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November 14, 2001
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Mozilla Roadmap Update: Mozilla 1.0 Set Back to April 2002

Mike Angelo -- 14 November 2001 (c)

Page 3

The good news is that at least some people in the Mozilla Organization finally seem to be grasping just how far behind schedule is the Mozilla Project and just how buggy is the Mozilla browser-suite. Additionally, some Mozilla Project people also finally are grasping the importance of quality workmanship and producing software products that are not full of bugs. Of course some of the Mozilla Project people have been aware of these things for a long time.

The recent (October 16th) reorganization of the Mozilla Development Roadmap and development plan, plus Brendan Eich's rewrite of his Mozilla 1.0 Definition as his Mozilla 1.0 Manifesto, shows some Mozilla Organization leadership and courage in stewarding the Mozilla Project. The Mozilla Organization now has set some definite, realistic, schedule and timeline goals for finalizing Mozilla 1.0. It has made those goals clear and public with no more of the evasive, uncertain, and wishy-washy "when it's ready" crap

The bad news is that Mozilla still is fraught with bugs. Figure 5 (on page 2) is a good indication of just how bad is the Mozilla Project runaway bugs problem.

You easily can see from Figure 5 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.

A particularly troubling indication in Figure 5 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's bug problems have gotten worse, not better.

There is a sign of hope in that chart, however. It seems that the Mozilla bug triagers are doing a better job of assigning new bugs to specific developers for fixing. Please notice that the number of new bugs has flattened while the number of assigned bugs has accelerated (Figure 5). Perhaps by getting more of the new bugs assigned to specific developers, more bugs will be fixed.

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 6.2 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.


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


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