Update on 0.9.4
Friday September 7th, 2001
We asked Asa for a quick status on 0.9.4's status, which was for release this weekend, and here's what he had to say:
#95 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Poll
Monday September 10th, 2001 6:11 PM
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I've heard all this before. It's ridiculous stuff. Have you ever shipped a piece of software or taken a software engineering class?
The bug curve doesn't count? That means that you can't deal with the influx of new bugs. That means you have no quality metric. That's a huge problem. That's why you need to get more QA people, if only to sift through the bugs and get the bugs under control.
In fact, though. your bug curve does count. At every milestone a certain set of bugs is identified as critical to that milestone. In every case (as pointed out by [gasp!] mangelo), you have fallen way, way short of fixing even the bugs you yourselves have identified as targets. It's not an illusory curve created by 30,000 duplicate posters -- you can't deliver on your own quality goals. I'm sorry if it comes across as a flame to point that out, but any reasonable person would agree that it indicates a problem.
You have no schedule? Nonsense. In fact you do have a schedule, whether you keep track of it or not. 1.0 is the threshold for when the product becomes usable enough that it will not be rejected in the marketplace. You're not there yet. When you get there has everything to do with (1) when commercial developers like me start budgeting resources to support Mozilla-based browsers and (2) whether you have any hope of being a significant force in an IE-dominated marketplace. The release date of an acceptable-quality product, not the customer-rejected pre-releases you're boasting about, has everything to do with the future of the project, and with whether it has a future or not. Ultimately AOL will stop pouring money down a sinkhole.
As for your refusal to even consider the idea that maybe the open-source development isn't working out on Mozilla, that's a religious issue, but the open source religion is dying out. Almost every company that has tried it has failed, and no company doing medium or large scale open source projects has made a profit on them. You're helping along the death of the religion -- people all over the industry are pointing to Mozilla as a cautionary tale about how open source doesn't scale to large projects. You need to ask yourself seriously whether the only way to get this thing out is to move it to a more professional footing, even if all that means is hiring another two dozen QA people to sort through the bug queue, separate the wheat from the chaff, identify the components that are causing the most problems, and find why the regression rate is so high. The volunteer QA model is just silly. Doing QA well is a job, not a hobby. No one does it for fun.
You're not under any commercial pressure to ship an app? You're starting to find out just how wrong that is. But feel free to pretend otherwise right until the day all the paid developers are handed their walking papers. According to the news.com sources, Mitchell Baker was fired for exactly the kind of non-accountability you're displaying and defending. I hope that doesn't happen, but it's becoming more and more likely that it will.