- By Grant Gross -
Version 1.0 of the Open Source Mozilla browser suite was released earlier this month and has gotten generally positive reviews from tech news sites and even mainstream outlets like CNN.com and WashingtonPost.com. Project leader Mitchell Baker says she's been happy with the positive reviews, given that the Mozilla team aimed the release more at developers than end users.
Three weeks after the 1.0 release, we thought it was a good time to check in with Baker and the Mozilla team.
NewsForge: How many downloads of Mozilla has there been since the 1.0 release? Have those numbers been a surprise either way?
Baker: There have been over 500,000 downloads from the mozilla.org servers. We don't track downloads from mirror sites, so we don't have a total
figure. This amount is in line with expectations form our site.
NewsForge: What kind of reaction have you heard from developers and users?
Baker: We've had an excellent response. Press reports have been good,
developer response has been excited and users have been happy with the
quality of Mozilla 1.0. This has been most gratifying.
NewsForge: While you've said 1.0 is a release primarily for developers, it's
generally gotten good user-level reviews as well. What did you think
of the reviews that said Mozilla should provide IE good competition?
Baker: We are extremely pleased that the user experience of Mozilla 1.0 is so
good, and is recognized as such. There is no doubt that Mozilla 1.0 is
a good technical alternative to other browser and mail/news clients.
Good, or even great, technology will not solve all the problems of the
existing desktop monopoly, but it is a necessary prerequisite.
NewsForge: Although the reviews generally like Mozilla as a consumer-ready
product, when do you see it becoming a mass-consumer product?
Baker: Mozilla will become a mass consumer product as companies and projects
use Mozilla in their products. This may be in products that are desktop
browsers, like those from Netscape, Galeon, CompuServe and Red Hat. Or
it may be as Mozilla is used in other types of applications such as
interactive TV, hand-held devices, etc.
NewsForge: What are the big issues for Mozilla going forward? What would you
like to improve or change?
Baker: Going forward we will be maintaining a long-term, stable branch -- the
Mozilla 1.0 branch. This will be new for us, and will undoubtedly lead
to some new practices.
On the trunk where new development occurs, we expect a continued focus on
embedding Mozilla into other applications. This will mean looking at
how the various components in Mozilla interact with each other and which
we want to make stand-alone.
Now that the basic application suite has reached the 1.0 status, we may
see a spurt of new innovations.
As for improvements, we continue to suffer from inadequate documentation.
Recently-created embedding documents are plugging a massive hole, but
we continue to need more and better documentation. I would also like to
revamp the web site, it should be far more useful than it is.
NewsForge: What's next for the team in general?
Baker: Not too much will change. We'll have new topics, such as those
discussed above. But the work of those who contribute to the project
remains quite similar.
NewsForge: We've had reports of AOL switching to the Gecko engine for its new
releases, but the latest report has a developer version of AOL 8.0
going out with IE. Can you shed any light on what's happening there?
Baker: I'm afraid not; only AOL can speak to this.