Mozilla hits back at Firefox 3 quality slur
No rush job on 700 'blocker' bugs
Mozilla has hit back at claims that multiple bugs in its forthcoming Firefox 3 browser will be ignored in order to meet release schedules.
IDG analyst Gregg Keizer reported that fixes for as many as eight in ten identified bugs would be ready in time for the scheduled release of Firefox 3 (Gran Paradiso) next year. Keizer cited notes from a Mozilla development meeting to support his claims, carried in a story in the New York Times last Thursday.
"We have 700 bugs currently marked as blockers," the notes said. "That's too many. We're asking component owners to set priorities on blockers, as a first pass of what bugs should be Beta 2 blockers. You want it to be about 10 per cent of blockers, or what you can get done in four weeks."
Mozilla defines a "blocker" as a flaw serious enough to justify delaying a release, or at least closer examination.
"We'll be doing pretty much the same thing for Beta 3, which means that something like 80 per cent of the [approximately] 700 bugs currently marked as blockers will not be fixed for Firefox 3. The hope is that by 'fixing the most important blockers' several times, we'll get to a point where we can cut the rest without feeling bad about the quality of the release. And if we do feel bad, we can add an extra beta or two," the notes added.
Mozilla developer Asa Dotzler hit back at the suggestion that Mozilla was compromising on quality in developing the next version of the open source browser.
"That claim is simply horseshit," he wrote in a blog post. "We've already fixed over 11,000 bugs and features in Firefox 3 and now we're discussing how to handle the remaining 700 issues we wanted to get fixed for Firefox 3."
Mozilla developer Mike Shaver said Keizer cited genuine notes but misunderstood the meaning of the term 'blocker'. "It appears to be an honest mistake, since a set of meeting notes did include that prediction, along with other elements that mention other approaches to the Firefox end-game," he writes. "But it’s not our intent to cut Firefox blockers from the fix list against a hard numerical target or fixed deadline."
"The 'blocking' flag doesn’t always strictly mean 'we would not ship Firefox 3 if this specific bug isn’t fixed'. It can also mean 'we should look at this in more detail before we ship'", he added.
Security bugs within the 700 flaw total will be treated as "important". Bugs that impair surfers' browsing ability will also be prioritised. Up to three beta releases of Firefox 3 are planned. The last release was an eight alpha version of the code, released in September. The final version of Firefox 3 is due out some time next year.
The superstructure of Firefox 3 alpha is built around Gecko 1.9, an updated layout engine. The browser is also due to include features held back from Firefox 2, such as the revamped Places system for storing bookmarks and a rejigged history function. ®
Leaks like a sieve
Some people commenting seem to have the view that if Firefox does not leak for them it is not an issue.
I am sure what the user really wants at this point is a faster more stable browser and not more useless bells and whistles.
Opera can improve its adblocking
The problem with Opera's ad blocker, while it is very user-friendly to select and block ads, is that it doesn't have a subscription list the way AdBlockPlus has. When you install ABP, you get a choice of subscription lists, which are automatically updated daily to block more ad servers and to counter anti-adblocker techniques being introduced by advertising companies.
Now while I do like Opera as well as FF, I don't want to have to run around on every new site I visit blocking ads before I can settle down to read the content. FF+ABP means I almost never see ads at all, and on the very rare occasion when I do, it's usually only one or two that are being hosted on the site server (to get around the adblockers) and these can also be blocked quickly. Opera badly needs support for popular blocklists like the EZ-List that ABP uses. Then it will definitely be the equal of FF+ABP.
Stop the train, I want to get off!
Its time to slow down this space race. I've just grudgingly moved from FF 1.5 to 2 within the past month. I still prefer most things about 1.5. The only feature in 2.0 that I appreciate is the session resume. I wouldn't mind if they continued to provide security bug fixes for the past versions but every new major version just rearanges the furniture needlessly.
Where's the Preferences dialog in this version? They move it back and forth from Edit/Preferences to Tools/Options in every other release, 2.0 has it back where it was in Mozilla and FF 1.0. And every new release just adds another 10M of bling in the form of gold plated spinner skins and other doodads to slow down the already sluggish browser.