Gecko 1.8, Mozilla Firefox 1.1 and Mozilla Thunderbird 1.1 Release Plans

This roadmap update takes into account the transition from using Seamonkey as our primary Gecko testbed to using Firefox and Thunderbird. Rather than shipping our Gecko 1.8 Beta 2 release as a Seamonkey milestone, we'll be shipping a Firefox and Thunderbird 1.1 testers-only preview (I'm calling that "alpha" for now). This preview for Firefox and Thunderbird will fill the release slot that was formerly occupied in the roadmap by "Mozilla [Seamonkey] 1.8 Beta 2".

For the purposes of bug tracking, the Core and Toolkit bugs targeted at this next release will use the target milestone "mozilla1.8beta2" and the blocking/approval flags containing "1.8b2". The Firefox and Thunderbird bugs will continue to use the target milestones Firefox1.1 and Thunderbird1.1 and the blocking/approval flags containing "aviary1.1"

We were scheduled to freeze for 1.8 Beta 2 on March 15th at midnight but that clearly didn't happen. There is more work, front-end and back-end (cleaning up regressions from new features, completing the heavy lifting of the Thunderbird localization re-organization, fixing key bugs, analyzing and fixing topcrashers, getting XULRunner further along, etc.) that needs to happen before we're in a position to ship the Firefox and Thunderbird 1.1 alphas.

We estimated about 10 days ago that we could get into shape for the Aviary alpha releases by extending the Mozilla 1.8 Beta 2 development period for 3 more weeks. That period of open development will come to an end on April 5 — less than a week and a half from now.

Once we freeze for the Firefox and Thunderbird 1.1 alpha releases (including the Core and Toolkit 1.8 beta 2 code) all changes landed thereafter will require drivers' approval and will be limited to the kind of changes necessary to get the 1.1 alphas shipped.

After we ship the 1.1 alphas, we still have work to be done before we're at feature complete (I'm calling that "beta" for now) for the apps, and standing up the XULRunner embedding story. The tree will stay closed after the alphas, through the betas of Firefox and Thunderbird 1.1 (and possibly a preview of XULRunner) and beyond so that we'll have some time to digest as much feedback as possible before branching.

During the beta tree closure, we'll be focused on responding to the feedback from the 1.1 alphas and fixing both core Gecko/Toolkit and XULRunner issues as well as Firefox and Thunderbird app issues. If all goes well during this period, we hope to be able to start ramping down and shoring up for the betas around May 10.

Being frozen on the trunk after beta, which is also the freeze for localizable strings, will give our L10N teams a chance to get their locales completed or nearly completed on the trunk before branching. This could save them considerable time and was an important factor in deciding to the extended trunk freeze.

Staying closed on the trunk for this long (from early April until we branch a couple months later) makes little sense if we can't all rally around the tasks that need doing for the 1.8 branch and releases (Firefox, Thunderbird, and XULRunner). We do realize that we've got a lot of big work ahead for the 1.9 cycle and not everyone working on Mozilla is working on code directly related to the 1.8 releases so drivers solicited feedback from our active developer community about this proposal. The feedback was very support of this plan and we hope that trying something a bit new here will save us some of the pains we experienced with the last branch.

I'll be updating the Mozilla Roadmap document with dates and a branching and release graphic in the next few days.

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