Suck Claims Mozilla Dead

Monday July 31st, 2000

Suck has yet another anti-Mozilla rant from Greg Knauss, website maintainer and TV critic.

Greg has gone about cataloging all of the extraneous features that are unnecessary to a modern day, competitive browser. Mail. News. XML. XSLT. MathML. In response to XUL, he writes, "Why? Who cares? The mere fact that it sounds sort of neat justifies its existence, and gives it priority over shipping something usable to the ninety percent of the population that has no use for the feature."

Why? Let's see. Could it be because at its heart is the ability to write the application to work on platforms other than just Windows? The ability to customize the application so that people like you can easily have "just a browser"? The ability to be prepared for the future by creating an application that's extensible and robust? The necessity of having a codebase that's easily ported onto emerging platforms? The ability to compete against a company who has turned their own browser product into a platform?

No, couldn't be any of those things. They're all just "cool shit", apparently. They're not important relative to having a browser that runs only on Windows that alienates 50% of the entire Netscape user-base because it doesn't have a Mail/News reader nor half the feature-set necessary to be a "just-a-browser" competitor.

Apparently cross-platform technologies such as XPCOM are a wasted effort; maybe coding the same browser independently for four or more platforms would be less of a waste of resources, Greg? Apparently cross-platform support isn't a sensible marketing strategy in today's monopoly-driven marketplace.

Greg indiscriminantly lumps third-party coders' work on such projects as XSLT, MathML and ColorSync [you must have delved into the archives to find ColorSync!] with the work of the main development effort, in an effort to prove his point that they're bogging down the process. Wrong. Those efforts are independent, and they'll only go into the first release if they're completed before the ship date. If you had been paying attention, Greg, you may have realized that.

The piece ends with a curious paragraph that begins, "Theater owes its advantageous position to picking its spots, exploiting its audience and making slow, purposeful strides, even if every step is second-guessed for its cost."

They don't call it Suck for nothing, I guess.

Maybe I should just give up on Mozilla. Maybe I should resign myself to a life of banality and security breaches using IE and Outlook the rest of my days.

I think I'll stick with it. I hold the Mozilla developers in higher esteem than I do any of their sniping critics.

UPDATE: There's a great comment in our forum from Alec Flett.

#36 Re: Fewer man-months, not more

by alecf <>

Monday July 31st, 2000 8:02 PM

You are replying to this message

Admittedly there has been feature creep. But we're past that now: we're in tight lock-down for the rest of the product cycle. No new features have hit the tree in well over a month.

This is one thing the suck article does not acknowledge: that we are in the homestretch, and that we're bracing for the release by going into bug fix mode. Netscape resources are honed in on specific, targeted fixes which will only make the product tighter, faster, and more stable. Suck assumes that the development cycle is the same from beginning to end and that if we had feature creep 3 months ago, we must have it now.

Finally, the one thing very few people seem to understand is that we're writing something that nobody has written before, and that means that we're going to make mistakes. There is alot of expertise being brought to the table to develop mozilla, but nobody has tried to make a product meet so many vast goals: Other projects have one god to answer to: the corporation that funds it. Mozilla has many: Netscape, AOL, the W3C, platform champions, open-source developers, embedders, the list goes on and on.

So yes, I want my mozilla and I want it yesterday too. But even if the market has been demanding it for 2 years, it simply takes time to produce a product that satisfies so many. I'm sure there will be many dissatisfied people when the "first version" ships, be that Netscape 6 or Mozilla 1.0.

But we will ship, and soon. It's happening. Beta2 is done. We've got Beta3 locked in our scopes. RTM is just a small step beyond that!