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The Mozilla 1.0 Web browser suite is out! MozillaQuest Magazine has the best, most balanced, accurate, robust and in-depth coverage of AOL-Netscape's Mozilla 1.0 browser on the Internet. I'ts all on MozillaQuest Magazine.

New Mozilla Roadmap Sets 1.1 for 9 August 2002 and Effectively Kills Mozilla 1.0.x

Mike Angelo -- 4 August 2002 (c)

The Mozilla Organization has pushed the pending Mozilla 1.1 release back to 9 August 2002 and Mozilla 1.0.1 back to late August or early September. This impending release of Mozilla 1.1 in effect kills Mozilla 1.0.x, if the release of Mozilla 1.1-beta has not done so already.

The newly revised Mozilla Development Roadmap also adds development schedules for Mozilla 1.2-alpha, 1.2-beta, 1.2, 1.3-alpha, 1.3-beta, 1.3, and 1.4-alpha, which is set for release on 7 March 2003. Please see Figure 1, below for the newly revised Mozilla Roadmap Schedule and Figure 2, below for the newly revised Tree Management Diagram.

Figure 1. New Mozilla milestone release schedule. (Screen shot from the Mozilla Organization's 1 August 02 Mozilla Development Roadmap.)

The Mozilla Organization's February 2002 Roadmap Schedule and Tree Management Diagram had set Mozilla 1.1 release for 3 July 2002 and suggested an early May 2002 release for Mozilla 1.0.1. In early May, however, it became apparent that the Mozilla Organization would not be able to meet that schedule. So, it revised the proposed releases schedule.

The Mozilla Organization's May 2002 Roadmap Schedule and Tree Management Diagram revisions re-set Mozilla 1.1 release for 19 July 2002 and suggested an early June 2002 release for Mozilla 1.0.1.

However, both Mozilla 1.0.1 and Mozilla 1.1 have yet to be released -- a substantial slippage in product release scheduling. So now, the Mozilla Organization has once again revised its release schedule.

Figure 2. New Mozilla Tree Management Diagram. (Screen shot from the Mozilla Organization's 1 August 02 Mozilla Development Roadmap.)

The new Roadmap Schedule and Tree Management Diagram sets Mozilla 1.1 release for 9 August 2002 and suggests a late August or early September 2002 release for Mozilla 1.0.1. Please see Table 1, below, for the Roadmap revision history and release schedule slippage since February 2002.

Table 1. Mozilla release-dates schedule-slippage from February 2002 to date.

Roadmap Revision Scheduled Mozilla 1.0.1 Release Date Scheduled Mozilla 1.1 Release Date
February 2002 Early May 2002 3 July 2002
May 2002 Early June 2002 19 July 2002
31 July 2002 Late August or early September 9 August 2002
Slippage since February 2002 3.5 to 4 months 1 month

Please notice that the February and May 2002 Roadmap revisions had the Mozilla 1.0.1 release occurring prior to Mozilla 1.1 release. However, the recent (31 July 2002) Roadmap revision pushes Mozilla 1.0.1 release back until after the Mozilla 1.1 release.

In effect, the release of Mozilla 1.1, when it actually happens, kills Mozilla 1.0 and its 1.0.x maintenance upgrade progeny as viable product. We suspect effectively killing Mozilla 1.0 as soon as it can be killed has been the intent of the Mozilla Organization all along -- despite Mozilla Organization wordage that Mozilla 1.0.x is supposed to be a long-lived branch. However, that is another story for another day.

Once Mozilla 1.1 is released there is not much use to using what then will amount to a quality-wise, technology-wise, and usability-wise outmoded Mozilla 1.0.x build. Mozilla Organization people already are claiming that Mozilla 1.1-beta is more stable and better than Mozilla 1.0.x. Moreover, according to the latest Mozilla Development Roadmap revisions, Mozilla 1.1 will be out before Mozilla 1.0.1 ever sees the light of day.

Mozilla development plan and roadmap slippage is nothing new. Did you know that in September 2000, the then current Mozilla Development Roadmap Milestone Schedule called for release of Mozilla 1.0 in early Q2 2001? That's correct! In the period of time from September 2000 until 5 June 2002, the date upon which Mozilla 1.0 was released, the Mozilla 1.0 release schedule slipped more than an entire year.

Figure 3. Table 2 from our 22 December 2000 Mozilla Development Roadmap article. Please notice that Mozilla 1.0 is scheduled for a Q, 2001 release.

For more about the September 2000 Mozilla Development Roadmap Milestone Schedule, please our 22 December 2000 article, Mozilla Organization Revises Development Roadmap and Product Release Schedule.

The Mozilla Organization's repeated inability to deliver Mozilla releases within the timeframes it, the Mozilla Organization itself, has established takes several forms. One form is to continually revise the Mozilla Roadmap in order to slip (push back) the release schedules. This is what the Mozilla Organization has done in this latest Roadmap revision. It was not able to meet the previously (May Roadmap) scheduled Mozilla 1.1 release for 19 July 2002 and the suggested early June 2002 release for Mozilla 1.0.1. So, the Mozilla Organization has revised its Roadmap by slipping the Mozilla 1.1 release back to 9 August 2002 and Mozilla 1.0.1 back to late August or early September.

Of course revising the Roadmap Schedules to reflect more accurately what is happening along the Mozilla development roadway is not necessarily a bad thing, in and of itself. It's good to revise the published Roadmap schedules regularly, in order to keep the Mozilla-development and Mozilla-user communities up to date on Mozilla development plans and timetables. However, what is wrong with this picture is that the Mozilla Organization is not able to meet its own, self-determined, milestone and product release schedules.

Additionally, when development tree or release candidate builds are not up to snuff, it certainly is prudent to slip a milestone release until the milestone is ready for release. Slipping a release schedule in order to release a better-quality product is not a bad thing in and of itself either. The problem, however, is that the Mozilla project mangers are unable to bring Mozilla development builds within quality control parameters within project release-time schedules. And that happens in part because the Mozilla code-base has become too darn clumsy and too darn buggy.

Some Mozilla developers and fanatics have come up with several clever, yet unacceptable, copouts to try to worm the Mozilla Organization's way out of responsibility for failure to maintain project release schedules. One copout is the now infamous when its ready verbiage. Another is the if we get a release out late we get criticized for being late but if we put out a release on time we get criticized because (quality-wise) it was not ready copout.

This clearly is a sham dilemma, which is exposed merely by recognizing that the bull must be grasped by its horns. The task is both to produce good software and to produce it timely. Good program mangers with good programmers do that.

Another form of not delivering Mozilla releases on schedule is simply missing the scheduled release dates as set forth in the Roadmap. A major factor in the repeated failure of Mozilla Organization management to deliver Mozilla releases on schedule is that Mozilla bugs and issues are out of control. And they have been out of control for nearly two years now. For example, see Figure 11 in our A Quick Look at Some Mozilla 1.0 Browser-Suite Annoyances, Bugs, And Issues article.

Yestereday, there were 12,440 targeted bug listings in Bugzilla, the Mozilla Project bug-tracking database. Altogether there were more than 26,400 new, assigned, and re-opened bug listings in Bugzilla, including some 633 crash bugs and nearly 150 dataloss bugs.

All these bugs mentioned here are active, open, unfixed bugs. There are well over 100,000 bug reports stored in Bugzilla. We are discussing only the more than 26,400 bug reports that have not been resolved -- we are not including the resolved bugs in our bug counts.

All the bug reports are not showstoppers nor will all users encounter all the bugs. Please see our article, A Quick Look at Some Mozilla 1.0 Browser-Suite Annoyances, Bugs, And Issues, for more information about what these bug counts mean and how they impact on your user experiences.

It is perhaps interesting to note that of the 26,404 new, assigned, and re-opened bug listings in Bugzilla yesterday, only 9% of them (2,500) were classified by the Mozilla bug triagers as Minor or Trivial bugs. On the other hand, nearly 75% of the new, assigned, and re-opened bug listings (19,666) are tagged with Normal or higher severity levels. Please see Table 2, below.

The more than 26,000 new, assigned, and reopened bugs currently listed in the Bugzilla database does not include unconfirmed, later, remind, works-for-me, or wontfix bugs.

UNCONFIRMED - Nobody has validated that this bug needs to be fixed. . . . Usually, an UNCOMFIRMED bug will be left uncomfirmed (sic) until someone has verified that the bug the reporter submitted actually occurs (sic).

WONTFIX - The problem described is a bug which (sic) will never be fixed.

LATER - The problem described is a bug which (sic) will not be fixed in this version of the product.

REMIND - The problem described is a bug which (sic) will probably not be fixed in this version of the product, but might still be.

WORKSFORME - All attempts at reproducing this bug were futile, reading the code produces no clues as to why this behavior would occur. If more information appears later, please re-assign the bug, for now, file it.

From Help Using The Bugzilla Query Form. Link in Resources section.

The bug severity level classifications can be somewhat tricky and misleading. For example the oingo.com Address Book bug (Bugzilla Bug 144639 -- Opening addressbook pops up browser window and hangs Mozilla) is classed as normal severity. Yet, the oingo history-tab bug is classed as a major bug.

However, as we stated in our discussions of the oingo bugs in our Mozilla 1.0 Browser and Mozilla 1.0 E-Mail articles, Mozilla 1.0 never should have been released without the oingo bugs being fixed before the Mozilla 1.0 release. In other words, the oingo bugs should have been triaged as Blockers rather than as Normal or Major bugs.


Table 2. New, Assigned, and Re-Opened Mozilla Bugs Analyzed by Severity Level.
Severity Bugs Listed

1 Aug

Bugs Listed

3 Aug

Blocker 141 141
Critical 1,034 1,044
Major 1,944 1,951
Normal 16,472 16,530
Minor 1,816 1,813
Trivial 681 687
Enhancement 4,218 4,238
Total 26,306 26,404

For a comparable breakdown of Targeted bugs compiled in March, 2002, please see our article Mozilla 0.9.9 Browser-Suite Milestone Released Behind Schedule.

While enhancement requests do not necessarily indicate a malfunction, they often significantly impact the user experience. For example, twelve of the bugs currently listed as open in Bugzilla are enhancement requests related to spell checking. See for example Bug 56301 connect a spellchecker engine for Mozilla. The Mozilla Navigator (browser) does not need a spell checker. However, there should be a spell checker for the Mozilla E-Mail, News, and Composer text editor. There is not one at this time that comes with the Mozilla browser suite.

The Mozilla Organization is repeatedly unable to deliver Mozilla releases within the timeframes they themselves establish. A major factor in the repeated failure to deliver Mozilla releases on schedule is that Mozilla bugs and issues are out of control. And they have been out of control for nearly two years now.

AOL-Netscape's Mozilla Organization does not offer or provide end-user support. However, if you need some help with the Mozilla browser-suite or just would like to chat about it, there are #Mozilla and #Chatzilla channels on the EFNet IRC network. The EFNet IRC channels are not affiliated with AOL-Netscape or its Mozilla Organization -- just volunteer Mozilla users helping other Mozilla users.

The Mozilla runaway bug problems and repeated failures to deliver Mozilla Milestone and product releases on schedule suggests poor project focus, poor project direction, poor project leadership, and poor project management. But hey, what else should you expect from an enterprise that for all intents and purposes is an AOL and Netscape (NSCP) operation. The Mozilla Organization is a de facto division of AOL-Netscape.

Please check the MozillaQuest Magazine front-page (mozillaquest.com) sidebar every now and then for updated bug counts and post-1.0 Mozilla Milestone progress updates.




Resources


Bug 56301 connect a spellchecker engine for Mozilla



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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

Help Using The Bugzilla Query Form


Copyright 2000-2002 -- MozillaQuest -- Brodheadsville, Pa..USA -- All Rights Reserved


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