MozillaZine

Netscape Cannot Win

Monday November 6th, 2000

I have recently become convinced that Netscape is fighting a losing battle against third-party micro-managing in their attempt to produce a browser for market.

The first conflict was with the raving loonies of the WSP. The WSP whines and bitches about standards compliance. They create a petition to convince Netscape to switch to development of their "Gecko" rendering engine technology, which promises greater standards compliance. They take credit for the Mozilla project moving to this new technology.

Then, they decide that the WSP is much more concerned about dictating project deadlines than standards compliance, and demand that Netscape release a product before the end of the year 2000, and stop any more work on Netscape 4.x -- including security fixes, apparently. (And read below to see what their fearless leader had to say today).

Now, a guy named Dave Flanagan has determined that Netscape 6 is too non-compliant to be released, although any reasonable, objective assessment of the application would prove that it is much more compliant than any browser currently on the market (yet you don't hear Mr. Flanagan petitioning against the release of iCab or IE6 or Konqueror).

And guess what? Mr. Flanagan has a petition you can sign, telling Netscape to hold off release of Netscape 6! But you can also use his petition to log your dissent.

[Mr. O'Reilly, I'm saddened that you signed an assent to Mr. Flanagan's petition without making an assessment of Netscape 6's standards compliance.

And Mr. Zeldman, I was dismayed, but not surprised, to read your statement in which you backtrack on the WSP's call for product release by the end of the year, when you obviously have not done an honest assessment of Netscape's standards compliance. "Releasing a close-to-perfect standards-compliant browser would be fine. (No software is perfect.) But releasing a browser with seriously buggy, incomplete standards support will not serve Netscape, will not serve developers, and will not serve the cause of web standards."]

I have made it known to a few people that I will no longer be fielding Netscape news on my site. You may see news of product releases, but you will no longer see links to reviews, complaints, rants, or any other information having to do with the Netscape product.

This site is called MozillaZine for a reason. I started it to support the Mozilla Open Source project. Along the way, I tried to be a voice of support for Netscape as it navigated the murky waters of being a commercial contributor to an open project. But what I am confronted with is the fact that if I were to continue posting Netscape news I would be forced to continue posting links to this garbage, giving it more credibility than it deserves. Look what happened when news of Mr. Flanagan's petition hit Slashdot. The petition now overflows with rants against Netscape, and I bet not one of these ravers has done even a modest assessment of Netscape 6's standards compliance. Is that the kind of support you wanted Mr. Flanagan? If you can get lots of people to raise their voices, does the din drown out their ignorance?

In any case, this crap will no longer will find a home in MozillaZine. So, take a good long look. Gaze into Mr. Flanagan's eyes. Because he's the last guy with an axe to grind against Netscape that you will see in these pages. The last armchair-marketer to get a say on this site. You'll have to go elsewhere to get your fix. (However, I allow myself an exception to clobber the hell out of the WSP if they continue to act like pussies.)

Netscape is in the unenviable position of choosing between bug-fixes and product release - the Scylla and Charybdis of software development. They've set their course. Maybe they will stop and reassess. That's up to the Netscape managers and the PDT team. But the waters grow increasingly insipid, and they might just end up deciding that it's not worth the trouble and pack it all up and call it a day. Maybe they can put in the past this peanut-gallery micro-management Hell that they've fallen into.

I'll leave you with a very thoughtful post to the n.p.m.layout newsgroup by Dylan Schiemann.


#1 This article is just as bad as Mr. Flanagan's

by jelwell

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 12:24 AM

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This is MozillaZine. I expect news on all products, commercial or not, that incorporate Mozilla. Mozilla is and always has been a *developer's product*; not a consumer product. If MozillaZine shuns Mozilla users, they only have developers left. And developers know that <http://www.mozilla.org/> is the place for developers.

Joseph Elwell.

#2 Re: This article is just as bad as Mr. Flanagan's

by mozineAdmin

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 12:42 AM

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No, I'll still have Netscape news, but no reviews, rants, etc. Sorry I wasn't clearer. I'm going to be much more selective about what I include regarding Netscape.

#4 GNU!

by hfoucher

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 2:03 AM

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The only way to make Moz/NS6.0 work well with no bug is to release it under the GNU license. This way, Netscape wouldn't control priorities any more and developpers could fix what they want.

#6 Re: GNU!

by Gerv

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 2:32 AM

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<sigh> Netscape only controls priorities in the sense that they decide what the developers they are employing should work on.

The Mozilla codebase already contains fixes for many of the problems in the Netscape 6 candidate builds.

Gerv

#3 Flanagan isn't entirely unfair...

by cyd

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 1:23 AM

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By the way, who's the "I" in the article? I didn't know that MozillaZine was run by only one guy?

As for Mr. Flanagan's article, it's certainly not entirely fair, but there are some valid points. I go through BugZilla on a regular basis, and it's been rather dismaying seeing some important bugs getting put off by PDT because of the RTM deadline. I know of many, many pieces of commercial software that were pushed out of the door by marketing deadlines, and the resul has NEVER been pretty. Of course, Netscape must be under a lot of pressure from their corporate partners to release the product, so they're caught between a rock and a hard place!

If PDT decides to ship with the outstanding bugs, I can only hope that the public doesn't get too turned off Netscape as a result. But we'll always have Mozilla, and for that I'm grateful.

#14 Re: Flanagan isn't entirely unfair...

by jilles

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 7:23 AM

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Judging from all the signals I get, netscape 6 will be released prematurely. Important bugs will not have been fixed and users will complain. It is all so predictable they might as well not release it (hint). Which was exactly what this flannagan guy is saying.

It is really a pitty since essentially there is nothing wrong with mozilla that can't be fixed. The nightly builds are quite nice and no doubt in half a year or so, mozilla will be very usable. If I was on linux I would probably use mozilla on a permanent basis already (netscape 4 stinks). However, I run windows and mozilla is good but not quite as good as IE.

I think netscape 6 is something we will have forgotten in a year or so. Mozilla however will still be around and there will be plenty of derived browsers as well. It's all GNU you know. Good or bad, it's not going away. And if it's so bad, all that has to be done is fix it!

I think this whole model of netscape branching of mozilla and adding their own stuff is just too slow. By the time netscape releases, mozilla will have improved significantly. Expert users know this and will likely avoid netscape. Not so expert users will install ns 6 and start complaining about already fixed issues (since these are likely the most visible issues).

#54 ie5.5 vs. ns6.0

by iceheart <iceheart@iceheart.org>

Wednesday November 8th, 2000 8:42 AM

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Ok, it's true. IE 5.5 has many issues on which it is non-compliant.

There's no question, it's a simple statement of fact.

IE also controls upwards of 80% of the browsers on the net. Higher by some estimations. If you're a developer, and you have to support a browser, which one will you work towards? The one that hundreds of thousands of people USE EVERY DAY? Or the new thing which is *also* non-compliant and has a miniscule userbase?

Whether IE is non-compliant isn't really an issue. Rather the issue should be "is ns6 good enough that the average user is going to want to switch" and unless the answer is yes, ns6 just isn't going to cut it.

I don't like MS much, but IE, despite it's problems, *is* a better browser. Yes it crashes, but it also opens whole new realms to developers.

#78 Re: Re: Flanagan isn't entirely unfair...

by aboyd

Friday January 5th, 2001 6:50 PM

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Jilles, it is now 2.5 months after you wrote your message. Netscape's browser was indeed released as you predicted, and judging from the horrid, angry user reviews of the product on C|Net, it appears that everything has occured exactly as you predicted. It's a sad time for Netscape, and I wish someone had listened to you (and others).

#18 Re: Flanagan isn't entirely unfair...

by uksi

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 9:42 AM

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Netscape has been ALWAYS under pressure to release their browser RIGHT NOW, TODAY.

Pressure probably began starting with Jamie Zawinski quitting the Mozilla project, whining about how nothing got done in a one-year period.

Then there was the constant pressure of people whining in newsgroups: "Netscape has lost the browser game, if you don't release this product this month, it will have zero chance". Now, MIND YOU, these words have been posted in one form or another for the entire lifetime of Mozilla project!

Then there was WSP, whining about how Netscape should release the browser right away, no later than this year, or they're dead. The WSP statement has been the last straw: Netscape bent and decided to release the browser.

So, cyd, Netscape is under very little pressure from their corporate partners. All the pressure is coming from you: the "community"! Be it Slashdot zealots or WSP, that's where the pressure has originated.

And, hey, rejoice, you succeeded. Netscape is pushing the product outta the door real soon. You still unhappy? Ahh, can't please you all..

P.S. Look at the bugs mentioned in the article. This guy finds less than ten bugs, makes a list, makes a fuss. He's ON CRACK, my friend, ON CRACK, to claim that Netscape 6 is so standards noncompliant! ON CRACK!

He has listed NINE (9) bugs in article and he proclaims "the noncompliance of the 6.0 release"! Is he NUTS? Did he even BOTHER to look at the NUMBER OF NONCOMPLIANCE BUGS that Internet Explorer has???

Internet Explorer, even the latest SP1-patched version 5.5, still has HUNDREDS, read my lips, HUNDREDS of NONCOMPLIANCE BUGS!

What if I create an article bitching ON and ON about IE5.5's noncompliance? I'll list tons of bugs and, hell, it's going to be hard work, because Microsoft does not have their bugs database open!

Goddamit is all I can say. I'm pissed at all these ignorant readers that just read the frigging Slashdot post and that article and did not bother to compare Netscape's and IE's standards compliance AT ALL.

#21 Re: Flanagan isn't entirely unfair...

by ratman

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 10:23 AM

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your last comment, that mozilla will always be around, is one that continues to bring to my mind an interesting possibility.

why doesn't netscape just promote mozilla as its new product and just defy any concept of having one particular stable product to be the "released" product? the licences could be modified to continue open source development, but require some type of membership for commercial end-users to download builds along the way.

as it is, ie and netscape have been playing this patch-and-fix release method where the version number goes up about 0.01 every month or so. why not toss all of it out the window and simply market the first continually developing software - mozilla?

#24 Re: Flanagan isn't entirely unfair...

by asa <asa@mozilla.org>

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 11:38 AM

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The "I" in this article is Chris Nelson. Chris has given uncountable hours of service to the Mozilla Community. He has survived all the other Mozilla advocates and his site mozillazine.org provides the most comprehensive gathering and discussion place for mozilla related issues of any website I have seen. Thank you Chris and keep up the good work!

-asa

#5 Full Disclosure

by Gerv

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 2:32 AM

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If Mozilla wasn\'t open source, exactly the same thing would be happening with Netscape 6, but behind closed doors, without any media fuss, and with a boatload more bugs because of the lack of external contribution and oversight.

Everyone would be waiting until RTM to make a list of CSS and HTML4 bugs, and then getting impotently angry about it...

Gerv

#7 Mozilla compliance

by cyrelk

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 2:49 AM

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The only documentation I'm using to develop my web application with mozilla is the W3C reference doc. Mozilla executes the code correctly(with some minor bugs I admit); IE 5.5 is faster, yes, but render code incorrectly. I've bought the book from Mr Flanagan, unusable for me because it does not talk about the DOM1 model. So Is Mr Flanagan really knowing what he is talking about?

#8 Right on, Mozadmin.

by Dotan

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 5:03 AM

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Right on, Mozadmin. Here's what I posted to the petition: I think this petition is peevish, petty and counter-productive. I mean, Mr. Flanagan is whining about cramming more DOM/CSS fixes into the most standard-compliant browser available, and delaying a release even more. There are far more critical features that are delayed so that Netscape can finally ship a public release. For example, I've accepted that Netscape won't add bidi language support until the post 6.0 releases (and I'd wish they'd branch already, so the bidi stuff can finally enter the main tree and the nightly builds). For me that feature is far more critical than fiddly DOM/CSS trivia. Most of the pages I read still use HTML 3.2 + a little CSS, but they are in Hebrew, and that's the biggest reason I'm using IE currently. Netscape has to ship a product, so that Mozilla will be a development based on their *current* browser, not some Sci-Fi future development. Get that sucker out the door, and open the bloody tree.

PS: I mean, what on earth are TL elements anyway? This is critical? This is browser-delaying? Get real.

#9 Reality check

by djm <djm@mindrot.org>

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 5:22 AM

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Geez, it is far easier to post rambling diatribes against those who dare to have a differing opinion than it is to critically examine the choices Mozilla/Netscape have made in (not) bringing their browser to market.

#10 Well...

by leafdigital

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 6:23 AM

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Though I'm not sure I agree with the vitriolic approach - differing opinions can be okay - I do actually agree with the Netscape position on this one.

What we have here (right now, minus a few bugs) is a working, usable browser that has far better standards support than NN4.x.

Getting it out of the door soon, and of course continuing work on the next minor version with bugfixes, is more important than having a perfect release. Perfect releases don't happen, ever. It's time - or, with bugfixes, will soon be time - that the general public got their hands on Netscape 6.

--sam

#11 Bugzilla abuse ?

by RvR <mozillazine@mozillazine-fr.org>

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 6:26 AM

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it would be fair to compare IE with Mozilla if there were a bugzilla for IE. and i mean a real one, with uncensored reports, feedback and discussion with MS engineers... one could count how many bugs there are in each browser and one could compare what bugs are being fixed too late or too soon...

(but even then, IE would still run on a few platforms only when Mozilla runs on a lot of them ;)

-- Hervé - <http://mozillazine-fr.org/>

#12 New benchmark

by Salsaman

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 6:59 AM

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Seems like what is needed is a new set of benchmark figures: NS6 v IE showing comparative results against the standards. I am sure that will help to silence the critics.

#13 New benchmark

by Salsaman

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 7:19 AM

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Seems like what is needed is a new set of benchmark figures: NS6 v IE showing comparative results against the standards. I am sure that will help to silence the critics.

#31 Re: New benchmark

by Tanyel <tanyel@straightblack.com>

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 6:27 PM

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It would be easy for Mozilla to win if the benchmark tests were designed based on what Mozilla does best but that would not determine the best web browser.

#52 so what's the definition of best browser

by RvR <mozillazine@mozillazine-fr.org>

Sunday November 19th, 2000 1:45 PM

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i'm amazed. you write «if benchmark tests were designed based on what Mozilla does best but...». do you mean web standards compliance is not a good test ? if it's not what defines the "best browser", then what defines it ???!!!

#67 Re: so what's the definition of "best browser

by Tanyel <tanyel@straightblack.com>

Wednesday November 8th, 2000 11:45 PM

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OBSERVATION

You are easily amazed.

EXPLANATION

I think a web standards test would be good if there were web standards. It seems the W3C recommendations are only adhered to by the W3C and people who wish to glorify Mozilla. Those are not standards.

I think if there are any web standards then they are the conventions used to make pages for Internet Explorer and possibly that other browser. If the standards are based on the way Internet Explorer handles webpages then Internet Explorer has absolute web standards compliance. If there are no web standards then it makes no sense to test the browsers with a standardized test. That means either Internet Explorer is the most "standards-compliant" browser or I was right. Which do you fear most?

I think defining the best browser is like defining the best art. There are different answers for different people. For some people, Mozilla's features may make it the best browser. I happen to like being able to load pages relatively quickly. I also like such things as having the text from ALT tags show when the mouse is over a picture, and being able to make the scrollbars blue. So to me, Internet Explorer is the best browser.

This is a difficult question. I think the best browser is the one that is generally the most appealing and usable. Yesterday, Mozilla required 10.61 seconds to load a webpage from my hard drive. Internet Explorer required 1 second. My scrollbars were blue too. I like the Mozilla preferences and some of the Mozilla conveniences. If they add speed and a few more of the Internet Explorer "simple pleasures" then it will be the best browser to me.

ANSWERS

Therefore, my draft definition of "the best browser" is "the one that best displays my webpages without making my visitors wait years to see them."

No, I do not think web standards compliance is a good test. I think web conventions compliance would be a good test.

#70 and now, the definition of "standards"

by RvR <mozillazine@mozillazine-fr.org>

Friday November 10th, 2000 3:26 AM

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Tanyel, you wrote :"I think a web standards test would be good if there were web standards. It seems the W3C recommendations are only adhered to by the W3C and people who wish to glorify Mozilla. Those are not standards."

it shows you don't know what standards are... and you make the confusion with de facto standards ("I think if there are any web standards then they are the conventions used to make pages for Internet Explorer and possibly that other browser").

someone has to define standards or it would be nearly impossible to work in computing.

ANSI defined character sets, C syntax, SQL, etc. IEEE defined Ethernet. IETF defined TCP/IP. W3C defines HTML, XML, CSS, SVG, ...

if some corporations decide not to completely follow standards (Microsoft, for example ?) then they are guilty of sabotage and they slow the pace of progress in the domain.

-- Hervé - <http://mozillazine-fr.org/>

#15 Netscape PDT puts off this open-sourcer

by jwb

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 8:40 AM

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The article has a really good point. Netscape is releasing a product that will be highly inferior to one that they could release only 1 month later. As an outside-Mountain View contributor to Mozilla, this really pisses me off. It is a disservice to the contributors to release a shoddy product, when that shoddy product will be the one with the most public exposure. Netscape 6 is the all-or-nothing release for Netscape. If it sucks, nobody will use Netscape ever again, regardless of how good Netscape 6.000000000000001 is. That moves the Mozilla product from being a major, public Open Source project to being a niche product used only by hackers on platforms that don't have IE.

Worse, as the linked article points out, a non-compliant NN6 helps exactly zero web developers. Look at the serious bugs that are going to ship in NN6: table borders don't work, and can disappera on reflow; using the DOM on tables causes their layout to get fucked up; all the form widgets have different font baselines and line heights (WTF?). This is just a sampling. The precense of these bugs wipes out a huge swath of functionality from being used by web developers. Any DOM on tables. Using forms in table (they look like ass). Using SELECT multiple widgets, whose backgrounds invalidate incorrectly. And on and on and on.

I suggest that webmasters may find themselves doing onLoad="if (version == 6) println(Go the fuck away);)

#37 Re: Netscape PDT puts off this open-sourcer

by damian <daemonc@netscape.net>

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 8:41 PM

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As a hacker on a platform that doesn't have IE (thankfully), I use Mozilla every day, and will continue to use it, regardless of how much it sucks, because there are no other alternatives.

Really I wish Netscape would just release what they have under the GPL, and abandon it altogether. No more deadlines, no PDT, no more having to meet the expectations of bastards like Dave Flanagan.

If only Mozilla could be as free as other open source projects. I stopped reporting bugs on bugzilla the day I found out that I couldn't read certain security related bugs. Fuck that. You call that open?

#43 Re: Re: Netscape PDT puts off this open-sourcer

by Blake <blaker@netscape.com>

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 10:09 PM

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"If only Mozilla could be as free as other open source projects. I stopped reporting bugs on bugzilla the day I found out that I couldn't read certain security related bugs. Fuck that. You call that open?"

What? Security bugs are kept close until they are fixed for YOUR protection, at which point they are open for the world to see. If you really want exploits that could hurt you to be open to everybody, go ahead and lobby for it. But don't expect much support.

#64 Re: open source = open bugs

by damian <daemonc@netscape.net>

Wednesday November 8th, 2000 3:08 PM

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Yes, and Microsoft tries to hide all the security holes in Windows for your protection too. When security problems are found in Linux, Apache, or any other open source project I know of, they are announced immediately and openly. And these are programs that are actually used in production environments. They would be "protecting" more people by hiding bugs than a pre-release project like Mozilla would. If Netscape were serious about open source they would release their strangle hold on Mozilla. I believe that Netscape can survive as a company, or Mozilla can become a decent open source browser, but not both.

#65 Re: Re: open source = open bugs

by Blake <blaker@netscape.com>

Wednesday November 8th, 2000 7:09 PM

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*** "If Netscape were serious about open source they would release their strangle hold on Mozilla."

Sorry, but Netscape has nothing to do with Mozilla's hiding of unfixed security bugs. That's mozilla.org's decision.

#16 Article is not worth all the coverage

by locka <adamlock@eircom.net>

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 8:45 AM

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While the Dave Flanagan article has some legitmate points it's referring to some pretty minor non-compliances (fixed and fixable) and not some fundamental designed-to-be-broken conspiracy in NS 6. Netscape 6.0 must ship sometime and no matter when that is, there will be bug fixes that don't get in.

In other words, this story is not worthy of all the coverage.

#17 Everything will be good. In the end.

by KaiRo <KaiRo@KaiRo.at>

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 9:07 AM

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Let Netscape release that thing. It's the currently most standards-compliant Browser available, and it won't be the last release of a Netscape product. I think it would be much worse if Netscape continues to release 4.7x Browsers without any significant fixes.

So let them ship that browser and development go further, so that 6.1, 6.5, 7.0 or whatever comes afterwards will be _much_ better again, and fit our wildest dreams and best hopes much more than current 6.0 code. And for us, who are supporting the _real_ OpenSource Mozilla, the "original" lizard will always be better than any Netscape release to be shipped - so support the lizard and let NS6 be only another branded release of Mozilla code...

#19 it's easy to talk shits

by billi_kid

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 10:01 AM

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it's easy to talk shits, like politics....

#20 Why Mozilla is so hated, and loved.

by mcelrath

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 10:22 AM

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I\'ve seen this happen many, many times now. Someone starts bitching that Mozilla isn\'t standards compliant, it doesn\'t do X, Y, or Z (and IE does), and it\'s just simply taken TOO long. This is followed by bitching by the mozilla developers (re: Dylan\'s message) about WHY people are bitching rather than contributing to this open-source project.

Here\'s why. Mozilla may be open source, but they\'ve chosen a development mechanism that is simply a monster. Normally when someone grabs an open source piece of software with a bug, they shoot off an e-mail to the developers. (or join the devel listserv). This is simple, easy, and doesn\'t take a heck of a lot of time for the bug-finder. Compare this to Mozilla, where you have to wade through endless forms to submit a bug, and nobody *knows* how this bug system works anyway. It may be organized, but it\'s a hurdle for an outsider. After you submit a bug, it\'s weeks or months before someone \'verifies\' it, during which time you\'ve completely forgotten what the bug was all about. Timely response is key. And your model involves a heck of a lot more of a time commitment from the bug-finder than just shooting off an e-mail to the developers. Thus you just reduce your potential bug contributors by a good amount.

Secondly, the source is simply impenetrable. If a person who found a bug were to try to fix it, they have to wade through a monsterous amount of code. This is seriously hampered by the fact that there is no well defined way of navigating the code. THERE ISN\'T EVEN A README! How does an outsider find out which package/directory to look in to fix said bug? How do they figure out which directory could even be relevant? I know there are many web pages documenting and discussing these things, but there doesn\'t appear to be a clear, consistent set of pointers for people to FIND these resources. Open source projects are based around text files in the source, not some set of web pages somewhere else they have to go find.

You guys have chosen to make life very difficult for any potential contributor. Mozilla wins the award for the most failed project. That is, I have ATTEMPTED to compile it (and failed) more than any other project, ever. I have ATTEMPTED to figure out how to contribute, and after several months of a few-hours-here, a few-hours-there, I have even submitted a few bugs. I have also ATTEMPTED to fix a few bugs by diving into the hideous source tree, only to be beaten back by lack of information and an absurd number of files.

Now, perhaps I\'m a flaming fucking moron. But perhaps I\'m representative of the people who WANT to, and TRY to contribute to mozilla. YOU need to make it easier for me, if you want my help. So quit bitching and lower the learning curve dammit. We open-source developers only have a few hours a week of spare time to dump into mozilla.

--Bob

#23 Re: Why Mozilla is so hated, and loved.

by Jake <jake@bugzilla.org>

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 11:34 AM

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We're not talking about an IM client or text editor here. This is a *HUGE* undertaking. Two years ago, all there was is "sub main{}" and now there's a web browser. A web browser that supports the (fill in the blank) standard better than any out there. That takes a lot of code to and has a lot of potential for bugs. Already today there are 29 bugs filed. Before this recent RTM push for stability, there was easily 3 times that filed by this time of the day. Can you imagine how high traffic a mailing list would be for that? To that end, the great folks at mozilla.org set out to make an easier method... and came up with bugzilla. While I admit it can be a bit of a pain to find what you're looking for there, it's a LOT easier than sorting your inbox.

As for the source tree, of course it's huge. It's the entire web browser. Again, there's gotta be an easier way then downloading a bunch of text files and trying to navigate this tree on your hard drive, so along come LXR. <http://lxr.mozilla.org> Now you have a hyperlinked version of all the source code and a web based search engine for finding what you're looking for.

I admit there's a learning curve, and I haven't fully overcome it. In fact, I don't even know C, so the source is of little to no value to me right now. Someday I'll learn C and then things like CVS and LXR will be even more useful to me.

Oh, and by the way, everything I know about the mozilla project I learned in a few hours here and there. I'm not on Netscape's payroll and nobody else pays me to even say the word Mozilla, but I try to spend some time every now and then making it a better broswer (even if all I can do is confirm/file bugs and add my comments).

#28 It's so true! Steep learning curve.

by splodge <splodge@geocities.com>

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 5:48 PM

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I guess bugzilla and the whole mozilla open source project is designed to scale upwards to thousands of users contributing bugs and such, but for someone who would like to just grab the source code and fix a bug, there is an incredible amount of jumping through hoops. Even reporting a bug requires more clearance and checks than a nuclear weapons inspector :)

Perhaps the process can be stream-lined a tad? For example: Anyone can sign up without the need to be sanctioned...

#33 Re: Why Mozilla is so hated, and loved.

by Blake <blaker@netscape.com>

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 7:10 PM

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Man, I missed this silly comment when I posted!

*** "Normally when someone grabs an open source piece of software with a bug, they shoot off an e-mail to the developers."

Hey, now there's a scalable idea! And when Mozilla gets x00,000 people findings bugs, they can all just send an email to the developers. Then they and the developer can email back and forth, exchanging details about the problem. This would also make it easier to find and prioritize bugs, not to mention cutting down on duplicate bugs (potential bug reporters could just log in to the developer's email and look for an email about the bug they want to report). Now why didn't we think of that?

*** "This is simple, easy, and doesn't take a heck of a lot of time for the bug-finder"

It takes me about a minute or less to report a bug. In the 5 months that I've worked part-time on the project, I've reported 509 well-detailed bugs. What's the problem here?

*** "where you have to wade through endless forms to submit a bug"

There is an exact total of 1 form to "wade through" to report a bug.

*** "and nobody *knows* how this bug system works anyway"

I know how it works. 300 Netscape employees understand it. A couple thousand Mozilla contributors get it. Are these people all smarter than you or something?

*** "It may be organized, but it's a hurdle for an outsider."

Hm? Where's the proof? We get about one or two new people in #mozillazine (irc.mozilla.org) a day. It generally takes about 5 minutes before they understand how the system works, and then they're reporting bugs.

*** "After you submit a bug, it's weeks or months before someone 'verifies' it, during which time you've completely forgotten what the bug was all about."

What? Only resolved bugs need to be verified. In any event, this statement doesn't make any sense. Tip #1: know everything about what you're complaining about before you rant.

*** "And your model involves a heck of a lot more of a time commitment from the bug-finder than just shooting off an e-mail to the developers."

Like I said, it takes me very little time to report a bug. I'm glad you seem to to thinking reporting a bug is so difficult, because we certainly don't want lazy complainers like you on this project anyways. Believe it or not, developers don't want to be inundated with 200 badly written bug reports a day via email. And this leaves any form of QA out in the cold. This is, without a doubt, the silliest bug reporting system I've ever heard. Which project did you used to work on which utilized a system like this? I'm not surprised that it yielded lazy contributors like yourself who spend their time bitching instead of learning.

*** "Secondly, the source is simply impenetrable."

As impenetrable as it is, I've fixed 131 bugs in 2-3 months. Imagine that! I started this project with a little bit of knowledge of Visual Basic. A few months later, I have fluency in such languages as C++, JavaScript, XBL, XML, XUL, CSS, DOM, and even propietary Mozilla technologies like XPConnect. I also have an engineering job offer from Netscape. Damn that inpenetrable source that only a couple hundred people have figured out!

***"If a person who found a bug were to try to fix it, they have to wade through a monsterous amount of code"

er...or you could have a general (or very specific) idea of where the problem lies, head right towards it, and fix it. But gee, we do sincerely apologize for the monsterous amount of code in the project. We never expected that 7 simultaneously developing open source projects, including full applications (like a browser, a mailnews client, an HTML editor, and a chat client), would generate so much code. Sorry if it's not the tic-tac-toe game you're coming from.

*** "This is seriously hampered by the fact that there is no well defined way of navigating the code. THERE ISN'T EVEN A README!"

YOU'RE RIGHT!!! There's only like 50 of them! Bob, meet <http://www.mozilla.org/docs> and #mozilla on irc.mozilla.org.

*** "How do they figure out which directory could even be relevant?"

Well, let's see. "netwerk" is the networking code. "xpfe" is the XP front end. "mailnews" is the mailnews code. It's all quite logical once you're literate.

*** "I know there are many web pages documenting and discussing these things, but there doesn't appear to be a clear, consistent set of pointers for people to FIND these resources"

There is, had you taken the time to look. mozilla.org/docs

*** "Mozilla wins the award for the most failed project"

And you win the award for the laziest and most braindead person I've ever met, not to mention having the worst ideas for a bug tracking "system" that I've ever heard.

*** "I have even submitted a few bugs."

Even that? Wow! Where do we send the fruit baskets???

*** "Now, perhaps I'm a flaming fucking moron"

`Perhaps' usually suggests uncertainty, so it probably doesn't belong in this case. Might as well remove it.

*** "YOU need to make it easier for me, if you want my help"

Dude, my cat is submitting bugs. How much easier can it get? Take some time to figure it out. Oh, and of COURSE we want your help. How would we live without it!?

*** "So quit bitching"

You're telling US to quit bitching!?

*** "We open-source developers only have a few hours a week of spare time to dump into mozilla."

Yeah, damn. I only find time to report about a hundred bugs a month, not to mention triaging and testing another 500 of them, and fixing about 30 each month.

#44 Re: Re: Why Mozilla is so hated, and loved.

by mcelrath

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 10:56 PM

Reply to this message

Let me delineate the timeline again, if it wasn\'t clear enough the first time.

1) Outsider bitches that Mozilla isn\'t standards compliant/doesn\'t implement feature X/is losing the browser war/is taking too long. 2) Mozilla developer bitches that if all these people who were bitching (#1, above), they would be more standards compliant/have feature X/win the browser war/take less time.

This has happened many, many times when criticism #1 came from someone \"important\". (And thousands if you count slashdot) My post describes why people don\'t contribute in the numbers that Mozilla expects. I don\'t claim bugzilla isn\'t necessary, nor do I claim Mozilla could be managed with a single listserv. I claim mozilla\'s documentation sucks in a way that hurts open-source developers. I claim it\'s too difficult to localize a bug and try to fix it once you find a bug. I claim not everyone knows all the mozilla TLA\'s (like XPFE -- so what\'s XP then).

There is a learning curve, and it\'s a big one compared to ANY other open source project. Mozilla doesn\'t provide enough resources to help people get over that curve. There are a plethora of resources on mozilla.org. But coders don\'t like reading documentation. Open source coders \"scratch an itch\". They find a bug and will try to fix it, and if they can\'t do it in a few hours, they will give up. Said coder then dives into the codebase. There is virtually no documentation in the codebase. A README in each directory with a description of the TLA and list of relevant URL\'s would go a long way.

I\'ve been saying this for a long time, but no one wants to hear it. They just go through the cycle of complaint again.

Lastly, I will avoid personal attacks, but instead direct you to \"The Evolution of a Linux User\" at <http://people.redhat.com/blizzard/evolution.txt> for your amusement. I suggest a similar evolution exists for Mozilla. Pay special attention to the second paragraph of Stage 7.

#55 Re: Re: Re: Why Mozilla is so hated, and loved.

by Blake <blaker@netscape.com>

Wednesday November 8th, 2000 9:22 AM

Reply to this message

*** "My post describes why people" don't contribute in the numbers that Mozilla expects.

Huh? We're extremely happy with the public response to the project. The number of outside developers grows substantially each month, and community QA has hit an all-time high. Seeing as you don't even seem to be involved in the project, I'm not sure how you can make this claim. And since you provide no support, it has no merit.

*** "I claim mozilla's documentation sucks in a way that hurts open-source developers."

Have you even looked at mozilla.org/docs or asked around on IRC? And wait a second. Who do you think is going to write this document in the first place? My first guess would be the same open-source developers that you mention.

*** "I claim it's too difficult to localize a bug and try to fix it once you find a bug."

And I claim that you're not trying hard enough. Let me explain how things work in an open-source project: the way of doing things remains constant as long as it remains successful (and it has; see my comments above), unless someone proposes a better idea that everyone agrees on. All you did was whine and propose two completely implausible ideas (listserv and email), actions which serve only to make you the subject of humiliation among those involved in the project.

*** "I claim not everyone knows all the mozilla TLA's (like XPFE -- so what's XP then)."

And I claim you either didn't (or can't) read my first post, or just didn't bother to check out the mozilla.org/docs link I provided. If you had, you would have seen "Mozilla Jargon File" as the second link under "Introductory Material", a glossary which provides exactly the definition you're looking for.

*** "But coders don't like reading documentation."

First you complain that there's no documentation, then when I show you where it is, you complain that no one wants to read it. Stop bitching for the sake of bitching.

*** "They find a bug and will try to fix it, and if they can't do it in a few hours, they will give up."

Take 10 minutes to learn how things work and it won't be that difficult. Who is the "they" you refer to? You are absolutely the laziest person I have ever encountered in this project, and I hope with that attitude you never join it.

*** "I've been saying this for a long time, but no one wants to hear it. They just go through the cycle of complaint again."

Stop saying it, ask around, and figure out how things work around here.

It is clear that you are whining just to whine. I've showed you where the documentation is and now you say you're too lazy to read it. You claim that Mozilla doesn't have the turnout it expected, but it certainly does.

Basically, every claim you make is based on a lie or an unprecedented attitude of laziness. If whining is the only thing on your agenda, please leave this project.

#57 Civility has failed. FLAMEWAR!

by mcelrath

Wednesday November 8th, 2000 11:31 AM

Reply to this message

My attempts at a civil conversation have failed. You, Blake Ross, with the aol.com email account, are simply a pompous asshole.

I did a bugzilla search for you. Yeah, you've got lots of comments on bugs. Mostly reassigning them or ccing people. And the bugs you file are of the form "page X doesn't work".

Do you realize there is code attached to this project? Do you know what code is? You're not an open source developer, you're a bugzilla maven. Have you ever written a line of code in your life, Mr. Visual Basic? How could you have any clue what I'm talking about? You spend all your life in the browser window and have never written a line of code for Mozilla. Clue: you can't write code for mozilla from within a browser window! (but I'm sure the Mozilla project will add that soon!) You just add work for existing developers and don't do anything useful. Clue: discovering that something was done by design is not "fixing a bug" regardless of that satisfactory RESOLVED in bugzilla. All you've done is waste some developer's time.

I don't want to be a bugzilla maven like you. I want to code. So get off your high horse asshole. You lose credibility and look like an asshole by your personal attacks. Flames are in poor taste.

Of course, now I'm participating in a flamefest too. Oh well.

#58 Re: Civility has failed. FLAMEWAR!

by Blake <blaker@netscape.com>

Wednesday November 8th, 2000 1:05 PM

Reply to this message

Uh..and you, mcelrath, with no email address given, keep making unfounded arguments.

Did you really do a search for me? I don't think so. I have touched over 5,000 bugs. Sure, much of that interaction involves triage work -- what do you think QA does?

I couldn't help but laugh at your completely inaccurate statement that "all the bugs you file are of the form page X doesn't work". Of the 510 bugs I've filed, about 5 of them have to do with a page not working. LOL - did you actually even read any of my bugs?

*** "Do you realize there is code attached to this project? Do you know what code is?"

Uh...again, I question whether you read anything I'm telling you. As I said, yes, I know what code is. In fact, I know quite a bit about it. Here's a link to my checkins in the past couple of months: <http://bonsai.mozilla.org…e=&cvsroot=%2Fcvsroot>

I also suggest re-reading my post where I mentioned how I learned many different languages since starting the project, and that I am considering an engineering job.

(this is not meant to sound `pompous', but rather to prove the point that you keep bringing things up that either have no relevance or simply are untrue)

*** "Have you ever written a line of code in your life, Mr. Visual Basic?"

OK, so I see you DID read my post, but you decided to conveniently stop at the part where I mentioned my programming and job.

*** "How could you have any clue what I'm talking about?"

Uhh...because I've been with the project for a couple months (that's a couple months more than you have), and I do QA and programming work all the time?

*** "You just add work for existing developers and don't do anything useful."

Find me an "existing developer" who believes this. I'm afraid many (if not all) would disagree with you.

*** "Clue: discovering that something was done by design is not "fixing a bug" regardless of that satisfactory RESOLVED in bugzilla."

What the heck are you talking about? Now you're just babbling.

*** "I don't want to be a bugzilla maven like you."

Um, then our bug tracking system shouldn't have been one of your main points of content in your initial post.

*** "You lose credibility and look like an asshole by your personal attacks."

Excuse me? I am curious how you expected to go to a Mozilla advocacy site and post a laundry list of shortcomings that are, in reality, only a result of your unwillingness to become familiar with the project. I am completely receptive for constructive criticism and ideas on how to improve Mozilla's facilities. But I'm not going to tolerate someone posting a rant about Mozilla and basing it on completely unsupported and unfounded claims.

#60 Well said, Blake

by Mike_Cornall

Wednesday November 8th, 2000 1:33 PM

Reply to this message

<BR> mcelrath is simple sniping, and it's based, not on facts, but on ignorance or outright lies. It deserved a strong response, and I found your posts to be appropriate, and quite civil compared to the provocation.<BR> <BR> The only interesting question is whether mcelrath really believes what he is saying, or whether he is being paid (by you-know-who) to spread lies and start fights. <BR>

#36 Bugzilla...

by Silverthorn <shawn.fumo@the-spa.com>

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 7:35 PM

Reply to this message

My main comment on this is that I really don't think Mozilla could even survive without something like this. It doesn't look as complicated on the outside as a lot of other programs, but there is just so many faktors involved.

As someone else mentioned, there is like 25+ new bugs reported every day. If that was to be organized through e-mail, you'd need several people hired just for that, and there'd be no standard on what information is in the e-mail and deciphering what they're getting at, etc.

I signed up for it a while ago... wasn't any harder than signing up for any other free service thing.

Then clicked on to submit a bug, filled out the fields and submitted it. They have some sort of wizard system set up to make filing easier, but that didn't even seem that necessary.

After that, a couple of people took a look at it, and asked for more information. I attached some files that demonstrated it better, and they could confirm what was going on, and that it happened on all platforms.

So, it isn't fixed yet, but it is out there for people to see, and any time someone comments on it, I get sent an e-mail automatically.

The fact that every bug has its own area where people can talk about it I think is amazingly powerful, instead of it all being in private e-mails where people can't see what's going on and comment.

And there are already so many duplicates that are posted... imagine if there was no way for anyone to see what bugs had been already submitted, that e-mail address that was mentioned would be totally deluged every time a visible bug came up, having to sort through every one manually.

The search engine is a bit daunting at first, but there are so many bugs listed, you do need a lot of options to actually pin down what you want. Now that I'm more used to it, it isn't that bad to figure out what's going on.

As for the code, unfortunately stuff like documentation does tend to get left behind in most projects.. hopefully that'll get organized eventually...

But I really do think that bugzilla works and has probably made things infinately easier to deal with... If you actually want to do a fix instead of just reporting, I know there is more hurdles to deal with, but with something this complicated and interconnected, I can see the need for caution for patches. Sometimes it is frustrating to watch, but there are already so many regressions...

Anyway... that's my thoughts...

Shawn =)

#56 i agree, same experience (Re: Bugzilla)

by RvR <mozillazine@mozillazine-fr.org>

Wednesday November 8th, 2000 10:07 AM

Reply to this message

i had the same experience as you : it's not too difficult to contribute in bugzilla if you really want to, and you can have a real discussion with the engineers. they don't ignore you, they're responsive and that's one the greatest aspect of Open Source Software.

#73 Let's continue a constructive discussion

by afranke

Friday November 10th, 2000 11:02 PM

Reply to this message

While I agree with Blakes post "Shipping Software 101" below, I think he has grossly overreacted in his replies here.

Bob, if you are still interested in constructive discussions, please switch over to the newsgroups (currently still netscape.public.mozilla.general et al.). <drivers@mozilla.org> should be interested in any suggestions that make bugfixing and joining the development process easier.

Andreas

#22 regressions considered bad

by aminorex

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 11:30 AM

Reply to this message

Bugs are fine. Regressive bugs are not. This is bad mojo. Basic features of DOM used in NN4/IE4,5 compatible pages don't work. That's just too bad to release.

#25 People read too much into this...

by ERICmurphy <murphye@gmail.com>

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 12:12 PM

Reply to this message

Basically what this Dave Flanagan is saying is that Netscape needs to reopen the tree to add some low-risk, but important patches. I totally agree, especially for any regressions.

By doing this, they are not prolonging the release by much. Hell, the patches are already written for most of these, it seems. What is the big deal?

Take a look at the bug for the table padding problem. Run the testcases. Is this acceptable? No! It is regression that WILL affect basic DHTML development.

Netscape has caused web developers much hell with their old Communicator 4.x releases. Now it is time for the web developers to give Netscape some hell about 6.0 before it is released. It is not too late.

Mozilla, of course, does not have this problem. I will always use the Mozilla releases, but the Netscape 6 release will be the the really important one, with or without the bugs.

#30 Re: People read too much into this...

by danielhill <danielhill@hotmail.com>

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 6:22 PM

Reply to this message

Excellent, a voice of reason :)

The article (IMO) isn't as much about the buggy standards compliance, but the fact Netscape PDT simply don't have a clue.

THESE BUGS ARE FIXED, FFS! Why not include them? A week or two late isn't going to kill Netscape. I don't think NSCP are going to lose any more customers - everyone that would of switched to IE already has.

Oh well, I was never going to use Netscape anyway (I'd rather use Mozilla). Shame NSCP wasted this opportunity.

#26 ForumZilla

by twjordan <twjordan@yikes.com>

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 12:38 PM

Reply to this message

Just FYI. Y'all should read these comments in ForumZilla <http://www.zapogee.com/forumzilla/> It's a cool mozilla application and it makes reading forums so much easier. So install it (it should work on nightlies) and see what you think!

Tony

#27 Re: ForumZilla

by bradfitz <bradfitz@bradfitz.com>

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 12:43 PM

Reply to this message

heheh... Tony, you rule. :)

#29 So what if there's a few bugs

by arnoudb <arnoudb@dds.nl>

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 6:02 PM

Reply to this message

So what if there's a few bugs... A few days ago I made a page for my dad and tested it mainly with Mozilla. It worked *perfectly*. Then I tested it in NS4.7x. It worked okay except for the fonttype. Then I tested in IE and it just looked like shit. While it had the correct font, it was WAY too large and some other stuff was fucked up too that was okay in NS even! And it isn't the first time this happens. Somehow my pages always show up worse in IE than in NS, and that certainly isn't because I'm used to coding for NS. I'm used to coding for Mozilla/W3C standards!

It really doesn't matter all that much if some hardly-ever used JS function is a bit buggy, just release the damn thing because it will kick butt no matter what. Anyone who claims NS6 will be less standards compliant than IE is obviously out of his mind and has never tested it. It renders fine for almost any sites, when it doesn't it's usually the sites fault, and when it really is a bug, it's more often than not a rarely occuring situation and an issue that's already known and being worked on. No piece of software is ever perfect. NS6 will not be perfect. NS6.x will be better, sure, but still not perfect. But it will still be better than the hell IE is giving me when building sites. Hell, IE doesn't even inherit CSS properties from BODY{} correctly!

#32 Welcome to Shipping Software 101

by Blake <blaker@netscape.com>

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 6:34 PM

Reply to this message

Oh, for god's sakes...

Dave, 5 bug fixes aren't going to make it into Netscape 6, wah wah boo hoo. Let me get you a kleenex.

Do you really think a couple of fixes are going to make Netscape 6.0 a fully standards-compliant browser? Some of the bugs you mentioned don't even have a fix in hand. Some of them you reported a little over two weeks ago. TWO WEEKS before rtm. That sure is enough time to make a patch, get it approved, check it in and test for regressions, eh?

And where do you draw the line on accepting fixes? Regardless of when Netscape decides to ships, there will always be already-made fixes that won't get in. Or do you want developers to suddenly stop making bug fixes so we don't feel bad if some of them don't make it in? Welcome to the concept of shipping software. As "unbelievable" as it sounds, many companies (including Netscape in its past) have some sort of PDT concept because, believe it or not, most companies need to ship a product. The difference is that you're getting a first-hand look at the process (but that doesn't give you license to bitch and whine).

Oh, and...part of the criteria for allowing bug fixes is marketing and legal requirements? You don't say! Who would have thought that Netscape actually needs to make money and worry about getting sued? Mozilla is open-source, but Netscape is still very much a corporate entity that, like any other, needs to turn a profit. In reality, what you mention is not the entirety of PDT criteria, as you inaccurately suggest. In fact, PDT criteria was posted on the newsgroups for all to see about a month ago.

I think the fact that you bring up bug 57869 as evidence of flaws in PDT criteria shows how little you really know about, well, anything. You're suggesting that Netscape should stop burning rtm cd's to fix a minor misspelling in an obscure plugin error message that 1 in maybe 3 million users will ever encounter? Yes, that is what rtm++ means: we absolutely will not ship until this bug is fixed.

I had trouble believing you were even in the software industry when you expressed incredulity that "extraordinarily simple" patches which, according to engineers, "pose no risk of introducing other bugs" are being turned away. Dave, allow me to send you a one-line fix which will crash the browser on startup. Can I send you my one-character change which will completely break the layout engine? Dear god. No change should be taken lightly, and no one knows what fix can cause what regressions. That risk, primarily, is what is causing so-called "riskfree" patches to be turned so.

Let me ask you something: when do you ever expect to be able to print an article with the headline "BrowserX passes standards compliance." If you'd go so far as to oh-so-dramatically declare that Netscape 6 "fails" standards compliance then I shudder to think what you consider "passing."

You say, "developers who have eagerly looked forward to 'sixth-generation' browsers that are finally standards compliant may be disappointed by Netscape's offering." Uh. Well then, I guess they'll like IE6 better? I hear it has even more proprietary DHTML- and CSS- extensions. Hooray!

Believe it or not, Dave, if Netscape waited a month to release, you'd still be able to write this article, with it's strong foundation of support being a single-digit set of bugs. 2 months. 4 months. At what point will Netscape's standards compliance be bug-free? Never. Heck, the specs themselves will never be bug-free.

I'm incredulous at your suggestion that developers refocus their attention and efforts on standards compliance. Um, what do you think they've been dedicated to for the past 3 years?

You say that Netscape 6.0's standards compliance bugs will cause developers to shy away from the advanced web technologies of other 6.x browsers. Wait. Which browsers are you referring to here? Certainly not IE or Opera, because Netscape 6 -- even without the nominal amount of bug fixes you mention -- matches or surpasses them. And aside from the fact that you don't clarify this claim (thereby rendering it irrelevant), this argument is false and incoherent anyways. Netscape 4.x had the worst standards compliance support of any browser on the market in its time, but that didn't seem to stop 80% of the world's web developers from using technologies that it couldn't handle. If you're going to make this silly claim, you need to be making it to Microsoft's camp -- once Netscape 6 is on the market, it will be IE's faulty (or lacking) support of these technologies that will prevent developers from utilizing them.

And then there's the weak-minded WaSP who sways with the public opinion. What's that? Public consensus this week is that Netscape should release already? Yeah, Netscape, where's the browser?! Oh, now it's that Netscape needs to take it slow and fix its bugs? Yeah, Netscape, what's the hurry?! Stop publishing your silly demands, get off your asses, and help out if you want 110% standards compliance. You lost any shred of credibility you still retained when you completely and publicly shifted your idea of what Netscape's direction should be.

Jeffrey Baker: the title of your comment alone -- "Netscape PDT puts off this open-sourcer" -- removes any and all credibility from your post. Netscape 6.0 is not an open source browser; it is a vendor's commercial product based around the open source Mozilla. Netscape's PDT has nothing to do with Mozilla, and has not affected it in any way. If you really believe what you said -- that Netscape 6.0 is highly inferior to the product it could be if one more month was allotted for bug fixing -- then I seriously question how involved you really are in this project. With every checkin, you run the risk of introducing 2 or 3 new bugs. And PDT has already been extremely generous in giving more and more and more time. If I recall correctly, 10/16 was supposed to be the absolute final day for bug fixing, at which point the branch was going to "bake" while QA pounded on and tested all parts of the app. As of today, 11/7, the PDT is STILL accepting fixes. It is fun and easy to complain about PDT "rushing" when you're an unpaid contributor who helps out as a hobby. It's another thing to be a paid employee of a company that's increasingly, and very dangerously, losing marketshare. And no, I don't work for or get paid by Netscape.

And, Jeffrey, I am appalled by your statement, "It is a disservice to the contributors to release a shoddy product, when that shoddy product will be the one with the most public exposure." You are a contributor to Mozilla, the open source browser, something that is different from Netscape, the commercial product. Statements like yours serve only to solidify the public connection between Netscape and Mozilla, not break it, as you should be attempting to do. Mozilla 1.0 is still a long way off, so you should have no need to worry -- these bug fixes you're fighting for are already part of it. When Mozilla 1.0 comes out, you can get the recognition you're obviously vying for as a contributor. But if by working on the project you hope to make Netscape 6 a stable and successful product, you really need to re-examine your intentions, and possibly consider applying for a position at Netscape.

And for those of you complaining about Mozillazine's posting of this article -- well, I'm damn glad they did. I found it nice and convenient how the only way to respond to David Flagan's article was to add your comments to a petition that inherently agreed with his position. In other words, regardless of what you actually posted in your comment, you were virtually signing that you agreed with his misguided ideas. I couldn't even find a place to respond at all on WaSP, making Mozillazine the only place to fairly express your own views. Do I expect more support for Netscape here? Sure; it's an advocacy site. But at least my comments aren't part of some faux petition.

David, WaSP, Jeffrey, and all the others putting Netscape in a lose-lose situation: time to stop the whining and start examining how you can do more for Mozilla.

And maybe learn a little bit about how to ship a product.

#53 Re: Welcome to Shipping Software 101

by curne

Wednesday November 8th, 2000 7:05 AM

Reply to this message

Heh he... a flamer if I ever saw one.

You should try milk and cookies to sooth some of all that aggression. It isn't good for you

#34 We should really use their input, but...

by Arondylos <malte@cornils.net>

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 7:11 PM

Reply to this message

Hi, I am not a mozilla developers although I have submitted a few bugs here and there and use the product daily. Still, where have those people been hiding all along? A lot of them are web designers and even coders, and the mozilla code has been out in open source form for years now, there is a voting system in place in bugzilla so you can vote which bug is important for you. Why did you not *use* this functionality if your daily job involves handling non-standards-compliant browsers? If it is that important to your company (and you are oh so angry that mozilla does not support DOM level 5 subrevison 4711) why did you not fix it way earlier? The browser was really usable *for evaluation* since about M15, and that was way before the now-strict deadline and fixing policy. I would love to see the bugs mentioned in the article fixed too, but they are not as important as the RTM bugs, and even in the mostly-automated build process, a single incorrectly applied typo patch can hose the system (though not likely). What do you think the Netscape and external contributors do right now, they are not twiddling their thumbs.

Still, let us see what Flanagan proposes: #57634 is about the browser not being lax when encountering invalid HTML. Which forces web developers to use the standard. Is that standard *compliance* a bug to be fixed? Doubtful.

The problem with the others is mostly that good and reliable testcases to make sure the proposed fix does not break the really important stuff have not been made, or that the issues are not important enough - I say that because the web and its browsers have always been evolving rapidly, and you can build a mozilla-readable and standard-compliant site much more easily than before. DOM functions which no other browser supports yet either and similar ECMAScript functions should be fixed, sure. But if I recall correctly, there has been a vote on mozillazine what should be worked on before release. The winner was definitely stability and performance. That is what the people who *care* about mozilla wanted, and it was done.

And the open source *mozilla* project will incorporate all these little fixes, even if NS6 will not.

What do you expect from a, from any commercial software release? It is not possible to do otherwise in a world with deadlines and monetary pressure.

It is a .0 release. They cannot be perfect. Name any project larger than Hello world which shipped a release with no missing, but important functionality.

Still, a few points are valid. There should be a README in the source which points to the great architectural overviews on mozilla.org for the developers. The learning curve is steep (I would have to learn C well first) even for experienced developers, same goes for Linux kernel/Wine and quite possibly for the Windows kernel (this is a polite understatement, but I am not among the (un)lucky few who read that ;)), but this should be remedied if possible. This is being done for mozilla 1.0, which the developers should work on, not NS6.

And a few bugs mentioned are important, and the PDT *will* react and push them for inclusion (the fixes, not the bugs ;)) and hopefully put out a nice press release telling the world that they do listen. Just for marketing reasons, even if they should not fix these bugs. Unfortunately, this would make most of the people who commented on the Flanagan article that much more happy. Even if we know we were right :-)

Have fun

Yours Arondylos #8-)

(and thanks for a great, amazing product!!!)

#35 Quick response

by Nemo_NX

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 7:27 PM

Reply to this message

I wish I could write more on this subject since I'm so pissed off of all the negative reaction to N6. To me I don't care about N6 but instead Mozilla because it is our only hope of influencing Netscape to make a better web browser than IE. I'm damn proud of the people who have worked on this project in thier own spare time and hope these negative attitudes don't stop them from continueing to support Mozilla. IMHO, MOZILLA ain't going gold(version 1.0) until sometime next summer, so what's the big fuss about what the hell Netscape does with unfinished but very stable builds of Mozilla? I say let Netscape show users that there is something better around the conner. Maybe it'll help website admins reconsider supporting Netscape features in thier websites sooner so that when Mozilla 1.0 comes out theose websites will have had some time to support it correctly. :) Think Mozilla, not Netscape and everything will be ok. Ok. Just keep up the good work guys.

#38 My $0.02

by DomitianX

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 8:45 PM

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I am not a mozilla developer, I am not much of a programmer at all. I am a web developer. I am one of the poor people that have to deal with all of this crap.

Let me tell you what I want, I want to be able to develop a site that will look the same on any browser, which will NEVER happen.

I read an earlier comment from a reader about how IE sucks for rendering his pages but NN6/Mozilla looks great.

This is a one sided opinion. That is like saying, I painted a picture but it looks better under florescent lights made by GE not the other. Think about it, if you are viewing as you are designing in IE and you get most if done looking the way you want then you view it in NN6 it looks different. It is the same as painters or printers. As a person that works in the printing industry, and from talking to really anal color people, they have very adiment about the types of light bulbs in the room, the height of the light from the floor, the color of window dressing to let only certain shades of light in because it affects what they feel is the best environment for creating.

It is the same in the web dev world. It isnt going to be perfect. All browsers will ALWAYS look different.

I develop using IE and I always bitch about the way netscape screws my pages up. The previous poster develops using NN/Mozila and he bitched about how IE screwed his pages up.

As web developers we need to develop for what people are using, not what we want or think is the coolest browser or our buddy is developing that browser.

All this pissing and moaning about Mozilla or Netscape and also the pissing and moaning about the pissing and moaning is truly childish.

As web developers, our job is to deliver what the user wants in a way that is appealing to the eye and for the platform that they use. If 97% of the people are using IE, we need to develop for IE otherwise we may alienate our readers. If 97% are using Netscape, then we need to develop for that platform.

Myself I dont care, I use the browser that is used by most people that visit my site and I use the browser that renders it the fastest and they way I want it to look.

If tomorrow Netscape or Mozilla took off and it was the most popular browser, then I would use that and develop for that.

If IE continues to have market share, then I will use IE to develop with. Majority rules, and will always rule.

I will develop for the browser that my logs show is the most popular. Granted, I will check it in different browsers and make a best effort to make sure it works in all browsers, but majority rules.

My $0.02

#51 Re: My $0.02

by i387

Wednesday November 8th, 2000 2:19 AM

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> \"As web developers we need to develop for what people are using, not what we want or think is the coolest browser or our buddy is developing that browser.\"

As a web developers, we should know better than to develop for a browser. The only way to make great pages that are accessable is to develop for the open standards (W3C) and then test as much as you can on all major browsers.

It\'s not as hard as people think. Keep Netscape Communicator, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Opera, and Mozilla Seamonkey (and possibly others) open while you write HTML and test as you go.

> \"If 97% of the people are using IE, we need to develop for IE otherwise we may alienate our readers. If 97% are using Netscape, then we need to develop for that platform.\"

That\'s fine and dandy if 97% of surfers are using a certain browser, but the stats are not that unbalanced. My experience has been roughly 70% IE, 25% NN, 5% other.

Micah Harwell <http://www.industrialtechware.com/>

#72 Re: My $0.02

by Ugg

Friday November 10th, 2000 6:46 PM

Reply to this message

Wow, you're stupid.

Yes, if you design sites for one browser, they may well look funny in another browser. That has nothing to do with what the guy was saying, which is that he designs to the standards, and some browsers render the page more correctly than others.

Web browsers will never render a page the same, you say.. do you have any CONCEPT of what the standards are for? Have you the slightest clue? The sole reason for having standards is so that pages WILL render the same across browsers. If a correctly-written page renders wrong in some browser, then that browser is BROKEN.

As web developers, we control what appears on the web, which is why we have a responsibility to EVERYONE to exercise some responsibility in choosing what rules to follow in designing our pages.

However, YOU seem to take the attitude that you can just do whatever the hell you want, and screw all other considerations, and it makes me sick. I hope someone finds you and punches you in the mouth, as a service to humanity.

#76 Not true.

by FrodoB

Sunday November 12th, 2000 11:33 AM

Reply to this message

The standards are written so that any browser which implements them will render pages *correctly*. In the standards, there is a lot of leeway left in certain cases for user agents to render the same code differently. Rendering something correctly doesn't necessarily mean that it renders the same as another standards-compliant browser.

#39 You know what I hate?

by bk_raze

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 8:49 PM

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Ever have someone say bad things about you, to people you haven't even meet? Then you go meet these people, you find it's hard to get them to like you, even if you're a nice guy? It's happened to me, and it's unfair.

Two things.

1. Ignorance. This type of bull is unnecessary. And these few ignorant people spark others just like them. Ignorant web developers do not even know that Mozilla is already more standards-compliant than IE.

2. Hate. Hatred for Netscape is building up, so that even when Netscape Mozilla is released--even if it's better--it will be trashed. People are going to load it up for the first time with a negative mindset, looking for anything to pounce on. Because of this, Netscape Cannot Win, like the title says.

What this all comes down to is that because of this, the quality of the released product will be overlooked. Even if you're a nice guy, you will be met by someone with no smile because of some rumors that were spread about you by ignorant people. And that is sad.

#40 Great article Chris

by Kovu <Kovu401@netscape.net>

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 9:35 PM

Reply to this message

I've heard Chris give Netscape Hell for promising standards, so I reject the argument that his argument is one-sided.

This guy has a point that Netscape might being a little overzealous with the NO CODE IN!!! bit for pre-RTM, but he's evidently got clue 0 how badly Netscape-AOL wants the browser gold, and no clue that once you start a marketing campaign in motion (and Netscape 6 already has pretty extensive site pre-release, inc. N6 Home and the Theme Park, etc. Flannagan's whinings are FAR, FAR too late for delaying RTM. Netscape didn't hear a damned word he wrote -- trust me.

As someone (Asa? Kerz?) pointed out in IRC, Netscape 4.0 was awful. Netscape 6 is not awful. In fact, it's a pretty damned fine 1.0 product.

Also consider:

*Linux, more than any other platform, really needs Netscape 6 NOW. On Linux, with Netscape 6 I can go to work, log in to my Linux machine, and check AOL mail, use IM, log in to WebMail, Calendar, etc. Just in so supporting AOL as it does, Netscape 6 single-handedly brings AOL services to Linux, and for once a browser that doesn't have horrifically tiny and difficult-to-read fonts.

* Communicator 4.75 on Linux makes me want to buy bifocals now and my vision is fine (I'm only 28). The default fonts in Mozilla and Netscape 6 for Linux are now far, FAR more readable than they are in 4.75, and at long, LONG last the fields and default backgrounds are white. Surfing in Linux is now almost exactly like doing so in Windows, and it rocks.

* No developer EVER sets the standards in stone for a "platform" -- Windows 2000 took 6 months for SP1, and companies mostly waited that long to even buy the product. If .0 releases were perfect, there would be no reason for a .5, or .75, or, etc., etc., companies would leap from 6.0 to 7.0 and so on. Developers aren't morons, they know this. Things change, and so do standards. It's not like Netscape 6 will forever lock away technologies that were a little buggy in 6.0.

*Netscape 6.1 will be out in a couple/few months, and (going by the new Roadmap of Mozilla 1.0, by March 2001) we'll have a 6.5 by spring. Netscape has promised a regular release schedule after 6 comes out, with Netscape 7 hoped for by this time 2001 (from the an Mozillazine IRC chat).

* By the time developers even get their heads around what Netscape 6 has to offer (or the fact that it's out even), 6.1 will be out.

Bottom line: Everyone needs to accept that Netscape's RTM for version 6 is locked and loaded. Time to get over 6.0 and look to 6.1. I think the WSP just feels useless unless they're badmouthing Netscape.

JR

#45 Re: Great article Chris

by kerz <jason@mozillazine.org>

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 10:59 PM

Reply to this message

Don't forget how bad Amiga needs Mozilla there big guy... :P

#66 Great article Chris

by Kovu <Kovu401@netscape.net>

Wednesday November 8th, 2000 9:48 PM

Reply to this message

Very true, working on it :)

#41 Web Design

by bushboy

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 9:39 PM

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I'm no programmer but I've been following Mozilla with interest for some time from a Web Design point of view.

I'm more interested in how browsers render graphical elements in my designs than how they comply to CSS or XML standards.

I'm guilty of bashing Netscape simply because I'm so frustrated with having to spend hours of extra time to ensure my designs display correctly.

I keep waiting for bug fixes that get overlooked, or for features which, whether they comply to standards or not, are valuable for both the Web Developer and the Web Surfer.

There are numerous problems with netscape right back to version 3.0 which have never been fixed.

Table background problems, frame problems, slow rendering of pages, crashes.

You can't blame people for prefering a stable, speedy browser that is easy to develop for over a buggy, slow browser which crashes a lot.

The good thing is that the latest nightly build of Mozilla I've tried is getting me excited - finally it looks like there's a contender for iexplore that will ensure there's always a choice.

As for Netscape, wake me up when there done...

#42 Web Design

by bushboy

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 9:51 PM

Reply to this message

I'm no programmer but I've been following Mozilla with interest for some time from a Web Design point of view.

I'm more interested in how browsers render graphical elements in my designs than how they comply to CSS or XML standards.

I'm guilty of bashing Netscape simply because I'm so frustrated with having to spend hours of extra time to ensure my designs display correctly.

I keep waiting for bug fixes that get overlooked, or for features which, whether they comply to standards or not, are valuable for both the Web Developer and the Web Surfer.

There are numerous problems with netscape right back to version 3.0 which have never been fixed.

Table background problems, frame problems, slow rendering of pages, crashes.

You can't blame people for prefering a stable, speedy browser that is easy to develop for over a buggy, slow browser which crashes a lot.

The good thing is that the latest nightly build of Mozilla I've tried is getting me excited - finally it looks like there's a contender for iexplore that will ensure there's always a choice.

As for Netscape, wake me up when there done...

#46 Dave

by Martyr

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 11:00 PM

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Yeah, I agree. Dave is way too late -- and it's the spittings of someone who feels impotent and wants desperately to be important. The lack of professionalism on an OReilly site really irks me tho. I think the sleeper effect is what we're dealing with...the constant barrage by low credibility sources. If anything, some good PR on NS's side would do wonders...

#47 Pass the Meow Mix

by Zeldman

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 11:54 PM

Reply to this message

I tried to respond earlier today, but your server died (Slashdot effect) and I was unable to post comments here. Feeling you deserved an answer, I left my thoughts at <http://www.webstandards.org/mozillazine.html>.

It's meant to be helpful (as is Mr. Flanagan's petition) and it's sad that you can't see this.

I have nothing further to say, since conversation involves listening and mutual respect. My organization still respects the efforts of Mozilla and the principles behind the upcoming browser, but it's clear that you prefer to view us as enemies, and that makes further conversation impossible.

#62 Excellent.

by ess

Wednesday November 8th, 2000 2:46 PM

Reply to this message

> it's clear that you > prefer to view us as > enemies, and that makes > further conversation > impossible.

Surely this means he'll shut up, now.

#63 Excellent.

by ess

Wednesday November 8th, 2000 2:48 PM

Reply to this message

> it's clear that you > prefer to view us as > enemies, and that makes > further conversation > impossible.

Surely this means he'll shut up, now.

#48 Pass the Meow Mix

by Zeldman

Tuesday November 7th, 2000 11:54 PM

Reply to this message

I tried to respond earlier today, but your server died (Slashdot effect) and I was unable to post comments here. Feeling you deserved an answer, I left my thoughts at <http://www.webstandards.org/mozillazine.html>.

It's meant to be helpful (as is Mr. Flanagan's petition) and it's sad that you can't see this.

I have nothing further to say, since conversation involves listening and mutual respect. My organization still respects the efforts of Mozilla and the principles behind the upcoming browser, but it's clear that you prefer to view us as enemies, and that makes further conversation impossible.

#49 mozilla osp as netscape 6?

by ratman

Wednesday November 8th, 2000 12:08 AM

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i've given this issue some thought, and it seems to make sense - that is, why shouldn't mozilla, as it exists today (sans branch), be the collective netscape 6 commercial release?

why bother even releasing a stand-alone piece of software when you can simply market the entire mozilla open source system instead? commercial users could pay memberships for the licence to download end-user nightly and/or periodic builds, while open source development continues *indefinitely*?

that way, the i-hate-pdt-cut-off folks and the we-want-a-browser-now people will both be happy.

then again, maybe marketing would throw a fit then....

#50 not fair

by PhiSch

Wednesday November 8th, 2000 1:46 AM

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This article ist just not fair. no more comments from my side.

but a little question: does anyone know if the CSS2 / page-braek will be implemented? Thanks

phishc

#59 I have to agree with him!

by Dan6992

Wednesday November 8th, 2000 1:09 PM

Reply to this message

There are several bugs in Netscape 6 that seriously cripple it's functionality as a development platform. Not only that but a good majority of those have patches available which have been rejected by RTM, just because they might hurt Netscape's release date.

I don't know about the rest of you but, as a developer, I would much rather wait a few extra months then to get a browser now with issues as serious as the ones outlined in Mr. Flanagan's petition, or some of the others I have come across on my own. I think Netscape should just take the 3DRealms approach and just start telling people it will be released "When It's Done" and stick to it.

Dan

#69 Re: I have to agree with him!

by danielhill <danielhill@hotmail.com>

Thursday November 9th, 2000 10:55 PM

Reply to this message

Definitely. People would respect NSCP more if they got it as close to perfect as possible. It's late as it is, a few more weeks won't hurt.

#61 Microsoft and AOL's Other Deadline

by Mike_Cornall

Wednesday November 8th, 2000 2:27 PM

Reply to this message

Don't forget that AOL is facing another deadline, which is that AOL dare not renew their license for IE.

The fact that it would cost AOL money is not the point. The real problem is that AOL can't trust Microsoft.

The current upgrade, AOL 6.0, is already running into stability and compatibility problems:

<http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/6/14525.html>

To what extent are those problems caused by AOL, and to what extent are they caused by incompetence or deliberate sabotage on the part of Microsoft? We'll never know.

But we do know two things:

1) Microsoft can't be trusted.

2) Microsoft does engage in sabotage (e.g. polluting Java).

We also know the following:

3) Microsoft does not want Netscape to succeed.

4) Microsoft has recently started a renewed push for MSN.

5) Microsoft is increasing their tie-ins between Windows and MSN. See "Microsoft IE 6 to cut off some more air supplies":

<http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/4/14523.html>

Under those conditions, if you were AOL, would you want your next browser to come from Microsoft? Of course not.

It is therefore vital for AOL to have Netscape released before their next renewal of IE.

Microsoft is currently engaged in an astroturf war against Netscape (it's a given). Is Mr. Flanagan part of it? I don't know.

I guess the ultimate point is not to be distracted by this sort of crap. AOL and Mozilla developers should rely on their own best judgement, and concentrate on getting out a good product. Ignore the naysayers.

BTW: Good article, Chris.

#68 Re: Microsoft and AOL's Other Deadline

by danielhill <danielhill@hotmail.com>

Thursday November 9th, 2000 7:47 PM

Reply to this message

What a load of bollocks. When your beloved AOL messes up, it's Microsoft's fault?

Give me a break.

#71 Only Fools Trust Microsoft

by Mike_Cornall

Friday November 10th, 2000 11:41 AM

Reply to this message

Do you work for Microsoft or have you been living under a rock?

First, Microsoft wrote IE, which is the browser used by AOL, slightly modified.

Second, Microsoft have a history of sabotaging their competitors, as shown in the evidence in the various court cases against them.

Here are some quotes from Microsoft executives and internal memos:

Brad Silverberg (regarding the intentionally-misleading error message Microsoft added to Windows):

"What the guy is supposed to do is feel uncomfortable, and when he has bugs, suspect that the problem is dr-dos and then go out to buy ms-dos. or decide not to take the risk for all the other machines he has to buy for in the office."

J++ Pricing Proposal:

The "strategic objective" is to "kill cross-platform Java by grow[ing] the polluted Java market."

Memo re Java:

"at this point its [sic] not good to create MORE noise around our win32 java classes. Instead we should just quietly grow j++ share and assume that people will take advantage of our classes without ever realizing they are building win32-only java apps."

Brad Chase re Netscape:

"We will bind the shell to the Internet Explorer, so that running any other browser is a jolting experience."

Bill Gates re DR-DOS:

"You never sent me a response on the question of what things an app would do that would make it run with MSDOS and not run with DR-DOS. Is there any version check or api that they fail to have? Is ther feature they have that might get in our way? I am not looking for something they cant get around. I am looking for something that their current binary fails on."

#74 Netscape 6 on FTP Site?

by leier911

Saturday November 11th, 2000 2:14 PM

Reply to this message

I have an article that says Netscape 6 final is out. Is the server not working, or just not going to be released to public till monday?

<http://www.activewin.com/>

#75 Netscape 6 on FTP Site?

by leier911

Saturday November 11th, 2000 2:14 PM

Reply to this message

I have an article that says Netscape 6 final is out. Is the server not working, or just not going to be released to public till monday?

<http://www.activewin.com/>

#77 Netscape 6 is out on FTP

by leier911

Monday November 13th, 2000 7:08 PM

Reply to this message

<ftp://ftp.netscape.com/pub/netscape6/>

Final version was just put on FTP site as well as new themes etc.