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Mozilla Programming

Mozilla Tries New "Lorentz" Dev Model 126

With the recent release of Firefox 3.6, Mozilla has also decided to try out a new development model dubbed "Lorentz." A blend of both Agile and more traditional "waterfall" development models, the new methodology aims to deliver new features much more quickly while still maintaining backwards compatibility, security, and overall quality. Only time will tell if this is effective, or just another management fad. "If the new approach sounds familiar, that's because Unix and Linux development has attempted similar kinds of release variations for iterating new features while maintaining backwards compatibility. HP-UX, for example, is currently on its HP-UX 11iv3 release, which receives updates several times a year that add incremental new functionality. The Linux 2.6.x kernel gets new releases approximately every three months, which include new features as well."
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Mozilla Tries New "Lorentz" Dev Model

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  • Re:No (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 25, 2010 @02:03PM (#30893132)

    What's wrong is the absence of 2.7.* where the new features we're getting in the "stable" kernel should have stayed until they were stable.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 25, 2010 @02:03PM (#30893134)

    All of the Firefox branches are named after national parks... the name has nothing to do with the development model.

  • Re:No (Score:5, Informative)

    by electrosoccertux ( 874415 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @02:17PM (#30893338)

    The Linux 2.6 model sucks. 2.6, 2.8. 2.10, etc became 2.6.1, 2.6.2, 2.6.3... on short support cycles.

    You, sir, do not seem to know the nightmare that maintaining separate kernels, and porting features and bugfixes back and forth, created.

  • Re:No (Score:4, Informative)

    by Cyberax ( 705495 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @02:18PM (#30893352)

    2.4/2.5 model sucks, because we have to wait years before features propagate to the stable mainline kernel. Or have to resort to backporting and vendor branches.

  • by FooAtWFU ( 699187 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @02:35PM (#30893626) Homepage
    The "weight gain" is due to an abuse of the equations:

    The equation Einstein came up with more than a century ago can be considered a degenerate form of the mass-energy-momentum relation for vanishing momentum. Einstein was very well aware of this, and in later papers repetitively stressed that his mass-energy equation is strictly limited to observers co-moving with the object under study. However, very, very few people seem to have paid attention to Einstein's warnings, nor to any of the more recent warnings. Even worse, the vast majority of authors of popular science books take great liberty in applying E=mc^2 to objects moving at speeds close to the speed of light, and then declare mass to increase with velocity in an attempt to recover consistency in what has become an incoherent mix of relativistic and Newtonian dynamics. Theoretical physicist Lev Okun refers to this practice as a "pedagogical virus". ..... What I consider truly amazing, is how few people are aware of the mass-energy-momentum relation.

    -- What's Wrong with E=mc^2 [], The Hammock Physicist.

    Our blogger then proceeds to draw a right triangle with sides E*v, E*c, and m*c^3. For velocities (v) of 0, E*c=m*c^3, or E=mc^2. Yay vectors.

  • Re:No (Score:2, Informative)

    by Luke has no name ( 1423139 ) < minus author> on Monday January 25, 2010 @02:44PM (#30893718)

    I concur. The "Major.Minor.Bugfix" version scheme is much more informative than Linux's arbitrary "2.6.iteration" format. The 2.6 part doesn't even matter anymore.

    Major number changes with breaks in back compatibility, changes in the direction of development, major new features/architecture, etc.

    Minor number changes within Major number with new features but does not affect compatibility with same Major version. Do not take away features (e.g. no regressions)

    Bugfix number changes within Minor number when no new features are added, code has simply changed or bugs fixed.

  • Re:No (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:16PM (#30894096)

    Patch levels don't start at 1 the day of release, they start the day they start working on the next branch. The kernel included in the installation CD was at patchset 14, the latest released one is 17 (However there were 2-3 updates that didn't change the patch level). And Lucid is already at -11 (see and

  • Re:No (Score:2, Informative)

    by Magic5Ball ( 188725 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:23PM (#30894212)

    Mozilla Corporation's goals are substantially to do activities which bring in revenue, as with Microsoft. Mozilla's main vehicle for doing so is to package and distribute a browser through which income is generated via Google searches. To maximize revenues, they need to maximize both market share and usage of their browser.

    The new focus, maximizing market share (quantity), could help, but not as much as a new strategy which maximizes both market share and usage (quality). Under those 30 MB or so of binaries, libraries and other stuff, I'm sure exists a small feature subset set which would give all Internet users a compelling reason to switch to and stick with Firefox, if that feature subset were promoted correctly.

    Based on their list of "new features", [], they don't seen to know what makes Firefox special.

    Private Browsing - "Surf the Web without leaving a single trace." Which inaccurately describes the functionality. Safari and Chrome can forget things in the browser, but the Firefox feature as stated requires third-party anonymising proxies or such.
    Password Manager - "Remember site passwords without ever seeing a pop-up." - Most browsers have had features to remember form fields since the 1990s?
    Awesome Bar - "Find the sites you love in seconds (and without having to remember clunky URLs)." This is better than bookmarks/favourites?
    Super Speed - "View Web pages way faster, using less of your computer’s memory." OK.
    Anti-Phishing & Anti-Malware - "Enjoy the most advanced protection against online bad guys." ... Using substantially the same database as IE and Chrome.
    Session Restore - "Unexpected shutdown? Go back to exactly where you left off." Tires unexpectedly fall off? Can I have a browser that doesn't need to have this feature?
    One-Click Bookmarking - "Bookmark, search and organize Web sites quickly and easily." It doesn't trouble me to click once or twice to bookmark something in any other browser, but OK...
    Easy Customization - "Thousands of add-ons give you the freedom to make your browser your own." OK. But there's a handy guide to navigate those thousands, right?
    Tabs - "Do more at once with tabs you can organize with the drag of a mouse." Like every other browser?
    Personas - "Instantly change the look of your Firefox with thousands of easy-to-install themes." Instantly change the look of your windshield with thousands of ... No thanks. We got here without bringing MySpace all the way to the desktop. Also does not enhance the functionality of the browser.

  • Re:No (Score:3, Informative)

    by msclrhd ( 1211086 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @05:49PM (#30896466)

    How do you know that Mozilla are not improving quality? If you pay attention, Mozilla are improving the quality of the codebase (memory consumption/leak fixes, crash fixes, etc.).

    And while plugins do add some features, what about HTML5 support? Support for SMIL animations in SVG? Out of process plug-ins? Better JavaScript performance? Support for additional emerging and evolving standards? Better OS integration on Windows, Mac and Linux? Hardware-accelerated page rendering? WebGL support? And much more.

  • by Alef ( 605149 ) on Monday January 25, 2010 @07:14PM (#30897556)

    And now they add the only thing to it, that in even more horrible? Agile?? Or in other words: Spaghetti coding with the motto: “If perfect planning is impossible, maybe not planning at all will work.”

    It is obvious that you have never worked with a properly implemented agile process.

    First of all, spaghetti code is absolutely not accepted. High quality code is imperative to maintain a successful product in the long run, and something methodologies such a Scrum explicitly declare as non-negotiable. In fact, one of the main points of Scrum is to try to eliminate stakeholders' influence over the quality--time trade-off.

    And secondly: Of course you do planning when you work with Agile! It's just that you don't stipulate what will be achieved by a certain dead-line -- instead you estimate. And this is the only sensible thing to do. You cannot be more efficient than 100%, no matter how much you need to. If things take longer, then they were harder than you thought (and hence you try to make a better estimate the next time). You can reduce the scope of the task, or you can put in more hours for a temporary boost, but the map has to change if it differs from reality.

    If you with "planning" mean writing specifications, then no, you don't write as much specifications. But that doesn't mean that you do not write any specifications at all. Again, common sense dictates the rule. Specify what you need to, but don't try to specify things just for the sake of it. That is pointless at best and usually detrimental.

  • by luserSPAZ ( 104081 ) on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @07:59AM (#30902418) Homepage

    That's great, but there are lots of extensions that do in fact break. If users update to a new version of Firefox and their extensions don't work, or cause their browser to crash or otherwise malfunction (not a theoretical problem), they are not happy users.

    The Jetpack project is working to create a stable (but admittedly more limited) API for extensions to use to make it possible to sidestep this problem.

  • Re:No (Score:3, Informative)

    by dylan_- ( 1661 ) on Tuesday January 26, 2010 @09:14AM (#30902924) Homepage

    Session Restore - "Unexpected shutdown? Go back to exactly where you left off." Tires unexpectedly fall off? Can I have a browser that doesn't need to have this feature?

    Yes, Firefox 3 will include a Virtual UPS.

"Let every man teach his son, teach his daughter, that labor is honorable." -- Robert G. Ingersoll