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Mozilla Milestone 0.9.8 Browser-Suite Released Behind Schedule


Mike Angelo -- 4 February 2002 (c)


Webmaster´s Note: Mozilla Milestone 1.0-RC1 was released 18 April, 2002. Please see our story, Mozilla Milestone 1.0-RC1 Browser-Suite Released, for download links and the details.


The Mozilla Organization released the Milestone 0.9.8 edition of its Mozilla browser suite earlier today -- more than a week behind schedule this time. The latest Mozilla roadmap calls for Mozilla Milestone 0.9.8 to have been released 25 January 2002. More about that further down.

According to the Mozilla 0.9.8 release notes, the favicons (shortcut icons) that were added in Mozilla 0.9.6 have been turned off. However, you can turn them on if you like.

We do not advise turning the favicons on. That feature was turned off because it was causing problems. If you turn the favicons on you will be turning on the problems too.

Still noticeably absent from Mozilla is a spell checker. There is no spell checker for the e-mail and news editor -- or for the Web pages Composer module. It is somewhat disappointing that after some four calendar years and more than 1,000 person-years in development,, the Mozilla browser suite does not have a spell checker for its mail, news, and Composer modules.

We took a 2 February 2002 Mozilla 0.9.8 branch build for a quick spin. The test box was a Windows 2000 Professional, Hewlett Packard, notebook with a 900-MHz Pentium III and 128-MB RAM. Mozilla still is a memory hog. Although it now seems to be less of a RAM pig than what it used to be. More importantly, however, we did not see any memory leaks in our quick look. When Mozilla was closed it seemed that all the RAM it had hogged had been released.

Prior to launching Mozilla 0.9.8, the Windows 2000 Task Manager showed Mem Usage (memory usage) at 79-MB. After launching Mozilla 0.9.8, Mem Usage jumped to 89-MB with a blank paged displayed in the browser. With three Mozilla browser-windows opened with 4 Web pages in each browser-window and four window-tabs opened in the first browser-window with four pages open in each tab-window, Mem Usage popped up to 108-MB. After closing Mozilla, memory usage was back down to 79-MB. (There were 24 Web pages opened altogether.)

On the surface there were no changes that particularly hit us in the face. Mozilla 0.9.8 looks and feels pretty much as Mozilla 0.9.7 -- at least in a quick look. Page display quality is very good. Figure 1, below, is a screen shot of the Mozilla 0.9.8 branch build we looked at.

What's New in Mozilla 0.9.8

Here is what is new in Mozilla 0.9.8 according to the Mozilla 0.9.8 Release Notes:

  • Hebrew is now supported on Solaris. Hebrew and Arabic now supported on Mac OS systems that have the proper language pack installed. Pasting is busted (Bug 119877) and there are still some open issues related to keyboard input and UI fonts. (Bugs 119860, 119882, 120048, 120334, 121126)
  • Thanks to the new nsITheme API, the classic theme now has native looking widgets on Mac OS X and Windows XP.
  • There are several address book improvements.
    • You can now print individual cards (this has been broken for several milestones), print cards from any address book, or print the contents of an entire address book.
    • Much improved performance. (For details see the test results.)
    • You can now export to txt, tab and csv and LDIF.
    • The address book now has quick search.
    • Cards with addresses in the USA have a new Get Map button in the card preview pane which creates a map for that address at mapquest.com

For details on how to customize the address book's quick search and Get Map features, see Hidden Addressbook Prefs.

  • Mozilla supports MNG again.
  • Dynamic theme switching works again. You can (usually) switch themes without restarting the browser although there are still some bugs.
  • Mozilla no longer reads /favicon.ico images by default although Mozilla still reads page icons defined with the <link> tag. Set the following pref to turn the feature back on.

user_pref("browser.chrome.favicons",true);

  • Files automatically downloaded by clicking on a link are now renamed to the correct name when the download finishes.
  • DOM Inspector is now included on Mac OS builds.
  • The new Page Setup dialog allows setting margins, page orientation and page scaling. Use the following codes to customize page headers :

    &T - Title,

    &U - Document URL,

    &D - Date/Time,

    &P - Page Number,

    &PT - Page Number "of" Page total.

  • On Mac OS, downloaded files that are passed off to a helper application are no longer deleted when Mozilla exits.
  • Composer is now able to generate CSS inline styles instead of deprecated HTML elements and/or attributes (see Composer preferences).

Here are New Issues in Mozilla 0.9.8 according to the Mozilla 0.9.8 Release Notes:

These are items that have been added to the release notes since the previous milestone although the bugs themselves may have existed previously.

  • Plugins that post data without http content length headers will fail. (Bug 115308 is fixed on the trunk.)
  • DHTML performance has regressed since Mozilla 0.9.7. (Bug 117061)
  • The mail compose addressing autocomplete dropdown listbox doesn't pop out full sized when there are multiple matches. (Bug 119816)
  • When using the tabbed browser if you visit a secure page in any tab other than the first tab, then the "lock" icon in the lower right corner of the browser won't work properly. It will always display the security information about the first tab. This bug also affects the View > Page Info menu item. There are two workarounds for this problem: Don't use tabbed browser when browsing to sites where you are concerned about security, or only visit secure sites in the first tab. (Bug 101723)
  • In plaintext mail and mail subject headers, the Euro character (€) may be represented by its official transliteration, "EUR". This happens when the message is encoded with a charset such as ISO-8859-1 which does not support the Euro character. To ensure the proper transmission of the Euro character, set the character encoding of your message to Western (ISO-8859-15), Unicode (UTF-8) or another encoding which supports the Euro character. For a more detailed explanation, read this news article for more. See bug 109342 for the discussion on which encoding should be the default encoding for users of the Western script.
  • Mozilla's Classic theme has problems minimizing windows on some Microsoft Windows systems. The workaround is to 'minimize all windows' in a context click on the windows taskbar. After this the minimize behavior should be normal. Another workaround is to use the Modern theme. (Bug 120155)

The download information and links are in the Resources section at the end of this article.

Bugs Still Are Causing Problems

For some time now, Mozilla milestone editions have been plagued with late or clumsy branchings and delayed releases. Bug problems and a clumsy branching resulted in a delay of four days in the Mozilla 0.9.6 release.

Mozilla Milestone 0.9.7 also was buggy and endured a clumsy branching. However, the Mozilla folks were able to get Mozilla Milestone 0.9.7 out the door on schedule.

Mozilla 0.9.8 should have branched on Friday, 18 January 2002. However, it was not branched until 24 January -- because there were too many serious bugs. Moreover, the Milestone 0.9.8 branch was cut with too many unfixed bugs in it that still were targeted to the 0.9.8 milestone.

The bug-driven delay in branching along with the all the unfixed, 0.9.8 bugs pushed the Milestone 0.9.8 release back from 25 January 2002 until today. Mozilla's out-of-control bug problem resulted in a ten-day delay in its 0.9.8 milestone release

The culprit, behind what now is becoming a regular clumsy and/or tardy Mozilla milestone branching and release process, appears to be the Mozilla bugs problem. The Mozilla developers are continually failing to get the bugs targeted to milestones fixed before the scheduled milestone branching dates.

There is only one more scheduled milestone release before the scheduled April 2002 Mozilla 1.0 release. Yet there are more than 11,600 targeted-bugs and more than 20,700 open bugs in Mozilla at this time. Bugs in milestone development releases are understandable although not a good thing.

However, releasing a Mozilla 1.0 that is so buggy could be Mozilla's death knell. Whether that happens in large part will depend upon how browser-suite users weigh the bugs against Mozilla's overall usability and how annoying are the bugs. Mozilla is now and has been a usable browser for some time.


Mozilla_0.9.8_browser_window_screen-shot
Figure 1. Mozilla 0.9.8 browser window with four, tabbed windows. Please note Mozilla's excellent page display quality. (Screen shot from 2 February 02 branch build.)


Bugs Data

Some Mozilla Bug History

On 14 December 2001, the day Mozilla 0.9.7 was branched, there were some 200 open bugs targeted to Mozilla 0.9.7. Three days later on 17 December there still were 173 open bugs targeted to Mozilla 0.9.7. On the day Mozilla 0.9.7 was released, 21 December 2001, there still were 131 bugs targeted to Mozilla 0.9.7. Earlier today, more than a month after Mozilla 0.9.7 was released, it still had 37 bugs targeted to it.

That's was just the bugs targeted to Mozilla 0.9.7. There also were 2,553 bugs targeted to Mozilla 0.9.1 through Mozilla 1.0 at that time. Those all were bugs that the Mozilla developers say should be fixed before Mozilla 1.0 is released.

Add those 2,553 bugs to the 1,350 bugs that at that time were targeted to Mozilla 1.0.1 for a total of 3,903 bugs for Mozilla 0.9.1 through and including Mozilla 1.0.1. In addition to that, there were more than 6,000 bugs targeted to Future Mozilla releases then -- altogether, more than 9,900, targeted-bugs in Mozilla at the time Milestone 0.9.7 was released. The comparable bug-count is now more than 11,600 bugs.

Although the history of not getting milestone-targeted bugs fixed on time continues to repeat, there might be some improvement in reducing the Mozilla bug counts. When Mozilla 0.9.7 was released, there were some of 3,903 bugs targeted for Mozilla 0.9.1 through and including Mozilla 1.0.1. Earlier today the comparable bug-count was down to 3,572 bugs.

Here is how that 3,572 bugs breaks down. Earlier today there were 42 bugs targeted to Milestone's 0.9.1 through 0.9.7, 103 bugs for Mozilla 0.9.8, 1,439 bugs for Mozilla 0.9.9, and 642 bugs for Mozilla 1.0 -- a total of 2,226. Add that to the 1,346 bugs targeted to Mozilla 1.0.1 and you get a total of 3,572.

Add those 3,572 bugs for Mozilla 0.9.1 through and including Mozilla 1.0.1 to the 730 bugs targeted to Mozilla 1.1, the 582 bugs targeted to Mozilla 1.2, and 6,794 bugs targeted to Future Mozilla releases. That amounts to 11,678 targeted, Mozilla bugs.

But those 11,678, targeted, Mozilla bugs are not all the bugs in Mozilla. They only are part of the more than 20,799 un-fixed new, assigned, and reopened bugs currently listed in the Mozilla bug-tracking database, Bugzilla.

All this bug stuff can be confusing. The most important point is that Mozilla 0.9.8 includes not merely the bugs targeted to 0.9.8. Rather, Mozilla 0.9.8 includes all 20,799 un-fixed new, assigned, and reopened Mozilla bugs. The Mozilla 0.9.8-targeted bugs is merely a subset of the nearly 20,800 un-fixed new, assigned, and reopened Mozilla bugs -- a subset that the Mozilla developers say should be fixed before Mozilla 0.9.8 is released.

Note: the distinction, targeted bugs, is important. Almost anyone can submit a bug to the Bugzilla database. Many bugs so submitted are duplicates of other bugs, unconfirmed, or otherwise not bugs that should be fixed or need to be fixed. However, in order for a bug to be targeted, it must be either submitted or reviewed by a Mozilla developer or triager that has the appropriate skills and permissions level in Bugzilla to set the target parameters for bugs. This also applies to bugs listed as new, assigned, and reopened -- those parameters can be set only by a Mozilla developer or triager that has the appropriate skills and permissions level in Bugzilla. When we query Bugzilla for bugs targeted to a specific Mozilla release, we also restrict that query to new, assigned, and reopened bugs. Incidentally, the general query for all new, assigned, and reopened does include bugs related to other-than-Mozilla projects such as Bugzilla, Web tools, and so forth. That is one reason we do not report that bug in our Front Page bug tracking.
Following past practices, the Mozilla developers fixed only some of the bugs targeted to Mozilla 0.9.8. Then they merely swept the rest under the carpet, so to speak, by re-assigning the remaining bugs to other targets in order to try to maintain schedule. Please see our 0.9.4 branching article, Mozilla 0.9.4 Branched -- Behind Schedule & Buggier Than Ever, for more detail and information about the Mozilla bugs.

Mozilla pre-1.0 Milestone and daily development builds normally are available for the BSD, Linux, Macintosh, Microsoft Windows, OS/2, Sun, and several UNIX platforms. Source code usually is available if you want to custom compile your own Mozilla builds.

Incidentally, please check the MozillaQuest Magazine front-page (mozillaquest.com) sidebar every now and then for bug-count updates and for upcoming Mozilla Milestone 0.9.9 progress updates.

Please see our article, Mozilla Roadmap Update: Mozilla 1.0 Set Back to April 2002, for more information about the October 2001 Mozilla Development Roadmap and development schedule revisions. There is lots of bug information in that article too.

Stay Tuned

Downloading & Installation Info


Note: the Mozilla Organization used include a simple, non-talkback, Milestone download build for the Microsoft Windows platform such as mozilla-win32-0.9.8.zip plus a talkback build. The Mozilla 0.9.8 release notes also call for such a mozilla-win32-0.9.8.zip build file and a talkback build file, mozilla-win32-talkback.zip.

1. Click the mozilla-win32-talkback.zip link or the mozilla-win32.zip link to download the .zip file to your machine. (Mozilla 0.9.8 Release Notes, the Mozilla Organization, 25 January 2002.)

Unfortunately, the Mozilla Organization has decided not to give you that choice for Mozilla Milestone 0.9.8. It has not included the non-talkback mozilla-win32-0.9.8.zip build -- even though the release notes say it is included.

The Mozilla Organization's rationale is that it needs the talkback info to get rid of bugs in Mozilla, particularly crash bugs. Getting rid of Mozilla bugs certainly is a noble purpose. And Mozilla has lots of bugs that need to be fixed.

However, freedom of choice is an even more noble pursuit. Moreover, choice is much of what Open Source Software is all about. Therefore we think the Mozilla Organization should have included the non-talkback mozilla-win32-0.9.8.zip too. Whether you participate in Mozilla talkback should be your choice, not the Mozilla Organization's choice.

Of course you can turn talkback off when you install Mozilla if you use the installer version 0.9.8 Mozilla Milestone build (mozilla-win32-0.9.8-installer.exe). However, the installer version of Mozilla presents some potential privacy breaches, which we shall address eventually in another article.

In the meantime, we recommend that you disconnect your computer from the Internet when installing mozilla-win32-0.9.8-installer.exe so that you can adjust your security and privacy preferences before taking Mozilla 0.9.8 online for the first time.(Please see our article How To Download, Install, & Configure Netscape 6 -- Safely! for more about that.)

0.9.8 Download Links

Here are the FTP download links for Mozilla 0.9.8 for you readers that cannot wait to try Mozilla 0.9.8

Linux Builds



Windows Builds

Please see the important note in the sidebar to the right here before installing.

------>>



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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:

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Help Using The Bugzilla Query Form


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


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