Full Article Attached Mail/News Performance Effort Underway

Friday November 2nd, 2001

Seth Spitzer today sent an update out about what the Mail/News team is doing to meet their goals for Mozilla 1.0. They'll be focusing almost 100% of their effort for at least the next two milestones (0.9.7, 0.9.8) on Footprint and Performance of the various parts of Mail, News, and Addressbook. Not only will they be focusing on it, they'll also be locking down their part of the tree and only accepting performance or footprint fixes. Very few exceptions will be made. Click the Full Article link to see Seth's full post.

#72 Some FAQs for you to read

by mike_hearn <>

Tuesday November 6th, 2001 3:48 PM

You are replying to this message

OK, I get a little sick of people constantly saying "Mozilla should be this, mozilla should be that, mozilla is doomed because they didn't do this" etc. Here are some replies to some FAQs:

1) Mozilla is bloated - maybe in your opinion, but not in mine. I use MozMail because I don't like Outlook Express. I've got too many viruses from it this year, and it won't let me download attachments separately from the email. I'm using ChatZilla right now, because it saves me installing another (harder to use) IRC client. I use Composer all the time, not just in writing emails, but for basic word processing. It's faster to start than Word because I use the quickloader, and it produces good HTML which means my Linux using friends can read what I write. At school, we use Netscape 4.7 or Opera : IE and Outlook Express don't agree with our network setup, and Netscape/Opera does. It's easy to assume there is no need for competition, but believe me, there is.

2) IE renders pages better than Mozilla - depends on where you're coming from. From the users perspective, more pages work in IE than Mozilla for 2 reasons - web page designers write code that only works in IE and this is often due to the second reason, which is that IE is incredibly lax about the rules. Anyone who has written pages and tried to make them render on both Gecko and IE will know what I mean. You can miss end tags in IE and tables will still render. Often, when a page doesn't work in Mozilla, it's the page authors fault, not the browsers. If you file a bug in Bugzilla, somebody will hopefully look at the source and determine what the problem is. You can then email the web admin and ask them to fix the (usually trivial) faults in their pages.

3) Mozilla is taking too long - too long for what or who? If you mean, too long to reach 1.0 that's because the standard for 1.0 is very very high compared to other commerical projects. IE version 1 was unusable. Mozilla v1 will be equivalent to having redeveloped years of work on Netscape 1-4.

4) Mozilla has lost the browser wars - it never fought in them. For people who think IE will always be dominant, think again. I know people who still use Netscape 4.x even though it's less reliable and feature-complete than IE just because they prefer it. For people who think one day Mozilla will rule the world, think again. The thing we should hope for is approximately 50-50 share IE and non-IE browsers. That way, the web will be forced back into line where standards are concerned, but people use the browser they prefer.

5) Mozilla should have feature X/1.0 can't happen without feature X - well, you know the answer to that one really. At the end of the day, there is only so many people working on the source and due to the very stringent quality control procedures involved patches take a while to percolate through Bugzilla. Mozilla will never have some features, will probably one day have many more features, and right now has some features I'd bet you don't know about. Voting for bugs helps determine where the effort goes, but it's not the only thing. The PGP bug may have lots of votes, but until somebody implements it, it won't happen.

6) Mozilla's independance is a farce, it's really owned and controlled by AOL - simply not true. Technically Mozilla is independant. Most of the Mozilla programmers work for Netscape this is true, but there are others that work for IBM/Sun/Apple and other companies, and yet more who are independant (like me). If Netscape pulled out, that'd be a big blow, but it wouldn't stop the project. Nothing can. It's bigger than the sum of its parts.

7) Mozilla will never catch up with IE - it already has in many respects. It's rendering engine in particular is light years ahead of Trident (the IE engine). IE does XML by turning it into HTML internally. This is a hack, and one which prevents it doing things like XUL/SVG/MathML etc. Microsoft like to say that .NET is built on XML, but if that's the case then why does it use IDE generated source code for the gui, instead of a more logical XUL equivalent? Because IE is incapable of it. Why does IE have such an inaccurate and buggy renderer? Because it uses a renderer that is almost a decade old. You may not think it, but technically IE already looks out of date.

8) Mozilla is too slow - yes, Mozilla is slower than native browsers, mainly due to its XUL based interface. I often see people saying that XUL was a mistake both here and on Slashdot. Here is the reason it was designed and built: at the start, the Mozilla Organisation designed and wrote a first class rendering engine, which was called Gecko. It could render almost anything, and was especially good at XML. On each platform it was being tested with little platform specific apps, that had to be maintained individually. I know this because I have been following Mozilla since M3. They didn't have the manpower to do a native front end for each and every platform - if they'd done that Mozilla would run on one platform and that would be Windows. So they said, "Hey, we can write our front end in XML!". XHTML of course isn't a good language for front ends, though that hasn't stopped Microsoft attempting to hack it (yes, windows uses HTML for some of its GUIs). So XUL was created. XUL is a powerful and complete language to describe user interfaces. It uses CSS to do the skinning, so it looks "native" on each platform. That's why it's used. Don't like it? Use something like K-Meleon or Galeon, but don't complain about it here!

In conclusion - Mozilla isn't perfect, because a "perfect" product is by definition impossible to achieve. Everyone has a different idea of perfect. For some, perfection is a small and light browser without anything else. For others, like me, features and reliability is what makes a perfect product. Mozilla will never replace IE entirely, because IE is at the end of the day (poor standards compliance apart) a pretty good product. And I like OS integration.

Until then, you have a choice. Instead of venting feelings here (which has zero effect, let me tell you) do something about them. If you think Mozilla is beyond salvation, then use IE or Opera and never look back. Please don't post your list of favourite bugs, vote for them instead. Otherwise, try and help constructively. Bug triage in particular is easy, requires almost no special skills and is tremendously helpful.