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Mozilla 0.9.4 Set for 7 September Release

Mozilla Roadmap Update

Mozilla 1.0 Release Set Back to 2002

Mike Angelo -- 25 August 2001 (c)

Do not expect the Mozilla 1.0 release in October 2001 -- as was indicated in the May revision of the Mozilla Development Roadmap. Do not expect it in November. Do not expect the Mozilla 1.0 release in December 2001, either.

Plans have changed since May. Four Mozilla Milestone releases have been interposed between the current 0.9.3 release and the Mozilla 1.0 final release. In effect, that sets back the expected release of the Mozilla 1.0 browser-suite to 2002.

The August revision of the Mozilla Development Roadmap schedule sets Milestone 0.9.4 release for September 7. It also sets Milestone 0.9.5 for an October 12 release.

Additionally, Milestones 0.9.6 and 0.9.7 have been added as target Milestones in Bugzilla, the Mozilla Project's bug-tracking database. Likely that means that you will not see the elusive, mythical, Mozilla 1.0 until next year, maybe.

The December 2000 Mozilla Development Roadmap revision suggested the Mozilla 1.0 release could have been as soon as 23 April 2001. Then, the March, April, and May revisions to the Mozilla Development Roadmap and milestone plan gradually pushed the expected Mozilla 1.0 release from April to mid-October, 2001. The latest plans likely will push the actual Mozilla 1.0 release off until January 2002 at the earliest.

That, in effect, translates to Mozilla 1.0 being pushed back some nine months, from April 2001 to January 2002 in only an eight-month time frame. Mozilla Project progress towards Mozilla 1.0 seems to take one step forward and then two steps backwards. The good news is that the Mozilla browser-suite keeps getting better. However, at the current rate of progress, Mozilla could end up being the best, never finished, browser ever.

Figure 1 is a screen shot of the June Roadmap schedule and Figure 2 is a screen shot of the August Roadmap schedule. Please note the addition of Milestones 0.9.4 and 0.9.5 in the August schedule. (The additions actually were made before August.)

Figure 1. June 2001 Mozilla Development Roadmap schedule.

(Excerpted screen shot from Mozilla Development Roadmap, 11 June 2001 revision, The Mozilla Organization, at 04:15 EDT 22 June 2001,)

Figure 2. August 2001 Mozilla Development Roadmap schedule.

(Excerpted screen shot from Mozilla Development Roadmap, 15 August 2001 revision, The Mozilla Organization, at 23:04 EDT 15 August 2001,)

What are not shown in the Mozilla Organization's August revision of the Mozilla Development Roadmap schedule are the Milestone 0.9.6 and 0.9.7 releases. We have added Milestones 0.9.6 and 0.9.7 to our Mozilla Roadmap tracking in Table 1.

Table 1. Mozilla Development Roadmap Milestone Schedule August 2001 Revision -- Estimated

Milestone

Start

Freeze

Branch

Scheduled Release

Actual Release

Mozilla 0.9

16-Mar-2001

18-Apr-2001

20-Apr-2001

23-Apr-2001

7-May-2001

Mozilla 0.9.1

20-Apr-2001

23-May-2001

25-May-2001

1-Jun-2001

7-Jun-2001

Mozilla 0.9.2

31-May-2001

20-Jun-2001

22-Jun-2001

25-Jun-2001

29-Jun-2001

Mozilla 0.9.3

22-Jun-2001

25-Jul-2001

27-Jul-2001

30-Jul-2001

2-Aug-2001

Mozilla 0.9.4

27-Jul-2001

22-Aug-2001

31-Aug-2001

07-Sep-2001

?

Mozilla 0.9.5

31-Aug-2001

03-Oct-2001

05-Oct-2001

12-Oct-2001

?

Mozilla 0.9.6

05-Oct-2001

07-Nov-2001

09-Nov-2001

16-Nov-2001

?

Mozilla 0.9.7

09-Nov-2001

12-Dec-2001

14-Dec-2001

21-Dec-2001

?

Although the Mozilla Organization's August Mozilla Development Roadmap document suggests that Mozilla 1.0 could be released in September or October 2001, those suggestions are very un-realistic -- unless the Mozilla developers intend to release a very buggy Mozilla 1.0. Moreover, Mozilla does a terrible job of managing memory. The memory management problem(s) should be fixed before Mozilla 1.0 is released.

The Mozilla Roadmap Tree Manangement Diagram

Note: The May and June Mozilla Development Roadmap schedules did not show the Milestone 0.9.4 and 0.9.5 releases. The August Mozilla Development Roadmap schedule does not show the Milestone 0.9.6 and 0.9.7 releases. However, the May, June, and August tree management diagrams show all four of these Mozilla Milestone releases. This is, unfortunately, typical Mozilla Organization inconsistency and sloppiness.

Please see More Mozilla Roadmap Plan Changes and Chaos for more about the inconsistency and sloppiness.

The December 2000 Mozilla Development Roadmap schedule revision had set Mozilla 1.0 release for possibly as soon as 23 April 2001. Then in May, for the third time in as many months, the Lizard wranglers pushed back the anticipated Mozilla release date in their Mozilla tree management diagram.

The May Mozilla tree management diagram showed Mozilla 1.0 release set for early Q4 -- around mid-October 2001. For more information about the May roadmap and development plan revisions, please see our article Mozilla Roadmap Plan Changed Again -- Mozilla 1.0 Set Back to Q4 2001.

Unfortunately, the Mozilla Organization has chosen not to update its Mozilla tree management diagram to reflect a more realistic Mozilla 1.0 release date. (Please see Figure 3.)

Figure 3. Current Mozilla tree management diagram.

(Excerpted screen shot from Mozilla Development Roadmap, 15 August 2001 revision, The Mozilla Organization, at 23:10 EDT 15 Augut 2001,)

Right now, there are about 3,000 bugs that the Mozilla developers say should be fixed before Mozilla 1.0 is released. However, that's only part of the some 14,000 new, assigned, and reopened bugs currently listed in the Mozilla bug-tracking database, Bugzilla.

Here is how the some 3,000 bugs figure is derived. Earlier today, there were 535 bugs targeted to Milestone 0.9.4, 736 bugs to 0.9.5, 38 bugs to 0.9.6, 5 bugs to 0.9.7, and 1,716 bugs targeted to Mozilla 1.0.

That's a total of 3,030 bugs targeted to these five, work-in-progress, Mozilla releases. All these 3,030 bugs are in the current Mozilla trunk. They just are not expected to be fixed until release of the specified targets. Moreover, any unfixed bugs will be in Mozilla 1.0 if not fixed.

Please check the MozillaQuest Magazine front-page (mozillaquest.com) sidebar every now and then for bug count and Mozilla Milestone 0.9.4 progress updates.

Considering how buggy Mozilla is right now, it just does not seem realistic that Mozilla 1.0 would, or should, be released in October 2001 as indicated in the current Mozilla tree management diagram shown in Figure 3 -- unless the Mozilla developers intend to release a very buggy Mozilla 1.0.

Conclusion

Sadly, the Mozilla Organization does not seem to grasp just how far behind schedule is the Mozilla Project and just how buggy is the Mozilla browser-suite. Or, perhaps it does not grasp the importance of quality workmanship and producing software products that are not full of bugs. Neither of those landscapes is a particularly pretty sight.

It's past time for the Mozilla Organization to show some leadership and courage in stewarding the Mozilla Project. The Mozilla Organization should set some definite, realistic, schedule and timeline goals for finalizing Mozilla 1.0 – and then be prepared to take and accept the heat if those goals are not met. Moreover, it should make those goals clear and public – no more of the evasive, uncertain, and wishy-washy "when it's ready" crap.

It's also past time for the Mozilla Organization to show some leadership and courage in bringing the runaway bug problems under control. Figure 4 below is an indication of just how bad is the Mozilla Project runaway-bugs problem.

You easily can see from Figure 4 that even though many bugs are being fixed; bugs are cropping up faster than they are being fixed. That's not very healthy program development.

Figure 4. Mozilla'a Runaway Bugs.

A particularly troubling indication in Figure 4 is the sharp increase in the New bugs curve that starts about one year ago. That seems to be the point at which the new bugs problem substantially accelerates. Mozilla'a bug problems have gotten worse, not better.

That's not to say that the Mozilla folks have not fixed lots of bugs. They have fixed lots of bugs. However, bugs are cropping up faster than bugs are being fixed. Therein lies the rub.

Nor is that not to say that the Mozilla folks have not added many new features and improvements to their Mozilla browser suite. They have added many new features and improvements. However, in doing that they added a tremendous number of bugs to Mozilla. Therein lies the rub.

Unfortunately, the Mozilla project's quality assurance practices do not seem to be blocking buggy code from being added to Mozilla.

To the Mozilla Organization's and Mozilla Project's credit they almost have a darn nice browser suite. But they will not have a nice browser suite until they get it right (to-wit, get rid of the bugs and release Mozilla 1.0).

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 and Netscape 6.1 are built.

In large part, this is why Netscape 6.x is so buggy. The assorted Netscape 6.x editions were built from the Mozilla code base. Therefore, the bugs in Mozilla went into Netscape.

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. If you have not already tried Mozilla, download a copy and give it a try.

Stay Tuned.


Resources

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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