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Feature Status Update

by JAMES RUSSELL | The status updates always seem to revolve around particular teams, and it's hard to get an overview of where particular features are. This report is an attempt to redress that balance, with summaries of (hopefully) all the major changes going on at the moment. For the most part, the headings below are linked to a relevant bug in Bugzilla.

Note! If you have a feature update, or a feature you think is missing, e-mail James (only features included in the Mozilla tree itself will be considered for mention). James has agreed to post new feature status updates for every point release of Mozilla (so the next ones will be for 0.9, 0.9.1 if there is one, and so on), which should work out to every five weeks or so, given the new Mozilla roadmap.

imglib2 (a.k.a. libpr0n)

Description: This is a rewrite of Mozilla's image library. The old one had several architectural problems that made it easier to throw the whole thing away and start over. Among many other improvements, with imglib2 Mozilla only decodes images once, and performs animated GIFs far more efficiently than it used to. The overall benefit here is a page load improvement of about 30-40 percent. Status: Landed in the trunk fro 0.9, but not included in 0.8.1.

View Source

Description: This is Doron Rosenberg's rewrite of the View Source window, which will allow viewing a page's source without having to reload the entire page from the server. It will also mean the window will have menus, etc. Status: This checkin depends on the new cache manager.


Description: Robert Ginda has updated his Mozilla-based IRC client, ChatZilla, ratcheting up to a 0.8.1 release.  ircmonkey says: "Channel tabs work on mac (Linux, too, i think), you can choose styles (for example, choose a light background instead of a dark one), channels are links (i.e., clicking #mozilla takes you to #mozilla), etc." Status: Landed in time for Mozilla 0.8.1.

Notes: Robert Ginda notes that ChatZilla 0.8 has issues with tabs (in Linux at least), and that upgrading to ChatZilla 0.8.1a (if you're using 0.8.1) or 0.8.1b (if you're using the nightlies) will work around the problem. See Robert's ChatZilla page to download the upgrades.


Description: Mozilla's bi-directional text code is being contributed by IBM. Status: Check out the BiDi status update page for a list of files being checked in, as well as a list of bugs. BiDi is slowly being checked in (see here and here) under the --enable-bidi compile-time flag. The holdup is that it is awaiting a lot of reviewing, because BiDi is a large set of complex changes to many areas of Mozilla.

View Manager 3

Description: This project involves a rewrite of the current View Manager (the third such rewrite) by Robert O'Callaghan, and should get z-ordering working in many cases where it's currently not, as well as enable transparency and translucency. Status: Landed in the trunk for 0.9, and is now turned on by default. View Manager is not included in 0.8.1.

Cache rewrite

Description: The cache subsystem is being rewritten for performance reasons (the existing cache has a large performance hit for cache misses) and reliability (the current one breaks after 500 entries.) Status: Landed in the main trunk for 0.9, but not included in 0.8.1.

Prior update from MozillaZine: "There is a problem with the old cache that conflicts with the new cache.  Before you run a build with the new cache, you should manually delete the contents of your cache directories.  If you go back to an old build, you should perform the same duty again.  For more information and to track the status of this see the bug."

Mail/News performance

Description: The Mail/News team have done a lot of nice performance work on their own branch. Says stephend from the Mail/News team: "Four programmers *really* worked on this: Dave Hyatt, David Bienvenu, Scott MacGregor, and Seth Spitzer. Along the way they fixed bugs along the way that were plaguing the trunk builds." Status: Landed in the main trunk for 0.9, but not included in 0.8.1.

Notes: From Asa Dotzler's build comments: "This landing resulted in fixes for a lot of bugs (too many to list here; query Bugzilla if you want details).  Also, if you're having problems with your bookmarks in the sidebar, try removing them (not unchecking them, actually removing them in the Tabs->Customize My Sidebar window), restarting, and then adding them back."


Description: is like an XUL tree widget, but better. This is part of the Mail/News perf improvements. Status: Landed in the main trunk for 0.9, but not included in 0.8.1. Still having issues handling images.


Description: Bradley Baetz has contributed gopher protocol support. It's the same level of support as Netscape 4.x,minus support for searches. Status: Landed in the main trunk for 0.9, but not included in 0.8.1.


Description: This is the W3C's markup language for mathematical content, and it has been maturing for a while now. MathML has already been turned on on the tinderbox builds. Status: MathML really requires appropriate fonts to be included with Mozilla to be useful (and to have any chance of being turned on in nightlies and releases). A company called Design Science owns some suitable fonts that they're willing to contribute. Negotiations are in progress, with a few loose ends to tie up.

Network performance

Network performance (FTP and SSL through proxy) are greatly improved. This is dougt's major checkin -- including 10,000 lines of code, 250 files and a month of work. Nice one, dougt.

LDAP Autocomplete

Description: LDAP support is one of Mozilla's most requested features. The first user-level feature to show its head should be autocomplete support for Mozilla's Address Book, so that you can query an LDAP server for matches to what you type in a Mail Compose window, for example. This is Dan Mosedale's project, with leif and srilatha@netscape, Blake Ross, and people from Sun in Ireland. Status: The LDAP C SDK been turned on by default in the trunk, but nothing "user-visible" has been implemented yet. The intent is to have full implementation for autocomplete of e-mail addresses from an LDAP server by 0.9.

New string classes

Description: SCC is working on rewriting the classes we use for strings, to improve their speed. Status: Slowly happening.


Description: Bugzilla is close to landing a stable 2.12 release. Major features will include:

  • Auto-generation of the most-frequent-bugs list
  • Fix bug charts, and add some very cool new features
  • Much better duplicate tracking support
  • More extensive email filtering
  • A bazillion tiny features and bug fixes

Status: Dawn Endico says 2.12 is close. 2.14 (perhaps not too far off) will be a security release, and 2.16 is the (currently undefined) target for new features. Bugzilla 3.0 is in the planning stages; it will be a complete rewrite (which is being done by Ian "Hixie" Hickson).


As a side note, Mozilla now has green tinderboxes for (i.e. it builds on) the following platforms:

Windows, MacOS, Linux, SunOS Sparc 5.6, MacOS Carbon, OS/2, BeOS 5.0, SunOS i386 5.6, IRIX 6.5, HP-UX 10, HP-UX 11, AIX 4.3, Linux/PPC 2.2.15, BSD/OS 4.2, SunOS Sparc 4.7.


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