MozillaZine

Netscape's Tentative Feature Complete Plans

Thursday March 16th, 2000

Jim Roskind has chimed in with the unofficial word on Netscape's plans for their browser in the months to come. Netscape is hoping to hit a May 2 "Feature Complete" date. The main issue is whether or not Netscape will be forced to "branch" - continue development of their product separately from the main Mozilla development. If that were to happen, it's safe to assume that along with that branch would come a redirecting of Netscape's great QA team to the commercial branch (which means that Mozilla could lose a lot of QA in the meantime). I tend to agree with Jim on this point. I would prefer that Netscape not branch until Mozilla is a bit more stable. Some work, however, still needs to be done to ensure Mozilla's identity apart from Netscape's commercial product (Mozilla can't continue on with Netscape's UI indefinitely). Hopefully something will be worked out where Netscape can continue on without branching for as long as possible, but Mozilla can continue to get improvements that will help it stand on its own. Check out Jim's post, and then tell us what you think.


#1 Get Communicator OUT THE DOOR.

by Kovu <Kovu401@netscape.net>

Thursday March 16th, 2000 3:45 PM

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It's going to have to branch sometime, but I understand that once the branch happens, Mozilla will never again see the Netscape-level QA that it's seeing now -- Netscape developers will likely forever be working on QA for the Netscape product thereafter, even if they do obviously use Mozilla code, I don't think they'll be QAing it to the point they are now.

But hasn't it already branched? If not, why the different M15 and M15nb1b builds?

Also, is this 5/2 date a beta1 date, which would mean that the hope to have beta1 by the end of March is now dashed? Somewhere in there I thought there was a beta preview, as well.

Also, Chris mentions that "Mozilla can't keep Netscape's UI forever," but who says the current UI is in fact Netscape's new UI? It looks like Netcenter, granted, but when AOL previewed Netscape 6.0 the guy who wrote the review said that the UI looked like the 4.x UI "with a few notable differences." The current UI looks nothing like 4.x, and I don't know that Netscape would be smart to put out a default that drastically different. The UI now is okay, but it's only like three-color, and that's pretty dull to look at, especially the floating taskbar, which looks just horrible in two color. I'm just not sure that Netscape doesn't have new, shiny UI waiting in the wings somewhere behind closed doors, which would explain the complete lack of caring for the current Mozilla UI.

In the end, I'd go for branching ASAP. Mozilla might miss the QA from Netscape, but Mozilla's going to be irrelevant if Netscape doesn't get out there and start landing some punches on behalf of Mozilla. We need Netscape back in this market YESTERDAY. Not to mention all of the AOL products that are awaiting it, Netscape Online (perhaps), AOL TV (definitely), AOL-based devices from Gateway and others, etc.

#6 Re: Get Communicator OUT THE DOOR.

by sab39

Friday March 17th, 2000 7:45 AM

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<< But hasn't it already branched? If not, why the different M15 and M15nb1b builds? >>

As mozAdmin said in another thread, this is a branch for beta1 only and isn't permanent - the "branch" discussed in this post would be more-or-less permanent.

<< Also, is this 5/2 date a beta1 date, which would mean that the hope to have beta1 by the end of March is now dashed? Somewhere in there I thought there was a beta preview, as well. >>

Actually, there was a followup on the original newsgroup in which jar clarified that this was talking about beta2 and beyond. Beta1 is still scheduled for about the time of moz.party 3.0, as far as I can tell (see <http://www.mozilla.org/pr…ones/progress-2-beta.html> for a timeline, which unfortunately seems to be a couple days outdated but it looks like they're on or ahead of schedule for all of it).

As far as a permanent branch, I'd like to see this never happen - I'd rather see a series of short-term branches like the beta1 branch.

I agree that getting communicator out of the door as soon as possible is a high priority... but I think early branching would actually slow things down rather than speeding them up.

Stuart.

#12 Re: Get Communicator OUT THE DOOR.

by pbreit

Monday March 20th, 2000 5:48 PM

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i don't think mozilla looks dull enough! it seriously clashes with what it's supposed to just be displaying (i.e., a web site). it completely reinforces that it's stuck in the "application" paradigm rather than the "ubiquitous utility" paradigm. it just continues to "feel too heavy". i want a light, lean, standards-compliant, high performing, stable window into the web. not a bloated application.

#2 no, this piece is *not* about beta1

by mozineAdmin

Thursday March 16th, 2000 4:04 PM

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It is about a "feature complete" date, not beta1. Beta1 is still scheduled for end-of-March-first-half-of-April.

"but when AOL previewed Netscape 6.0 the guy who wrote the review said that the UI looked like the 4.x UI "with a few notable differences."

I didn't trust that at all. In fact, I think it was crap.

"In the end, I'd go for branching ASAP. Mozilla might miss the QA from Netscape, but Mozilla's going to be irrelevant if Netscape doesn't get out there and start landing some punches on behalf of Mozilla."

Jim's point was that if you branch now, it's gonna take even longer for Netscape to get a product out (because they will constantly be synching fixes between the main tree and the commercial branch).

#3 Re: no, this piece is *not* about beta1

by Kovu <Kovu401@netscape.net>

Thursday March 16th, 2000 5:04 PM

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"It is about a "feature complete" date, not beta1. Beta1 is still scheduled for end-of-March-first-half-of-April."

Well, this info was in a section called "beta schedule" which contained everything but, hence my question.

"but when AOL previewed Netscape 6.0 the guy who wrote the review said that the UI looked like the 4.x UI "with a few notable differences."

But why? Because CNET posted it? I can see if you don't believe the guy who wrote it, but unless you disbelieve AOL (I believe Barry Schuler previewed the software) which is fine, granted, it could be company gibberish, but in that case it's AOL's presentation you think is crap, not CNET (who didn't write the review) or the guy who was at the preview and posted what seemed a pretty standard review of a beta preview.

(NOTE: the reason I tend to believe his review was the AOL TV bit, I knew about those technologies when they were called Amiga under Gateway, and the features they listed fall right in line with AOL/Gateway's formerly-known-as Amiga technologies, which is why I took the reviewer at his word with Netscape 6.0.)

"In the end, I'd go for branching ASAP. Mozilla might miss the QA from Netscape, but Mozilla's going to be irrelevant if Netscape doesn't get out there and start landing some punches on behalf of Mozilla."

Well that makes a lot of sense. Sure, let's branch now so it will take longer to get a product out? If that's the case, what would the point be of branching early at all? And I repeat my question, why are there now two different builds, M15 and M15nb1b (which as you know means Netscape Beta 1 Branch) if they haven't branched already?

#4 Answer...

by mozineAdmin

Thursday March 16th, 2000 6:31 PM

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"why are there now two different builds, M15 and M15nb1b (which as you know means Netscape Beta 1 Branch) if they haven't branched already?"

They've branched for the beta, not permanently.

#5 Stable vs. development branches

by svn <svn@xmlterm.org>

Thursday March 16th, 2000 8:29 PM

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Perhaps one should think of the nscp branch as a "stable" one and the mozilla trunk as the permanent "development" branch (even/odd numbers in Linux parlance), even though I presume Mozilla too will have its own beta and releases. I don't think netscape will completely ignore the trunk, because they will need to mine it for the next release of Communicator (6.2 or 7.0 or 2001!) Anyway, I do second the thought that, for Mozilla's sake, somebody needs to ship a solid commercial product based on Mozilla AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, and Netscape is the obvious candidate.

Saravanan

#7 Branched, not forked

by asa <asa@mozilla.org>

Friday March 17th, 2000 8:05 AM

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Netscape has branched for beta. This is not a permanent fork. This is not even the commercial build. It is still available to testers which means that it doesn't have any of the Netscape proprietary stuff in it. There is a seperate commercial tree that is in sync with the Mozilla tree. It is this tree (some branch of it I imagine) that will have netscape proprietary stuff. I assume that as soon as beta1 is released that the branch will be merged back into the tip and soon after a beta2 branch will emerge. I'm just guessing about all of this but I doubt that beta signals the end of Netscape involvement in Mozilla.

Asa (you kniw it! posted with mozilla)

#8 Another article proclaiming Netscape a failure

by sacolcor

Friday March 17th, 2000 3:46 PM

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<http://www.washingtonpost…3/17/119l-031700-idx.html> goes on at length about how far behind schedule the new browser is, and how "the promise of technological innovation does not look fulfilled". The word 'Mozilla' never even appears in the article. Don't journalists even know how to research anymore?

#9 Re: Another article proclaiming Netscape a failure

by danielhill <danielhill@hotmail.com>

Saturday March 18th, 2000 2:43 AM

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Explain how this is badly researched.

You cannot deny Mozilla/Netscape6 is behind schedule.

Anyway, this article isn't even about Mozilla - it's about the AOL/Netscape merger.

Try reading things for a change.

#11 Re: Re: Another article proclaiming Netscape a fai

by sacolcor

Saturday March 18th, 2000 2:44 PM

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I read the article thoroughly before posting. If you want to know my reasoning, just ask, and leave off the groundless accusations.

I stated that the article was poorly researched because Mozilla is such a significant part of Netscape's future hopes that the failure to mention it in terms other than "It's the next version, and it's late" is a significant omission of fact. Mozilla is about to go Beta, and there's a two-year anniversary party announced on the mozilla.org home page. However, the author makes statements such as "There isn't much of a celebration planned" and "there doesn't seem to be much to make merry about". Granted, he's referring to the 1-year acquisition date, not the 2-year Mozilla date, but he shouldn't ignore the latter completely.

The author also contradicts himself. For example, how are we supposed to reconcile the following two statements?

"The latest version [of the browser] is two years overdue."

"The 5.0 versions of the Navigator and Communicator browsers were supposed to be released last summer, but they'll be lucky to make an appearance late this spring"

I'll grant that it /is/ late, however it is late because of an explicit gamble; The old browser was thrown out in the hopes of writing a new and better one from scratch. If the author wishes to base his conclusions about the merger on the project's lateness, he also owes his readers at least a mention of the potential benefits that could result from that delay.

Then there is the analyst statement: "the promise of technological innovation does not look fulfilled."

I don't think many people would dispute that Mozilla is a feat of technological innovation...it's entire development methodology is a cutting-edge experiment. One could argue that is is as-yet unfulfilled, because it hasn't been released yet, however the reader isn't given the information needed to even consider the question. Mozilla isn't even mentioned by name at all.

For the reader to be able to properly weigh the current state of Netscape (and thus, the result of the NS/AOL merger), the author should have taken better care to present facts from both sides. Instead, he appears to have included only the facts needed to support his (never quite explicitly stated) assertion that the merger was a failure.

I stand by my previous statement that the article was inadaquately researched.

#10 Re: Another article proclaiming Netscape a failure

by Martyr

Saturday March 18th, 2000 8:23 AM

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Nothing has reaffirmed my basic distrust in the American media more than their coverage of Mozilla. 'nuff said.