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Poasters Guides => Software Reviews => Topic started by: Neon on Jun 05, 2002, 10:11 PM

Title: Browser Suite: Mozilla 1.0
Post by: Neon on Jun 05, 2002, 10:11 PM
Mozilla 1.0 (http://www.mozilla.org)
(http://www.mozilla.org/start/1.0/images/dino.png)

Mozilla 1.0 web browser suite for Windows XP/2000/NT/ME/98/95, Macintosh OS 8.5 to 9.x/OS X, Linux, BSD/OS, FreeBSD, OpenVMS, OS/2, Tru64 Unix, HPUX, Caldera OpenUNIX8 and Unixware 7.1.1, Solaris, and maybe more.

Download Mozilla 1.0 for Windows (http://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla/releases/mozilla1.0/mozilla-win32-1.0-installer.exe) - 10.6MB executable file -  Build ID: 2002053012

This is the long awaited Gecko-based standards-compliant browser suite, just released yesterday. For several months, Mozilla 0.x betas have been my primary browser suites. This review is poasted with Mozilla 1.0 final, and so far it has been very good.

Features:

Tabbed browsing - switch rapidly between web pages (desktop space saver).

Popup blocking.

Themes and skins - customize appearance of icons and widgets - download or make your own (if you write XUL).

Open source - sourcecode is free to download, modify, and compile yourself.

Cross platform - many operating systems supported.

Multiple languages supported.

Support for multiple email accounts - check email in each account without doing a lot of reconfiguring of the mail preferences.

Password manager - type in a name/password for a web page, it optionally remembers your input, so you don't need to retype them every time.

Included in the suite:

Navigator - browser

Mail & Newsgroups

Composer - basic WYSIWYG webpage builder

Chatzilla - IRC chat app

Address Book

Installation and Setup:

The full installation went smoothly. There was no problem with software conflicts in Win2K. Mozilla has an optional Quick Launch feature, which loads part of the application into memory when Windows starts. When enabled, this allows Mozilla to open as quickly as MSIE, which also preloads parts of the application into memory. Plugins are not formally supported, but most Netscape plugins will work.

Usage:

Ahh, there's nothing like the smell of fresh code in the morning. The newly minted Mozilla 1.0 really zips along on my computer. So far, Mozillas 0.9.8 up to 1.0 have been very stable, and have rarely crashed during several months of usage.

Mozilla 1.0 is "targeted at the developer community", meaning that it is intended as a core application for usage by Netscape (http://channels.netscape.com/ns/browsers/7/default.jsp), Beonex (http://beonex.com/), Galeon (http://galeon.sourceforge.net/), etc. to turn into a commercial product. Mozilla is quite useable in it's own right, however there is no support from Mozilla, Inc. If you can't fix it yourself and need support, head for the newsgroups (http://www.mozilla.org/start/1.0/faq/enduser.html#11.2).

In general, the user interface of Mozilla feels very clean. There's a nice set of features, yet it doesn't feel bloated. However, be mindful of the minimum requirements: 233MHz CPU, 64 MB RAM. While this isn't too demanding for today's computers, if you are hobbling along on a 5 year old Quantex 200 (or worse), then Mozilla will seem a tad slow.

There are some minor bugs still present, which is typical in 1.0 releases. The Mozilla project is not shy about admitting this; there is a whole bug logging, triage, and extermination system called Bugzilla (http://bugzilla.mozilla.org/). As the problems are solved, the fixes make their way into the updated code, such that stability and compatibility should gradually improve over time. Even better, development work on additional features continues, so future Mozilla releases should contain the latest innovations.

Web Help:

Mozilla 1.0 FAQ (http://www.mozilla.org/start/1.0/faq/)

Mozilla Skins (http://www.deskmod.com/?show=showcat&cat_name=mozilla)

Holger Metzger's Netscape 6/7 Tips (http://www.hmetzger.de/net6e.html)

Plusses:

smooth install

modular design allows customization

open source - continuous testing, development, and improvement

fast browsing performance

popup blocking! popup blocking! popup blocking!

support for multiple email accounts

Minuses:

in mail, right click on a url and selection of Open Link in New Window does not work (left click does work)

no spellcheck in mail composer yet

middle click to open a link in a tab doesn't work

defaultStatus is not restored after leaving onmouseover (mostly cosmetic JavaScript hiccup)

some banking sites do not yet support Mozilla

To conclude, Mozilla 1.0 is a terrific example of what happens when a community goes open source to write new software. The underlying technology is a platform on which to develop a variety of OS-independent applications. For example, instant messaging software, media players and other applications are under development now. The release of Mozilla 1.0 represents a major milestone in the growing open source software community. Give it a try.

(http://neon.home.texas.net/neonsm.gif)

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