Mozilla Readies Browser Suite

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2002-03-28 Print this article Print

The code and feature set for the upcoming Mozilla 1.0 open source Web browser suite were frozen earlier this week, meaning that the focus is now on critical bug fixing and other issues ahead of its final release in the next month or so.

The code and feature set for the upcoming Mozilla 1.0 open source Web browser suite were frozen earlier this week, meaning that the focus is now on critical bug fixing and other issues ahead of its final release in the next month or so. Items on the Web site, at, which was founded by Netscape Communications Corp. to develop its browser in an open-source environment, confirmed that the development tree was frozen on Wednesday.
The MozillaZine Web site, at, also reported that the tree had now closed in preparation for Mozilla 1.0, "and so far, its looking promising," according to a statement on the site.
"What does the tree close mean? This time around, as drivers have been in control of the tree for the entire milestone, the actual process wont change, but drivers approval will begin to get harder and harder to get for a check-in," the statement said. Mozilla version 0.9.9 was released earlier this month. New features and functionality in that release included enabling MathML by default on those platforms that support it, including Windows and Unix. MathML is the W3C specification for describing mathematics on the Web. The JavaScript debugger, previously known by its code-name Venkman, would now also be able to profile JavaScript in web content and browser chrome. Mozilla also now supported SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), while users had the option of installing plug-ins to their Mozilla user directory. Mozilla also had a new Page Setup dialog, the Print Preview window had a toolbar, Mozilla on Microsoft Windows has a full screen mode and additional speed improvements were made for the Sparc Solaris build. When Mozilla version 1.0 is released, expected in the next month or so, it will be used as the default browser by Red Hat Inc., which distributes the most popular Linux distribution. Red Hat Linux already comes with the Mozilla browser. But Giga Information Group analyst Stacey Quandt, in Santa Clara, Calif., said that the impact of the browsers release would probably be limited to people already using the Gnome desktop environment and other Netscape products, and who wanted the feature and functionality enhancements version 1.0 brought. "I doubt many of those people already using the Opera browser and the Konquerer browser found in KDE, which is the predominant open source desktop environment, will find anything compelling enough in Mozilla 1.0 to shift across," she said. But the Mozilla 1.0 manifesto, written by Brendan Eich and posted on the site, explains why this release is important. It would be the first major-revision-number milestone release of the Mozilla browser application suite and platform from, he said. It would also be a release of higher quality than any delivered so far, and was a set of promises to keep compatibility with various APIs, broadly construed, until a version 2.0 or higher-numbered major release, he said. "All milestone releases and trunk development between 1.0 and 2.0 will preserve frozen interface compatibility. Mozilla 1.0 is a green light to hackers, corporations and book authors to get busy building atop this stable base set of APIs. It is also a stable, long-lived branch off of the trunk," Eich said. Version 1.0 was important as Mozilla consumers, including companies developing products, needed a stable, long-lived branch with API compatibility commitments, library version identification, enough modularity so that important core modules could stand alone, stability, good performance and memory footprint, better-than-any-competition standards compliance and usability, correctness, he said.
Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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