Major Roadmap Update Centers Around Phoenix, Thunderbird; 1.4 Branch to Replace 1.0; Changes Planned for Module Ownership Model
Wednesday April 2nd, 2003
In the most radical change to the Mozilla project since the late 1998 decision to rewrite much of the code, mozilla.org today announced a major new roadmap proposal that will see Phoenix and Thunderbird (also known as Minotaur) becoming the focus of future development. According to the roadmap, 1.4 is likely to be the last milestone of the traditional Mozilla suite and the 1.4 branch will replace the 1.0 branch as the stable development path. mozilla.org is also proposing changes to the module ownership model including a move towards stronger leadership and the removal of mandatory super-review in some cases. Please click the Full Article link to read the full analysis.
#107 What about the "far back-end"?
Thursday April 3rd, 2003 7:26 AM
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Configuration and state, that is. I'm not so much concerned about the state of the UI and the components which present themselves to users, as that of the bits which tell those components how to behave.
Things which ought to be grouped together are scattered all over, and often the poor sysadmin. can find no hints as to where to look for things which, in an institutional setting, ought to be easy to find and to tweak. (Take a simple thing like the page which shows up the first time you use the browser. We've got a fleet of public stations with a potential user base of 6 *million* people, and no way are we going to deal with storage for six million profiles. So I've rigged the stations to delete profiles at logoff. This means that, here, *every* time you use Mozilla is the first time you used Mozilla. Since we use the browser as THE user interface to our services, we want *our* page to show up the first time. It took *days* of research to find out where this was buried, and still longer to figure out how to defeat it. I did the same thing to IE in a couple of hours, and IE's configuration mechanisms are not exactly advertized either.)
Also, cross-platform has been over-extended into the welter of configuration files. The result is a configuration system which is equally frustrating on all platforms. It wouldn't be that hard to wrap platform-native configuration mechanisms in common functions, so that native mass-configuration tools can be used in institutional settings. (Like, ADS Group Policies for our thundering herd of, pardon the expression, Windows 2000 workstations.) Yeah, I would write it myself, if I hadn't come away from every encounter with the code wondering, "what language *is* this, *really*?")
Mozilla is great, I use it myself all the time, but it's become a nightmare for sites which need mass-deployment, mass-setup. and intimate control of the product's behavior by IS/IT staff rather than individuals. It's really hard to use it as a component of *my* designs.