Mozilla 1.3a Browser-Suite Released
Mike Angelo -- 13 December 2002 (c)
[Webmaster's Note: Story and Links update in progress now!]
Mozilla 1.0 Coverage
About the Mozilla Organization Verbiage
On 16 October 2001, the Mozilla Organization's CTO, Brendan Eich, promulgated his Mozilla 1.0 Manifesto as an adjunct to the October 2001 Mozilla Roadmap revisions. In that Manifesto, Eich decreed that (a) Mozilla 1.0 and its 1.0.x progeny would have at least a one-year life-span, (b) that the Mozilla 1.0 release would be of high quality, (c) that Mozilla Organization's reputation was at stake, and (d) that Mozilla 1.0 was to be finished and released within six months, to-wit, April 2002. The16 October 2001 Roadmap Schedule set the Mozilla 1.0 release for 5 April 2002. That did not happen.
The Mozilla Organization has failed to successfully implement Eich's Manifesto on all four counts:
(a) With the release of Mozilla 1.1, the Mozilla Organization has effectively killed the Mozilla 1.0.x branch in a little more than two months after its release rather than keeping it viable for the minimum one year called for in Eich's Manifesto.
(b) Mozilla 1.0 is froth with performance problems, bugs, annoyances, and all sorts of issues. We have documented that throughout our comprehensive Mozilla 1.0 coverage. The infamous Oingo.com bugs alone are enough to take Mozilla 1.0 out of the high quality category. Lack of a spell checker for the E-mail, News, and Composer modules is enough to take Mozilla 1.0 out of the high quality category. And so forth!
(c) As stated in (b), immediately above, Mozilla 1.0 was far below a high quality release. Although Mozilla 1.0 has lots of nice features and is a usable product, it also sucks in many ways too. To the extent that the Mozilla Organization's reputation depended on Mozilla 1.0, the Mozilla Organization has earned itself a lousy reputation -- primarily among those who do not base their evaluations of products and producers on emotion, fanaticism, unsubstantiated or misleading claims by a product's evangelists, or just merely hatred of Microsoft, and so forth.
Face it, if Mozilla had a good reputation and were a high quality product, it would have more than less than 1% of the browser market.
(d) Mozilla 1.0 was released on 5 June 2002, two months past Eich's six-month deadline which expired in April 2002.
Overall, Eich's Manifesto is a fair plan, horribly executed.
Mozilla 1.0" would be: . . . * The first major-revision-number milestone release (mozilla1.0) of the Mozilla browser application suite and platform from mozilla.org. A release of higher quality than any delivered so far, on whose quality our reputation is at stake precisely because 1.0 is such a coveted and feared version number. . . . * A stable, long-lived branch . . . (a year minimum, at a guess) . . .
The majority of staff and drivers surveyed believes that the "1.0" brand should be used sooner rather than later to identify our stable, long-lived branch with API commitments. We believe "sooner" means within the next six months, based on feedback from various vendors, book authors, and others in need of such a branch."
mozilla 1.0 manifesto, Brendan Eich, The Mozilla Organization (February 8, 2002 revision).
AOL-Netscape's Mozilla Organization placed its first pre-Mozilla-1.3 release, Mozilla 1.3 -alpha (1.3a) on its public FTP server today. In effect, Mozilla 1.3 will be a replacement for Mozilla 1.2.1.
The Mozilla Organization placed the Mozilla 1.2.1 update milestone release to its Mozilla 1.0 browser suite on its public FTP server on 2 December 2002 -- just seven days after releasing Mozilla 1.2. In effect, Mozilla 1.2.1 was a replacement for Mozilla 1.2, which was recalled only two days after its release.
AOL-Netscape's Mozilla Organization placed Mozilla 1.1, the first .x upgrade to its Mozilla 1.0 browser-suite on its public FTP server on 26 August 2002. Mozilla 1.0 was released 5 June 2002.
The Mozilla Organization pulled the links to its 26 November 2002 Mozilla 1.2 release from its Main and Release Web pages on 29 November -- because Mozilla 1.2 was too darn buggy! With the Mozilla 1.2 release, Mozilla quality assurance sank to a new low as the cumbersome Lizard slinked off with its tail drooped down between its legs. Please see Figure 1, below, for the increase in Mozilla bugginess from the Mozilla 1.1 release to the Mozilla 1.2 release.
For the details and more information about the problems and bugs that forced the Mozilla Organization to recall Mozilla 1.2, please see our article, Buggy Mozilla 1.2 Recalled.
Mozilla 1.3a sports some improvements and new features since Mozilla 1.2.1, Mozilla 1.1 and Mozilla 1.0. However, overall Mozilla has more bugs now than ever and the Mozilla Organization still is playing footsie with security and privacy issues. Please see Table 1, below.
The Mozilla 1.3a release is a week late The Mozilla Roadmap called for Mozilla 1.3a to have been released on 6 December 2002. However, unfixed bugs prevented Mozilla 1.3a's timely release.
Mozilla 1.1 Killed Mozilla 1.0, Etc.
The releases of Mozilla 1.2/1.2.1 and Mozilla 1/3a put more nails in the coffin of the Mozilla 1.0 browser-suite and its ensuing 1.0.x editions. Earlier the release of Mozilla 1.1 in effect killed Mozilla 1.0.x, if the release of Mozilla 1.1-beta had not done so already.
In effect, the release of Mozilla 1.1 killed Mozilla 1.0 and its 1.0.x maintenance upgrade progeny as viable product. To whatever extent Mozilla 1.0 and Mozill1 1.0.x still might have had any viabiltiy left, the releases of Mozilla 1.2/1.2.1 and Mozilla 1.3a kill it even deader.
We suspect effectively killing Mozilla 1.0 as soon as it could be killed has been the intent of the Mozilla Organization all along -- despite Mozilla Organization verbiage that Mozilla 1.0.x is supposed to be a long-lived branch. However, that is another story for another day. Meanwhile, please see the sidebar About the Mozilla Organization Verbiage to your right.
On the other hand, AOL-Time-Warner continues to base its Netscape 7 releases on Mozilla 1.0.x code. The recently released Netscape 7.01 is based on pre-Mozilla-1.0.2 code.
Now that Mozilla 1.1, 1.2.1, and 1.3a have been released, there is not much use to using what now likely amounts to a quality-wise, technology-wise, and usability-wise outmoded Mozilla 1.0 or 1.0.1 builds. Mozilla Organization people claimed that Mozilla 1.1-beta was more stable and better than Mozilla 1.0.1. Moreover, Mozilla 1.1 was released before Mozilla 1.0.1 ever saw the light of day.
Interestingly, AOL based its Netscape 7.0 product on the Mozilla 1.0.x branch rather than on a trunk milestone such as Mozilla 1.1.
Mozilla 1.2a was released with nearly 1,300 bugs still targeted just to it. And that's just a smattering compared to the 27,435 open new, assigned, and reopened bugs listed in Bugzilla, the Mozilla bug-tracking database at the time Mozilla1.2a was released -- plus 4,584 unconfirmed bugs.
On the day Mozilla 1.2.1 was released there were more than 29,000 open new, assigned, and reopened bugs listed in Bugzilla plus more than 5,300 unconfirmed (not yet triaged) bugs listed in Mozilla's Bugzilla. Interestingly, nearly 3,000 of those 29,000 bugs were targeted to have been fixed before release of Mozilla 1.2. Even more interesting is that only 28 of those then yet unfixed 3000 bugs were targeted for Mozilla 1.2. All the rest of those nearly 3,000 bugs were supposed to have been fixed before release of pre-Mozilla-1.2 milestones -- and they should have been fixed long before release of Mozilla 1.2.
Earlier today there were more than 29,500 open new, assigned, and reopened bugs listed in Bugzilla plus nearly 5,500 unconfirmed (not yet triaged) bugs listed in Mozilla's Bugzilla. Interestingly, more than 3,200 of those 29,500 bugs were targeted to have been fixed before release of Mozilla 1.3a. Even more interesting is that only 334 of those yet unfixed 3200 bugs are targeted for Mozilla 1.3a. All the rest of those more than 3,200 bugs are supposed to have been fixed before release of Mozilla-1.3a.
The problem, is that the Mozilla project mangers are unable or unwilling to bring Mozilla development builds within quality control parameters within project release-time schedules. And that happens in part because the Mozilla code-base has become too darn clumsy and too darn buggy.
The points here are simple ones. The Mozilla developers are not getting bugs fixed on schedule. Bug counts are incresing. New code, such as new features and improvements, is being written to an increasingly buggy code base -- thus compounding the bug problems. Mozilla is a poorly managed project! Please see Table 1, below.
Crash Bugs Up in Mozilla 1.3a
At the time Mozilla 1.0-RC1 was released there were 533 "crash" bugs listed in Mozilla's Bugzilla bug-tracking database and there were 561 "crash" bugs listed when Mozilla 1.0-RC2 was released. The "crash" bugs count was up to 618 open crash bugs by the time Mozilla 1.1a was released and the "crash" bugs count was 620 open crash bugs when Mozilla 1.1b was released. On Mozilla 1.1 release day, the "crash" bugs count was 663 open crash bugs. By the time Mozilla 1.2.1 rolled around, the "crash" bugs count was up to 718 open crash bugs.
Earlier today, the "crash" bugs count was up to 727 open crash bugs.
Mozilla Not for End Users
Apparently, 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 Mozilla Community to get-real and make Mozilla 1.0, et sequitur, 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, #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 Mozilla 1.0 comprehensive coverage articles:
- Mozilla 1.0 is Officially Out!,
- Mozilla 1.0 Browser Quick Look,
- Mozilla 1.0 Browser-Suite's E-Mail & News 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, and
- Turmoil in MozillaLand: Current Status of Mozilla 1.0, 1.0.1, and 1.1-Alpha
What's New in Mozilla 1.3a
[Note: updating now]
Here is what is new in Mozilla 1.3a according to the Mozilla 1.3a Release Notes:
What's New in Mozilla 1.3a
- Mozilla 1.3a contains many great new Mail and Newsgroup features and fixes.
- Mozilla Mail now has basic junk-mail classification capabilities. This means you can train your client to distinguish between good mail and junk-mail. For this first release the junk-mail controls can mark a message as junk but automatic deleting has not been enabled. To learn more about this new feature check out the Mozilla Spam Filters info page.
- This release also contains some great new filtering tools. We now have new multiple actions for filters so you can do things like moving and labeling at the same time and newsgroup filters have also been implemented.
- Message Views is a new Mozilla Mail feature which will help users locate, organize and prioritize their mail messages. A View is used to filter and display only those messages matching a given set of criteria. Mozilla ships with a set of pre-defined Views, but users can also create their own.
- We have improved interoperability with certain imap servers (especially iMail) and ACL problems on Cyrus servers have been fixed.
- The Mail team also fixed the problem with biff not working on accounts you haven't logged onto and Message Search on the body of local messages doesn't lock up the UI anymore
- Bookmarks now has a convenient quicksearch functionality similar to Mozilla's Mail&News (and Mozilla's Phoenix browser). This search field allows the user to quickly filter his bookmarks by typing the a few characters into the search field. There is an input box at the top of the list of bookmars, and search terms entered filter based on bookmark title.
- Intellimouse Explorer Backwards and Forwards button support has been implemented for Mozilla on MS Windows.
- Users of Mozilla's DOM Inspector can now toggle the display of empty #text nodes.
- We're transitioning the Mac Classic (OS 8.x and 9.x) build to Mozilla Port status. This means that mozilla.org won't be making official Classic builds beginning with 1.3alpha. For 1.3alpha (but probably not later releases) users of OS 9 with carbonlib can use the OS X (CFM) build. To use the CFM OSX builds on OS 9 follow these steps: Download and unstuff the binary. Open the disk image. Drag the Mozilla folder to your desktop. Open the folder and double-click on the Mozilla.app file.
New Additions to the Release Notes
These are items that have been added to the release notes since the last milestone although the bugs themselves may have existed previously.
- Performance of forwarding inline messages in Mozilla Mail has regressed. It's already fixed in 1.3beta trunk builds so please don't report bugs on this. (bug 184550)
- On Mac OS X users can get into a state where the browser content area is filled with gray. This usually happens when the last focused element was an outliner widget (like the history window or the mailnews threadpane). (bug 181293)
- There are some circumstances which may prevent the build from starting completely with a particular user profile.
- If you have been using themes other than "Classic" or "Modern", this may be due to a bad entry in the chrome/chrome.rdf file in your user rofile. Try looking in <profileDirectory>/chrome/chrome.rdf for a set of lines that look like:
- <RDF:Description about="urn:mozilla:package:chatzilla">
- <c:selectedSkin resource="urn:mozilla:skin:modern/1.0:chatzilla"/>
- If you are hanging and the 'selectedSkin' says something other than '...skin:modern/1.0:...' then edit that file when mozilla is not running and change it to 'modern/1.0'.
- It may be due to "corruption" of the fastload file. You can try to delete this file when mozilla is not running. Look in your user profile for a file called "XUL.mfl" on win32, "XUL.mfasl" on unix, or "XUL Fastload File" on Mac systems. [See earlier in this release note how to determine the location of your user directory on your system type].
- Searching Ebay may cause crashes or hangs for OS/2 users (and some MS Windows users?). (bug 184931)
The download information and links are in the Resources section at the end of this article.
Lots of Bugs for Mozilla 1.1 and 1.2/1.2.1 -- More for 1.3a
On Mozilla 1.1 release day, the targeted, new, assigned, and reopened Mozilla bugs count was 12,301. New, assigned, and reopened bugs (open/unfixed bugs) altogether bug count was up to 26,856 bugs. In addition there were 4,161 untriaged (unconfirmed) bugs listed in Bugzilla then.
We addressed some concerns about Mozilla'a runaway bugs problems 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.
On May 10, when Mozilla 1.0-RC2 was released, there were 12,417 targeted, new, assigned, and reopened Mozilla bugs and 23,569 new, assigned, and reopened bugs (open/unfixed bugs) altogether. Mozilla 1.0-RC2 had more bugs than did Mozilla 0.9.9.
On Mozilla 1.1a release day, there were 1158 bugs targeted to Mozilla 1.1a, 12,638 targeted, new, assigned, and reopened Mozilla bugs, and 24,850 new, assigned, and reopened bugs (open/unfixed bugs) altogether. Mozilla 1.1-alpha had more bugs than did Mozilla 0.9.9.
By the time Mozilla 1.1-beta was released, the targeted, new, assigned, and reopened Mozilla bugs count was down to 12,462. However, new, assigned, and reopened bugs (open/unfixed bugs) altogether bug count was up to 25,939 bugs.
By Mozilla 1.2 release day, the targeted, new, assigned, and reopened Mozilla bugs count was up to 12,512. The new, assigned, and reopened bugs (open/unfixed bugs) altogether bug count was up to 29,263 bugs. In addition there were 5,188 untriaged (unconfirmed) bugs listed in Bugzilla on Mozilla 1.2 release day.
Table 1. Increase of Mozilla Bugs. From Mozilla 1.1 to Mozilla 1.2
(Please see the Bugs Note sidebar below for explanations.)
||New, Assigned, and Reopened Bugs
||Untriaged (Un-confirmed) Bugs
Earlier today there were 29,548 open new, assigned, and reopened bugs listed in Bugzilla plus 5,493 unconfirmed (not yet triaged) bugs listed in Mozilla's Bugzilla. The targeted, new, assigned, and reopened Mozilla bugs count was up to 12,487. Please see Figure 2.
Table 2. Increase of Mozilla Bugs From Mozilla 1.2 to Mozilla 1.3a.
(Please see the Bugs Note sidebar below for explanations.)
||New, Assigned, and Reopened Bugs
||Untriaged (Un-confirmed) Bugs
Please see our Mozilla 0.9.9 release article for more information about, and a breakdown of, the targeted new, assigned, and reopened Mozilla bugs complex. For more information about how Mozilla bugs impact on the user experience please see our articles A Quick Look at Some Mozilla 1.0 Browser-Suite Annoyances, Bugs, And Issues, Mozilla 1.0 Browser Quick Look, and Mozilla 1.0 Browser-Suite's E-Mail & News Quick Look .
Mozilla has bugs problems. The Mozilla developers have continually failed 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.
However, since the Mozilla 0.9.9 release, code-checkin practices have been tightened down somewhat. That seems to be providing some reduction in the Mozilla runaway bugs problem.
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 are 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.
|Bugs 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.
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.
Incidentally, a Bugzilla query today for open bugs with the keyword crash turned up more than 700 hits. A similar query made today using the keyword dataloss turned up more than 170 bugs. That's not a very pretty picture either.
All this bug stuff can be confusing. The most important point is that Mozilla 1.3a includes not merely the bugs targeted to Mozilla 1.3a. Rather, Mozilla 1.3a includes some 27,000 un-fixed new, assigned, and reopened Mozilla bugs. The Mozilla 1.2-targeted bugs is merely a subset of the more than 29,000 un-fixed new, assigned, and reopened Mozilla bugs.
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 post-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 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 articles, Moz 1.0 April Release Confirmed & Post-1.0 Development Plan Announced and New Mozilla Roadmap Sets 1.1 for 9 August 2002 and Effectively Kills Mozilla 1.0.x
Downloading & Installation Info
1.3a Download Links
|Note: the Mozilla Organization used to include a simple, non-talkback, Milestone download build for the Microsoft Windows platform such as mozilla-win32-1.2.zip plus a talkback build. The Mozilla 1.2 Alpha release notes also call for such a mozilla-win32-1.2.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 1.2 Release Notes , the Mozilla Organization, 26 November 2002.)
Unfortunately, the Mozilla Organization has decided not to give you that choice for Mozilla Milestone 1.2. It has not included the non-talkback mozilla-win32-1.2.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-win32-1.2.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 1.2 Mozilla Milestone build (mozilla-win32-1.2-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-win32-1.2-installer.exe so that you can adjust your security and privacy preferences before taking Mozilla 1.2 online for the first time.(Please see our article How To Download, Install, & Configure Netscape 6 -- Safely! for more about that.)
Here are the FTP download links for Mozilla 1.3a for you readers that cannot wait to try Mozilla 1.3a
Please see the important note in the sidebar to the right here before installing.
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