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Mozilla 0.9.9 Browser-Suite Milestone Released Behind Schedule


Mike Angelo -- 11 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.


AOL-Netscape's Mozilla Organization released the Milestone 0.9.9 edition of its Mozilla browser suite today -- ten days behind schedule. The latest Mozilla roadmap calls for Mozilla Milestone 0.9.9 to have been released 1 March 2002.

Mozilla 0.9.9 is the last planned milestone before the scheduled April 2002 Mozilla 1.0 release. In the beta -> release candidate -> shipping version software development schema, Mozilla 0.9.9 is, in effect, analogous to a final product release-candidate. Although Mozilla 0.9.9 overall seems to be the best Mozilla milestone yet, it's really not final release-candidate quality. More about that further down.

The favicons (shortcut icons) that were added in Mozilla 0.9.6 and then turned off in Mozilla 0.9.8 have been turned on again in the Mozilla 0.9.9 branch builds we checked. Otherwise, on the surface there were no changes since Mozilla 0.9.8 that particularly hit us in the face. Mozilla 0.9.9 looks and feels pretty much as Mozilla 0.9.8 looks and feels -- at least in a quick test drive. Figure 1, below, is a screen shot of a Mozilla 0.9.9 branch build we tried.

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 7 March 2002 Mozilla 0.9.9 branch build for a quick spin on a medium performance PC. The test box was a Windows 98 SE desktop with a 300-MHz AMD K6 CPU and 128-MB RAM.

At first blush, Mozilla 0.9.9 seems to be less of a RAM hog than Mozilla 0.9.8, which memory-wise was an improvement over previous milestones. However, Mozilla runs more slowly than other applications run on that test box, thus suggesting that Mozilla still is a system resources hog.

One Mozilla 0.9.9 branch build we took for a quick spin was more crash-prone than recent previous Mozilla milestones -- crashing several times in less than two hours of testing. However, a later 0.9.9 branch build (10 March 02) did not crash at all.

Incidentally, a Bugzilla query today for new, assigned, and open bugs with the keyword "crash" turned up 517 bugs. Seventy-nine of those bugs are for all platforms, 346 for PC, and 62 for Mac.

Mozilla still has lots of annoying bugs and behaviors. There are pages that display correctly with the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser that do not display correctly with the Mozilla browser.

All-in-all, the Mozilla browser-suite still does not offer any compelling, performance reason for people to switch from Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser to AOL-Netscape's Mozilla browser. On the basis of overall browser performance, look, and feel, Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser still is a better choice than AOL-Netscape's Mozilla browser.

What's New in Mozilla 0.9.9

Here is what is new in Mozilla 0.9.9 according to the Mozilla 0.9.9 Release Notes:

  • MathML is now enabled by default on those platforms that support it, including Windows and Unix. MathML is the W3C specification for describing mathematics on the web. To properly display MathML you need to install special math fonts that are not installed by default on most systems. If you are reading this with Mozilla 0.9.9, take a look at this MathML sample which should look fine without these fonts.
  • The JavaScript debugger, (aka Venkman) can now profile JavaScript in web content and browser chrome. Select Profile->Collect Profile Data to start profiling, execute the script you'd like to profile, and select Profile->Save Profile Data As... to save it. Statistics are collected for every function executed while profiling is enabled, and include total, maximum, minimum, and average time spent executing the function, and total number of calls. Supported output formats are HTML, CSV, and plain text. Sample profile output is available here. Be sure to start the debugger before loading the scripts you're going to profile.
  • Mozilla now supports TrueType fonts on Unix using the FreeType2 library. This works on all X servers with a TrueColor visual (ie: a 15/16/24/32 bit frame buffer). This is enabled on Linux i386, Solaris, HP-UX and some other Unixes. Read these directions on setting up TrueType support in Mozilla.
  • Mozilla now supports SOAP.
  • You now have the option of installing plugins in your Mozilla user directory ($HOME/.mozilla/plugins on Unix). These plugins are loaded in addition to those in your Mozilla install directory.
  • Mozilla has a new Page Setup dialog and the Print Preview window now has a toolbar.
  • Mozilla on Microsoft Windows now has a full screen mode.
  • Speed improvements for the Sparc Solaris build.
  • The BeOS port now supports SSL and has gfx speed improvements.
  • Mozilla has a new method for disabling popup and popunder windows. It is now possible to disable the JavaScript window.open() method when it is not called as a result of a mouse click. When the dom.disable_open_click_delay pref is set to a nonzero number, window.open will fail when called more than that number of milliseconds after a mouse click. Setting this pref (instructions here) should turn off pop-up and pop-under ads that use the onload handler of <img> tags to work around our previous window.open() filter. (Bug 92955)
  • user_pref("dom.disable_open_click_delay", 1000);
  • Mozilla's zlib library contins the fix for the zlib vulnerability. Note that some builds such as the Red Hat RPMs use the sytem zlib library and you will need to update this library separately. See the Red Hat Linux Errata Advisory.
  • The recycled mail compose window was turned on by default which greatly improves new message and reply performance.
  • A new mail notification appears in the Windows System tray.
  • Mozilla now supports the use of socks proxies for mailnews. The value entered in prefs-> advanced-> proxies-> socks host will be used for this. You must ensure that this field is left blank unless you require a socks proxy. If that field contains an entry that is not actually a socks proxy, then you will receive an error about connection being refused to your mail server. If you use a socks proxy and want to read mail from a site that the socks proxy does not have access to (such as localhost), you need to manually exclude those site(s) from being proxied by adding it to the "no proxy for" pref.
  • LDAP directories appear in the address book.
  • The address book now has an advanced search dialog.
  • IMAP Shared Folders is finished with the exception of being able to click on an imap url to subscribe to one.
  • The delete key now toggles the deleted state for the IMAP delete model.
  • Improvements to the MailNews UI when reading signed and encrypted S/Mime messages.

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

Lots of Bugs for Mozilla 1.0

Release of Mozilla 0.9.9 signals that finally after four-years in development, Mozilla 1.0 is on its way soon. However, some in the Mozilla community question whether Mozilla 1.0 should be released in April 2002. One major concern is that there are too many open bugs in Mozilla.

We addressed some of these concerns in our article, Mozilla Milestone 0.9.9 Branched Behind Schedule. In that article, we noted that on 1 March, there were some 12,137 targeted new, assigned, and reopened Mozilla bugs and 21,199 new, assigned, and reopened bugs (open/unfixed bugs) altogether. However, it appeared that only 1,575 bugs were set to be fixed before Mozilla 1.0 is released.

There are more bugs in Mozilla today than there were ten days ago when Mozilla 0.9.9 was branched. Earlier today, there were 12,196 targeted, new, assigned, and reopened Mozilla bugs and 21,400 new, assigned, and reopened bugs (open/unfixed bugs) altogether.

Table 1, below, is a breakdown of the 12,196 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 the set of targeted new, assigned, and reopened bugs that will be in Mozilla 1.0 when it is released.



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

Targeted new, assigned, and reopened bugs (open/unfixed bugs) listed in Mozilla's bug tracking database, Bugzilla, on 11 March 2002 at approximately 11:45 EST.

Bug Severity

0.9.1 - 1.0 Bugs

All Targeted Bugs

Unfixed for Mozilla 1.0 Release
Blocker

16

41

25

Critical

133

419

286

Major

198

856

658

Normal

758

7726

6968

Minor

38

848

810

Trivial

15

289

274

Sub Total

1158

10179

9022
Enhancement

54

2017

1963

Total

1212

12196

10985


Table 2, below is a comparison of the set of targeted new, assigned, and reopened bugs that will be in Mozilla 1.0 when it is released as it stood on the day Mozilla 0.9.9 was branched, 1 March, and today, 8 March. Please note the grand total increase in bugs that are planned to be left unfixed for Mozilla 1.0 rose from 10,532 on 1 March to 10,985 on 11 March -- an increase of 453 bugs in only ten days. (A 396 unfixed, problem-bugs increase from 1 March to 11 March.)


Table 2. Net Unfixed, Targeted, Bugs in Mozilla 1.0

Based on Targeted new, assigned, and reopened bugs (open/unfixed bugs) listed in Mozilla's bug tracking database,

Bug Severity

01 March 02

11 March 02
Blocker

20

25

Critical

264

286

Major

618

658

Normal

6680

6968

Minor

777

810

Trivial

266

274

Sub Total

8626

9022
Enhancement

1906

1963

Total

10532

10985

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 4 February 2002 -- a ten-day delay.

Bugs delayed the Mozilla 0.9.9 branch a week from the scheduled 22 February 2002 to 2 March 2002. The Mozilla bugs problems pushed release of Mozilla 0.9.9 back from 1 March to today -- a ten-day delay.

Mozilla's out-of-control bug problem resulted in a ten-day delay in its 0.9.9 milestone release, a ten-day delay in the Mozilla 0.9.8 release, and a four-day delay in release of milestone 0.9.6.

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. Moreover, the Mozilla developers do not seem to be very effective in keeping buggy code from getting into the development tree.

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-count tracking.
There are no more scheduled milestone releases before the scheduled April 2002 Mozilla 1.0 release. Yet there are nearly than 12,200 targeted-bugs and 21,400 open bugs in Mozilla at this time. That's up from 11,600 targeted-bugs and more than 20,700 open bugs on the day when Mozilla 0.9.8 released.

The preceding bugs discussion has focused on the impact of Mozilla's bugs on the development process. Just as important as that, if not even more important, is how the Mozilla bugs hit users. If the Mozilla bugs for the most part trivial or only rarely occurring, then end-users likely are not going to be very upset by the bugs, However, if the bugs are more noticeable, annoying, disruptive, or result in data loss, system crashes, or application lock-ups, then users likely are going to be rather upset.

That said, the more bugs in a program the more likely users will notice them and the more likely they will be annoyed by them. 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. Nearly 12,200 targeted-bugs and some 21,400 open bugs in Mozilla is just too darn many bugs for a Mozilla 1.0 offering.

Incidentally, a Bugzilla query today for open bugs with the keyword crash turned up more than 500 hits. That's not a very pretty picture.

All this bug stuff can be confusing. The most important point is that Mozilla 0.9.9 includes not merely the bugs targeted to 0.9.9. Rather, Mozilla 0.9.9 includes all 21,300 un-fixed new, assigned, and reopened Mozilla bugs. The Mozilla 0.9.9-targeted bugs is merely a subset of the more than 21,300 un-fixed new, assigned, and reopened Mozilla bugs.

Following past practices, the Mozilla developers fixed only some of the bugs targeted to Mozilla 0.9.9. 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 1.0 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. 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.

Figure 1. Mozilla 0.9.9 browser window with two, tabbed windows. Please note Mozilla's excellent page display quality. (Screen shot from 7 March 02 branch build.)


Downloading & Installation Info


Note: the Mozilla Organization used include a simple, non-talkback, Milestone download build for the Microsoft Windows platform such as mozilla-win32-0.9.9.zip plus a talkback build. The Mozilla 0.9.9 release notes also call for such a mozilla-win32-0.9.9.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 0.9.9 Release Notes, the Mozilla Organization, 11 March 2002.)

Unfortunately, the Mozilla Organization has decided not to give you that choice for Mozilla Milestone 0.9.9. It has not included the non-talkback mozilla-win32-0.9.9.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-win32-0.9.9.zip too. Whether you participate in Mozilla talkback should be your choice, not the AOL-Netscape-Mozilla Organization's choice.

Of course you can turn talkback off when you install Mozilla if you use the installer version 0.9.9 Mozilla Milestone build (mozilla-win32-0.9.9-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-win32-0.9.9-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.)

0.9.9 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.

------>>



Resources


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Is Mozilla Actually AOL-Netscape's Mozilla?


Year 2001 in Review -- Mozilla and Netscape Browsers

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Mozilla Roadmap Update: Mozilla 1.0 Set Back to April 2002



AOL 7.0: Good News for AOL Users & Microsoft - Bad News for Netscape & 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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