Mozilla IDs 10 bugs, 3 'critical' in Firefox 3.0 RC1

It could ship the browser as is, or add patches and roll out a second release candidate

Mozilla has identified 10 high-priority bugs in Firefox 3.0, three of them pegged "critical," but won't decide until next week whether to release the browser anyway or restart the final stretch by issuing a second release candidate (RC2).

"We are making a go/no go decision early next week, as we are still collecting feedback [on Release Candidate 1]," Mike Schroepfer, Mozilla's vice president of engineering, said in an e-mail.

Firefox 3.0 Release Candidate 1 (RC1) launched a week ago, but Mozilla has not yet committed to RC2. Previously, the company has only said it is targeting June as the release window for the final code.

On the "mozilla.dev.planning" newsgroup, Schroepfer also said that on May 27 Mozilla will either call Firefox 3.0 finished with RC1, or build RC2 with fixes for the 10 bugs that have been collected.

In the meantime, testing will begin on the 10 bugs. "If we need to do an RC2, they'll be ready to go," he said. "If we ship RC1, we can get them in the 3.0.1."

The bug list includes three marked "critical" on Bugzilla, Mozilla's bug-tracking database and management system. Eight of the bugs affect Firefox on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, while two afflict only Linux.

One of Linux bugs has caught the eye of some Firefox users, in part, because of a short blog post that garnered attention on Digg.com. The blogger, Jason Clinton, who works for Advanced Clustering Technologies, a US company that specializes in cluster-based systems and Linux servers, took Mozilla to task.

Last Tuesday, Clinton called Mozilla's support for Linux "second-class" and blasted the open-source developer over a bug. "Release managers just made the call that Firefox 3.0 will release with a known bug which brings Linux systems to their knees."

The bug Clinton referenced, tagged as "421482" in Bugzilla, is one of the 10 on the list that Mozilla's using to decide whether to release Firefox 3.0 as is or craft RC2 for another go towards final code.

In Bugzilla, developers argued over the extent of the problem -- which some Linux users said seriously affected Firefox's performance, as well as their systems overall -- and where the fault lay -- in the browser or in SQLite, the database Firefox uses for its revamped bookmark and history feature, dubbed "Places."

On Wednesday, in a separate e-mail, Schroepfer said that Mozilla developers were looking into the bug and were confident a solution had been found. "You can see that a couple different issues have been accidently confused," he said. "Overall, I think we have some good options to make this work well."

Firefox 3.0 will be the first major upgrade to the browser since October 2006. But Mozilla may ship another version before the end of the year, Schroepfer has said, in order to add features that weren't ready in time for Firefox 3.0.

Firefox 3 RC1 can be downloaded for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux in 41 languages from Mozilla's site.

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Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
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