MozillaZine

Full Article Attached What is a Mozilla Alpha?

Thursday November 25th, 1999

The folks at Mozilla.org have written up what they think the criteria for Mozilla becoming 'Alpha' is. Click the full article link below to find out what they think, and post talkback so people know what you think.


#1 Alpha criteria

by wheezy

Thursday November 25th, 1999 11:04 AM

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A couple comments on alpha criteria... I think, for the most part, that the decisions of which bugs to focus on are being made appropriately. But I think the quality standard (MTBF) should be much higher, even at the alpha stage. If my browser were to crash every hour with the sort of work I do, I would be highly inclined to find a new browser. But at present, Mozilla crashes for me very frequently... a problem which transcends dogfood.

Make no mistake, Mozilla has made a wonderful showing as far as standards (and other initial promises) are concerned, but if it crashes even half as much as Nav4 does, I think it will be a Huge Letdown for all involved. Of course, two words come to mind: "browser war", but I'm sure we've heard plenty of that already.

Suffice it to say that regardless of features, high rigor must be enforced even for the alpha.

#7 What is a Mozilla Alpha?

by MattyT <matty@box.net.au>

Thursday November 25th, 1999 3:23 PM

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The alpha is not about getting a perfect product. It's about getting a product a lot of people get test and build upon. "Beta" criteria are a lot more strict.

#103 Alpha criteria

by damian <daemonc@netscape.net>

Tuesday November 30th, 1999 8:43 PM

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It can crash every minute for all I care, it's ALPHA (meaning: not yet usable). What I would like to see in an alpha release is an attempt at bringing the features on all platforms up to the same level. For example, isn't it time to try to implement Java on Linux? Trying to make it work perfectly before the features that we would expect it to have are finished just doesn't make sense.

#2 1:00 Crash time period

by Anon

Thursday November 25th, 1999 12:30 PM

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I really don't think that 1 hour is good enough, I think it should be 1 day or never before it crashes. I use the browser for 5-6 hours at a time, so I would like at least that. But then again it is still alpha and a lot can happen before the final release. I'll live with the 1 hour for now.

I currently use 4.7 for long periods of time without it crashing, but thats because I have found - through trial and error - what will crash it and I try to avoid it at all costs. My friends had to switch over to IE because they couldn't keep it running for more than 3 minutes before it crashed. One of them had the browser crash, he launched it again and durring launch it crashed... but that was in another time/place, v5 will be better (I hope).

#3 1:00 Crash time period

by Anon

Thursday November 25th, 1999 1:34 PM

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One hour MTBF seems overly long for all cases asuming that one can crash the system within seconds of duplicating the requisite conditions. The purpose of public testing (ie alpha and/or beta) presumably is to accelerate finding and fixing bugs so let's get the software out to us when it works for the programmer. We can find them soon enough I suspect.

#5 1:00 Crash time period

by Ben_Goodger

Thursday November 25th, 1999 2:07 PM

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yeah. and public testing is likely to find even more bugs that we didn't know existed.

remember folks, 1:00 is quite good considering how Mozilla is now. (well I think it is.. then again I restart often) Take a look at it, expecting a perfect browser by December is like expecting blood from stone, it just isn't possible.

(aside: for me, many times IE5 crashes on startup, or within an couple of hours.. and this is a final release!)

#6 Compared to ie5

by Anon

Thursday November 25th, 1999 2:58 PM

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MS, with their software, has conditioned users to expect their programs to crash. Since they are the biggest company (With their monopoly on the market) other company's follow them (RealPlayer G2 comes to mind - that thing crashes like CrAzY).

Who cares what _their_ products do. I want this one to be stable.

#8 ie5

by Anon

Thursday November 25th, 1999 3:48 PM

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ie5 used to crash alot for me. But somehow after hacking the registry (to correct ms's mistakes) and reinstalled many-many times it hasn't crash for a month ( no reboot) but the latest ie5 security update crashed the os (W98), had to get ie501 to fix the prob (later found out that it was just because of a stupid registry setting that was suppost to be in binary but ms set it to dword). ie501 wasn't easy to install either. but so far it has been running for a week.

Moz better do better than that by beta, (its pre-alpha seems pretty good, at least I don't have to reinstall and tweak it so much to get it working.

crashing lesser each day,

TuHeads

#17 Releasing Tension

by Tanyel <tanyel@straightblack.com>

Thursday November 25th, 1999 10:58 PM

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Hey Anon, the same thing happened to me. Now I can't download ActiveX scripts so I am forced to use Netscape 4.7, which is kind of depressing. I hope when y2k comes, Microsoft just bursts into flames. Die Microsoft. Burn in hell, Microsoft. Die! I hope Netscape 5 is all it is promised to be so I can stop choosing between Trash 5.01 and Trash 4.7. Maybe I should try Opera. Oh die, Microsoft.

#49 You think thats bad

by Tekhir

Friday November 26th, 1999 1:40 PM

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IE on my computer doesn't even let me load the security panel. It crashes everytime. If I didn't have a use for Outlook & its smaller brother Express then I would rip it out of my hdd.

#108 You think thats bad

by Anon

Wednesday December 1st, 1999 1:00 AM

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Sad to say that its time for you to reinstall. That is the MS user mantra, reinstall, reinstall, rein..crash!!...

#25 More IE waffle

by davefiddes

Friday November 26th, 1999 4:01 AM

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I know this won't make me popular but I find IE 5 (and 4 before it) very reliable. I use my browser on and off pretty much all day and it is a very rare occurance for IE5 to crash.

I suspect that the problems that people have with IE probably stem from using is on a deadbeat platform like Win95 or 98.

#27 Re: More IE waffle

by Anon

Friday November 26th, 1999 6:32 AM

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> I suspect that the problems that people have with IE probably stem from using is on a deadbeat platform like Win95 or 98.

I have problems with it in 98. It shouldn't matter what OS its on. It should be stable. I don't think Mozilla crashes more on 98 vs NT... so why should IE have that problem?

#109 Re: More IE waffle

by Anon

Wednesday December 1st, 1999 1:14 AM

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The only way I can get IE to not crash or cause Win9x to crash (besides getting it to run in seperate processes) is

1) to get the latest version (I know it takes forever on my modem), 2) catch and find the causes of every single IE/Win9x crash or strange behavior. 3) Fix it, (by restoring a currupted file or hacking the registry or hacking IE's .DLL's!!) 4)If it can't be fixed, search Win9x/NT tips sites ( they usually have the answers), worst to worst, search MStechnet. 5) If there is still no answer, try reinstalling. And if it still doesn't work try reinstalling IE components one by one in different orders. Typically I only reach 4), I reached 5) once but that was becaused I skipped step 2) and 3).

#30 IE is not stable by default

by locka <adamlock@eircom.net>

Friday November 26th, 1999 7:29 AM

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IE *frequently* crashes in it's default configuration which is to have one process responsible for the whole desktop and each browser window. And when it crashes, it takes out the taskbar, desktop, explorer windows, control panels and everything else loaded in the one address space.

This is extremely bad. Fortunately, there is an option to run each window in it's own process. This is at the expense of memory usage but makes the OS as a whole significantly more reliable.

IHMO Mozilla could do with a similar option to run each window as a separate process but probably won't have it until XPCOM can talk transparently across process boundaries.

#4 1:00 Crash time period

by Anon

Thursday November 25th, 1999 1:35 PM

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One hour MTBF seems overly long for all cases asuming that one can crash the system within seconds of duplicating the requisite conditions. The purpose of public testing (ie alpha and/or beta) presumably is to accelerate finding and fixing bugs so let's get the software out to us when it works for the programmer. We can find them soon enough I suspect.

#9 What is a Mozilla Alpha?

by thelem

Thursday November 25th, 1999 3:58 PM

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Since Mozilla is so modular, would it be possible to write a module which intercepts crashes before windows gets to them and displays it's box. This module would then communicate with full-circle and restart the module before displaying an alert to the user explaining the situation.

Is that possible? A crash like that every hour in a finished product would be acceptable to me, though obviously not deseriable.

#24 What is a Mozilla Alpha?

by davefiddes

Friday November 26th, 1999 3:53 AM

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One of the Mozilla C++ rules is that you can't use exceptions. This means that it is basically impossible to trap something as straight forward as a divide by zero or null pointer access.

AFAIK it is usually really trivial, recoverable problems that bring down mozilla.

The reasoning behind this architectural approach is that C++ exceptions are not supported reliably and universally on all plaforms. This maybe a bit of a pain durign development but it probably saves Mozilla from wierder bugs (to do with bad or inappropriate exception handling) and enforces better coding standards.

#42 What is a Mozilla Alpha?

by Anon

Friday November 26th, 1999 12:21 PM

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With or without exception handling in the language, detecting and recovering from runtime errors is *hard*. Generally, when your program hits NULL dereference or array bounds violation, that's just a symptom of some deeper bug whose effects may already have contaminated the execution in arbitrary ways.

If you want fault isolation, you have to design it into your system architecture. Your interfaces between modules have to explicitly talk about fault detection and recovery. You also generally have to apply at least one nontrivial isolation technology such as multiple address spaces, safe programming languages, proof carrying code, or binary instrumentation for runtime checks.

Exception support in languages is good for making it more convenient to handle unexpected situations foisted on you by the environment. It is not as good at dealing with program errors.

#43 What is a Mozilla Alpha?

by Anon

Friday November 26th, 1999 12:21 PM

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With or without exception handling in the language, detecting and recovering from runtime errors is *hard*. Generally, when your program hits NULL dereference or array bounds violation, that's just a symptom of some deeper bug whose effects may already have contaminated the execution in arbitrary ways.

If you want fault isolation, you have to design it into your system architecture. Your interfaces between modules have to explicitly talk about fault detection and recovery. You also generally have to apply at least one nontrivial isolation technology such as multiple address spaces, safe programming languages, proof carrying code, or binary instrumentation for runtime checks.

Exception support in languages is good for making it more convenient to handle unexpected situations foisted on you by the environment. It is not as good at dealing with program errors.

#91 Not shipping, <b>alpha</b>

by orev

Sunday November 28th, 1999 11:36 AM

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The 1 hour time is for the <b>Alpha</b>, not the shipping product.

#106 What is a Mozilla Alpha?

by Anon

Wednesday December 1st, 1999 12:53 AM

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What if the module which intercepts crashes crash? Would it not be thrown into a loop?

#107 What is a Mozilla Alpha?

by Anon

Wednesday December 1st, 1999 12:56 AM

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What if the module which intercepts crashes crash? Would it not be thrown into a loop?

#10 Alpha Performance

by Anon

Thursday November 25th, 1999 4:55 PM

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I dont know about other people, but one of the things that is bugging me right now isnt code size, or lack of features. Neither the MBFT (i can live with an hour for now!) but mostly the performance issues. On my p3 500 w/ 256 megs of ram linux box, it can take ages for some windows to open, or for some pages to reload. I dont know if this is the multiple reflow problem (im on a fast cable link) or other issues, but it would stop me from using the browser, even as a alpha product, for day to day usage and testing. It just seems to slow and unresponsive

#15 Alpha Performance

by Anon

Thursday November 25th, 1999 8:26 PM

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Mozilla is actually really fast. Some days its blazing, others its slow as molassis. From what I've seen the milestones are a lot slower than the nightly builds. Its probably quick patches for bugs which they had to apply which slow it down.

I have heard that anything other than windows is slow as well. I havn't seen it but I have heard about 3 minute launch times on a mac. I'm sure the graphics code just has to be optimized. The code which actually draws the www page is actually really fast.

The debug window also slows it down. I wonder if they will get rid of the debug info in the alpha version or if they'll leave that until beta or full. I do know that if I use dreamweaver to launch the browser the debug window doesn't display. I wonder if that could speed it up or if its just printing to null or soemthing.

#70 Wrong usage of GTK?

by Anon

Saturday November 27th, 1999 9:47 AM

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It seems to me like the GTK code does something totally wrong. (Didnt they want to do GTK 1.4/mozilla in parallel?)

#96 Acceptable perfomance?

by Anon

Monday November 29th, 1999 2:22 AM

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Performance will likely be fixed to be acceptable, but I will be really suprised if mozilla is as fast as current netscape.

#31 Alpha Performance

by locka <adamlock@eircom.net>

Friday November 26th, 1999 7:34 AM

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Performance problems with particular dialogs or windows can largely be attributed to (re)layout issues, inefficient XUL/Javascript and memory leaks.

It's likely that all of these will be addressed fully by release.

#11 Mozilla Alpha Creteria

by KaiRo <KaiRo@KaiRo.at>

Thursday November 25th, 1999 5:11 PM

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I just checked my view of the three points made there, and this is how that went out:

QUALITY:

An MTBF of at least 1 hour seems okay. When M11's MTBF is already over that - and for me it seems more stable than Communicator 4.7 - then M12 could be even better!

ARCHITECTURE: I'm no real programmer, so Ican't really tell but everything mentioned there seems quite good for a half-knowing guy like me.

ACCEPTANCE: That point's interesting. I think I'm now using Nav4.7 for about 60% of my browsing time, MSIE gets less than 1%, Mozilla M11 gets about 40%. And I'm using Mozilla more and more because of Nav4.7 being that unstable and I simply don't want to switch to MSIE. For me it's interesting that this is in Alpha Creteria but I like it - and I hope other will more and more do like me.

Mozilla as my primery browser - sounds good - but Java applets should work, that's often a reason for me to turn back to Nav4.7 ...

#12 Mozilla Alpha Criteria

by KaiRo <KaiRo@KaiRo.at>

Thursday November 25th, 1999 5:37 PM

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Sorry. I wrote "creteria" instead of "criteria" and "primery" instead of "primary". When I'm getting tired it can more and more e seen that I'm not a native english speaker... ;-)

#110 Mozilla Alpha Creteria

by Anon

Wednesday December 1st, 1999 1:36 AM

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Java, Java, Java..... It's suppost to work, but you will have to install the latest version of JRE from Sun's website check this

<http://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=5369>

and this

<http://bugzilla.mozilla.o…chment.cgi?attach_id=2875>

for more info

#13 How about two hours?

by Anon

Thursday November 25th, 1999 7:12 PM

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As people have mentioned before, this is an Alpha and only needs to be 'usable'. But for me one hour MTBF doesn't quite meet the usability standard.

If the thing lasted for two hours while browsing my top five web sites, I'd switch to Mozilla for good.

#14 re: How about two hours?

by url <urlradio@yahoo.com>

Thursday November 25th, 1999 7:31 PM

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I may be wrong about this, but I felt the Mozilla.org article was merely using the 1:00 MTBF factor as a minimum estimate, not a maximum one, as a goal. In other words, I fear we might be judging the Alpha's performance prematurely - even before they can get it released!

There's always room for improvement, but for all we know, the M12 bug fixes may raise the MTBF to 3 or 4 hours. :)

Adam

#16 Are we not forgeting something here?

by Anon

Thursday November 25th, 1999 9:28 PM

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1 hour is just fine, it's an alpha, not even beta yet, when I was using Netscape 1.X it was crashing more often then that. Feature freeze and concentrate on the code, of course for us Linux user, like I say, comparate to Microsoft, our alpha are there beta and our beta are there ...

SO stop talking and get it out... ;)

#18 Wined And Dined

by Anon

Thursday November 25th, 1999 11:36 PM

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"1 hour without crashing is okay"?? Huh? A browser (or any other application for that matter) should not crash *at all* - my $0.02.

#32 Wined And Dined

by locka <adamlock@eircom.net>

Friday November 26th, 1999 7:36 AM

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It's okay for an *alpha* quality product, yes.

#97 Release should *never* crash.

by Anon

Monday November 29th, 1999 2:25 AM

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Since people are talking about the browser as a "platform", we should be very strict about its stability. Netscape <= 4.x is not a stable platform.

#19 Wined And Dined

by Anon

Thursday November 25th, 1999 11:39 PM

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"1 hour without crashing is okay"?? Huh? A browser (or any other application for that matter) should not crash *at all* - my $0.02.

#20 Wined And Dined

by Anon

Thursday November 25th, 1999 11:41 PM

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... and a browser should not submit messages twice ;-)

#22 Wined And Dined

by Ben_Goodger

Friday November 26th, 1999 12:11 AM

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you're right, but this is ALPHA

ALPHA

A-L-P-H-A

the crashability of this is in no way an indication of the crashability of any final.

#21 Safe Crash

by punkrider <jonathan.sullivan@uvm.edu>

Thursday November 25th, 1999 11:47 PM

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I'd like to see my idea of a safe recovery from a crash implemented. I don't even remember what bug it was filed under, but it had to do with the ability to keep a running tab of all of the windows that are open, and then if the browser ever were to crash (which it shouldn't, but we all know how that goes) it would prompt you, the next time you open the program with a list of options that would allow some, all, or none of the pages you were at to be opened again. That along with a shorter MTBF (which is already very good for pre-alpha) I would be set.

Thanks for all the great work Mozilla Members...

#47 Safe Crash

by Tekhir

Friday November 26th, 1999 1:33 PM

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Office 2000 has something similar, well not really. Each window is another instance of the program. So if one window crashes only that one needs to be killed. While its handy its sort of conceding that Word, Excel... 2000 crash a lot (For most people they wont).

#23 Speed

by Anon

Friday November 26th, 1999 2:43 AM

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MSIE5b2 was slow. Really slow. When it appeared, the pre-alpha Mozilla (M1 or some such) was at least 2-3 times faster.

The released IE5 on the other hand is pretty fast. Must have been loads of debug code or some such.

With performance tuning just begun, I believe Mozilla, once released, will beat IE no prob.

#26 Basic features?

by samig <samig@gega.net>

Friday November 26th, 1999 5:58 AM

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Please correct me if I'm wrong here,but I think there are many features found in IE5,IE4 etc that are nowhere in Mozilla (like the history bar,offline browsing).My guess is either that this is not the time for features that could be easily implemented later-so focus is put on critical stuff like XUL and Standard compliance,or that Mozilla tries to prevent becoming bloatware.

#28 Basic features?

by Anon

Friday November 26th, 1999 6:42 AM

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Mozilla already has a fully searchable history. They just havn't slapped it into the side bar (I find I never use the side bar anyways). All they have to do is move some xul around and it will show up. They just don't have the time right now.

As for the offline browsing. I dunno. I've never used it (Even up until a couple months ago when I was still using 28.8) and I don't think I ever will. For me, the feature came years to late. I could have used it around the Netscape 1.1 days.

I hear in other parts of the world (= Not North America) they charge local calls by the minute so I could see its need there. I'm sure there is probably a way to do it right now as a lot of code is in there - you just can't use it as its alpha.

#29 Debug window

by leafdigital

Friday November 26th, 1999 7:00 AM

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Somebody asked about the debug window...

Debug windows (on 9x/NT) do slow performance if visible (for some reason it seems to take a lot of cpu or graphics resources to scroll a text window, even on a P3-450). My own software that I'm writing uses a similar debug window and it gets dramatically faster when you minimise the debug window... that's all you have to do. When you minimise it, nearly all the speed penalty vanishes.

*

The alpha criteria look ok to me. IMO the real "acceptance" priority for alpha should be making sure that all form elements work all the time (which they do not, at least in the most recent build I have). Without this it isn't usable for me as a primary browser.

The second problem I have is that it's hard to get rid of the sidebar; the third is that Ctrl-N doesn't work; the fourth is that you can't drag a link into a new window to open it there. Oh and 5&6 are the ugly menu which doesn't fit with the scheme, and the not-quite-as-ugly spinner thingy, ditto. :)

If these things were fixed, I think I'd switch to it at least as secondary browser (lack of security means I can't use it for many things I often do online, so it wouldn't be primary).

As far as MTBF is concerned, I don't care if it crashes once an hour, but I do care if it crashes every time I try to go to a website I want to go to, so I think the average thing is not as relevant :)

--sam

#33 Where are the features?

by Anon

Friday November 26th, 1999 8:18 AM

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I've downloaded a couple of milestone builds over the time, and I've always been disappointed by the lack of features Mozilla displaying.

Believe me, I don't think IE5 is king of the world, but it sure got some nice features: AutoComplete, Save As (complete web page), drag& drop&rename bookmarks with a right-click, Show picture (if a single pic haven't been loaded) etc. Are these features planned to appear in the final Mozilla builds?

#37 You're forgetting it's Alpha

by gerbilpower <gerbil@ucdavis.edu>

Friday November 26th, 1999 10:48 AM

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Beta implies that it's feature complete, meaning that everything works to some extent. Mozilla is not even Alpha yet so no one has been rushing that claim that Mozilla is fully functional. Yes, more features will come but give it time.

Drag and drop bookmarks are in Mozilla the last I checked, but drag and drop directly into the bookmark window, but the drag and drop into the url bar on the browser doesn't work yet.

<:3)~~

#34 Alpha criteria

by Anon

Friday November 26th, 1999 8:49 AM

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1 hour isn't long enough. Sure, *we* might know that that's the criterial, but how many people will download the software and be dissapointed when it crashes after 1:30hrs? I think between 2-4hrs is better, seeing as the full product will be expected never to crash.

Architecturally I cannot comment since I don't know the code :-)

As to features I suggest at least 90% is hooked up and assumed to be working, ready for the bugs to be reported.

Quality-wise, people will think a lot more about getting the final build if the alpha is good... If the menus don't re-draw properly and are slow, or the widgets don't handle the cursor right then it's probably not yet alpha.

I'd hold back as much as possible. At *least* until the entire team begins twiddling their thumbs over lack of work. What we *do not* want is quality in the final version lacking because part of the team is so overwhelmed that they lose concentration and make mistakes.

#51 Alpha criteria

by Ben_Goodger

Friday November 26th, 1999 3:17 PM

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I would say people won't download this expecting the world since mozilla.org would surely emphasise its alpha-ness, and non-beta-ness.

Many features people mention here (e.g. history bar) are relatively easy to hook up with a little XUL knowledge. I'd do it myself if I weren't busy with other work.

#35 MTBF on slashdot.org

by Anon

Friday November 26th, 1999 9:10 AM

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I don't know about you, but I noticed two sites (slashdot.org and <http://www.hackernews.com>) that crash mozilla M11 all the time, while it almost never crashes on any other website. The MTBF on slashdot and HNN sometimes get to under half an hour, even as low as 15 minutes! Must be the banners or something like that... Also, talkback doesn't work if you don't have libstdc++2.7.2 (and if you do have it, congratulations: now you have loaded two different versions of libstdc++ at the same time in the same process).

#36 What is a Mozilla Alpha?

by omidk <omidk@email.com>

Friday November 26th, 1999 10:46 AM

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The reason mozilla is crashing on slashdot.org and and hackernews.com is due to the reflow code. The problem is that these sites have lots of elements and mozilla is trying to reflow after each table finishes. see bug <http://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=17325> for what is being done about it.

#38 What users really wants

by Anon

Friday November 26th, 1999 10:55 AM

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The first thing everyone really want, IS A STABLE WEB BROWSER... NOW. News, mail, instant messenger can wait. And why that's stupid chrome (theme) thing, a pure gtk+ web browser, without theme will be enough. Gtk+ include a perfect theme engine. Communicator consume so much memory, and with all its memory leak, sometimes, for me, it eat more than 100mb of ram, learn from your errors. A lite, pure gtk+, stable web browser please! After that, more developper will be interested to contribute and add mail, news, irc, etc.

#40 Patience...let's get through Alpha first. (n/t)

by Anon

Friday November 26th, 1999 11:44 AM

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(n/t)

#74 Gtk+ & XUL

by Anon

Saturday November 27th, 1999 9:13 PM

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I hate to (painfully) bring to your attention the fact that Gtk+ works almost as well on Win32 and Beos as it does on *NIX. I mean, the Gimp even runs on them both too.

I'm not advocating the wholesale use of Gtk+(or any other "widget" set like Motif, Qt, or MFC for that matter) to build a browser, there are a few things that a native widget set can do that XUL can't and most likely won't do in the near future. One major feature is object extension, creation of your own custom objects, etc... If you don't think this is important, look at Gnome and KDE. Think of the problems that they would have if they both couldn't create their own widgets without re-writing functionality into the rednerer(which for Mozilla is Gecko).

In short, XUL, while being an invaluable tool for Mozilla's XP development, will continue to suck where it is used outside of Mozilla development. Possibly wxWindows would have been a better choice. Or maybe XUL will grow up some. Or maybe no one will use XUL outside of Mozilla, thus making my point mute.

#48 Not everyone wants GTK+ (N/T)

by Anon

Friday November 26th, 1999 1:38 PM

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.

#53 What users really wants

by Ben_Goodger

Friday November 26th, 1999 3:30 PM

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Please don't use terms as general as "users" when describing the things that you do. I think you mean "a few militant slashdot posters."

the mozilla developers are split into groups. there are people working on the browser, on the layout, on the editor, networking, messenger etc. It is not like the areas you want are being neglected. And trust me, people DO want the extra features*. Leaving them to the last minute to implement would be baaad news.

(* I for one use Messenger, having used other buggy and slow, mail programs.)

#64 What users really wants

by Anon

Saturday November 27th, 1999 1:04 AM

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WEBBROWSER NOW? I hear ya, I want it now too!! I want it NOW for win32/beos/gtk/kde/cde...

GTK only? what about mac/win32/beos/...

chrome sucks? yeah I know, but it using the same "superfast" layout engine being used to display html, I hope it improves by beta (otherwise I wouldn't have much hope in the layout engine as well), but you got to give it credit that it works on the above mentioned OSes AND GTK+ , and if you design a UI for moz it will look the same on all the OSes mentioned above. Where as with gtk+ you will have to port GTK+ to other OSes, and believe me on some OSes (like mac) GTK will suck.

no news/mail/irc...? news/mail yeah, maybe they could have forgo those, but "most users" ;- have come the expect them. As for irc, go blame Robert Ginda for contributing it. (Rob care to comment? :-) )

seriously if you really want GTK based moz, help out with the GTKMozilla project: <http://www.lysator.liu.se/~alla/gtkmozilla.html>

And while you're at that, do come out with a better UI design and post it here/ I for one will be interested. :-)

tuheads..

linux/windoze/beos user

#83 What users really wants

by Anon

Saturday November 27th, 1999 11:41 PM

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Ah yes. Users *ONLY* want a browser, and hate suites with browsing, mail, and news components. That must explain Opera's commanding 60% share in the parallel dimension you come from.

#39 Uptime and safe crashes

by Anon

Friday November 26th, 1999 11:33 AM

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After reading all of the responses here, I realized that there might be a safe way of trapping errors before they hit the OS. Create a macro that surround try, catch, and throw in a header that works at the root level of all of your source files. Have the macros resolve to try, catch, and throw iff a debug value is defined, but into no ops if it isn't. This way you can have a all of your code handle errors internally before the program is force killed for the test versions, but you can strip out the test code for the golden releases. Just my 2 cents.

#41 Uptime and safe crashes

by Anon

Friday November 26th, 1999 12:10 PM

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A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

#63 Knowledge?

by Anon

Saturday November 27th, 1999 12:54 AM

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No more dangerous than a condescending attitude toward the group of people that are being asked to voice an opinion.

#44 alpha & beta

by Anon

Friday November 26th, 1999 12:31 PM

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I think people are abusing and over analysing the words "alpha" and "beta" lately. As far as I am concerned, mozilla has been in alpha ever since the code was available to the public. I consider alpha to be any release between when the last closing brace in the main function is typed until there is a feature set/api freeze. After that, any bugfix releases before it reaches a stage where the devolpers are confident enough to say "its done" is beta.

Just my $.02 -kevin

#45 What is a Mozilla Alpha?

by zontar

Friday November 26th, 1999 1:05 PM

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I agree with kevin.

I'm already getting uptimes of 3-4 with M11/Win32 anyhow. :-)

#46 What is a Mozilla Alpha?

by zontar

Friday November 26th, 1999 1:07 PM

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oops.

s/3-4 with/3-4 hours with/

#50 Uptime

by Anon

Friday November 26th, 1999 1:44 PM

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Mozilla depending on your platform can get really good or really bad uptimes. The alpha goal of one hour is for getting all the Mozilla ports to work at least one hour. Some ports, most likely the Win32, will probably work way longer.

#67 Uptime

by Anon

Saturday November 27th, 1999 1:54 AM

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I really can't believe that there is only 1 hr of MTB failures, unless this does NOT mean "Netscape will run for 1 hour before it crashes." I use Netscape and am constantly bugged by how much it crashes, if I didn't hate Microsoft so much, I would use Internet Explorer just because it is more stable. Many of my colleagues also agree, and lament the fact that Netscape will crash a great deal more often than Internet Explorer, esp. when dealing with Java enhanced pages.

#75 Uptime

by Tanyel <tanyel@straightblack.com>

Saturday November 27th, 1999 9:29 PM

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Netscape crashes on it's own webpages. I can't do the smartupdate without the piece of trash crashing. Internet Explorer was doing pretty good until that last time I tried to update it. I wonder how many computers Microsoft wrecked with that security patch. I would try Mozilla but the one time I tried to use it, it didn't do anything, and now I keep hearing all these stories about things it doesn't do right.

#52 Alpha and Public

by Pyro

Friday November 26th, 1999 3:22 PM

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This is an Alpha build. From my past experience with testing software, Alpha builds aren't released to the public. That means that Netscape won't be putting their brand on the Alpha build. That means that the Alpha builds won't be getting a mass usage. That is the whole point of a project being ALPHA. If my understanding is correct, the Alpha build won't be seen outside of Mozilla/3rd party websites.

Beta builds are meant for the public - they are relatively stable and feature complete. Alpha builds should not be expected to be that stable or feature complete (an hour seems like a good time for an Alpha build). Alpha builds usually just have the basics plus whatever is being worked on.

As for the find out whats worng before you crash thing, that's kinda near impossible - one of the bases for a crash is that it can't be predicted based on a mathematical model without a past history to reference. You can step in between (or even replace) the Windows crash dialog, but you can't exactly predict a crash based on nothing. I would think the best that they could do is keep a log of websites visited (aka history, already in place I assume), and warn the user before visiting a website that crashed it before. Keeping the windows open even after a crash? That kinda defeats the definition of a crash, doesn't it?

#54 My top priority? DOM-CSS programmability

by Anon

Friday November 26th, 1999 4:51 PM

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At the risk of beating a completely diffrent drum altogether, MTBfailure of 1 hour is just fine with me for now, and static layout is obviously doing quite well. I don't even care about speed right now, not a whit. And I assume XUL is already accomplishing pretty much of what you need for alpha. I think all this stuff is plenty good enough for alpha.

I'd much prefer a concentration on: - reliable and comprehensive javascriptability of HTML and XML - reliable and comprehensive DOM-1 support - perfect support for IFrames, including no unwanted scrollbars -- support for DOM-2 event.target from HTML (as opposed to XUL) -- decent support for CSS 2 clipping -- a well-defined stance on whether NN5 will support XHTML

You're doing just great. To keep up the good work, please consider this dissenting view...

#55 Need simple features before switching.

by Anon

Friday November 26th, 1999 4:53 PM

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I need SSL, and would like the middle mouse button nicities that Netscape users under UNIX enjoy.. (middle click on a link to pop open a new window w/ that url, middle click on a non-link area to visit the url stored in the cut-and-paste buffer).

In addition to these, at least basic keyboard navigation is also important (alt-left and alt-right for forward and back, esc to stop, alt-r to reload, and alt-shift-r to force-reload (no cache loading))

As strange as it sounds, these are all necessary for me to switch. I cannot fully switch from Netscape until these features make it into mozilla, unfortunately. *grin*

#59 Need simple features before switching.

by Anon

Friday November 26th, 1999 6:51 PM

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Actually, let me clarify this statement:

I think Mozilla is doing great, and I _cannot_ switch until it does SSL for certain reasons (have to use it, ya know).

This is not trying to be a flame. Mozilla is truly amazing and works well. I also hope (and believe) that these features will be implimented very soon anyway.

#69 Mozilla *cannot* support SSL

by Anon

Saturday November 27th, 1999 7:24 AM

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Due to the US government's strange stance on export of encryption source code, Mozilla does not, will not, and cannot ever support SSL until these restrictions are changed. The only way you can get SSL support in mozilla is to lobby your local representative (if you are a US citizen).

(IANAL -- speaking from what I've seen on newsgroups etc only)

Stuart.

#72 Hey! It's modular!

by indeyets

Saturday November 27th, 1999 4:07 PM

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Not everyone is living in US, so there are programmers, which can make an SSL-module in Canada,Russia or Australia :o)

#95 Re: Hey! It's modular!

by Anon

Monday November 29th, 1999 1:53 AM

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Modularity doesn't help as much as you may think.. making a product so that you can easily hook in encryption functionality is also illegal under the same export regulations. So 'add encryption here' would be just as bad.

But what can (and will) happen is that major releases will have patches that add SSL functionality to them. Someone in Australia or the like just has to make the patch and post it. Then everyone can 'import' it into their respective counntries (except France, I hear). But even after such a patch is out, they cannot except changes to their patch, and the patch cannot be merged in, or else sending the code overseas from the US counts as 'export' again.

#99 Need simple features before switching.

by Anon

Monday November 29th, 1999 4:00 AM

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Speaking of SSL, whatever happened to CryptoZilla?

#56 My top priority? DOM-CSS programmability

by Anon

Friday November 26th, 1999 4:53 PM

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At the risk of beating a completely diffrent drum altogether, MTBfailure of 1 hour is just fine with me for now, and static layout is obviously doing quite well. I don't even care about speed right now, not a whit. And I assume XUL is already accomplishing pretty much of what you need for alpha. I think all this stuff is plenty good enough for alpha.

I'd much prefer a concentration on: - reliable and comprehensive javascriptability of HTML and XML - reliable and comprehensive DOM-1 support - perfect support for IFrames, including no unwanted scrollbars -- support for DOM-2 event.target from HTML (as opposed to XUL) -- decent support for CSS 2 clipping -- a well-defined stance on whether NN5 will support XHTML

You're doing just great. To keep up the good work, please consider this dissenting view...

#57 The default page- what will it say?

by Waldo

Friday November 26th, 1999 5:28 PM

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Hey I'm just wondering--

For many users who hear about this "netscape 5.0 alpha" this will be their first introduction to mozilla... It's a great opportunity to introduce the concept of OSS and explain to them what's going on...and that they can help contribute.

Has any thought been given into that opening default HTML page and what its' going to say.. how to welcome new users to the concept of open source, XUL, cross-platform, open standards, etc. and maybe give them easy-to-digest info to (A) report bugs and (B) contribute in other ways (learn XUL, understand why Netscape 5.0 will rock, get involved with whatever they can do...) etc

The Mozilla PR campaign starts soon. W

#65 Netscape/Mozilla/SeaMonkey?

by Anon

Saturday November 27th, 1999 1:20 AM

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You are right, but then again lets wait for the actual alpha, moz in its current state isn't let say "really" impressive in terms of speed. Just wondering, shouldn't this alpha be called SeaMonkey 1.0 alpha? It's not exactly Netscape 5.0 alpha and it is not all the development that is going on at Mozilla ( yes I know it is most of it). ;-)

Tuheads

Win/Linux/BeOS user

#68 Re: The Mozilla PR campaign...

by Anon

Saturday November 27th, 1999 3:37 AM

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"The Mozilla PR campaign starts soon" - interesting that, because it raises the question as to how the Mozilla folks are going to promote Mozilla as it edges towards Beta (which is when, let's face it, we want Joe Public to start taking an active interest in downloading Mozilla).

One thing I'd hope for is that Netscape themselves get involved in promoting Mozilla on their Web site (have the beta releases available for download on <ftp://ftp.netscape.com> as well as <ftp://ftp.mozilla.org>) and have some Web pages on netscape.com promoting Mozilla - call it a "technology preview of what's coming up in Netscape 5.0" or something, if they want to keep the focus on the Netscape browser brand.

I'm sure that 99% of Netscape users haven't even heard of/seen Mozilla and will have never visited mozilla.org - if Netscape doesn't promote the Mozilla beta (and final) releases, then a lot of effort by the Mozilla folks could have been wasted on the majority of Netscape users, who won't switch until they see at least a Netscape 5.0 beta they can download.

Talking of which, is development on Netscape 5.0 going on in parallel with Mozilla ? Can we expect a Netscape 5.0 beta shortly after the Mozilla beta release ? If it doesn't follow on quickly, I can see users (and the media) ignoring Mozilla betas/finals and claiming that Netscape is dead (like they've been doing for the last year !)...

#58 What is a Mozilla Alpha?

by brobinson

Friday November 26th, 1999 5:34 PM

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1 hour? There's only 24 hours in a day, so that sounds pretty good. Seems more stable than 4.x too.

#60 Gratuitous "Matrix" reference

by Anon

Friday November 26th, 1999 11:30 PM

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Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Alpha is. They have to see it for themselves.

:-)

#61 LOL <:3)~~ (n/t)

by gerbilpower <gerbil@ucdavis.edu>

Saturday November 27th, 1999 12:14 AM

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#62 I wish my computer was that stable

by gerbilpower <gerbil@ucdavis.edu>

Saturday November 27th, 1999 12:21 AM

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Sometimes Bill Gates decides to visit me every hour and show my computer the path of eternal "happiness" by guiding it towards the bright blue light. But I managed to install Linux so I can get away from that between reboots, but I'm still trying to figure out heads or tails on this thing :)

<:3)~~

#66 I wish my computer was that stable

by Anon

Saturday November 27th, 1999 1:27 AM

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Don't give him too hard a time after all windoze is still in delta wait till it reach omega... ;-)

tuheads

(alpha,beta,delta ...,omega) Linux/windoze/beos user

#79 I wish my computer was that stable

by arielb

Saturday November 27th, 1999 9:51 PM

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As far as I'm concerned, Windows is a tango

#71 Performance and stability

by Anon

Saturday November 27th, 1999 11:18 AM

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I think features can wait. The alpha should be fast and stable. period. If they can get features in as extra, I'd be even more happy!!, but what prevents me from switching from communicator right now is really the speed and the stability.

#85 Performance and stability

by Anon

Sunday November 28th, 1999 2:18 AM

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Hey! Don't think! Contribute! That way you'll be happy! :-)

#93 Contribute code... who said that?

by Anon

Sunday November 28th, 1999 5:40 PM

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Some of you people will have to realize that not everyone has the knowledge to code anything. I personnaly am just starting to learn C++ and I'm not sure anyone at mozilla wants things like 'cout << "This is a C++ program/n";'

However I'm testing it and reporting bugs; even though most of the bugs I found were already filed in bugzilla and in which the discussion got so technical I'm not even sure it's worth adding anything to it, I did file bugs.

I just want to give my opinion as a user: performance and stability are the most important.

#73 Speed!

by Anon

Saturday November 27th, 1999 5:53 PM

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No, I'm not talking about the rendering speed. I'm talking about the gawd awful graphics performance in Linux/X. I can only take about 2 minutes of Mozilla browsing before I (reluctantly) switch back to Navigator 4.7. It's also a shame that a block in one window completely freezes all other windows (I guess multi-threading is out of the question?). Is this a known issue? Can it be contributed to using gtk+? The win32 Mozilla build is probably FASTER under wine than the native gtk+ based build!!!? Sorry for the rant, but it's the only thing I can do since time doesn't permit me to contribute code.

#86 Speed!

by Anon

Sunday November 28th, 1999 2:20 AM

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Win32 also has that prob, though not as obvious.

#76 Netscape advertising Mozilla??? Nah.

by danielhill <danielhill@hotmail.com>

Saturday November 27th, 1999 9:37 PM

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Load up Netcenter and tell me what you see in the top right corner.

#77 What is a Mozilla Alpha?

by danielhill <danielhill@hotmail.com>

Saturday November 27th, 1999 9:42 PM

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This will probably be the first time a lot of developers will touch or see Mozilla, so it has to be pretty good.

Not necessarily fully stable and featured, just usable as a browser for, say 50% of the time you're on the Net.

Personally, I think most of the development should have been concentrated on the layout engine, get that up and running perfectly before mail, news and other stuff.

dan

#82 Netscape advertising Mozilla??? Nah.

by Tanyel <tanyel@straightblack.com>

Saturday November 27th, 1999 11:22 PM

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I did it and saw a big "Try AOL 5" add that led to Shop@Netscape. I guess the link is wrong.

#84 Netscape advertising Mozilla??? Nah.

by Anon

Sunday November 28th, 1999 2:09 AM

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Well, I see a button for downloading AOL 5.0, which is based in Internet Explorer 5.0.

I don't know what *YOU* see.

#87 Netscape advertising Mozilla??? Nah.

by arielb

Sunday November 28th, 1999 2:50 AM

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that was his point.

#92 Horrible Plan at Work?

by Tanyel <tanyel@straightblack.com>

Sunday November 28th, 1999 4:36 PM

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Hmm. In some abstract way, ICQ is competition for the Instant Messenger, so AOL just buys it and forgets about it. In the same abstract way, Netscape is competition for their IE based product, so they just buy it and forget about it too... That sounds incredibly similar to Microsoft. I am going to try to find a way to convince AOL that my products are competition for them too so I can sell them for a few million dollars.

#78 No

by Tanyel <tanyel@straightblack.com>

Saturday November 27th, 1999 9:43 PM

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Why would they think a program should only last 1 hour? That sounds like a Microsoft standard. This project has been going on for over a year now, too long for such a low standard, regardless of how they label the program.

#80 Well if you read the messages above . . .

by gerbilpower <gerbil@ucdavis.edu>

Saturday November 27th, 1999 10:21 PM

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We're talking alpha, pre-beta software, 1 hour between crashes would be a MINIMUM standard at this point. M11 already exceeded, although only slightly, this minimum and it's not alpha yet. You can't expect a program labeled alpha to be as stable as the final product. I remember some old Netscape betas and they were pretty bad sometimes, so we shouldn't be pulling our hair too much right now over this. If the standard for beta isn't significantly higher, then we should start our complaning and gripping.

BTW, in some cases the Microsoft standard is closer to 45 minutes :)

<:3)~~

#81 One more thing

by gerbilpower <gerbil@ucdavis.edu>

Saturday November 27th, 1999 10:29 PM

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Oh yeah, Mozilla has taken such a long time now, about a year when they decided to make that drastic change from the classic Netscape code over to one based around Gecko/NGLayout. But just thinking about it, Mozilla is truely unique since the code is so portable from one platform to another. How many programs do you know that's so flexible? This is a strict coding following very specific standards, not random coding just to get the job done like what we see in most programs. It's something that's rarely done before, so it's a challenge for Mozilla to embark on this, this a longer development schedule.

I have no real proof on this BTW, just logical guesses and it would be nice anyone can point out whether or not I'm wrong.

<:3)~~

#88 Features after Alpha?

by Anon

Sunday November 28th, 1999 8:40 AM

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Don't get me wrong, but there's more than one team working on Mozilla, right? If so, wouldn't that mean that there are teams for working on the other parts of the project and that development of the rendering engine is being done at the same time as the other parts? Would it really make sense to stop working on those other parts to work on the engine and stabalizing the browser when they're just going to start working again and add features that might destabailize it? Then I guess everyone would have to work at the same time until a feature freeze and THEN it would be stabalized and optimized.

I might be wrong on this, but I thought this was how it was being done.

Can code be stabalized and speeded up when it is still being changed?

#105 Features after Alpha?

by Anon

Wednesday December 1st, 1999 12:47 AM

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Errr... no offence to the Mozilla developers but not ALL Mozilla developers are rendering experts! The development seems slow because there is alot of work to be done. And Every milestone is like a feature freeze: they take time to fix bugs at each milestone until it is somewhat stable. But to speed up development, new features will still be added, but not on the same set of code.

#89 (sorry) OT: about the title line of distribute.net

by parallel

Sunday November 28th, 1999 10:49 AM

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Hi,

First, sorry for this offtopic post. Because I am concern on the distribute.net's frontpage title line.

I'm not sure do I remember it right. I realized that distribute.net seems to have changed its front page layout maybe a just while ago.

I post this is actually about the frontpage's title line (up at the top of the browser window). I want to know for how long the title has been "distribut.net: Node Zero".

Please anyone who has often visit that site give me some info.

Sorry for the Offtopic post again...

Godric

#90 What is a Mozilla Alpha?

by Beafsteak <christian.mattar@fh-aachen.de>

Sunday November 28th, 1999 10:53 AM

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Hmm, it was already there when i started participating on distributed.net, which was in the end of 1998.

#98 Thanks for replying my OT post!

by parallel

Monday November 29th, 1999 3:12 AM

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Thanks!

#94 Too Much Complaining

by gerbilpower <gerbil@ucdavis.edu>

Sunday November 28th, 1999 6:34 PM

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So far the comments I've read compaining about the 1 hour between crashes for an Alpha release and also talk about Mozilla as if it's a final product.

1 hour between crashes seems low, but I've beta tested software that can't even stand 30 minutes but come out solid and stable by their final release (of course, I'm not talking about Windoze).

Guys, just calm down. Complain when it's beta, not alpha since alpha is suppose to be buggy and and unstable, since alpha means it's not near finished.

<:3)~~

#100 Font in Morilla

by Anon

Monday November 29th, 1999 5:23 AM

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I will be willing to try using mozilla if it have decent fonts. Actually the fonts are tiny in my system. And there is no way to change the font. There is a font menu item in the preference Edit/Prefecence but only one font (Western ?) is listed (with only size 10). Is this a bug ? My X server have all the fonts with all size (because it is the Xfree server and the fonts can be scaled)

#101 alpha is dev build only.

by Anon

Monday November 29th, 1999 7:52 AM

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IMNSHO An alpha version is a development version, it's not for use outside the development team, it is implicitally a debug build, and as far as I'm concerned an end user would never see it.

Once the software is good enough for an end user to see, probably when it's passed it's intergration testing, it becomes a beta. It stays a beta until it's passed it's acceptace testing, and goes live.

While OS software would in most cases not have an acceptance testing phase in the traditional sense, it can have it in terms of the objectives.

#102 Is there a point?

by james_keller <james_keller@bigfoot.com>

Tuesday November 30th, 1999 2:46 PM

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So alpha is defined as a still-buggy and not-yet-feature-complete version of software that will never see any tests outside the standard development/testing camp.

Exactly *how* does this differ from Mozilla's current state of affairs?

#104 Is there a point?

by Anon

Tuesday November 30th, 1999 9:13 PM

Reply to this message

Alpha means "almost" feature complete, "less" buggy. At least able to be used by the standard development/testing camp as their main browser