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.
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.