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Strengths and Weaknesses

  • August 10, 2000
  • By Michael Hall

And once again, we're back to the core issue when it comes to writing about things Mozilla: there's no easy way to avoid displeasing everybody. A read through the initial comments of various talkback fora on the 'net the day of the release had avowals of "rocklike stability" vying with assertions that the program couldn't stay running for more than five minutes.

We actually had two separate experiences:

It crashed easily and badly during one session. Over and over again. The next time we sat down to it, things didn't seem so bad. We managed about half an hour of use before problems began to manifest.

If we have an opinion on the meaning of all this, it's pretty straightforward:

A browser as complex as the one the Mozilla project is aiming for isn't something a hobbyist whips up over the weekend. The developers have torn the source they were given down to the ground, rebuilt it, and there is no denying that Gecko is wonderful. The hangups seem to be in the area of the interface that holds it all together. If we had any doubts about this, the Galeon project has shown it's possible to put a simple interface together that allows Gecko to shine. It's just up to Mozilla's developers and the work they have in front of them to make good on an ambitious attempt at a complex product.

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