The Mozilla Organization released the Milestone 0.9.6 edition of its Mozilla browser suite earlier today. Nevertheless, Mozilla is behind schedule, again. A clumsy Mozilla 0.9.6 branch had the lizards out on a limb, and the milestone 0.9.6 release in limbo, for the past ten days.
The latest Mozilla roadmap calls for Mozilla Milestone 0.9.6 to have been released last week. More about that further down. First here is what is new in Mozilla 0.9.6 according to the Mozilla 0.9.6 Release Notes:
- Mozilla now displays page icons in the url bar (Expect support for shortcut icons (aka favicon) in Mozilla 0.9.7). Page icons can be defined in the html head section of a document like so:
<LINK REL="icon" HREF="images/mozilla-16.png" TYPE="image/png">
<LINK REL="SHORTCUTICON" HREF="/images/global/branding/dellecomicon.ico">
- Mozilla can now display Windows .BMP and .ICO images on all platforms.
- Print Preview has been implemented.
- Macintosh Page Setup has been implemented (Bug 36796)
- Mail message "labels" support has been implemented. (Bug 81292)
- Mail "prefill mail filter" support has been implemented (Bug 65761)
- The new Search for item on the context menu lets you search for any text you highlight on a web page.
- Select some text in browser window.
- Right click in the browser window and a context menu will pop up.
- Choose the Search for item and Mozilla will search for the highlighted text at your default engine.
The download information and links are in the Resources section at the end of this article. Meanwhile here is what happened to put the Mozilla 0.9.6 branch out on a limb and delay release of the Mozilla 0.9.6 milestone.
The Milestone 0.9.6 branching was somewhat clumsy and 151 open bugs were still targeted to 0.9.6 Friday 16 November 2001. So, it is not surprising that there was not a Milestone 0.9.6 release last Friday as scheduled. Nor is it surprising that Mozilla 0.9.6 was not released until today.
Earlier today, four days after Mozilla 0.9.6 was scheduled to have been released, there still were 125 bugs targeted to Milestone 0.9.6. As we go to press so to speak, the count for bugs targeted to Mozilla 0.9.6 has been whittled down to 111 bugs.
That's right folks. Mozilla 0.9.6 was released with 111 bugs still targeted to it.
On the one hand, it is important to release milestones on schedule. On the other hand, it is important to fix bugs targeted to a milestone before releasing that milestone -- even if it means a delay in releasing the milestone. To the Mozilla developer's credit, according to bug #104864, they have fixed a bunch of bugs specifically for the Mozilla Milestone 0.9.6 release.
Bug #104864 is a tracking meta-bug titled make 0.9.6 not suck that points to 59 bugs the Mozilla developers particularly wanted to fix before releasing Mozilla 0.9.6. Check bug #104864 for the details.
The Mozilla developers opened their 0.9.6 branch in the Mozilla Tinderbox eleven days ago on Friday November 9. However, they did not place any files in the Mozilla 0.9.6 branch directory until Saturday November 10. Even then, the only files in the Mozilla 0.9.6 branch directory were Red Hat Linux RPM files.
The Mozilla 0.9.6 branch Windows-builds did not appear until this past Wednesday, 14 November. The regular Linux builds did not appear until Thursday -- a week after the Mozilla Milestone 0.9.6 branch was cut. Mozilla 0.9.6 Macintosh builds did not appear in the 0.9.6 branch directory until later last Thursday or Friday.
That seems somewhat flaky. It just adds to the confusion, chaos, and turmoil of the Mozilla Project. This sort of clumsy branching puts Mozilla development out on a limb.
This in part is the reason we have sort of in the Tree Branch entry in the Mozilla 0.9.6 Progress area of the right sidebar on the MozillaQuest Magazine Front Page.
Inter alia, the Mozilla quality control program depends upon members of the Mozilla development-community to help test branch builds. Members of the development-community cannot do their testing of the branch builds until the builds are made available on the FTP server -- or if they have the desirability and resources to compile Mozilla.
Earlier today there were nearly 3,600 bugs (3,599 to be exact) targeted to Mozilla Milestone 0.9.1 through and including Mozilla Milestone 0.9.9 plus Mozilla 1.0. Those all are bugs that the Mozilla developers say should be fixed before Mozilla 1.0 is released. However, that's only part of the more than 19,000 new, assigned, and reopened bugs currently listed in the Mozilla bug-tracking database, Bugzilla. (Bug #104864 addresses only 59 of those 19,000 bugs -- but it's another chunk off that big bug count.)
Following past practices, the Mozilla developers fixed only some of the bugs targeted to Mozilla 0.9.6 -- bugs such as those enumerated in meta-bug #104864. Then they merely sweept the rest under the carpet, so to speak, by re-assigning the remaining bugs to other targets in order to try to maintain schedule. Please see our 0.9.4 branching article, Mozilla 0.9.4 Branched -- Behind Schedule & Buggier Than Ever, for more detail and information about the Mozilla bugs.
Mozilla pre-1.0 Milestone and daily development builds normally are available for the BSD, Linux, Macintosh, Microsoft Windows, OS/2, Sun, and several UNIX platforms. Source code usually is available if you want to custom compile your own Mozilla builds.
Incidentally, please check the MozillaQuest Magazine front-page (mozillaquest.com) sidebar every now and then for bug count updates and for Mozilla Milestone 0.9.6 progress updates.
Please see our article, Mozilla Roadmap Update: Mozilla 1.0 Set Back to April 2002, for more information about the October 2001 Mozilla Development Roadmap and development schedule revisions. There is lots of bug information in that article too.
Downloading & Installation Info
0.9.6 Download Links
|Note: usually the Mozilla Organization includes a simple, non-talkback, Milestone download build for the Microsoft Windows platform such as mozilla-win32-0.9.6.zip plus a talkback build. The Mozilla 0.9.6 release notes also call for such a mozilla-win32-0.9.6.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 0.9.6 Release Notes, the Mozilla Organization, 20 November 2001.)
Unfortunately, the Mozilla Organization has decided not to give you that choice for Mozilla Milestone 0.9.6. It has not included the non-talkback mozilla-win32-0.9.6.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-win32-0.9.6.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 0.9.6 Mozilla Milestone build (mozilla-win32-0.9.6-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-win32-0.9.6-installer.exe so that you can adjust your security and privacy preferences before taking Mozilla 0.9.6 online for the first time.(Please see our article How To Download, Install, & Configure Netscape 6 -- Safely! for more about that.)
Here are the FTP download links for Mozilla 0.9.6 for you readers that cannot wait to try Mozilla 0.9.6
Please see the important note in the sidebar to the right here before installing.