Full Article Attached Minutes of the Staff Meeting of Wednesday 19th February 2003

Monday February 24th, 2003

The minutes of the staff meeting of Wednesday 19th February 2003 are now online. Issues discussed include the 1.3 release, plans for 1.4 and 1.5, the Chimera/Camino 0.7 release, having host another tinderbox rewrite and additional developer tools, a research request for Talkback data and the splash screen.

#1 Mozilla as distribution...

by ksheka

Monday February 24th, 2003 8:04 PM

Around a couple weeks ago there was a message that brought up the question of whether Mozilla was a defacto distribution, and, if so, should it have set goals so that the end-user experience improves with successive versions.... ( )

Has there been further thought about this?

It seems that there is a split in how Drivers is acting. On the one hand they're changing the splash screen to one that distributors are more likely to change in their distributions. On the other hand they're worried about what will be one "year after 1.0" (presumably because of how it is interpretted by reviewers and end-users, not how it's interpretted by distributors.)

#3 Re: Mozilla as distribution...

by asa

Monday February 24th, 2003 8:24 PM

"On the other hand they're worried about what will be one "year after 1.0" (presumably because of how it is interpretted by reviewers and end-users, not how it's interpretted by distributors.)"

That's an awful shakey presumption. What leads you to presume that has anything to do with end-users and not, say, distributors or those building on the Mozilla application framework? 1.0, afterall, was "June 5, 2002 -, the organization that coordinates Mozilla open-source development and provides services to assist the Mozilla community, today announced the release of Mozilla 1.0, the first major-version public release of the Mozilla software. A full-fledged browser suite based on the latest Internet standards as well as a cross-platform toolkit, Mozilla 1.0 is targeted at the developer community and enables the creation of Internet-based applications." What suggested that 1.0 plus 1 year should be something radically different?


#4 Re: Re: Mozilla as distribution...

by Bibbl

Monday February 24th, 2003 10:41 PM

404 - You're Lost! ;)

#5 Mozilla *is* a de facto distribution ...

by johann_p

Monday February 24th, 2003 11:46 PM

there is no question about that. Mozilla is obviously being used by more people than Netscape 7.x in some parts of the world, people who not only can do without Netscape's (or other distributor's) "support", but also feel they get more support through the Mozilla community. Several web server logs I have seen show more accesses from various Mozilla versions than Netscape 7.x, let alone other official distributions.

The question is, whether core Mozilla developers will accept that fact, or whether they want to "drive away" end users from using Mozilla. Mozilla is becoming better all the time, new releases with wonderful features make the press every couple of months. This is not the case with most official releases. I really do not see why Mozilla should not be regarded as an "unsupported, as is" end user distro instead of officially being just something for repackagers and distributors. I do not think it would mean much change to the development process really.

#7 Re: Mozilla *is* a de facto distribution ...

by amutch

Tuesday February 25th, 2003 12:18 AM

So what's the big deal then? If nothing is going to change then what does it matter if they call ut a "unsupported, as is" distribution or a developer's distribution? The only reason this "debate" is trying to be started is that some people wants something more from the Mozilla team that they are not getting now. The Mozilla people know this and that this argument is a strawman to divert resources into providing some kind of support that they can't provide. The end result? More time spent supporting end-users and less time spent on development. Now what does that accomplish?

#12 mozilla is a distribution

by jilles

Tuesday February 25th, 2003 6:59 AM

I think the reason mozilla is perceived as a distribution is because it is distributed as a monolithical application (now even with kitchen sink). While at the implementation level everything is properly componentized, at the deployment side it is one big distribution that only leaves users a handful of choices with respect to what to download an not to download.

In terms of quality management, the customization phase such as applied by e.g. Netscape doesn't have much consequences for mozilla. The handful of changes that are made flow back to Mozilla anyway. This is why end users mostly ignore Netscape: Mozilla is usually ahead of Netscape and includes all quality enhancing changes that go into Netscape.

There is a difference between mozilla distributions and linux distributions. Linux distributions pick the fruits of multiple (thousands) of independent OSS and commercial projects. Mozilla bundles the results of the Mozilla project and basically the Mozilla distribution is almost identical to Netscape (ok they add some commercial stuff most people can find on their own if they need it). Obviously, if Mozilla wants to change this, it should focus more on delivering the individual components rather than the bundled result. I don't see why mozilla mail needs to be bundled with mozilla browser. It would be better for each if they evolved separately (see phoenix). Likewise the mozilla platform should evolve separately from the mozilla applications. The deployment phase should consist of selecting stable versions of each component and bundling that rather than wait until each component has evolved enough to warrant a new release, a perfect task for an organization like Netscape.

The whole mozilla 1.0 branch is getting rediculous. Millions of development money go into creating 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, .. and all Netscape uses is Mozilla 1.0 (and most users opt for Mozilla because of that). I am not surprised AOL is in trouble, they burn money like crazy.

#13 Re: mozilla is a distribution

by bzbarsky

Tuesday February 25th, 2003 8:44 AM

> now even with kitchen sink

Um... what are you talking about? (Hint: the kitchen sink patch was not checked in)

#19 Re: mozilla is a distribution

by AlexBishop

Tuesday February 25th, 2003 11:15 AM

"The whole mozilla 1.0 branch is getting rediculous. Millions of development money go into creating 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, .. and all Netscape uses is Mozilla 1.0 (and most users opt for Mozilla because of that)."

Do you really think Netscape would fund development work on the trunk if they didn't plan to use it some day? When Netscape 7.0 was released, the 1.0 branch was still new and no post-1.0 non-alpha/beta releases were available for Netscape to work from (I know Mozilla 1.1 was released a few days before Netscape 7.0 but that was far too close for Netscape to base their 7.0 release on 1.1). Since then we've had two interim upgrades: 7.01 (the whoops-we-really-should-have-included-the-popup-blocker release) and 7.02 (a stability/security update). Netscape's next feature release, Buffy, will be trunk-based.


#21 Buffy...

by PaulB

Tuesday February 25th, 2003 4:59 PM

Will this release be the one to kill all those who will suck the life blood from us ;) .

#22 No

by thelem

Tuesday February 25th, 2003 6:10 PM

Unfortunatly Mike Angelo and Bill Gates will still be around even with Buffy's best efforts. Sorry.

#36 Mozillaquest no more

by bandido

Friday March 14th, 2003 5:37 AM

Well Mike Angelo's Mozillaquest has been down for a few days now. Maybe he is out for good :-) ... Anyway, his site became an advocate for Linux and especially for SCO .OMG, this time he did pick up a great company to report on <sarcasm>

#32 Re: Re: mozilla is a distribution

by TheK

Wednesday February 26th, 2003 2:56 PM

> Do you really think Netscape would fund development work on the trunk if they didn't plan to use it some day? peopple aren't interested in "one day". I just had the problem, that somebody asked for Message-Filteres in Newsgroups (very often requested!)... Now what should I tell him? a) wait until Netscape put's it in" b) "go back to Netscape 4, Outlook or whatever you used before?" or c) "try Mozilla 1.3b"? ..well, I gave them ideas a and c - most decided to follow c.

#8 Re: Mozilla *is* a de facto distribution ...

by bzbarsky

Tuesday February 25th, 2003 12:36 AM

> an "unsupported, as is" end user distro

Is an oxymoron. "end user" implies "support", period. Even if it's just simple things like "fonts don't look right".

We get a number of bug reports like that, and right now they're Mozilla's fault maybe 50% of the time. I'd expect the number of such "bug reports" to increase if we were to aggressively market Mozilla as a distribution.

Which is the other part of this. It does not matter what it's called; what matters is the attitude. If Mozilla is a distribution, the attitude has to change majorly; and as has been pointed out the immediate result would be a decrease in the time spent doing bug triage (more so than fixing bugs, since hopefully anyone actually doing development would just ignore the sudden influx of useless bug reports).

#15 Re: Re: Mozilla *is* a de facto distribution ...

by jsebrech

Tuesday February 25th, 2003 10:13 AM

"end user" implies "support"

Imho, "for developers" implies support too. No matter who your target market is, you're always going to have to provide some kind of support (like a public bug database and a support newsgroup; oh ... wait ... never mind). Well, that is IF you want your product to be used ofcourse.

"I'd expect the number of such "bug reports" to increase if we were to aggressively market Mozilla as a distribution."

Who's asking anyone to market mozilla? All I'm seeing are requests to actually make it pretty and easy to use (i.e. all the UI-related bugs which are currently ignored or WONTFIX'd), which is considerably different from marketing anything. And, btw, if isn't marketing anything, then why is there a chief lizard wrangler?

#16 my point

by amutch

Tuesday February 25th, 2003 10:44 AM

This was my exactly my point. People are advocating for it to be called a distribution because they want something from Mozilla - "make it pretty and easy to use" - that will take time away from development. This is exactly not what Mozilla should be doing and this is precisely why the Mozilla group has stayed away from calling it a distribution. In an ideal world with infinite resources, I wouldn't see any problem with devoting resources to these issues. But with limited resources, there are more important issues to be addressed by Mozilla coders. Let the end-user distributors work out the UI issues.

#26 If people are willing to work on UI issues...

by iapetus

Wednesday February 26th, 2003 11:15 AM

...then let them do so. Why UI polish should be shunned and animated kitchen sinks applauded is beyond me. :p

#28 UI polish

by amutch

Wednesday February 26th, 2003 12:12 PM

Are people objecting to UI polish or to developers being asked to focus on UI polish at the expense of other coding?

#29 Re: If people are willing to work on UI issues...

by bzbarsky

Wednesday February 26th, 2003 1:03 PM

They do. There are about 2 such people. The other 999,998 Mozilla users post whiny rants about how "someone" should fix this, that or the other.

No one is stopping people from working on UI polish, but said UI polish is _not_ a priority for the core XUL toolkit developers, eg, and should not be.

#33 Re: Mozilla *is* a de facto distribution ...

by TheK

Wednesday February 26th, 2003 3:04 PM

an interesting point would be, why they use Mozilla and not Netscape, and maybe if Netscape needs to change something... At first I see there the last-feature-junkies, who doesn't have a problem with crashing onece an hour, but with missing one feature. Second there are people, who hate this AOL-stuff you get with Netscape 7 - or hate everything, which comes from AOL. Also many are stoped by the registration! At least there are the people, who need one feature Netscape doesn't have.

#2 Chimera

by PaulB

Monday February 24th, 2003 8:21 PM

Why didn't they simply call Chimera 95709.

Couldn't you guys come up with a better name?????

Maybe you should go back to the drawing board.

#6 Xenophile!

by jesusX

Tuesday February 25th, 2003 12:08 AM

Camino is one spanish article away from being a butt-ugly car/truck from the 1970's. Xenophile is a cool name idea... or iBrowse :)

#11 Bad idea ;)

by Bibbl

Tuesday February 25th, 2003 3:56 AM

There is an Amiga Browser called iBrowse

#14 Re: Bad idea ;)

by bcortez

Tuesday February 25th, 2003 9:35 AM

Then what about: - uBrowse (you browse) - eBrowse - gBrowse (gee browse or gecko browse) - WebView - iGlass Browser

#17 Re: Chimera

by bzbarsky

Tuesday February 25th, 2003 11:05 AM

How about "The other flamebait" as a browser name?

#9 Chimera Names

by simifilm

Tuesday February 25th, 2003 3:00 AM

Enterprise, Voyager, Cruiser, Webonaut, Gollum, Neelix, Settler...

#10 Re: Chimera Names

by Bibbl

Tuesday February 25th, 2003 3:21 AM

Voyager is a Amiga Browser ;)

#18 They aren't

by googolplex

Tuesday February 25th, 2003 11:05 AM

They aren't taking ideas.

#20 Mozilla love

by morg

Tuesday February 25th, 2003 11:23 AM

Let's look at the facts. First, Mozilla is one hell of software program. A lot of people, including a lot of really smart folks, think that Mozilla is already the best browser yet made. On top of that, there are lots of talented folks working on making it even better. If you get a lot of Bugmail, like I do, I'm sure you'll agree with me that there are many, many people working on Mozilla who are just astounding in not just their technical expertise, but also in their creative mindsets.

The committment to quality that the Mozilla Community has is, I think, what we can be most proud of. You know, not all of us are getting paid, or getting paid enough, but we really care. You can't say that about the competition, or even many other programs. Sure, there are little things to nitpick at, but those things are getting fixed. The pace for fixing every single little bug is not that of a sprinter, but then, we are not running a 50 meter dash; we are running a marathon.

One great thing about the Mozilla Project is that we are helping to stitch up the fractured web. W'ere transforming the tired old warhorse into a sleek and elegant thoroughbred. It's a beautiful thing to see so many well-designed and recently designed sites based on standards out there, and more every day. The true potential for new technologies like XML and all the rest simply could not be contemplated without the Mozilla Project pushing the envelope farther, as we do every day.

So let's keep all this in mind as we discuss big questions, like "distribution or platform." Yes, it's an important question that needs to be considered. The great part about it is, we're choosing between a fabulous array of riches on the one hand, and another fabulous array of riches on the other. This is a good problem to have.

Finally, I just want to say that 1.3 is going to rock.

#23 The New Splash Screen

by Lancer

Wednesday February 26th, 2003 4:12 AM

I believe the new splash screen, , is boring.

this one should be the new splash screen,

#24 Re: The New Splash Screen

by Bibbl

Wednesday February 26th, 2003 4:31 AM


#35 how about no splash screen at all?

by thoffman11

Monday March 3rd, 2003 2:10 PM

Splash screens add nothing to "this software loads so slow that we're going to show you a nice picture in the meantime"

#34 Re: The New Splash Screen

by CaptnMArk

Thursday February 27th, 2003 7:50 AM

This is almost good. Only a 100% transparent window would be better.

#25 Downloadable fonts: Not even on the radar screen?

by greening

Wednesday February 26th, 2003 10:57 AM

It's strange to me that there are many bug reports about lack of CSS2 downloadable font support in Mozilla--some people want it for language support, some people want it just for beautiful web sites--but downloadable fonts never seem to be on the radar screen for Mozilla development. Some high-end sites, like NYT, have to stick with IE if they want to control fonts.

Am I missing something, like does Mozilla have some sort of downloadable font functions I'm not aware of, am I in some obscure minority of people who want something irrelevant, or is this a serious issue being avoided?

#27 Re: Downloadable fonts: Not even on the radar scre

by WillyWonka

Wednesday February 26th, 2003 11:32 AM

The problem (as I understand it) is the file format. What format should be used. Fonts have licenses (They are works of art to the people who made them) and the owners of those fonts want money for their hard work. True Type fonts can be copied around without any problems. So two companies came up with some solutions back in the nav 4 days. Microsoft and Bitstream. Microsoft's weft I believe had some security issues (I may be wrong) and bitstreams worked. In Nav4 though the bitstream code was owned by them, so when it was open sourced, it got removed.

Last I heard was that bitstream was going to release the specs for the file format, but I don't know what has happened since then. I'd also really like to see it happen though, but I have no money to offer someone who could program it so I'll just wait another couple years and use images for areas that need specific fonts.

#30 Re: Re: Downloadable fonts: Not even on the radar

by FattMattP

Wednesday February 26th, 2003 1:54 PM

The licenses are irrelevant. Images have copyright and we allow those to be downloaded and displayed. It's up to the web page creator to make sure they have the appropriate permissions to distribute any data that they make available. The parent poster is talking about the CSS @font-face command which is part of the standard. See for more information. The spec states that the user-agent should not make the font available to any other applications. True Type is probably a safe bet for transfering fonts as most OSs will support them.

#31 Re: Re: Re: Downloadable fonts: Not even on the ra

by bzbarsky

Wednesday February 26th, 2003 2:16 PM

> The spec states that the user-agent should not make the font available to any other applications

This is highly nontrivial to do on X, eg, where font handling is completely server-side.

The licenses are relevant if the font _formats_ themselves are not disclosed (which is the point that the parent poster was trying to make; that is the current state of things with all the "downloadable font" stuff out there, as I understand it. Sure, we could support yet _another_ downloadable font format, but who'd use it given the existing ones?).