Pick a Free OS

Interview with Mozilla engineering director Chris Hofmann

Beyond the 88 people that committed changes in the last four months, there are hundreds more that attach patches to bugs, and thousands more that download the source code to look and poke at it, and tens of thousands more helping out with testing of nightly and milestone builds. We still have one of the largest and fastest-moving open source project going, with strong development and QA contributions from companies and individuals.

Q: Lots of Web sites are exclusively designed for IE. Is there anything being done to render them perfectly on Mozilla?

We track sites that don't work in our bug system, and have a volunteer group that evangelizes sites that aren't adopting standards and are providing proprietary content.

More and more companies see the business case of producing Web standards content to take advantage of speed and maintenance costs. There are a few articles/testimonials on the Netscape devedge site that highlight these benefits and other information.

I've seen some studies that show the speed improvements in rendering content that complies with Web standards can be dramatic. When browser layout engine drops out of standards mode into quirks mode it tends to slow down the presentation of information as it tries to figure out all the possible side cases of all the quirks that are possible. Content that conforms to the modern standards can be parsed and displayed much faster.

We really have made a lot of advances in this area in the last couple of years, and we have more support for a wider variety of content.

We look at the nature of incoming bugs, and where we can we provide compatibility to older quirks and proprietary things that Microsoft has implemented.

Q: What is the status of the Mozilla Calendar project?

A: There is a lot of good feedback on the XUL application work that has been done there, but we also see that we need to fill out the back end calendar support to take advantage of the emerging calendar server standards. We are doing some planning now and how to ramp up development work in this area too over the next year.

Q: When do you expect Mozilla 2.0 to be released?

A: We really have our heads down on all of the projects talked about in your previous questions. We haven't sunk much time into what would constitute a 2.0 release or what work would be involved to get there.