[Project_owners] Clarification for a SeaMonkey User

Axel Hecht axel at pike.org
Sat Sep 13 23:17:58 EDT 2003

Pete Collins wrote:

> Whew!!! Reading, Ben's, HJ's, Axel's and John's remarks I feel a bit 
> *relieved* that i'm not the *only one* in the dark here. I was 
> anticipating a barrage of negative criticism to my simple humble 
> question. So my inclination that there is really no clear direction for 
> the Mozilla project is not unfounded.

It's not a matter of direction, really. I bet the direction is clear. 
There are a few things that need to shake out on the way, such as, 
"What's a GRE", but despite of that, the direction is clear.
Have a single toolkit with a bunch of high profile applications using 
*and sharing* that toolkit.

> Well, Mozilla technology is essential to the life of Mozdev and the work 
> we all do here, so this is a very important matter of concern.

GRE should in theory make this easier. See bug 
http://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=206358 which should enable 
you to write new applications without any platform dependent code.

> At least now I am *real clear* that the direction of Mozilla is indeed 
> very unclear. This appears to be the side effect of a major transitonal 
> period for Mozilla. It is also the result of not having a clear vision 
> for Mozilla since the onset of the project.
> I'd say this is just a typical growth stage for an important Open Source 
> project.

I'd say that both timing and, to some extent, priorities (in the sence 
of "who's doing it when") got a bit lost. And I bet that having the 
project being in both an expansion (new roadmap, Mozilla Foundation) and 
a contraction (lots of people getting their priorities shaken) phase 
simultaniously doesn't help.

The "new roadmap plan" was an attempt to share the direction of the 
Mozilla Foundation with both Trolls and contributors. Trolls had their 
fun on /., we (the developers) had some fun with SeaMonkey and frozen 
trees. But the envisioned shift in priorities didn't come. Maybe because 
the decision on that shift was done without the consent/contribution of 
the developers themselves. On the other hand, there was only a small 
chance to get the developers opinion. Starting a discussion on a public 
forum would have been Troll-dominated, quickly driving developers out of 
the discussion. There is really only the dinner-table to discuss stuff 
like this. I bet even #mozilla would've been too public.

As Brian pointed out, the information is out there, though not all 
information is only a single page and it might be hard to tell the 
difference between proposal, fact and fiction at times. I bet that the 
Mozilla Foundation will not just float another balloon without having 
any reason to expect a better match of fact and fiction. Hiring Ben 
might have taken some gas out of that balloon, though.

So we should ask ourselves if we really helped as much as we could have.
I wonder how many of mozdev are actually working on things like thinking 
on design to get around the #ifdef's or getting the GRE to be usable by 
outside stuff. I bet only the owners of fire- and thunderbird think 
about the ifdefs, and the GRE stuff is mostly handled by bsmedberg and 

Considering this, I see no justification for the harsh flames I had to 
read in response to Pete's mail.


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