-win32.zip link to download the .zip file to your machine. (Mozilla 0.9.3 Release Notes, the Mozilla Organization, 13 September 2001.)

Unfortunately, the Mozilla Organization has decided not to give you that choice for Mozilla Milestone 0.9.4. It has not included the non-talkback mozilla-win32-0.9.4.zip build -- even though the release notes say it is included.

The Mozilla Organization's rationale is that it needs the talkback info to get rid of bugs in Mozilla, particularly crash bugs. Getting rid of Mozilla bugs certainly is a noble purpose. And Mozilla has lots of bugs that need to be fixed.

However, freedom of choice is an even more noble pursuit. Moreover, choice is much of what Open Source Software is all about. Therefore we think the Mozilla Organization should have included the non-talkback mozilla-win32-0.9.4.zip too. Whether you participate in Mozilla talkback should be your choice, not the Mozilla Organization’s choice.

Of course you can turn talkback off when you install Mozilla if you use the installer version 0.9.4 Mozilla Milestone build (mozilla-win32-0.9.4-installer.exe). However, the installer version of Mozilla presents some potential privacy breaches, which we shall address shortly in another article.

In the meantime, we recommend that you disconnect your computer from the Internet when installing mozilla-win32-0.9.4-installer.exe so that you can adjust your security and privacy preferences before taking Mozilla 0.9.2 online for the first time.(Please see our article How To Download, Install, & Configure Netscape 6 -- Safely! for more about that.)

0.9.4 Download Links

Here are the FTP download links for Mozilla 0.9.4 for you readers that cannot wait to try Mozilla 0.9.4

Linux Builds



Windows Builds

Please see the important note in the sidebar to the right here before installing.

------>>



Resources



Mozilla Roadmap - Mozilla 1.0 Set Back to 2002 - Mozilla 0.9.4 Set for 7 September


Mozilla 0.9.x Releases & Download Links

More Mozilla Roadmap & Development Plan Changes: Mozilla 1.0 Pushed Back to Q3 2001 (April Roadmap revisions)

Mozilla 1.0 Release Pushed Back -- Milestone 0.8.1 Inserted into Development Roadmap Schedule (March Roadmap revisions)

Mozilla Organization Revises Development Roadmap and Product Release Schedule (December Roadmap revisions)


Mozilla 0.8.x Releases & Download Links

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


Other Related Mozilla & Netsape Articles

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

Netscape 6.1 Browser-Suite Released Again?

How To Download, Install, & Configure Netscape 6 -- Safely!


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

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


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 & Milestone Plan, please see:

Mozilla Development Roadmap


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


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