Jazilla Milestone 1 Released

Saturday May 24th, 2003

Slashdot is reporting that Jazilla Milestone 1 has been released. The Jazilla project aims to rewrite Mozilla in Java. It started shortly after the release of the Netscape Communicator 5.0 source code in 1998 but development petered out in 2000. It was revived by Mathew McBride last year has been completely rewritten to follow a more Mozilla-like architecture (Jazilla Classic was closer to the old Netscape Communicator).

This isn't the first time that a Java rewrite of Mozilla/Netscape has been attempted. Back in 1997, Netscape and its partners began the Javagator project to rewrite Communicator in Java. The effort — officially codenamed Xena or Maui depending on who you asked — stalled and was finally cancelled in the Summer of 1998. Only the source code of Grendel, the mail/news component of Javagator, was ever released as open source.

Jazilla Milestone 1 is currently alpha software. It can be downloaded from SourceForge as a tarball compressed using bzip2.

#1 better?

by morg

Saturday May 24th, 2003 6:31 PM

I assume this is Java code compiled for specific platforms so that the user can just run it as a stand alone executable. I wonder if this won't eventually lead to a superior browser, since you'll have built-in garbage collection and all the other protections inherent to Java.

#3 Re: better?

by mlefevre

Saturday May 24th, 2003 7:09 PM

why would you assume that? this is platform independent Java - it's a bunch of java .class files, so you need to run them in a suitable environment. there's a readme file that tells you how to do it, and a batch file which works ok on Windows (assuming you have the Java VM installed).

the browser has got a long way to go - the current version doesn't seem to support frames, tables, CSS or javascript, and is very slow. it's kind of like stepping back in time 10 years and using Mosaic, only with less features... :)

#6 Re: better?

by minh

Saturday May 24th, 2003 10:02 PM

Isn't this just reinventing the wheel? Mozilla is already cross platform. Also, JAVA does not us native widgets, that's why I like Mozilla/Firebird.

#9 Re: Re: better?

by hobbes78

Sunday May 25th, 2003 12:45 PM

I don't know about Mozilla/Firebird, but at least the most recent version of Netscape just has the Open File and the combo boxes native; and the later ones, only when expanded. And since Mozilla, Firebird and Netscape use XUL, I guess none of them uses native widgets...

#12 Re: Re: Re: better?

by AlexBishop

Sunday May 25th, 2003 5:52 PM

"I don't know about Mozilla/Firebird, but at least the most recent version of Netscape just has the Open File and the combo boxes native; and the later ones, only when expanded. And since Mozilla, Firebird and Netscape use XUL, I guess none of them uses native widgets..."

XUL doesn't use native widgets - however, the nsITheme interface can be used to present an appearance that looks more similar to the current operating system look on Windows, GTK+ and Mac OS X. The Mozilla Application Suite Classic theme does this, as does the default Mozilla Firebird theme.

The Open File dialogue (and a few other dialogues) are native on most systems except Linux, where Mozilla rolls its own. I think the native appearance of the combo box widgets is achieved through nsITheme.

Java's Swing has a variety of look-and-feels available, so you can make Swing apps look somewhat native. Jazilla uses a fork of the jXUL API but has the appearance of Swing's default Metal look-and-feel.


#14 Re: Re: better?

by Kent

Monday May 26th, 2003 1:06 AM

"Also, JAVA does not us native widgets"

Well have you tried UIManager.setLookAndFeel(UIManager.getSystemLookAndFeelClassName())? I believe support for Windows XP was added in the 1.4.2 release.

#21 Re: Re: Re: better?

by bratell

Tuesday May 27th, 2003 11:34 AM

Java Swing simulates native UI. It's not the real thing. Kind of like XUL with a native theme. The XP support in 1.4.2 is code to simulate the XP look.

#2 This is evil.

by Lancer

Saturday May 24th, 2003 6:38 PM


#4 XUL Motors in Java Abound

by geraldb

Saturday May 24th, 2003 8:47 PM

Great news. There are many more XUL motors aside from Jazilla in Java. My very own is called Luxilla and is part of the Luxor XUL toolkit online @

I also try to catch all XUL (XML UI) motors/browsers/runtimes out there in the Richmond Post XUL Link-opida online @

#5 What version of the chrome...

by unclebob

Saturday May 24th, 2003 9:57 PM

and how heavily modified is it?

#7 Screenshots

by gemal

Sunday May 25th, 2003 5:19 AM

I've posted some screenshots at:

#8 Can't wait...

by Galik

Sunday May 25th, 2003 8:37 AM

...for Jazilla Jirebird and Jazilla Junderbird!

#10 but...

by GAThrawn

Sunday May 25th, 2003 2:46 PM

But it's Jazilla Jailbird that'll end up getting them in trouble!

#11 Re: but...

by Galik

Sunday May 25th, 2003 4:16 PM

Heh. That must be the one that incorporates code from SCO Unixware right?

#15 Re: Re: but...

by GAThrawn

Monday May 26th, 2003 3:43 PM

As well as sharing the name with the (now apparently defunct but bound to have some militant supporters somewhere on slashdot) Jailbird open source, .Net based, game engine:

#13 Great News for Mac OS 9 !!!

by PaulB

Sunday May 25th, 2003 6:57 PM

Hopefully this java version will allow Mac OS 9 users to continue using newer versions of Mozilla. I am using OS X so do not have to worry. There was a real outcry when development was discontinued for the Mac on OS versions older than OS X. This will be good news for users of OS 9 (and other OSs where Mozilla development has been discontinued).


#16 Re: They'regoing tgo be waiting a while

by GAThrawn

Monday May 26th, 2003 3:46 PM

Whilst this is definitely a positive sign, and definitely a great achievement, Jazilla is currently now where near as complete or functional as the last official version of Mozilla for OS 9 (Moz 1.2 I think?)

#18 Re: Great News for Mac OS 9 !!!

by leafdigital

Tuesday May 27th, 2003 4:42 AM

Um, I thought Java didn't really work ('real' Java 1.3+) on Mac OS 9? At least, not without proprietary (non-Apple non-Sun) add-ons.

There is great support for java in OS X but I thought OS 9 was an utterly useless java platform...

I could be wrong, of course.


#17 Whatever

by Tanyel

Monday May 26th, 2003 11:06 PM

What is the purpose of using Java to make Mozilla?

#19 Java needs a browser

by leafdigital

Tuesday May 27th, 2003 4:46 AM

Well, there isn't a decent, free browser available in Java, so those of us who develop in the Java platform could definitely use a browser for those cases when browser integration becomes necessary. (*I* want one. I'm using a horrible hack to access Internet Explorer through ActiveX, which is nasty and platform-dependent but at least a proper browser that users have installed and that correctly renders most HTML: I haven't decided what to do on Mac OS X yet, or Linux if we support that, but it will probably suck.)

Of course this particular project is nowhere near a decent, free browser, but it's got to start somewhere I suppose. That said I don't have much confidence in this project. Sorry, but it just looks a bit mickey-mouse to me.

Oh, and I don't see any particular point to imitating Mozilla, unless it's to get publicity.


#20 Re: Java needs a browser

by Galik

Tuesday May 27th, 2003 5:02 AM

Couldn't you wrap the gecko imbedded component with a little jni while you're waiting for jazilla? That would be much more cross-platform. You might find someone has already done the wrapping somewhere. It's worth having a look around.

#23 Re: Java needs a browser

by Tanyel

Tuesday May 27th, 2003 11:15 PM

I was told there is already an HTML viewer in Java.

#24 Re: Java needs a browser

by TimHunt

Wednesday May 28th, 2003 9:05 AM

"I was told there is already an HTML viewer in Java."

Yes, but it sucks quite badly.

A good, standard compliant HTML + CSS renderer for Java is sorely needed.


#25 Re: Re: Java needs a browser

by Tanyel

Wednesday May 28th, 2003 10:59 PM

I think it would be more practical to try to port KHTML to Java. It is probably less complex.

#22 MonBidoux

by offmdan

Tuesday May 27th, 2003 5:50 PM

I don't know about you folks, but I can't seem to be able to download Jazilla from any of the possible locations. It would be fun to test drive!