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Mozilla won't fix 80% of Firefox 3.0's bugs

Major push to finish upgrade has developers prioritizing bugs, but eight in 10 won't be addressed

November 14, 2007 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Mozilla Corp. will fix just 20% of the bugs now in Firefox 3.0 before the final version is released next year, the open-source developer's Web site revealed yesterday.

As Mozilla pushes to post Beta 1 of Firefox 3.0, it has asked developers to prioritize already-identified bugs so that the most important can be fixed. But according to notes of yesterday's Firefox 3.0 status meeting, that will leave about eight in 10 bugs untouched.

"We have 700 bugs currently marked as blockers," the notes read. "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."

Mozilla usually refers to a bug as a "blocker" when the flaw is serious enough to justify postponing a release.

"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."

Developers have until late Thursday to prioritize the blockers in their areas.

They should judge the importance of each bug, said Mozilla, "largely on how much the bug would 'prevent users from browsing the Web on a daily basis.' This allows bugs to be compared on equal footing whether they are crashes, regressions, Leopard bugs or even long-standing bugs that we had hoped to fix in Firefox 3."

The exception, the notes said, was any security-related bug, which should automatically be considered important and fixed.

Mozilla has spelled out bug-triage plans several times since last week, when Mike Beltzner, Firefox's interface designer, asked developers to focus on fixing memory-leak, performance and Web-compatibility issues, as well any major regression errors -- bugs unintentionally introduced to the code of Firefox 2.0.

Firefox 3.0 Beta 1, which went through a round of stress-testing last week, will get a repeat this Friday. Although post-Beta 1 plans haven't been officially outlined, it's clear from messages on the Mozilla wiki that there will be at least two betas, and possibly a third, before the browser is declared ready for release.

Firefox 3.0 is months behind the schedule Mozilla set about midyear, when it said the browser would reach Beta 1 in late July and move into a second beta in September, both preceding a final release by the end of the year. Now, however, the company's Web site alludes to getting Beta 2 ready by the December holidays.

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