Son, you need to watch out for bugs when you take Firefox 3.0 for a spin.  (Source: Spread Firefox)
A scandalous report has one Mozilla saying curse words

On Thursday the New York Times ran a story about Mozilla, manufacturer of the open-source Firefox browser, which brought to light interesting claims about internal decisions taking place.

Mozilla Firefox, which as of September had a 14.85% market share and recently hit 400 million downloads, is preparing to launch the final version of the third iteration of its Mozilla Firefox browser.  Firefox 3.0 is currently undergoing testing of its Beta 1 release.

The Times alleges that Mozilla only plans to fix 20% of the bugs currently in Firefox 3.0 before the final release.

The Times received an apparently leaked copy of Mozilla's the notes for Wednesday's internal status meeting on the state of the browser.  The note stated, "We have 700 bugs currently marked as blockers.  That's too many. We're asking [requiring] 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% of blockers, or what you can get done in four weeks."

A bug that is serious enough to postpone the release is known in the Mozilla community as a "blocker".

The meeting notes went on, "We'll be doing pretty much the same thing for Beta 3, which means that something like 80% of the [approximately] 700 bugs currently marked as blockers will not be fixed for Firefox 3," the meeting notes continued.  "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 meeting notes did include an exception for security bugs, which Mozilla considers mandatory and expects developers to automatically fix.  Non-security bugs that effect browsing performance are being triaged, though, by how much they will hinder user's daily browsing experience.

Mike Beltzner, Firefox's interface designer is hoping developers will focus on fixing memory leak, performance and web-compatibility issues, as well as any major regression bugs that snuck into the code of Firefox 2.0.

Mozilla is stress testing the beta software.  It plans on releasing two or three more Beta candidates, before the final release.  Mozilla is struggling to keep up with schedule, as it said it would release the second beta by September and Firefox 3.0 by the end of the year.

The Times article elicited a fiery response from Mozilla developer Asa Dotzler, who posted a blog stating, "[The Times'] claim is simply horses**t.  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."

Dotzler makes no attempt to refute what the Times article did say, though -- that only 20% of the remaining 700 significant bugs will be fixed, and gave no indication of how many of the less significant bugs (non-"blockers") will be fixed.

Firefox typically releases solid products, but despite strong recent gains, it is clearly feeling the pinch as it prepares to release Firefox 3.0, and by all indications, is struggling to accomplish a trimmed back version of its initial goals, after missing deadlines and falling behind on its beta releases.

"Vista runs on Atom ... It's just no one uses it". -- Intel CEO Paul Otellini
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