Drivers Update

Friday March 29th, 2002

The Status Reports was updated, and included some information on what are up to, and what's coming up:

" approved checkins for over 240 bugs this last week. We've taken a few more big-ticket items and have a couple to go. drivers will be ramping down this next week and actively soliciting fixes that we need to branch and have a Release Candidate 1 sometime (hopefully) late next week. We need to get RC1 out there quickly and get feedback on all the changes we've taken since 0.9.9 and at the same time we need the release to stand up so that users will put enough hours on it to give meaningful feedback. Please help us to get the builds into good shape over this next week with particular attention to recent regressions and topcrash+ bugs."

#5 Is calling it RC1 a big and unnecessary PR risk?

by ralphmellor

Friday March 29th, 2002 5:54 PM

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From the above it appears that the current plan is to cut, within the next week or so, a branch that will be called "RC1". But it seems pretty clear that it won't really be a "Release Candidate" in the normal sense of the term, ie it won't be nearly good enough to be renamed as the unqualified 1.0. I was struck by this, and I began to reflect on what it might mean.

First, I'll note that I have jumped to the conclusion that the "release candidate" label is intended mostly to get people to take the release more seriously than might otherwise be the case. I certianly agree that it would be smart to emphasize the significance of this upcoming 1.0 cut to users/testers. I could also understand that for internal reasons, there needs to be a release candidate in the stated timeframe, even if everyone knows it probably won't cut it.

However, I think the public label "Release Candidate" will have at least as big an impact on the press as it would on users, and I wonder if this has been carefully considered. I would expect the tech press to treat it as a genuine "Release Candidate", which means that A) they will review this rather than a release a couple weeks later and B) they will argue (despite any disclaimer text Mozilla might write) that it is more representative of Mozilla's self-defined standard for quality than it really is. Unless RC1 is more stable than one can reasonably expect, this twin effect could very likely result in a lot of unnecessary negative press. Perhaps this is a good thing; there might then be another round of press once a much better RC2 or RC3 comes along. But maybe not. My point here is to ask, "has thought about the press coverage consequences of an inappropriate RC1 label?"

-- ralph