Mozilla 1.0-RC2 Set for 10 May Release
Mozilla 1.1a for 22 May 02
Mike Angelo -- 8 May 2002 (c)
However, the May update does not include Mozilla 1.0 in its roadmap schedule (Figure 1, below). On the other hand, the May update Tree Management Diagram shows a 1.0 release towards the end of May (Figure 2, below).
Interestingly, the updated Tree Management Diagram now shows Mozilla 1.1a being released before Mozilla 1.0 gets out the door. As many times as the Mozilla 1.0 anticipated release date has slipped and skidded over the past few years, it would not be surprising if Mozilla 1.1 ships before Mozilla 1.0 is released.
With some four calendar years and more than 1000 person-years in the making, the Mozilla Organization has yet to release the elusive and now almost mythical Mozilla 1.0 browser suite Yet they now are working on Mozilla 1.1 before finishing Mozilla 1.0. Isn't that sort of putting the cart before the horse?
With so many bugs still in the Mozilla code base, it is doubtful the Mozilla browser-suite will be ready for final release this month. So do not be surprised if Mozilla 1.0 misses a May release date.
Mozilla 1.0 Might Be Netscape 7.0 Code Base
On the other hand, it appears that AOL-Netscape plans to build its Netscape 7.0 browser-suite on the Mozilla 1.0 code-base -- skipping directly from Netscape 6.2.2 to Netscape 7.0. Overall, the Netscape 6.x series earned a poor reputation and AOL-Netscape sorely needs to get past the Netscape 6 bad image so, enter Netscape 7.0.
For all intents and purposes, the Mozilla Organization is a de facto division of AOL-Netscape. So, do not be surprised if the AOL-Netscape people push the Mozilla Organization to release a buggy and insufficiently polished Mozilla 1.0 before it really is 1.0-worthy -- because AOL-Netscape's marketing plans need a Netscape 7.0 now!
Major Changes in Milestone Release Scheduling
Starting with the February 2002 Mozilla Development Roadmap update, there was a major change in the Mozilla milestone releases scheduling (Figure 3). Up through Mozilla 1.0-RC1, milestones have been released on a five-week development cycle. Starting with Milestone 1.1, the Mozilla trunk-development cycle period is thirteen weeks instead of the previous five weeks.
However, there still will be what in-effect is an approximately five-week milestone release schedule. That's because there will be an alpha and a beta release before each major milestone release. For example after Mozilla 1.0 the trunk-development plan calls for Mozilla 1.1 alpha, then 1.1 beta, and then Milestone 1.1.
There also now is a Mozilla 1.0 development branch too. The Mozilla 1.0 branch is for fixing Mozilla 1.0 bugs. The numbering schema on the Mozilla 1.0 development branch takes the form 1.0.1, 1.0.2, etc. Please see Figure 2.
Incidentally, this bifurcated branching (Figure 2) makes Mozilla bug tracking somewhat tricky. Bugs are being marked fixed when they are fixed on the trunk. However, that does not mean they also have been fixed on the Mozilla 1.0 branch. You have to check the keywords section of the bug report for fixed1.0.0 to see if the bug also has been fixed on the 1.0 branch.
Previously, work on the Mozilla 1.1 alpha release was scheduled to start on 29 March 2002 (Figure 3). Now, the updated schedule shows Mozilla 1.1a (1.1 alpha) starting on 9 April 2002 and being released on 22 May. Please see Figure 1, above.
The good news of course is that finally after such an overly-long, four-year, development incubation period, there will be a Mozilla 1.0 soon . The bad news is that it appears Mozilla 1.0 will be fraught with bugs unless there is lots more bug-fixing before Mozilla 1.0 is released. Moreover, it is likely Mozilla 1.0 will be lacking some important features, such as a spell checker packaged with Mozilla. (Bug 56301 connect a spellchecker engine for Mozilla -- link below)
For a breakdown of the more than 12,000 targeted, Mozilla bugs, please see our article Mozilla 0.9.9 Browser-Suite Milestone Released Behind Schedule.
The Mozilla 1.0 Roadmap Erosion Saga
There are 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 below for more about the Mozilla application-programming framework.).
Two additional Mozilla pre-1.0 milestones, Mozilla 1.0-RC1 and Mozilla 1.0-RC2, have been tacked on to the Mozilla landscape since the February 2002 Roadmap update. The timetable for Mozilla 1.0 in the February Roadmap release schedule was replaced by the Mozilla 1.0-RC1 milestone in the current Roadmap schedule.
The December 2000 Mozilla Development Roadmap revision suggested the Mozilla 1.0 release could have been as soon as 23 April 2001 (yes, April a year ago). 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 2001 plan revisions effectively pushed the then anticipated Mozilla 1.0 release off until January 2002 at the earliest.
The October 2001 and February 2002 Mozilla Development Roadmap revisions pushed Mozilla 1.0 off to April 2002, at the earliest. It's now May 2002 and still no Mozilla 1.0.
Mozilla Getting Better But - - - -
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-suite 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 well-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.
Unfortunately, the Mozilla bug counts are growing rather than going down. So, at this time it looks as though even a May 2002 Mozilla 1.0 will be a very buggy product.
The number of bugs in Mozilla is not necessarily directly proportional to its usability. Facts are facts and the number of Mozilla bugs is on the increase. However, many of the more disastrous and noticeable bugs have been fixed. Mozilla is more stable now and it crashes less than it used to crash. Overall, Mozilla is more usable than it was a year ago.
Nevertheless, Mozilla still has crash bugs and lots of annoying bugs. These bugs should be fixed before Mozilla 1.0 is released.
To learn more about how many bugs there are in the Netscape 6.1, 6.2, and Mozilla Web browser-suites, and to learn how the Mozilla and Netscape developers have been sweeping bugs under the carpet, please see Mozilla 0.9.3 Branched Behind Schedule & Buggy and Netscape 6.2 Browser-Suite Released
Please check the MozillaQuest Magazine front-page (mozillaquest.com) sidebar every now and then for updated bug counts and Mozilla 1.0 and Milestone progress updates.
Mozilla 1.0 now is in the release candidates stage. Although the anticipated release date for Mozilla 1.0 keeps sliding, it appears there will be a Mozilla 1.0 in the not too distant future. However, there is lots of bug-squashing and polishing that should be done before there is a Mozilla 1.0.
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 a well-polished Mozilla 1.0).
Mozilla still has lots of bugs and performance problems. However, they are significantly less noticeable in Mozilla 1.0-RC1 than they were in Mozilla 0.9.9. Bug tracking is important in the software development, quality assurance, and evaluation processes. However, end users are more likely to form their opinions of a product on how well it works, or does not work, for them.
Bug-wise, the good news is most Mozilla users will not encounter all of the more than 12,000 open, targeted, bugs or the some 560 open crash bugs in the Mozilla code-base at this time. Please keep in mind that Mozilla is multi-platform. Thus, although many of the bugs appear to occur on all platforms, some only occur on a particular platform such as Linux, Mac, or MS Windows.
For example, of the 565 currently open crash bugs only 78 occur on all platforms. Linux users likely will not experience the 72 crash bugs that are Mac only or the 192 crash bugs that are MS Windows only crash bugs. Windows users will not have to be annoyed by the 122 Linux only crash bugs. Nor will Mac users experience the 384 crash bugs that are PC only crash bugs.
In a similar and more specific example, Linux and Mac users never had the misfortune to experience the very annoying MS Windows bug in which it was very tricky to minimize the Mozilla desktop in Mozilla 1.0-RC1 and some other earlier milestone releases. That bug should be out of Mozilla 1.0-RC2. (Bug 120155 )
Nevertheless, more than 12,000 bugs are just too darn many bugs for a 1.0 caliber release. The more bugs there are, the more likely users will encounter bugs. Many Mozilla and Netscape 6 users do encounter bugs and are annoyed by them. The Mozilla bug problem should have been cleared up long before now.
Given that there are so many bugs in the Mozilla code-base, the Mozilla developers would be well advised to let the Mozilla 1.0 release date slip until the bug counts are substantially reduced -- whether or not AOL-Netscape likes it. Moreover, they should focus on getting out a darn good Mozilla 1.0 rather than putting the cart before the horse as they have done by distracting and diluting their efforts through initiating Mozilla 1.1 development before finishing Mozilla 1.0.
Mozilla is cross-platform (XP) and 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.