'The Guardian' Recommends Mozilla Firebird/Thunderbird, Criticises Mozilla Development Decisions

Thursday July 10th, 2003

Ian Deeley and A Wood both wrote in to tell us that today's edition of The Guardian, the UK broadsheet newspaper, features a column by Jack Schofield that recommends Mozilla Firebird and Mozilla Thunderbird. The article states that "Mozilla's Firebird browser and Thunderbird standalone mail software could make Microsoft's offerings look very shabby indeed." The bulk of the rest of the feature critically examines Netscape's and's browser development decisions (it is particularly damning of the team's cross-platform aspirations) and discusses Microsoft's plans to abandon development of the standalone version of Internet Explorer. Readers of the print edition of The Guardian can find the column on page 22 of the Life/Online supplement.

#22 Re: Should Netscape have abandoned its code?

by Tayto <>

Friday July 11th, 2003 6:00 AM

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I think there were three major differences in the change to the new code. There was nglayout itself (aka gecko). There was XUL. And there was XPCOM.

nglayout (I think) was a prerequisite for any new version; people wanted the rendering engine to be able to do all the DHTML/CSS that IE could do, and more, and be standards-compliant at the same time.

There was a big debate at the time as to whether native code or XUL was the way to go. Netscape said that they didn't have the resources to maintain native code for all the platforms then supported. A tactical decision was made that XUL would allow Mozilla to run on more platforms. I'm not sure how correct this decision was, but XUL is certainly a useful technology now (4 years+ later).

And XPCOM. Well here I think one of the main reasons to include this was to make almost everything scriptable. A laudable notion.

Anyway, all three were done at once (the "big bang" model). Should they have made the changes one at a time (starting with nglayout)? I might say "Yes" with hindsight, but at the time I was quite enthused about the changes that were going to be made :-)

(I think what I said above is roughly correct, but I was just another bystander).