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 Mozilla.org Web site, at www.mozilla.org, 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 www.mozillazine.org, 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.
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 Mozilla.org 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 Mozilla.org, 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 cvs.mozilla.org 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.