Major Roadmap Update Centers Around Phoenix, Thunderbird; 1.4 Branch to Replace 1.0; Changes Planned for Module Ownership Model
Wednesday April 2nd, 2003
In the most radical change to the Mozilla project since the late 1998 decision to rewrite much of the code, mozilla.org today announced a major new roadmap proposal that will see Phoenix and Thunderbird (also known as Minotaur) becoming the focus of future development. According to the roadmap, 1.4 is likely to be the last milestone of the traditional Mozilla suite and the 1.4 branch will replace the 1.0 branch as the stable development path. mozilla.org is also proposing changes to the module ownership model including a move towards stronger leadership and the removal of mandatory super-review in some cases. Please click the Full Article link to read the full analysis.
#94 Thoughts about extensions and functionality
Thursday April 3rd, 2003 5:10 AM
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I wrote this to drivers, but I'd like to share it here as a kind of request for comments:
The recent announcement of upcoming changes has disquieted quite a number of Mozilla "semi-developers" (and maybe developers and users as well) up to a point when they doubted each others contribution to the Mozilla project on IRC (#mozillazine). The main fear of this group of people seems to be that the new product will have less of the functionality they like about Mozilla. This may be functionality average users do not need and that should therefore not be in the new main product by default.
But as opposed to what some on irc.mozilla.org said the unpaid developers (even "semi-developers") _are_ important in an Open Source project - especially here where the future of funding by Netscape may not be secured for many years. And you know very well that in Open Source people work mainly on products they use themselves. So it should be important that the new product will also please developers.
The announcement seems to place the advanced functionality they like to some kind of extensions. But hopefully not extensions as on mozdev.org: those are "too far away" from Mozilla to be considered a part of it. They are just like third party addons for IE. If you really look for them, you find them, but if you meet another user with similar interest, he probably never has heard of them.
So this my proposal (or "petition", whatever) is about _mozilla.org_ hosting and developing at least some core extensions and distributing them close to the product. The vision I have is having in the default Mozilla installer also those advanced extensions listed for those interested. They may be hidden deep inside some hierarchy, as long as they are accessible. This way they would be considered part of the product and nobody could really say that his beloved Mozilla had lost what made it strong. End-users may simply click "default install" and get whatever is considered good for them. They may click "advanced" to install some more or less components (as chatzilla) - only when they go into each's details they would have the choice for some advanced extensions.
Actually this is how most big application suites' installer works: they give much more choice for those interested (e.g. in graphics suites you can select which import filters out of dozens you want to install) while still offering the ease of use for "regular" users by giving reasonable defaults. Why should Mozilla not have such a more powerful installer?
(An equivalent in zip files might be a default zip file and one with all extensions (Netscape offered "base install" and "complete install" earlier).)
And if such an installer could even be used to install single extensions later that were initially not installed - that would just be great!
But my main plea is simple: Please do not kill Mozilla functionality by moving it to mozdev.org or elsewhere, but help development and public perception of at least the most important extensions by offering a place at mozilla.org, supporting it officially and making it possible to install it with the application itself. Thanks.