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January 15, 2003
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Mike Angelo -- 15 January 2003 (c)

Releated Mozilla 1.0 Coverage

Mozilla 1.0 Browser Quick Look

Mozilla 1.0 Not Ready for Prime Time -- Close but No Cigar and No Brass Ring!

A Quick Look at Some Mozilla 1.0 Browser-Suite Annoyances, Bugs, And Issues

Mozilla 1.0 Browser-Suite Performance -- Speed, Stability, and Memory Hogging

AOL-Netscape's Mozilla Organization placed the Mozilla 1.0.2 update to its Mozilla 1.0 browser suite on its public FTP server late night on 7 January 2003 PDT . Mozilla 1.0.2 is pretty much the same as Mozilla 1.0 and Mozilla 1.0.1. The final Mozilla 1.0 release was placed on the Mozilla Organization public FTP server seven months ago on 5 June 02.

The Mozilla 1.0.2 download information and links are at the end of this article on Page 2 .

The Mozilla 1.0.1 final release was not all that different from the Mozilla 1.0.1-RC2 release either. Interestingly, Mozilla 1.0.1-RC2 files are dated 23 August 2002. Mozilla 1.0.1 files are dated 26 August 2002 -- just three days later than the Mozilla 1.0.1-RC2 files -- and yes, you are correct, Mozilla 1.0.1 files are dated 26 August but were not released to the public until 10 September (PDT).

Why did the Mozilla Organization not release the 26 August 2002 Mozilla 1.0.1 files to the public until 10 September? Could that have been because Netscape did not want Mozilla 1.0.1 released at the same time Netscape 7.0 was being released? Well, what do you expect? AOL-Netscape really runs Mozilla!

Additionally, what the AOL-Netscape-Mozilla people are trying to keep you from figuring out is that the release of Mozilla 1.1 effectively killed Mozilla 1.0.1, Netscape 7.0, and perhaps Netscape 7.01. There was just no practical reason to download, install, and/or use Mozilla 1.0.1 or Netscape 7.0 once Mozilla 1.1 had been released -- other than perhaps the fact that the Netscape-ized version of Mozilla includes a spell checker for the e-mail, news, and HTML composer/editor -- Mozilla does not.

However, the AOL-Netscape people did add some features in Netscape 7.01 not found in Netscape 7.0 and Mozilla 1.0.x. Thus, Mozilla 1.1 et sequitur does not kill Netscape 7.01 nearly so dead as it killed Netscape 7.0.

If you are wondering why we still are talking about Mozilla 1.1 instead of Mozilla 1.2 or 1.3a, it is because simply put Mozilla 1.2 and 1.3a are crap! They are chock full of bugs. Mozilla 1.3a is slower than molasses unless you have a high speed computer with lots of RAM. This is particularly noticeable on Windows 9.x machines, which do not handle memory hogging and other such resource mismanagement problems as well as Linux, or even Windows 2000-based boxes.

Even so, Mozilla 1.1 brought down one of our Linux test machines recently. It is a 1-GHz Pentium 3 with 512-MB of hard RAM and 512-MB of Linux Swap space on the hard drive, running Mandrake 9.0. Mozilla sucked-up some 84.8% of memory -- pulling the free Swap space down to 14-KB, which resulted in the box locking.

The memory-related stats for mozilla.bin from the Linux TOP utility observed when this Linux lock-up occurred include a SIZE of 788-MB and an RSS of 413-MB. The Manual page for TOP describes SIZE as the size of the task's code plus data plus stack space and RSS as the total amount of physical memory used by the task. At the time of the lock up on the Mandrake 9.0 box there were 133 processes -- 106 sleeping and 27 running.

Of course allotting more Linux Swap space might prevent Mozilla from locking the box. However, there is no reason a well-designed and well-programmed Web browser should eat up 84% of memory on a box with 512-MB of hard RAM. In other words, Mozilla is a poorly-designed and poorly-programmed application.

Much as with the pretty yet sour lemon, the Mozilla 1.x branch (as opposed to 1.0.x branch) is loaded with new features (the pretty part) but also has lots of obnoxious bugs (the sour part). Mozilla 1.2 was so bad that it had to be recalled and replaced with Mozilla 1.2.1.

We have not put Mozilla 1.0.2 through its paces yet. However, we would not be surprised to find that even though Mozilla 1.0.2 has less features than Mozilla 1.2.1 and 1.3a, Mozilla 1.0.2 might be the better choice for actual use.

The horrible oingo.com History Tab bug seems to be fixed in Mozilla 1.0.1 and Mozilla 1.0.2. One of the most obvious and onerous Mozilla 1.0 Sidebar bugs was the oingo history-tab bug. When you selected the History sidebar tab, Mozilla, without you so requesting Mozilla to do so, downloaded and displayed an oingo.com Web page. This bug made opening the Mozilla Sidebar History tab a very annoying pain in the butt. (Please see Figure 1, below.)

There are few, if any, new features in Mozilla 1.0.1 and Mozilla 1.0.2. As with the Mozilla 1.0.1 milestone release, Mozilla 1.0.2 is pretty much a maintenance upgrade aimed at fixing highly visible bugs in Mozilla 1.0, particulalry bugs involving stability and polish issues.

Although new features, per se, are not on the Mozilla 1.0.x agenda, there are low-risk, minor, polish enhancements such as the New Tab button added to Mozilla 1.0.1. The general plan is to make only very low-risk bug-patches to the Mozilla 1.0, Mozilla 1.0.1, et sequiter branch of the Mozilla development tree.

However, some new features were added to the Mozilla browser suite in Mozilla 1.1, which was released on 26 August 2002, the following Mozilla 1.2.1 edition released on 2 December 2002, and Mozilla 1.3a released on 13 December 2002. New features, bug-fixes, architecture development, and so forth will be added to the main trunk of the Mozilla code-base. The milestones based on the main trunk will be designated as Mozilla 1.1 et sequiter. Please see our articles Mozilla Roadmap: Mozilla 1.0-RC2 Set for 10 May Release Mozilla 1.1a for 22 May 02 and Turmoil in MozillaLand: Current Status of Mozilla 1.0, 1.0.1, and 1.1-Alpha for more information about the post-Mozilla 1.0 roadmap and development plan.

Figure 1. oingo.com History Tab bug. When you selected the History sidebar tab in Mozilla 1.0, it downloaded and displayed this oingo.com Web page. This bug has been fixed in Mozilla 1.0.1.

At the time Mozilla 1.0-RC1 was released there were 533 crash bugs listed in Mozilla's Bugzilla bug-tracking database, 561 crash bugs listed when Mozilla 1.0-RC2 was released, and 585 crash bugs listed when Mozilla 1.0-RC3 was released. When Mozilla 1.0 was released, the crash bugs count was up to 585 open crash bugs. Additionally there were some 150 dataloss bugs listed in the Mozilla bug-tracking database, Bugzilla, on Mozilla 1.0 release day.

On the day Mozilla 1.0.1 was released, the crash bugs count was up to 693 open crash bugs. Additionally there were more than 160 dataloss bugs listed in the Mozilla bug-tracking database, Bugzilla, then. At that time, the 693 open crash bugs count was the highest open crash bug count since we started tracking crash bugs.

Today, the crash bugs count is up to 711 open crash bugs. There are 182 dataloss bugs listed in the Mozilla bug-tracking database, Bugzilla. However, it is more than six months since the Mozilla 1.0.x branch development was split-off from the Mozilla 1.X trunk development. So, some of those additional crash and dataloss bugs might not be in both the Mozilla 1.0.x and 1.X branches.

All-in-all, other than perhaps for its Tabbed Browsing feature, 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 -- for the MS Windows desktop.

Perhaps an even better choice for Microsoft Windows-based computers is NetCaptor or Crazy Browser. Both of these browsers use the Microsoft IE (Internet Explorer) engine and include tabbed-browsing plus pop-up blocking features.

On the other hand, the Mozilla Tabbed Browsing might just be enough to set it apart and above other Linux-based Web browsers. However, there are several popular Web browsers for the Linux desktop such as Konqueror, Nautilus, Netscape, and Opera with which Mozilla has to compete.

Of course, the Netsape 6 browser was based on now outdated Mozilla code (Mozilla 0.9.4.1 for Netscape 6.2). It did not have tabbed browsing. However, Netscape 7.0 was based on the Mozilla 1.0.1-RC2 code, which includes Tabbed Browsing. Linux-wise that will put Mozilla 1.x and Netscape 7.x on even footing in so far as tabbed browsing is concerned. Opera has something similar to tabbed browsing too and tabbed-browsing is in the works for Konqueror.

The Mozilla browser-suite is much lighter than the Netscape browser-suite. So, that should give Mozilla an edge over Netscape in the battle for the Linux desktop. Additionally, the Mozilla browser-suite is Open Source whereas the Netscape browser-suite is proprietary. On an emotional basis that also should give Mozilla an edge over Netscape in the battle for the Linux desktop.

Apparently, however, the Mozilla Organization does not desire to attract end-users to the Mozilla browser suite. Interestingly, the official position of AOL-Netscape's Mozilla Organization is that it does not want end-users to run the Mozilla browser suite.

Interestingly, since we raised the "end users" issue in previous articles, there appears to be a movement afoot by some people in the Moziila Community to get-real and make Mozilla 1.0.x an end-user product. That's a good move!

If you are an end-user that would like to discuss Mozilla or would like some Mozilla help, try the #ChatZilla, #Mozilla, and #Netscape channels on the EFNet IRC network.

These IRC channels are not affiliated with AOL or its Netscape and Mozilla divisions. It's mostly Mozilla and Netscape users helping other Mozilla and Netscape users. You also will find #Caldera, #KDE, #Linux, #Mandrake, #RedHat, #SuSE, and #Windows channels on EFNet too.

Incidentally, ChatZilla is an IRC client that comes with Mozilla. Give it a try. To launch ChatZilla just go to the Mozilla Menu Bar and click Window > IRC Chat.

For more information about Mozilla 1.0, please see our comprehensive Mozilla 1.0 coverage. The Mozilla 1.0.2 download information and links are at the end of this article on Page 2 .

What's New in Mozilla 1.0.2

According to the What's New In This Release section of the 7 January 2003 Mozilla 1.0.2 Release Notes, Mozilla 1.0.2 does not contain new features -- just stability and security fixes:

  • Mozilla 1.0.2 contains stability and security improvements. 1.0.2 also has fixes for standards support, UI correctness and polish, performance, and site compatibility. This is not a feature release. For new features, Mozilla 1.0 users are encouraged to upgrade to Mozilla 1.2. [sic]

Same for Mozilla 1.0.1. Here is what was new in Mozilla 1.0.1 according to the Mozilla 1.0.1 Release Notes:

  • Mozilla 1.0.1 contains over 650 bugfixes including approximately 25 security fixes, and over 130 stability and dataloss fixes. In addition to these important security and crash fixes, 1.0.1 has many more fixes for standards support, UI correctness and polish, performance, and site compatibility.

Other than bug and performance fixes plus some additional polish, there is nothing much new in Mozilla 1.0.1 or Mozilla 1.0.2. However, there is lots of new and better stuff in Mozilla 1.1.

Even though the What's New section in the Mozilla 1.0.2 Release Notes is rather brief, it also serves as another example of the very poor Mozilla workmanship and quality assurance. Please take note of the passage there: Mozilla 1.0 users are encouraged to upgrade to Mozilla 1.2. Mozilla 1.2 was recalled and replaced by Mozilla 1.2.1 long before the release of Mozilla 1.0.2. The Release Notes should be directing Mozilla users to Mozilla 1.2.1, not Mozilla 1.2 (please see Figure 2).

Figure 2. Mozilla 1.0.2 Release Notes -- What's New section.
Figure 3. Mozilla 1.0.2 Release Notes CVS Log.
Figure 4. Mozilla Releases page -- bottom.
Figure 5. Mozilla Releases page CVS Log -- latest entries.
Instantly, the drafter of the Mozilla 1.0.2 release notes is asking readers to use a recalled Mozilla edition, Mozilla 1.2, rather than the replacement edition, Mozilla 1.2.1. There is no excuse for such sloppy, careless, negligence. Incidentally, according to the CVS log for the 7 January 2003 Mozilla 1.0.2 Release Notes, the person checking the Release Notes into the Mozilla CVS was asa%mozilla.org, an AOL-Netscape-Mozilla manager (please see Figure 3).

There are lots of other errors in the Mozilla 1.0.2 Release Notes also. In the Installation Notes section the document drafter repeatedly refers to Mozilla 1.0.1 instead of Mozilla 1.0.2. For example, put a symlink to java2/plugin /i386/ns610/ libjava.oji.so in your mozilla1.0.1 plugins/ directory . . . Extract the .zip file to a directory such as C:/Program Files/Mozilla 1.0.1 . . . Create a directory named mozilla (mkdir mozilla1.0.1 ) and change to that directory (cd mozilla1.0.1 ). (Ibid. Emphases added.)

That's an easy, de minimus, error/oversight to make when updating a document. We have made similar errors when updating our Mozilla release articles from milestone to milestone. Also, it is a rather obvious error. So, the reader should be able to realize that Mozilla 1.0.2 rather than Mozilla 1.0.1 is what is meant to be written there. (Nevertheless, that sort of error is sloppy when we do it and it is sloppy when the Mozilla developers do it.)

On the other hand directing readers to download the recalled Mozilla 1.2 rather than Mozilla 1.2.1 is a very significant error. It is an error which the reader would not be expected to auto-correct mentally when reading the release notes.

Speaking of downloading, the Mozilla 1.0.2 Release Notes direct the reader to the Mozilla Releases page for Mozilla 1.0.2 download links stating: Consult our releases page to download. However, the 13 January 2002 Mozilla Releases page does not mention Mozilla 1.0.2 nor does it provide Mozilla 1.0.2 download links.

There is a link for downloading Mozilla 1.0.1 at the bottom of the 13 January 2002 Mozilla Releases page, which states in part: Mozilla 1.0.1 is our most recent stable release. Download it here. If you check the CVS log, you will notice NO entry to reflect the Mozilla 1.0.2 release. (Please see Figures 4 and 5.)

Interestingly, this Mozilla 1.0.1 download link on the Mozilla Releases page takes you to a Mozilla 1.0.2 page, not a Mozilla 1.0.1 page. Why would someone looking for the Mozilla 1.0.2 download files be expected to follow links for Mozilla 1.0.1? Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy.

Do you wonder why there are nearly 30,000 open (un-fixed) bugs listed in the Mozilla bug-tracking database (Bugzilla)? The answer in part might lie in the sloppy, careless, poor, workmanship of the AOL-Netscape-Mozilla developers reflected by the comedy of errors made in their Mozilla 1.0.2 Release Notes and related release documents. Hopefully they will get their Mozilla 1.0.2 release document errors corrected by the time you read this article.

The Mozilla 1.0.2 download information and links are on Page 2 at the end of this article.

  • See Lots of Bugs for Mozilla 1.0.2 on Page 2 ----->


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