MozillaZine

Progress and Future of Mozilla the Application Suite

Thursday February 6th, 2003

The latest mozilla.org Status Update is all about the progress and future of the Mozilla application suite. Featuring a summary of the improvements since Mozilla 1.0, the update also details the planned work that will be completed over the next few months and outlines some possibilities for the future.


#69 Let me put it straight....

by prokosch

Sunday February 9th, 2003 11:26 AM

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Disclaimer: I am not a Mozilla developer, and I'm not sure whether I will ever be one. I just follow the project closely since M16 and play an evangelist for all of my friends.

The whole discussion about splitting Mozilla gets on my nerves. I'm of the opinion that Mozilla Suite should definitely be split up - as soon as possible. I am a Linux user and I really like the way Unix programms work - in toolchains. Every chain element is _one_ tool for _one_ task and not surprisingly, many chain elements work almost bug-free for years. As a result - bug-free toolchains, which work great and also give enough frexibility to the user. In theory, Mozilla is also a component-driven system. But in real life something strange happens.

I never talked about Mozilla's bloat, even if it has been there. But now, I almost have to, because I feel that a _suite_ should not be as monolithical as Mozilla is. It need a clear structure badly - with easy installation of components, and most importantly, with their easy deinstallation. It should be split into pieces as small as they can get: to ensure strict borders between them. I still remember a bug (I guess it is still open) in which Composer should be de-bundled from Navigator and couldn't, because text-input widgets used by Navigator have been a part of Composer. It is just not normal, that far too many focus bugs exists. It is just abnormal, that such a suite already includes tons of extensions, including buggy ChatZilla and useless Download Manager, not forgetting about Composer which I hated in Netscape 4.x times already (and it's been 6 years ago!) and more extensions are to go into the total mess - CaScadeS, Calendar, some other crap that can be useful to many people, but hardly to everyone. Clear structure and inter-componental communication is what Mozilla needs. I want to be able to install extensions as a user under Linux!!!

We also have positive examples of separated apps - Phoenix as the first one of them. But what do we see? Code is being checked in and out of trunk to and out of Phoenix, forth and back. Minotaur is not coming yet, mostly because developers are hunting bugs in Mail/News part of tremendous trunk. Separate it! Get it out of the main SeaMonkey trunk, build an extra communication layer so that integrity between Phoenix and Minotaur persists and you again have your suite - but with less bloat!

Someone mentioned people upgrading to Mozilla and not recognizing the suite if it was separated. So what? The Communicator is 6 years old, it's time for a marginal upgrade. I guess it's what GRE is about - so use it. Make a basis like GRE and installable applications on top of it. I prefer Phoenix and Chatzilla and my mom will take Minotaur and MozSolitaire. Netscape can do something really special afterwards - for example adding his beloved AOL Messanger etc. apps.

I hope I sounded not too histerical and could make my point clear. I want Mozilla to succeed, but at this pace I don't see it succeeding, because it's one _big_ green monster-lizard :)

PS: Have you looked at the GRE page in a while? Look at the paragraph named "What's in a GRE?". The list almost killed me. PPS: Apple has already given you a message - KHTML is smaller and easier to integrate. And it does almost everything Gecko does, so go figure. It it's not the time to re-think, when is it then?