Full Article Attached 1.0 Branch Created for Mozilla Firefox and Mozilla Thunderbird

Friday May 21st, 2004

A new branch has been created for Mozilla Firefox and Mozilla Thunderbird. The new branch, forked from the existing 1.7 branch, will be used for all future milestone releases of Firefox and Thunderbird until the 1.0 versions. Read the full article for more details from Benjamin Smedberg.

#1 Reply

by Racer

Friday May 21st, 2004 12:20 PM

How about "stormy"?

#2 Re: Reply


Friday May 21st, 2004 2:12 PM

Stormy Waters?

#3 .....

by zookqvalem

Friday May 21st, 2004 3:04 PM

Nice! This will help Firefox and Thunderbird to make lots of changes, independently of hte Mozilla trunk. However, I hope that some future work would still be helped with on the Mozilla trunk for some important things like features and bug fix, etc.

#4 foobar

by Butters

Friday May 21st, 2004 4:04 PM

What is the point? All the important bugs and features have already been excluded from the 1.0 releases. They might as well just stop developing now. Nothing useful ever gets done.

#5 Re: foobar

by aldo_

Friday May 21st, 2004 5:27 PM

Well I wouldn't be as extreme as that, but the amount of feature slip and release date slip that goes on in FireFox is phonomenial.

I don't think a release has ever been within 1 month of the release date. Not only that, the project rebrands itself so many times they basically start from scratch with the roadmap.

0.9 was originally scheduled for March/April, now Late may and it's going to slip into Early june.

While I love the project, I don't think they should even bother with roadmaps if they don't stick anywhere close to them.

One final thing: why the hell is work still going on in SeaMonkey? I doubt that is used very much anymore and with it being EOLed soon, there is a stupid amount of work that will more or less be wasted.

#6 Re: foobar

by Slakky

Friday May 21st, 2004 5:50 PM

You mean to say it's shaping up like the real Mozilla?

#7 Re: Re: foobar

by mlefevre

Friday May 21st, 2004 6:31 PM

With the roadmaps and dates, you have something of a point, but it's just a matter of interpretation. They set optimistic dates and then miss them - is that so much worse than setting pessimistic dates and then being early? The problem is that people take a vague guesstimate of a date and treat it as if it was a deadline. If it was me, I'd take people's expectations into account and allow extra time for things - who's going to complain if something is early?

And with Seamonkey - there isn't really a lot of work going on there. Looking at 1.8alpha1 release notes, the only Seamonkey-specific things I can see there are FTP upload UI (where it's mentioned in the bug that the work is a useful base for other things in future), improved keyboard accessibility in a couple of places, and a confirmation dialog for "close other tabs" - not a huge amount. The other 1.8alpha browser items also apply to Firefox; the "mail" things apply to Thunderbird, and the "under the hood" stuff is also code that's shared.

#13 roadmap

by jilles

Saturday May 22nd, 2004 5:17 AM

The problem is not with the dates but with the definition of the milestones in terms of features. Beyond a milestone it is totally unclear what will be implemented, how long that will take, what the risks are, etc. That's not necessarily bad. Historically, the roadmap has always been a bit optimistic with respect to release dates. All of the important milestones were late by several weeks or even months because it took that long to get from feature complete to really stable. What mozilla currently lacks is a technical roadmap. There are lots of ideas of what could be done but few of these ideas actually materialize.

A structural problem with the roadmap is that releasing often is in contradiction with getting work done and keeping things stable. Usually the alpha (i.e. the only opportunity to get the really big stuff in follows the release by just a few days/weeks or even preceeds the release). The extra alpha milestone that has been added is therefore a good idea IMHO. It's not like people actually build something on the in between milestones like e.g. mozilla 1.5 or 1.6 so in a way all the effort that went in stabilizing these releases was wasted. They all wait for the extra stable stuff like 1.4 or the upcoming 1.7. These are yearly releases and are subtantial improvements over the previous stable releases.

#8 SeaMonkey not used much anymore???????

by pkb351

Friday May 21st, 2004 6:56 PM

"One final thing: why the hell is work still going on in SeaMonkey? I doubt that is used very much anymore and with it being EOLed soon, there is a stupid amount of work that will more or less be wasted."

In case you haven't heard: AOL/Netscapehave renewed interest in Seamonkey and plan soon to produce a release of the suite branded as Netscape 7.2. Maybe they are tired of relying on I.E. as the basis to build their AOL browser since IE is so out of date. (IE has not had a significant update in several years.)

How do you know that SeaMonkey "is [not] used very much anymore"? You might come to this conclusion if you only hangout and read in the ThunderBird/FireBird forums at MozillaZine. If you also read the Mozilla Forum at MozillaZine you would know that there is a significant number of users who prefer the Seamonkey suite to the seperate applications ThunderBird/FireBird. Check out the form link below. In this thread users explain why they prefer Seamonkey to seperate applications.

here are a few of the reasons I prefer the suite: too many features have been stripped from the seperate applications. Too may preferences settings have been left out (and "about:config" is a very poor replacement for a well designs set of preference panels). I prefer using the sidebar in Mozilla/Seamonkey for bookmarks/history/searching using multiple search engines at the same time. A claim that Seamonkey is slow compared to FireBird: It is not slow on my Mac. I'm on bradband cable and sites pop up almost as soon as I click on a link. (I have not used SeaMonkey on dialup. Maybe Seamonkey is slow on dialup compared to FireBird--but as more users move to broadband dialup performance becomes less important.)

I also prefer the close integration between browser and mail and while browsing to not have to have another application open so I can be notified when an email arrives.

I hope now that AOL/Netscape has renewed its interest in Mozilla/SeaMonkey that the decision to EOL SeaMonkey will be reconsidered. I personally find the SeaMonkey suite superior in many ways to the seperate applications and SeaMonkey performs as well or better for me then the ThunderBird/FireBird combo.

Some prefer the seperate applications ('Birds") while others prefer the SeaMonkey suite. But I do disagree with you that "that [SeaMonkey] is [not] used very much anymore."

#9 Re: SeaMonkey not used much anymore???????

by steeler_fan

Friday May 21st, 2004 7:30 PM

SeaMonkey is *not* going to be dropped--The only thing is no new sweeping UI changes will be made (unless necessary). All the work will continue on the backend. The Suite will be around for quite some time, there is no need to worry

#25 Re: Re: SeaMonkey not used much anymore???????

by Malc

Sunday May 23rd, 2004 7:22 PM

What do you mean by "The Suite"? I see two suites: the feature-complete one with the ignorant brain-dead monolithic process implementation and the more elegant and usable but feature-incomplete suite sensibly implemented as separate processes. The two most mature components of the latter are of course Firefox and Thunderbird. Both suites will co-exist for a while until the better one catches up feature-wise and the stuck-in-the-muds can weaned of the older badly implemented one.

#33 Re: Re: Re: SeaMonkey not used much anymore???????

by modok

Monday May 24th, 2004 10:45 AM

Also, as far as I can tell the two suites are: the feature complete one with a monolithic design (which sucks if you do not use all the features that are linked into the monolith) and the not-quite feature complete multiple process design. However, from what I have read, XRE/GRE will not be dynamically linked for the 1.0 release of the Aviary. This means much of the elegance will simply provide little to no benefits for users who use both mail/news and browsing at the same time as they will be consuming much more memory. The only three benefits of the Aviary will be: 1) a better user experience (simpler UI) 2) a crash in one app will not take the other app down 3) marginally better performance. People used to the "seamonkey" suite probably don't see those as large benefits.

Is my understanding wrong? Some of the "stuck-in-the-muds" may not even be able to operate the Aviary as it will be released (too much swapping). To conclude, Aviary is the right technical direction, but it will not be fully realized for some time. I don't know why people are pseudo-aggressive towards people who are concerned about the old suites availability.

#35 Re: Re: Re: Re: SeaMonkey not used much anymore???

by bzbarsky

Monday May 24th, 2004 12:52 PM

> I don't know why people are pseudo-aggressive towards people who are concerned about the old suites > availability.

The same reason that the same people were claiming that Phoenix 0.5 was absolutely the best browser available and were telling everyone to switch right now (even though it wasn't even usable as dogfood for a lot of Mozilla developers due to lack of features which have since been added). Quite simply, some people are just Firefox fanboys and most of what they say can be safely disregarded, since they have no idea of what they're talking about.

#36 Re: Re: Re: Re: SeaMonkey not used much anymore???

by Malc

Monday May 24th, 2004 4:14 PM

The monolithic design of Seamonkey sucks even if you use all of the features. Why should a blocking or high CPU action in mail/news make browsing the web impossible? Well, they could have multi-threaded it better, but it is much better to have things in separate processes. In fact, I would prefer to be able to run multiple concurrent Firefoxes too, but I can only dream. Why should a crash in the browser destroy email I've just spent half-an-hour creating? Integration and features imply the need for a monolithic process. Two very successful examples of this would be Microsoft Office and KDE. Seamonkey relies on the monolithic process to provide these because it was design incorrectly from the start. The original poor decision to do this was made for Netscape... then some fool carried it on with the open-source Mozilla application when they had a chance to rectify it. Now there's all this momentum and code built upon this shakey foundation. Grrr.

#10 Re: Re: foobar

by zookqvalem

Friday May 21st, 2004 8:02 PM

What is EOL???

Also, remember, Mozilla developers are actively working on reducing the size of Mozilla as well as improving it's performance. It is what is said in the Mozilla's roadmap in the last 6 months or so. So, once most of that work is done then there will be something different to work on. Not sure what they will be exactly but there was some talk of something about Mozilla and Gnome and XUL (as oppose to M$ XAML). Also, read the mailing list yesterday from NVU, there someone asked about the NVU development and the response is that there is a current process of merging the NVU back into Mozilla or whatever that mean. So, a possible outcome is some improvement to the Composer but it is only a guess from me, not something official or anything. Only time will tell.


#11 EOL == "End of life"

by tepples

Friday May 21st, 2004 9:14 PM

"End of life" happens in several stages. First the publisher no longer develops new features for a product. Then it takes the product off the shelves. Then it stops selling support contracts. Finally, as the last support contracts expire, it stops developing new security fixes.

#14 Re: Re: Re: foobar

by Grauw

Saturday May 22nd, 2004 10:40 AM

With 'merging NVU back into Mozilla' they are probably referring to getting the many extra features NVU has into Mozilla Composer as well.


#42 ......

by zookqvalem

Sunday May 30th, 2004 6:55 PM

It is now confirmed with what Grauw meant because I read the blog at Daniel G.'s website, NVU - Glazblog. It said,

--snip-- Thursday 22 April 2004 Nvu progress 20040422

We have promised to contribute back all Nvu's code to Time has come. More details will follow. --snip--

#12 Re: Re: foobar

by bzbarsky

Saturday May 22nd, 2004 12:09 AM

First of all, what makes you think people are working on SeaMonkey (and what is "SeaMonkey" in this case?)

Second, if, hypothetically speaking, people feel like volunteering their time to work on SeaMonkey, who are you to tell them how they should spend their free time? I've never understood why so many people think they know what everyone else should be doing.

#15 Re: Re: foobar

by darnell

Saturday May 22nd, 2004 7:55 PM

Are the slips a sign that the development teams are taking on more than they can handle within their estimates? I think so. Even when it was just "Mozilla" there were often these slips. Now they have several other products and it continues. I think they are trying to be too aggressive at times. These are all the tell tale signs of a software team that is pushing for too much too fast. Time to make the estimates more reasonable. And time stop trying to release too much in one release.

I think they are doing a great job overall and by far have the best browser available in Firefox, but there are some improvements that could occur in the development process.

#18 Re: Re: Re: foobar

by mlefevre

Sunday May 23rd, 2004 8:39 AM

It's obvious that the estimates are optimistic, and that they do pile too much stuff in (and then drop things out again as time runs out). They're clearer aware of this, and are happy to work this way.

Just add 2 or 3 weeks on to any predicted dates you see, and be prepared for them to slip further. :)

#20 Re: Re: Re: Re: foobar

by darnell

Sunday May 23rd, 2004 12:05 PM

With FireFox it has become a slip counted in months, not weeks ;o) .

Having worked in environments with deadline slippage I would dare to say they are not all happy that this happens. At this point in the browser war game they are only competing against themselves from a development standpoint. They've got the best there is and there is no need to be too aggressive only to find everything can't be done in time. More reasonable milestones would help ensure they can deliver what is planned on time and with a high level of quality.

As Charles Barkley says, "I could be wrong, but I doubt it" :o) .

#26 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: foobar

by jedbro

Sunday May 23rd, 2004 10:09 PM

You can help!! ########## DONATE #############

Right now, there is only one DEV that is really dedicating his 100% effort on Firefox. Lot's of others help out, but have other priorities and I believe only are helping out of good will and free time.

If you can help and pay for another dev to work 100% on FX, please feel free and do so.

In the mean time, yes the roadmap slips, yes that sucks. But in the end, we still get one hell of an awesome project, I understand your pain, I just don't think the way you are expressing it is considerate for all those who put their volenteer time into Firefox, nor is constructive.

just my 2 centavos -Jed

#27 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: foobar

by darnell

Monday May 24th, 2004 7:56 AM

I've given to this site via the purchase of merchandise and will be doing the same with Firefox. I agee that everyone should donate.

I feel this dialog on the issue is more than constructive. It might even inspire someone else to give that was not planning to do so.

There are a lot of people, companies, etc. that would like to either move to using these tools or build on top of them. That requires reliable estimates from the developers/management of Mozilla.

#24 Re: Re: foobar

by dmccunney

Sunday May 23rd, 2004 3:46 PM

"One final thing: why the hell is work still going on in SeaMonkey? I doubt that is used very much anymore and and with it being EOLed soon, there is a stupid amount of work that will more or less be wasted."

Speak for yourself.

I have current versions of Seamonkey, Firefox, and Thunderbird installed. The one I *use* on a daily basis is Seamonkey. Firefox is a nice product, but I prefer the Seamonkey browser to it.

And Seamonkey is the basis for several other products, including Netscape (which does plan to spin a new release off of Seamonkey code), Beonex, and others.

Seamonkey isn't going away any time soon, nor should it. ______ Dennis

#16 Layout included in branch?

by yglodt

Sunday May 23rd, 2004 4:37 AM

Does this branch only include only the Fx-specific stuff, or also the complete gecko?

I've seen there have been other string-optimizing changes in seamonkey these days, and it would be a pity if Fx/TB would not take advantage of these. Well if gecko is not shared between seamonkey and Fx branch, one can always check in the optimizations into the Fx branch.

#17 Gecko changes

by sipaq

Sunday May 23rd, 2004 8:12 AM

Of course the branch includes Gecko. Without Gecko, Firefox and Thunderbird wouldn't work.

But the latest Gecko improvements you're talking about are not on the branch at the moment. This is because the branch has the goal of stabilizing Firefox and Thunderbird and the latest changes will have to bake on the trunk for a while, before they are deemed stable enough by the devs to be included in the aviary branch.

#19 Re: Layout included in branch?

by bzbarsky

Sunday May 23rd, 2004 10:33 AM

Patches currently landing on the trunk are probably going into neither the aviary branch nor the 1.7 branch. Face it; the Gecko in Mozilla 1.8 will likely be better than the one in 1.7 or products based on 1.7. Surprising, I know. ;)

#21 Nightlies?

by zorinlynx

Sunday May 23rd, 2004 1:31 PM

Where can we download nightlies based on this branch?


#22 Re: Nightlies?

by mlefevre

Sunday May 23rd, 2004 2:11 PM

Firefox branch nightlies are available in folders under the usual Firefox nightlies folder ending with -0.9 - check the Firefox builds forum for more info. They're not too usable yet. I don't think Thunderbird builds from this branch are set up yet, but I'm not sure. Again, check the builds forum...

#23 Seamonkey

by Ascaris

Sunday May 23rd, 2004 2:14 PM

I use Thunderbird for mail and the Seamonkey browser for browsing. I like having the cookie manager under Tools-- when I tried Firebird, I was forever having to dig through the preferences to get to the cookie manager. I want everything right there off of Tools where I can get to it. I want the new tab button on the tab bar (I had been using CDN's Trivial extension for that, but it broke when Firefox came out, and I haven't given Firefox a second try). Also, last I checked, the pref browser.urlbar.showPopup still does not work, and that's unacceptable to me. Extensions can easily do all of this, but the Seamonkey browser already has all of this. In addition, the browser.urlbar.showPopup pref works with Seamonkey-- a big plus for me. It did not work with Firebird, last I checked.

#28 Feature List?

by richman555

Monday May 24th, 2004 9:05 AM

Last I tried, Firebird did not display ALT text on an image and I could not find an opotion to turn it on. A Firebird quick start would also be nice. Anyone know where I could find an expected feature list of 1.0 Firebird?

#30 Re: Feature List?

by bzbarsky

Monday May 24th, 2004 9:36 AM

> Firebird did not display ALT text on an image and I could not find an opotion to turn it on.

That's correct. And there will be no such option in the foreseeable future. ALT is not for tooltips.

#43 Re: Re: Feature List?

by Jugalator

Wednesday June 9th, 2004 8:44 AM

To clarify, use TITLE for tooltips.

ALT is for ALTernative text, not [i]descriptive[/i] text.

I.e. it's for images if you use a text browser like Lynx, or if the server with the images is unavailable.

#32 Re: Feature List?

by jedbro

Monday May 24th, 2004 10:21 AM

Like mentioned below, there is an extension that will enable this, if that is what you want.

#29 Feature List?

by richman555

Monday May 24th, 2004 9:06 AM

Last I tried, Firebird did not display ALT text on an image and I could not find an opotion to turn it on. A Firebird quick start would also be nice. Anyone know where I could find an expected feature list of 1.0 Firebird?

#34 Re: Feature List?

by WillyWonka

Monday May 24th, 2004 12:29 PM

Ugh, You're not supposed to see alt text in a tool tip. That's a feature, not a bug.

#37 Re: Re: Feature List?

by buff

Monday May 24th, 2004 10:34 PM

Double ugh on that last ugh. Funny how people want 'features' in IE that are really bugs. If I remember my HTML correct, the title attribute in a link is used to create a tooltip. Alt, well is for alternate viewing methods such as when you don't want or need images but you just want the description of the image without the download.

I am cruising around on Firefox 0.8+ GTK build on Fedora Core 2 (careful installing FC2 -- it can corrupt your partition table on double boot systems). I love the browser. It literally launches in about a second on my Athlon system running the 2.6 kernel. I stopped using the suite maybe about 3 months ago. The move away from the suite was a good move. On linux you have Evolution for mail and Pan for a newsreader; there really is no need for a bundled browser suite. With separate apps if you really like the Mozilla newsreader or mail a lot you can just add it in as an extension. I was just missing a light weight browser. Firefox filled in the hole nicely, less truly is more. Konqueror is okay but not great for surfing.

#38 Re: Re: Re: Feature List?

by alien2k

Monday May 24th, 2004 11:26 PM

IMHO I think the best way of putting it is:

with alt text assume that the reader can't see the image, either because they actually can't or just choose not to. It's an /alternative/ to the image, therefore showing it in a tooltip, or expecting it to be, isn't really appropriate.

the title text is just that, a title. assume that the reader can see what you're referring to, but may not neccesarily understand what it is. It's in addition to the image (or some other element), and therefore showing it in a tooltip is appropriate.

Out of interest, is there a way to use CSS or something to get the title attribute rendered differently, i.e. as a caption of some sort?


#39 Re: Re: Re: Re: Feature List?

by jonasj

Tuesday May 25th, 2004 3:34 AM

> Out of interest, is there a way to use CSS or something to get the title attribute rendered differently, i.e. as a caption of some sort?

(after experimenting a bit:)

img:after { content: attr(title) }

#40 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Feature List?

by bzbarsky

Tuesday May 25th, 2004 11:40 AM

The behavior of that is not completely defined in CSS2.1, and some parts of the spec imply it should not work at all. It does not work in current Mozilla builds (we used to have a hack implementation of it, but it has been removed).

#41 Re: Re: Re: Re: Feature List?

by Jugalator

Tuesday May 25th, 2004 3:18 PM

"therefore showing it in a tooltip, or expecting it to be, isn't really appropriate."

Agreed, an example of proper and intended use of the ALT attribute is to represent web pages in a decent way for non-graphical browsers like Lynx, or browsers where the user have chosen to not (or can't) display images for some reason. ALT texts inserted inside empty image templates for images not found or loaded would be a good use for them I guess.

The TITLE attribute on the other hand is "extra information" added to clarify the meaning of the picture or describe it, so then it's useful in a tooltip or even a inline caption. However, inline stuff would probably break page layout, so I guess tooltips work best.

#31 ALT Text

by Butters

Monday May 24th, 2004 10:09 AM

There is a Firefox plugin to show ALT text in a tooltip