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O'Reilly Network: Netscape Navigator 6.0 to Fail Standards Compliance

Nov 09, 2000, 22:30 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by David Flanagan)

"Navigator 6 will be Netscape's first commercial release of a browser based on open-source code from the Mozilla project. The Mozilla project, hosted at http://www.mozilla.org, includes an online bug database, accessible at http://bugzilla.mozilla.org. A search of this database reveals numerous outstanding bugs that affect compliance with HTML, DOM, CSS, and ECMAScript (JavaScript) standards."

"Reading the discussions of individual bugs provides an interesting glimpse into the workings of the Mozilla open-source process, and into the interactions between Mozilla and Netscape. In a number of cases, Mozilla engineers have fixed standards-compliance bugs and have had their patches to the source code reviewed twice by senior engineers. Even when the patches are extraordinarily simple ones, and the Mozilla engineers are convinced that they pose no risk of introducing other bugs, their requests to include the fixes into the Netscape 6 release are denied by the Netscape Product Development Team (PDT) out of fear, apparently, that accepting these patches would cause the release schedule to slip."

"Indeed, the discussion of bug #53849 includes a definition of a "must-fix problem" as one that is "defined by marketing and legal requirements." Under this criteria, even the trivial correction of a misspelling in an error message (see bug #57869), cannot be made."

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