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Mozilla Milestone 0.9.9 Branched Behind Schedule


Mike Angelo -- 2 March 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 developers cut the 0.9.9 milestone branch yesterday -- a week behind schedule. Mozilla 0.9.9 is the last planned milestone before the scheduled April 2002 Mozilla 1.0 release.

That means that Mozilla developers now are working towards the Mozilla 1.0 release on the development-tree trunk while Mozilla 0.9.9 is being readied on its development-tree branch. If things go well on the branch, Mozilla 0.9.9 might be ready for release next week.

The good news of course is that finally after such an overly-long, four-year, development incubation (and more than 1,000 person-years in development), there will be a Mozilla 1.0 soon. However, some in the Mozilla community question whether the state of Mozilla is such that Mozilla 1.0 should be released in April 2002. Two major concerns are that there are too many open bugs and that Mozilla lacks some essential features.

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 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. )

The bug status selection cluster of new, assigned, and reopened bugs listed in the Bugzilla database does not include unconfirmed, later, remind, works-for-me, or wontfix bugs:

NEW - This bug has recently been added to the assignee's list of bugs and must be processed. Bugs in this state may be accepted, and become ASSIGNED, passed on to someone else, and remain NEW, or resolved and marked RESOLVED.

ASSIGNED - This bug is not yet resolved, but is assigned to someone who thinks they can fix it. From here bugs can be given to another person and become NEW, or resolved and become RESOLVED.

REOPENED - The bug was once resolved, but the resolution was deemed incorrect. For example, a WORKSFORME bug is REOPENED when more information shows up and the bug is now reproducible.

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).

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

In trying to get a picture of Mozilla's overall quality from the number of bugs reported in Bugzilla, it is important to filter out duplicate bug reports, reports of bugs that have been fixed or otherwise resolved, or bugs that cannot be replicated, and so forth. One way to do that is to restrict Bugzilla queries to targeted new, assigned, and reopened bugs.

Yesterday there were 12,137 targeted new, assigned, and reopened Mozilla bugs and 21,199 new, assigned, and reopened bugs (open/unfixed bugs) altogether. However, it appears that only 1,575 bugs are set to be fixed before Mozilla 1.0 is released. (Please see Table 1, below.)

Not including enhancement-request bugs, the Mozilla bug-targeting schema anticipates leaving some 8,600 unfixed, targeted, problem-bugs in Mozilla 1.0 when it is released. If you include bugs that have not been targeted yet, the number of unfixed problem-bugs that will be in Mozilla 1.0 is much larger than the 8,600 unfixed, targeted, problem-bugs estimate.

Table 1, below, is a breakdown of the 12,137 targeted new, assigned, and reopened Mozilla bugs. The 0.9.1 through Mozilla 1.0 targeted new, assigned, and reopened bugs are bugs that the Mozilla developers say they plan to fix by the time they release Mozilla 1.0.

The difference between all targeted bugs and those bugs targeted to be fixed by the time Mozilla 1.0 is released is important. It is the set of targeted new, assigned, and reopened bugs that will be in Mozilla 1.0 when it is released.

Incidentally, that total targeted-bugs count was 11,678 on 4 February 2002, the day Mozilla 0.9.8 was released. That's a net increase of 459 targeted new, assigned, and reopened bugs in less than one month. That means bugs are being added faster than they are being fixed.

Some Mozilla developers and fans say that enhancement requests should not be counted with the problem bugs. There are some pros and cons to that reasoning. However, whether you agree with that or not, many enhancement requests are important and should be adequately resolved before Mozilla 1.0 is released. Also, please note that if an enhancement request is targeted, it means that a Mozilla developer or triager with sufficient Bugzilla permissions decided the requested enhancement should be implemented.

For example, Mozilla Bug 56301 , connect a spellchecker engine for Mozilla, is an enhancement request. Certainly spell checking is an important feature in modern editing software. Of course there are work-arounds. But a work-around is no substitute for having a spell-checker built into Mozilla. Mozilla 1.0 should include a spell checker.

Please notice from Figure 1, below that Bug 56301 is targeted to the post Mozilla 1.0 release, Mozilla 1.01. That means that under the current targeting, the Mozilla 1.0 e-mail, news, and Composer editors will not have spell checking. Que Lastima!

Table 1. Mozilla Targeted Bugs Analysis.
(01 March 2002)

Targeted new, assigned, and reopened bugs (open/unfixed bugs) listed in Mozilla's bug tracking database, Bugzilla, on 01 March 2002 at approximately 16:25 EST.

Bug Severity

0.9.1 - 1.0 Bugs

All Targeted Bugs

Unfixed for Mozilla 1.0 Release
Blocker

25

45

20

Critical

162

426

264

Major

239

857

618

Normal

1,003

7,683

6,680

Minor

62

839

777

Trivial

20

286

266

Sub Total

1,511

10,136

8,626

Enhancement

64

2,001

1,906

Total

1,575

12,137

10,532

Conclusion

Even though many bugs are being fixed, bugs are cropping up faster than they are being fixed. That's not very healthy program development.

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.

Mozilla lacks some important features such as a spell checker. That is 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.

Figure 1. Bug Report 56301 was opened 10 December 2000 with the description "The editor needs spell checking. It's a really nice feature that Mozilla still lacks." More than a year later Mozilla still does not have a spell checker. Unfortunately, this spell-checker enhancement request bug is only a P3 priority and has been pushed off to Mozilla 1.01.

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, add a spell checker and some other missing essential features and get rid of the bugs, bloat, and memory hogging).

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.

Some of the Mozilla bugs are in the Mozilla Web browser-suite, which is built on top of the Mozilla application programming framework. However, many of the Mozilla bugs are in that underlying application programming framework -- the Mozilla APIs if you like. That means that any third party developers that build programs on top of the Mozilla application programming framework will be building on top of a buggy foundation -- not a pretty picture.

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 would like to give a Mozilla 0.9.9 branch build (release candidate) a try, download a copy and take it for a test drive.

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. MozillaQuest Magazine will have the Mozilla 0.9.9 final release information and download links as soon as Mozilla 0.9.9 is released. Please check the MozillaQuest Magazine front page regularly for Mozilla 0.9.9 final release news.

Stay Tuned.




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. For the revised post-Mozilla 1.0 development roadmap and plan please see our article, Moz 1.0 April Release Confirmed & Post-1.0 Development Plan Announced.




Resources


Mozilla Bug 56301


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Mozilla Roadmap

More Mozilla Roadmap Plan Changes and Chaos - Mozilla 0.9.2 Set for 25 June Release (June 2001 Roadmap revisions)

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Mozilla 1.0 Release Pushed Back -- Milestone 0.8.1 Inserted into Development Roadmap Schedule (March 2001 Roadmap revisions)

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Mozilla 0.8.x Releases & Download Links

Lizard On The Move: Mozilla Milestone 0.8.1 Browser-Suite Released

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For more information about the Mozilla Organization and the Mozilla applications programming framework 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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