MozillaZine

More Mozilla RC1 Reviews

Thursday April 25th, 2002

Anonman writes: "c|net's article Don't Miss the Thrilla from Mozilla is quite positive. Their only complaint seemed to be a problem with Mozilla reading a Netscape profile. The reviewers liked Mozilla's quicklaunch, tabbed browsing and price, going so far as to suggest that 1.0 'may actually best its two most powerful competitors.'

The LinuxPlanet review Evaluating Mozilla 1.0 Candidate 1 pits Mozilla against Opera with good results. Opera seems to do slightly better in a couple of his performance tests. The reviewer found that installing Flash and Acrobat plugins was a breeze and concludes with the statemeny: 'I look forward to the production release of Mozilla 1.0 and believe it will be stable, speedy, easy to use and of high value. Linux users would do well to give it a try. '"

UPDATE! NewsForge has a nice little piece from Robin. With tasty bits like "Tabbed browsing is one of those features you don't know you need until you have it. Once you have it and get used to it, you'll wonder how you ever got along without it" and "I think we're going to see a lot more positive reviews of Mozilla before long -- and not just in leading-edge tech media, either" this short review is worth a read.


#1 the CNET guys don't know bugzilla

by schauvea

Friday April 26th, 2002 3:18 AM

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I quote: "Unfortunately, since Mozilla is freeware, there's no huge support department to help you debug problems such as these"

#2 Uh, bugzilla is not a support tool

by leafdigital

Friday April 26th, 2002 3:55 AM

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Sure if you're an expert you may be able to find the bug related to your problem and there may be some workaround information in that bug... but they're not talking about experts, they're talking about normal users, and unsurprisingly, Mozilla does not provide much in the way of end-user support. Bugzilla is focused on fixing bugs (as it should be), not on helping users work around the problems on their systems.

BTW, gawd that linuxplanet article was crap. Is that supposed to be a serious news site? It didn't seem to say anything at all except 'mozilla is slightly slower than opera, but not enough slower that it matters' and 'installing plugins work'. I presume they don't pay their writers (if they do, they've been ripped off)...

Anyway, good to see the coverage. I think the cnet article (though not completely understanding the mozilla/netscape situation - the writer doesn't seem to release that a new netscape release based on mozilla 1.0 is rather likely) wasn't too bad.

--sam

--sam

#3 Newsforge

by jonik

Friday April 26th, 2002 6:01 AM

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Linuxplanet article is crap, but this is pretty good one:

<http://newsforge.com/news…ge/02/04/25/1512214.shtml>

#5 Yep! Much better.

by leafdigital

Friday April 26th, 2002 7:21 AM

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That article only appears to refer to 0.9.8, not the new 1.0rc1 - but it is indeed much better written. Thanks.

It definitely looks like a consensus is beginning to emerge about Mozilla's killer features: they are tabbed browsing (which I don't use but fair enough, everyone else likes it) and turning off popups.

Which begs an interesting question - is Netscape 6.5 (or whatever) going to include the popup disabling features? Given that Netscape/AOL presumably still make some money from online advertising, this would be interesting if they are included... but then, if they are omitted, that would be losing one of the product's two killer features (and probably the more important one).

--sam

#7 Re: Yep! Much better.

by johnlar <johnlar@tfn.net>

Friday April 26th, 2002 9:17 AM

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Have you tried setting middle mouse button to open new tab, and to open tabs in background. hmm yummy.

#4 Another review - newsforge

by Salsaman

Friday April 26th, 2002 6:49 AM

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#6 LOL

by Kovu <Kovu401@netscape.net>

Friday April 26th, 2002 7:36 AM

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Seems the morons at CNET can't read the README file, where we point to IRC channels, where you CAN get support. Idiots.

#24 Re: LOL

by zreo2 <aa@globecom.se>

Monday April 29th, 2002 4:39 AM

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Go to IRC channels for support. Get real! You can not call that support for the common user.

Im pretty sure that the author means a phononumber or something to a Helpdesk / support center.

#25 Re: Re: LOL

by Dobbins

Monday April 29th, 2002 10:09 AM

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"Go to IRC channels for support. Get real! You can not call that support for the common user.

Im pretty sure that the author means a phononumber or something to a Helpdesk / support center."

Mozilla isn't for the "common user". Helpdesks with phone numbers are the responsibility of developers like Netscape who use Mozilla to create a product for end users.

#34 Nobody offers that kind of support

by GreyPoopon

Tuesday April 30th, 2002 8:26 AM

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> Im pretty sure that the author means a phononumber or something to a Helpdesk / support center.

Ah, let's take a look at Mozilla competitors. Since IE is installed with Windows, I think you're allowed one or two support calls for a short period of time to help with problems related to the installation. If it's past that time period or you downloaded it, you get to PAY extra for support. How about Opera? All I see are online FAQs and electronic board based support. At least IRC is realtime, and it's FREE. An electronic board might not be a bad addition for Mozilla, although I'm sure there's already something like that somewhere.

While I'm sure everybody would like a phone number to call, that option disappeared back when IE pushed Netscape out of the market. If you want this kind of support, you're going to have to pay somebody for it.

#37 Not true

by livingdots

Thursday May 2nd, 2002 7:58 PM

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> How about Opera? All I see are online FAQs and electronic board based support.

Ha! Honestly, that's not really fair, is it? Opera's knowledge base <http://www.opera.com/support/> -- accessible to everyone -- is without a doubt more than a just a collection of answers to frequently asked questions.

> At least IRC is realtime, and it's FREE.

Whatever. A visit to Opera's newsgroups <news://news.opera.com/> is also free; the ppl there are always quick to help those who have questions or want advise. In addition, registered users have access to an on-line help-desk for an unlimited time period.

#8 Gotta love that URL box

by theuiguy

Friday April 26th, 2002 9:38 AM

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#9 Interesting article...

by macpeep

Friday April 26th, 2002 10:28 AM

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#10 Re: feedback from ex-Netscape Lou Montulli

by macpeep

Friday April 26th, 2002 10:30 AM

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#28 suggestion

by jaBernet <jaBernet@gmx.ch>

Monday April 29th, 2002 1:47 PM

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I hope I post this on the right site! I'd like to post a suggestion for mozilla. The idea was that there are two options in moz to open a new site: 1) as tab 2) as window. So why not make this automatically, by opening all sites which have same domain-name in one window, as tabs. So you have just one window for every domain, and inside this window you have to specific sites for this domain. Think this could be implemented quite easily, as an option you can check in the preferences.

#32 Think composer

by PaulB <pbergsag@home.com>

Monday April 29th, 2002 7:06 PM

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the main reason the HTML editor (Composer is there is that the email (Mail and Newsgroups) shares the code everytime an email is composed. As it stands I am happy having a browser suite. Many persons do not want to be limited to Microsoft's email programs which carry various security risks and want a viable alternative. Mozilla/Netscape Mail IS a viable alternative.

As for Composer: I firmly believe we do need composer. You may claim there is Dreamweaver and products from Adobe to develope sites in a WYSIWYG manner. But at the low end of the market for web developement, the same market Frontpage is developed for, there is no alternative to Microsft's Frontpage. Frontpage has so many proprietary quirks and really only produces sites fully compatible with IE, and downgraded for other browsers. We need an alternative for Frontpage. Composer is a start in a viable alternative. There are good tools for Web developers (Java and Javascript consoles, Java Debugger, DOM Inspector). Composer is on tool for developers. At present Composer is immature. But it will mature. It may never rival Dreamweaver, but I derfinitely see it eventually see it rivaling Frontpage, and Composer will have one advantage(it will follow w3c standards). Eventually I envision composer beging mature enough that Wed developers, when that need to perform a quick edit for a site and do not have access to a high end program, could use Composer.

We need all parts of the browser suite.

#11 Re: Interesting article...

by asa <asa@mozilla.org>

Friday April 26th, 2002 10:40 AM

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WOW! You sure are on top of current events. I'm amazed. Here I was thinking that I was as up to date on mozilla news as anyone and then you come along and best me and everyone else with the latest-breaking story on the web. I'm so impressed that you were able scoop all the other newshounds with an article more than two years old. You got skilz, macpeep. Your unique talent for locating current and relevant information is to be admired.

--Asa

#12 Re: Re: Interesting article...

by macpeep

Friday April 26th, 2002 10:55 AM

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Dude, I was just looking for articles about refactoring object oriented code and I ran into it. I didn't make any claims that it was recent. I think you need to lighten up a little. Did you read the article and Lou Montullis comments? What are your opinions on it?

#15 Hmm

by johnlar <johnlar@tfn.net>

Friday April 26th, 2002 1:33 PM

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Ok I'm not asa, but wanted to give my opinions (realize I read this article a few months ago, didn't re-read it, so details are a bit sketchy) The guy is taking a look at netscape 6.0 and basically saying. What a peice of crap, (it was) they could have done much better had they used the old code (they could have). But then you stop and look at the current mozilla, take a gander at the XUL specs, and see whats available at mozdev and ask yourself. Would any of this been possible with the old code? NO The guy was talking from the viewpoint that they simply were writting a browser. Thats not at all what mozilla is. Mozilla is a cross-platform API to create just about any network centric application you can image. From old school telnet applcations, to IM clients, you name it. Currently this area is still being investigated, and honestly the XUL spec is still going to be expanded to include more possibilites. But mozilla is not just a browser (ok maybe I should be talking about gecko, and not mozilla, but whatever.) But in order to create an entire new type of application, which is what gecko is, you have to start from scratch. Oh sure, much of the networking code and rendering code from netscape probably could have been reused, and I hope it was, I personally don't know though. But it was a very brave move to start on this path, and it looks like it will pay off, we just have to wait and see.

#16 Re: Hmm

by macpeep

Friday April 26th, 2002 3:10 PM

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"The guy is taking a look at netscape 6.0 and basically saying. What a peice of crap, (it was) they could have done much better had they used the old code (they could have). "

Well, no.. not really. He wasn't talking about Netscape / Mozilla in particular but about refactoring vs. rewriting in general. Mozilla was merely used as an example where rewriting has caused a lot of damage business wise - causing a long period of time where Netscape was not able to produce new features in a release version of a product. Rather than rewriting everything, he suggests that a controlled refactoring is a more efficient way of getting the code back in shape.

I don't really have a strong opinion one way or the other but I find the topic very interesting, which is why I came across the article. I wasn't actually looking for articles on Mozilla or Netscape. I was hoping someone here could provide some insight on it, since Lou Montulli seemed to agree with the writer.

By the way, at what point became Mozilla's mission to create a platform for network centric applications rather than be a web browser? At least when the source code was initially released, I seem to recall it was definitely only about being a browser and perhaps an email client too, if license issues with Collabra (and possibly others) could be worked out.

#17 rewriting Moz from scratch vs keeping the old code

by JayeshSh <JayeshSh@netscape.net>

Saturday April 27th, 2002 7:16 AM

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This is something I have been thinking a lot about too. I think the article that macpeep mentioned was well written, although I don't have enough real-world experience with (large) software projects such as Netscape or Mozilla to be 100% sure whether he is wrong or right.

The author does make a good point, in pointing out that it is sometimes more attractive (for software developers) to create something new that is your own, rather than work on what someone else's creation.

I have often thought about whether the world would be different today if work on the "old" / classic / 4.x codebase had taken center-stage instead of Mozilla/NGLayout/ Gecko. Looking at abandoned creations such as Aurora ( <http://www.netscape.com/c…icator/future/aurora.html> ) and Grendel (<http://www.mozillazine.org/screenshots/older.html> , scroll down to the bottom of this page ), I wonder how the world today could have been different if somehow fate had willed Netscape's future differently.

Even if Netscape *had* decided to continue on with its old source code, and produce 4.x generation browsers until 2000 or so, it is unclear if it would have been more successful against Microsoft's onslaught. Microsoft's merging Internet Explorer inseparably into Windows certainly caused Netscape to lose marketshare; whether this loss of market share could have been stopped or slowed based on Netscape's preserving (or changing) its internal product code remains unclear. (We all know Bill Gates likes to win, and whether that desire is inherently evil is another question, which should be addressed separately.)

Another issue is measuring a product's worth by its market share or press coverage. In my article "Mozilla's Silent Revolution: Why Mozilla has revolutionized the browsing experience (yet has not made it to the front page of the New York Times)" [ <http://www.vorstrasse91.c…_revolution.html#article1> ] I argue that whether or not the press stands up and applauds Mozilla's usefulness or greatness, the Mozilla project has still produced something of value.

This is because Mozilla has achieved unprecedented things through an unprecedented model of development for an "established" / "monolithic" program/company: a cross-platform , embeddible browser, with a front end crafted out of XML, JavaScript and CSS, most of which would have been hard to accomplish with the old base. What this means for the average user is another question though. For Mozilla's creators, the hardest question to answer is whether all this rewriting means something to grandmothers using computers for the first time to email their grandchildren, or students using a browser for research on a paper.

Wherever the "real" truth of the matter lies (in whether dumping the old code was the right decision or not), I remain convinced that the Mozilla we have today was not a waste of time. This is because the project has produced a working product through an open community, both of considerable value. The important thing, however, is to keep that community open: to new ideas, self reflection and criticism, and the capacity to look back and say "that's what we did wrong" or "that's what we did right."

#23 Bias

by grahams

Sunday April 28th, 2002 11:08 AM

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"Well, no.. not really. He wasn't talking about Netscape / Mozilla in particular but about refactoring vs. rewriting in general. Mozilla was merely used as an example where rewriting has caused a lot of damage business wise "

The problem with this joker's article is that he cites DBase for Windows and Quattro as failures, but he has no real metric as to successes of rewriting. That's because most companies don't do it in the open, so they rewrite parts of their product, or the whole thing, but the general public never hears of it.

My personal opinion: Rewriting is a very risky proposition, and should be approached with much trepidation... That said, sometimes it is the most efficient way to go. I have worked on software projects where a rewrite produced much better results, and also projects where the rewrite failed miserably... To lay down an edict such as "Things you should never do", well that is just ignorant.

#18 Re: Interesting article...

by Dobbins

Saturday April 27th, 2002 8:57 AM

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Amusing... and out of touch with reality.

"The last major release, version 4.0, was released almost three years ago. Three years is an awfully long time in the Internet world. During this time, Netscape sat by, helplessly, as their market share plummeted."

Yes Netscape's market share fell between 1997 and 2000 when the article was written, but Mr Spolsky conviently ignores the number one reason the market share fell, Microsoft's preditory tatics. Best to ignore that because it didn't mesh with his goal of showing the rewrite of the code base as the root of all of Netscape's problems.

The truth is Netscape's market share was allready falling when the decession to do a rewrite was made. IE reached a rough parity with Netscape when both browsers were at the 4.0 level. The average user allready had IE, and there was little reason to download Netscape when it didn't have a substancial advantage over IE. People who allready had Netscape might upgrade to the new version, but IE captured most of the new users, at a time when the internet was undergrowing explosive growth, simply by allready being there. There is no reason to think that a Netscape 5.0 based on the old code based would have had the advantages over IE that would have caused most of these users to download it.

Without the rewrite we might have had a Netscape 5 and Mozilla 1 two years ago but it wouldn't have been good enough to stop IE from achieving the dominant postion it held by 2000. We might be looking at Mozilla 2.0 rc1 now instead of Mozilla 1.0 rc1, but I doubt it would be nearly as good as the present Mozilla without the Gecko engine, and all the other improvements that resulted from the rewrite. I doubt that the real Mozilla will be good enough to persude most of the IE users to switch, let alone a mythical Mozilla 2.0 that likely would have been inferior to the real Mozilla, so we would still have the same market share problems.

The rewritten Mozilla does have one thing that a Mozilla based on the old code never could have had, the ability to extend the code base, and That ability to intergrate third party aps into the browser is the big advantage that COULD cause Mozilla based browsers to become an attractive alternative to IE, one that could get the Windows users to switch in numbers. Until that switch happens, IE will continue dominate the web regardless of which code base Mozilla used.

The Third Party Aps made possible by the rewrite are the key to Mozilla's future. They are what it will take to get Windows users off IE.

#19 Re: Re: Interesting article...

by macpeep

Saturday April 27th, 2002 9:33 AM

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"Yes Netscape's market share fell between 1997 and 2000 when the article was written, but Mr Spolsky conviently ignores the number one reason the market share fell, Microsoft's preditory tatics. Best to ignore that because it didn't mesh with his goal of showing the rewrite of the code base as the root of all of Netscape's problems. "

The article was not about Netscape's market share. The article was about refactoring vs. rewriting. The plummeting market share over a three year period DURING THE REWRITE was mentioned simply to show that rewriting an application rather than doing stepwise refactoring leaves a company vulnerable since it's impossible to ship new features during the rewrite.

Nobody is saying Mozilla didn't turn out / isn't turning out to be a great piece of software.

#20 Re: Re: Re: Interesting article...

by Dobbins

Saturday April 27th, 2002 10:56 AM

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"The article was not about Netscape's market share. The article was about refactoring vs. rewriting. The plummeting market share over a three year period DURING THE REWRITE was mentioned simply to show that rewriting an application rather than doing stepwise refactoring leaves a company vulnerable since it's impossible to ship new features during the rewrite."

Netscape decided to release the code in January of 1998, with the code becoming public on March 31.1998. It was roughly another 6 months before the decession to do a rewrite was made in the early fall of 1998, around two years not three years before Netscape 6.0 was released.

IF, they had decided to refactor rather than rewrite at least another 6 months would have been required to get the code into reasonable shape and remove bugs introduced during the refactoring process. THEN large portions of it would have had to be rewritten anyway because the code that was released in 1998 wasn't a complete software package. Large parts of Netscape 4.0 were third party code that was licensed by Netscape, not owned by Netscape. These sections had to be rewritten anyway to have a fully open product.

IF the resources existed to maintain the old code AND work on the new code, we could have gotten an inferior version of Mozilla 1.0 sooner, and been looking at this release as Mozilla 2.0, but since the resources did NOT exist (Thanks to Netscape having their "air supply cut off") trying to work on two code bases with limited resources would have delayed the Gecko version of Mozilla even more.

Refactoring might have some advantages when you have to ship a product to maintain market share, but it dosen't apply here. Netscape was going to continue to lose share even if Netscape 5.0 had shipped the same day the decession to do a rewrite had been reached.

Beyond time constraints imposed by a need to maintain market share there is NO advantage to refactoring any many disadvantages. Look at all the problems legacy code has caused in Windows. Look at the Y2K mess we went through a couple of years ago. These problems were a direct result of having to refactor old code rather than rewritting the codebase because of market considerations.

IF you are so certain it was a mistake then you are more than welcome to pick up the old code base and refactor it as a starting point for your own project.

<http://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla/source/>

#21 Re: Re: Re: Re: Interesting article...

by macpeep

Saturday April 27th, 2002 12:49 PM

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"Beyond time constraints imposed by a need to maintain market share there is NO advantage to refactoring any many disadvantages."

Really? So whenever there's a problem in a program, one should rewrite the whole thing? Interesting approach...

"IF you are so certain it was a mistake then you are more than welcome to pick up the old code base and refactor it as a starting point for your own project."

I never said I'm certain it was a mistake. In fact in this very thread I state that I'm not sure at all which strategy (rewrite vs. refactoring) would have been better. I just found the article interesting.

#26 Re: Interesting article...

by xerxes

Monday April 29th, 2002 1:32 PM

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I would argue that including and email client, html editor, irc client, kitchen sink ... etc into the mozilla browser was a far greater mistake than deciding to rewrite the code from scratch. They should have concentrated their efforts on the browser and let all the other projects fall the way of mozdev. Let's face it, who in their right mind is going to use the mozilla html editor to create a site.

#30 Once it matures a little more, I will...

by joschi

Monday April 29th, 2002 6:21 PM

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I'm in love with the DOM Inspector and the JavaScript Debuger, and the JavaScript Console with its linking to the actual line that is causing the error is awsome... so why would i want to use an external editor when I could have all this combined into an awsome web IDE?

#31 Once it matures a little more, I will...

by joschi

Monday April 29th, 2002 6:21 PM

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I'm in love with the DOM Inspector and the JavaScript Debuger, and the JavaScript Console with its linking to the actual line that is causing the error is awsome... so why would i want to use an external editor when I could have all this combined into an awsome web IDE?

#27 Re: Interesting article...

by xerxes

Monday April 29th, 2002 1:32 PM

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I would argue that including and email client, html editor, irc client, kitchen sink ... etc into the mozilla browser was a far greater mistake than deciding to rewrite the code from scratch. They should have concentrated their efforts on the browser and let all the other projects fall the way of mozdev. Let's face it, who in their right mind is going to use the mozilla html editor to create a site.

#33 Re: Re: Interesting article...

by Dobbins

Tuesday April 30th, 2002 3:12 AM

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Chatzilla IS an independant effort that happens to be hosted on Mozilla.org rather than on Mozdev.org.

The HTML editor's target audiance isn't someone intrested in creating a site, it's the average user with little or no HTML skills who's trying to get something on a personal web page.

Anyone who followed the very slow progress of the mail and editor clients will know that they didn't take large ammounts of time away from the browser, and that the outliner developed for the mail client actually improved the browser.

#13 ftp.mozilla.org slowdown....

by ksheka

Friday April 26th, 2002 11:03 AM

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Maybe due to the sudden high demand for the product??? Good or bad, maybe it would be better if the ftp server were to have links to other servers, or maybe if mirror sites were better advertised...

#14 Re: ftp.mozilla.org slowdown....

by macpeep

Friday April 26th, 2002 11:07 AM

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I'm downloading a nightly *right now* and the dialog is showing it to be from ftp34.newaol.com so it definitely looks like the load being shared.

#22 ZDNet Review

by Rufus210

Sunday April 28th, 2002 10:34 AM

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Here is yet an other RC1 review, this time from ZDNet. Quite positive, seems to get most of the stuff right, and really, really likes the fact that "Mozilla is completely free: no fees and no strings attached." You can find the review here: <http://zdnet.com.com/2100-1104-892855.html> Also, what's even cooler, is that I found this from Yahoo's listing of most e-mailed content ( <http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/mt/> ), which means this review is being spread around quite a bit!

#29 Another review from yahoo.com

by thoffman11

Monday April 29th, 2002 5:57 PM

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Kinda missed moz's best features, and had other inaccurate info in general, but still a positive article

<http://story.news.yahoo.c…zd/20020429/tc_zd/5106946>

#35 Re: Another review from yahoo.com

by macpeep

Wednesday May 1st, 2002 11:56 PM

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Umm, that's the same review as in ZDNet - word for word. :) They just share content.

#36 and

by macpeep

Thursday May 2nd, 2002 12:00 AM

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The ZDNet review, in case you missed it, is the same review as CNet's - they too share content. So it's not really 3 positive reviews on Mozilla but rather one but posted on 3 sites. Still, great that even Mozilla (and not just Netscape versions created FROM Mozilla) get some attention. I just hope that some of the worst UI bugs would get fixed and polished (for example, have you looked closely at the Help window lately?), along with some top crashers and then Netscape would go ahead and release a 7.0 - maybe sometime in June or so.. That's a version I could definitely consider as a replacement for IE6 & NS4.7 (for email).