MozillaZine Review of the Year 2002

by ALEX BISHOP | With the release of Mozilla 1.0, the start of the Phoenix and Chimera projects and the launch of Gecko-based browsers from AOL, 2002 has been an exciting year for the Mozilla project. Join us as we take a look back at the past twelve months.

The New Year brought a new browser for Mac OS X users, with the launch of the Chimera project. The browser utilises Cocoazilla to offer a Mozilla-based product with a native Cocoa front-end. Core developers include David Hyatt, who now likes Macs so much that he took a job with Apple.

February saw the release of 0.9.8, the first Mozilla milestone of the year, which introduced an OS-rendered Classic theme for Windows XP and Mac OS X, Address Book improvements and CSS support for Composer.

In Brussels, FOSDEM hosted the Mozilla Developers Meeting in Europe 2.0. Several talks and presentations were given, covering several different aspects of the Mozilla project. The event was so successful that another meeting is planned for FOSDEM 2003 in March.

As Spring approached, attention turned towards Mozilla 1.0. finalised the 1.0 development plan and the tree closed later in the month. The final pre-1.0 milestone, Mozilla 0.9.9, received so many downloads that the builds had to be mirrored on higher-capacity servers.

Also in March, AOL began beta-testing a version of the AOL 7.0 client that featured an embedded Gecko browser, Galeon 1.2.0 was released and another Mozilla Developer Day was held at Carnegie-Mellon University.

The release of Mozilla 1.0 became tantalizingly close when the 1.0 branch was cut and plans were devised for a series of release candidates. The first of these candidates was delivered later in April.

In a widely anticipated move, AOL subsidiary CompuServe released CompuServe 7.0, their first upgrade to use Gecko rather than Internet Explorer for Web browsing.

It wasn't all good news though: a well-publicised security flaw was discovered in Mozilla in April. The way the hole was reported led to an increased effort to highlight the existing security bug policy.

Meanwhile, the first files of a project known as mozilla/browser were checked into the tree.

The march to 1.0 continued with the launches of Release Candidate 2 and Release Candidate 3. However, wasn't the only organisation releasing previews; Netscape Communications Corporation unleashed a beta of their new Mozilla-based Netscape 7.0 browser to generally positive reviews.

June was dominated by the long-anticipated release of Mozilla 1.0. The culmination of four years of work, the milestone received several acres of press coverage. A party in San Francisco's DNA Lounge was held to celebrate, with several satellite parties taking place around the globe.

However, development didn't stop and Mozilla 1.1 Alpha was released just a few days later. The Mozilla-based Beonex Communicator 0.8 was also launched in June.

By the end of the month, some industry researchers were reporting that Mozilla 1.0 had already achieved a 0.4 percent market share.

Mozilla 1.1 Beta was released in July. The first milestone to include the new 'Almost Standards' mode, this release also featured significant improvements to the JavaScript Debugger and a new full-screen mode for Linux. Meanwhile, Chimera hit version 0.4 and a new stable version of Bugzilla was released.

There were releases galore in August: the final version of Mozilla 1.1 came out, adding a View Selection Source feature, separate icons for the different types of windows and an option to view HTML mail as plain text.

AOL were also in the mood for releases, launching both the shipping version of Netscape 7.0 and a new Gecko-based AOL client for Mac OS X.

September brought the release of both Mozilla 1.0.1 and Mozilla 1.2 Alpha. New versions of Mozilla Calendar, Chimera and the IBM Web Browser for OS/2 were also made available.

In other news, the mozilla/browser project, now relaunched as Phoenix, started producing nightly builds and the team released their first milestone shortly after.

mozdev, the hosting site for third-party Mozilla projects, celebrated its second anniversary in September. mozdev also began hosting the online edition of Creating Applications with Mozilla, a new book which was launched on September 24th.

The Phoenix team were busy in October, releasing versions 0.2, 0.3 and 0.4 in quick succession. Meanwhile, Mitchell Baker affirmed's commitment to the project.

Mozilla 1.2 Beta was also launched in October, bringing with it link prefetching and many filtering improvements. Meanwhile, the Windows K-Meleon browser had its first release for a year and the Galeon team unveiled Galeon 1.3.0. Almost a complete rewrite of the GTK browser, this development build was the first to be based on GNOME 2 and the Mozilla GTK 2 port.

Finally, October was also the month that Neil Deakin's 101 things that the Mozilla browser can do that IE cannot document started doing the rounds. It eventually ended up on both Slashdot and CNET

In November, it was announced that Phoenix would have to renamed. An appeal for a new name received an overwhelming response; so far, there have been over 1,200 posts to the official name suggestion thread.

There were several new releases in November, including Mozilla 1.2 and Chimera 0.6. Mail & Newsgroups also continued its journey to world domination, gaining sophisticated Bayesian junk mail classification capabilities.

Changes were afoot in the final month of the year, as the Classic Mac OS Mozilla builds began their transition to port status. Meanwhile, Phoenix users got a double Christmas present: not only was Phoenix 0.5 released, a new default theme was also checked in.

As proof that everybody makes mistakes, announced that there was a DHTML problem in the Mozilla 1.2 builds which were released at the end of November. The bug was quickly fixed and a revised Mozilla 1.2.1 was uploaded a few days later. Back on the trunk, the first alpha build of Mozilla 1.3 was released, featuring a raft of new Mail & Newsgroups enhancements.

Netscape broke new ground in December with the launch of Netscape 7.01, which included an integrated pop-up blocker. It wasn't all good news in Mountain View though: layoffs throughout AOL affected the browser producer but not as drastically as some press reports suggested.

End of year figures suggest that Mozilla-based browsers have a 1.7 percent market share and that Mozilla has now overtaken Opera as the third most popular browser. We hope and expect that Mozilla will build upon these successes in 2003, the project's fifth year. As always, MozillaZine will be there all the way to provide in-depth coverage of one of the planet's most exciting open source projects. We would like to wish all our readers a Happy New Year and hope to see a lot more of you in the coming twelve months.

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