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.'
#17 rewriting Moz from scratch vs keeping the old code
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.
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."