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Mozilla 1.0 on the Way -- Milestone 1.0-RC1 Branched


Mike Angelo -- 9 April 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 Silicon Valley Lizard is almost on the final stretch of its long journey to Mozilla 1.0. But first, it must take a detour not in the Mozilla Development Roadmap. That detour is at least one release candidate (RC) milestone, if not more RCs before the long overdue and elusive Mozilla 1.0 release.

Webmaster's Note: After we published this article, the Mozilla Organization quickly changed the Mozilla Roadmap schedule and diagram to reflect Mozilla 1.0-RC1. Please see Figures 1 and 2 below.

As we go to press, the Mozilla 1.0-RC1 milestone edition is being branched from the Mozilla CVS (Concurrent Versions System) development tree trunk. The Mozilla 1.0 branch is more than a week late however. The Mozilla Development Roadmap sets the Mozilla 1.0 branching for 29 March 2002.

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.

Currently, there are more than 12,00 open, targeted, Mozilla bugs, and more than 500 open, Mozilla, crash bugs listed in the Mozilla bug database, Bugzilla. The only bugs currently holding up the Mozilla 1.0-RC1 branching are the ones listed under tracking bug 134771 ("Bugzilla Bug 134771 make RC1 not suck") -- 13 open bugs altogether at press time.

Unfortunately, that means that the Mozilla 1.0 branch will have more than 12,000 targeted bugs remaining open in the Mozilla 1.0-RC1 branch.

The good news of course is that finally after such an overly-long, four-year, development incubation, 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. Please see our article, Mozilla Milestone 0.9.9 Branched Behind Schedule for the details about those concerns.

At the time Mozilla 0.9.9 was branched (1 March 2002) there were 12,137 targeted new, assigned, and reopened Mozilla bugs and 21,199 new, assigned, and reopened bugs (open/unfixed bugs) altogether. Earlier today, there were 12,175 targeted new, assigned, and reopened Mozilla bugs and 22,430 new, assigned, and reopened bugs altogether.

It is so sad that there are more bugs in Mozilla now as it moves to its 1.0-RC1 milestone branch then there were when Mozilla 0.9.9 was branched. In well-managed software development projects, the number of open, unfixed bugs goes down as the product moves into the release-candidates stage, not up.

To the Mozilla Project manager's credit, they have interposed a release candidates program in between Mozilla 0.9.9 and Mozilla 1.0 in order to try to gain some control over the Mozilla runaway bugs problems. The official Mozilla Development Roadmap schedule sets Mozilla 1.0 to follow directly Mozilla 0.9.9. Please see Figure 1, which is a screen shot from the current (updated 26 March 2002) Mozilla Development Roadmap.


Figure 1. Current published Mozilla milestone release schedule. (Screen shot from the Mozilla Organization's 26 March 02 Mozilla Development Roadmap.)


Figure 2.

Webmaster's Note: After we published this article, the Mozilla Organization quickly changed the Mozilla Roadmap schedule and diagram to reflect Mozilla 1.0-RC1. Figure 2 is the post Mozilla 1.0-RC1 Mozilla milestone branching schedule. Please note in his haste to make the roadmap reflect Mozilla 1.0-RC1, the Mozilla manager who made the changes merely changed the Mozilla 1.0 entry to Mozilla 1.0-RC1, thus omitting Mozilla 1.0 from the milestone release schedule. The Mozilla Organization's Roadmap Tree Diagram also was updated after we published this article by inserting Mozilla 1.0-RC1 on the Mozilla 1.0 branch.

(Screen shot from the Mozilla Organization's 9 April 02 Mozilla Development Roadmap.)


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.

Nevertheless, the Mozilla folks have fixed lots of bugs. However, bugs are cropping up faster than bugs are being fixed. Therein lies the rub.

Moreover, the Mozilla folks have added many new features and improvements. However, in doing that they added a tremendous number of bugs to Mozilla. Therein lies the rub. Additionally, Mozilla lacks some important features such as a spell checker.

Unfortunately, the Mozilla project's quality assurance practices do not seem to be blocking buggy code from being added to Mozilla. However, since the Mozilla 0.9.9 release, code checkin practices have been tightened down some. That seems to be reducing the Mozilla runaway bugs problem some.

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).

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. Mozilla 0.9.9 should be good for such a try.

If you would like to take a preview look at Mozilla 1.0-RC1 you can try a recent nightly build now or a Mozilla 1.0-RC1 branch-build when they become available.

Incidentally, please check the MozillaQuest Magazine front-page (mozillaquest.com) sidebar every now and then for bug-count updates and for upcoming Mozilla 1.0-RC1 progress updates. MozillaQuest Magazine will have the Mozilla 1.0-RC1 branch build download links as soon as Mozilla 1.0-RC1 is fully branched. Please check the MozillaQuest Magazine front page regularly for Mozilla 1.0-RC1 final release news too.


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


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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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