As originally posted on Mozillazine (though disappeared). Not sure if it’s real, or if it’s a April Fools Hoax… anyway, here it is:
PROVISIONAL HEADLINE: Major Roadmap Update Centres Around Phoenix, Thunderbird; 1.4 Branch to Replace 1.0; Changes Planned for Module Ownership Model
LEAD-IN: In the most radical change to the Mozilla project since the late 1998 decision to rewrite much of the code, mozilla.org today announced a major new roadmap revision that will see Phoenix and Thunderbird (also known as Minotaur) becoming the focus of future development. 1.4 is likely to be the last milestone of the traditional Mozilla suite and the 1.4 branch will replace the 1.0 branch as the stable development path. In addition, there will be changes to the ownership model that will see a move towards stronger leadership and the removal of mandatory super-review in some cases.
FULL ARTICLE: In one of a string of changes, mozilla.org today announced that future Mozilla development work will be focussed around the stand-alone Phoenix browser and Thunderbird mail and newsgroups client (also known as Minotaur). Mozilla 1.4 will probably be the last milestone release of the traditional Mozilla browser suite and the 1.4 milestone is slated to replace 1.0 as the stable development path.
Aggressive and ambitious changes will take place during the 1.5 and 1.6 milestones to accomodate the switch to Phoenix and Thunderbird. Mac OS X versions of Phoenix will become available but Camino, a project to create a Mozilla-based browser with a native Mac user interface, will continue to be fully supported.
The Phoenix project started life in Summer 2002 as redesign of the Mozilla browser component known as mozilla/browser. It aims to create a browser for average users with a simplified user interface. The Thunderbird project plans to create a stand-alone mail client using the Phoenix toolkit and following its conventions. The project now incoroprates the work of the Minotaur effort to create a stand-alone version of Mail & Newsgroups. It is anticipated that Thunderbird will be available as both a completely separate application and as an add-on to Phoenix, which will integrate more closely with the browser.
The module ownership system will also be refined. Changes will be made so that all code modules have strong leaders who have the authority to make decisive and final decisions. In some cases, the need for mandatory super-review will be removed, as is the case in Phoenix today.
It was also announced that Gecko developers will be freed to make large architectural changes to make Gecko easier to maintain and more extensible.
mozilla.org is making these changes for many reasons. Moving to a collection of stand-alone programs will address criticisms that the monolithic Mozilla suite is too bloated. Annointing 1.4 as the designated stable branch will answer concerns that the 1.0 branch is too far behind the trunk. The new module ownership model should ensure a greater coherency in many aspects of Mozilla, particularly its user interface, which has often being criticised for lacking direction. Many feel that Mozilla’s two-stage review process is overkill in some places and the removal of mandatory super-review for certain areas will tackle this issue. Finally, rearchitecturing Gecko will ensure that Mozilla’s rendering engine remains world-class and does not further suffer because of excessive modularisation and poor design decisions, criticisms that came to light with Apple’s choice of KHTML for its Safari browser.
More information about this new development process can be found in the updated Mozilla Development Roadmap.