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Mozilla Roadmap Update

Mozilla 1.0 Set Back to April 2002

Mike Angelo -- 14 November 2001 (c)

Article Index

Turmoil in LizardLand

Mozilla 1.0 Roadmap Erosion

Improved Mozilla Roadmap & Development Plan

Will Mozilla 1.0 Be Buggy?

Are Bugs Delaying Mozilla 1.0?

Conclusion

Resources & Related Articles

There are more potholes in the road to the never-ready Mozilla 1.0 browser-suite and its underlying Mozilla application-programming framework. The elusive and mystical Mozilla 1.0 launch date continues to erode. And the Mozilla bug counts are getting worse, not better. (Please see the link in the Resources section on page 3 for more about the Mozilla application-programming framework.).

Two additional Mozilla pre-1.0 milestones, Mozilla 0.9.8 and Mozilla 0.9.9, have been tacked on to the Mozilla landscape. In effect, that pushes the earliest anticipated Mozilla 1.0 release date from January 2002 (Q1) to April 2002 (Q2).

Actually, the Milestone 0.9.6 and 0.9.7 releases were not shown in the published August revision of the Mozilla Organization's Mozilla Development Roadmap schedule. We added Milestones 0.9.6 and 0.9.7 to our own Mozilla roadmap-tracking table in our August roadmap article. However, it is the addition of Milestones 0.9.8 and 0.9.9 that now pushes Mozilla 1.0 back from January 2002 to April 2002.

Additionally, a post Mozilla 1.0 milestone, 1.0.1, has been sneaked in between Mozilla 1.0 and Milestone 1.1. It appears Milestone 1.0.1 has been added to the Mozilla development plan in order to push bugs that ought to be fixed before the Mozilla 1.0 release, to a post Mozilla 1.0 Bugzilla target assignment. More about Mozilla 1.0.1 further down.

Turmoil in LizardLand

That's not all the turmoil in LizardLand. As part of the October changes to the Mozilla Development Roadmap , Mozilla chief technical officer, Brendan Eich, revised his Mozilla 1.0 Definition. For emphasis, the revision renames the Mozilla 1.0 Definition to Mozilla 1.0 Manifesto. This development plan revision appears to be an effort and attempt to bring Mozilla's escalating bug problems and 1.0 schedule slippage under control. Whether it will work is another question.

Certainly, bringing Mozilla's escalating bugs problems and recurring 1.0 schedule slippage under control is much needed. If the Mozilla developers follow and stick to the development plan set forth in Brendan Eich's Mozilla 1.0 Manifesto, there should be a decent Mozilla 1.0 product ready to release on the new April 2002 schedule.

Inter alia, Eich's Manifesto calls for a feature freeze and a focused effort to get the Mozilla bug problem under control. That's a good project management move.

However, once again the chaotic and inconsistent Mozilla Project management approach appears to be torpedoing sound development of the Mozilla browser suite and its underlying Mozilla application-programming framework. (Please see the link in the Resources section on page 3 for more about the Mozilla application-programming framework.)

Note: The Mozilla developers claim that adding the calendar-module feature to the Mozilla browser suite will not affect Mozilla 1.0 -- because, they say, it is for post Mozilla 1.0 development and that key people will not be working on it.
In less than a week from the posting of Brendan Eich's Mozilla 1.0 Manifesto, the lizards decided to add a new, calendar-module feature to the Mozilla browser suite. Moreover, it appears that other new features are being slipped into Mozilla too -- so much for roadmaps, development plans, and manifestos.

Apparently, the Mozilla folks cannot even learn from their own mistakes. Interestingly, the Mozilla Organization's decision to add the new, calendar-module feature to the Mozilla browser suite was announced just a few days after publication of an excellent article, Learning from Mozilla's mistakes, by Robin "Roblimo" Miller on NewsForge.com. (Link in the Resources section at the end of this article.)

Back to the Mozilla 1.0 Roadmap Erosion Saga

The December 2000 Mozilla Development Roadmap revision suggested the Mozilla 1.0 release could have been as soon as 23 April 2001. Then, the April, May, and June 2001 revisions to the Mozilla Development Roadmap and milestone plan gradually pushed the expected Mozilla 1.0 release from April to mid-October, 2001. The August development plan revisions effectively pushed the then anticipated Mozilla 1.0 release off until January 2002 at the earliest. The latest Mozilla Development Roadmap revisions now push Mozilla 1.0 off to April 2002.

That, in effect, translates to a probable release date for Mozilla 1.0 being pushed back some twelve months, from April 2001 to April 2002 in only a ten-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.

Obviously and as a general rule, software usually is never finished in the sense of a product with no further updates or improvements (unless it is discontinued). However, there usually is a 1.0 release of a product that is then built upon in later editions.

In a sense, such a 1.0 release often is referred to as an RTM (release to manufactures) or end-user product -- as opposed to an interim, initial, developmental release such as 0.9.6, for example. In part such a 1.0 release is a finished, useable product in that it is polished, features-complete, ready-to-use, and at least relatively bug free if not completely free of known bugs. Then additional features, enhancements, improvements, bug-fixes, and so forth are added to later updated (upgraded) versions of the initial 1.0 product.

In the case of the Mozilla browser-suite and applications programming framework, if the Mozilla developers follow Brendan Eich's Mozilla 1.0 Manifesto, there should be a decent Mozilla 1.0 product ready to release on the new April 2002 schedule. Whether they do indeed follow the Mozilla 1.0 Manifesto plan is another matter.

Figure 1 is a screen shot of the Mozilla Organization's published August roadmap schedule. Please note the flaky, unrealistic, parenthetical or 1.0 annotations to the Milestone 0.9.4 and 0.9.5 entries in the Mozilla Organization's August schedule.

Figure 1. 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,)


On Page 2

Improved Mozilla Roadmap & Development Plan

Will Mozilla 1.0 Be Buggy?

Are Bugs Delaying Mozilla 1.0?

On Page 3

Conclusion

Resources & Related Articles






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


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