I'm proud to announce Camino 1.1 beta. Give it a spin and let us know. The more feedback we get, the better the release will be!
A friend asked me today if Camino 1.1 was even in alpha. Heck, we're on alpha two, but I guess we haven't really done the best job of promoting it. To some extent, that's reasonable, alphas generally aren't the kind of thing you want your grandmother using. However, our standards are usually a little higher than most, and I've been running 1.1a2 daily on both home and work machines for a while.
In fact, we're really close to beta. We wanted to have something for Presidents Day (Abe Lincoln is a *huge* Camino fan) but we extended our deadline to pick up some last minute crash fixes. I promise to blog about it when we do reach beta, and we're going to have an increased presence, both on the Camino website and among download sites. It's important that we get a lot of people to try it out and send us feedback before we go final.
Ben disputes my claim that Camino never crashes. Personally, I think he's on crack. I have 1.1a2 running for over a month and a half of intense usage on both my laptops and my work desktop without a single crash. Maybe it's because I turn Java off. What's Java, you ask? Beats me. I think I used it in 1995. Really, would you allow a 12-year old to run wild in your browser? I think the blink tag is more relevant these days....props to Lou Montulli.
If Pacman Jones can make it rain for $81,000, then I want to be a stripper. Seriously. What's the visual of a man walking into a club with $81,000 in his pocket?
Oh, I'm sorry, did I digress from Mozilla-related content? Oops. I did it again.
It appears that I don't talk about Mozilla enough, so I've been removed from planet.mozilla.org. I wonder what my last three posts were about...That doesn't even begin to address the fact that I was removed without any notice or request to categorize my posts so they could be filtered. Just quietly dropped. Boggles the mind.
It's scary when voices in the community can be turned off like a faucet at the whim of people at a corporation. What kind of message does that send?
I guess people have been watching my talk, and they tend to focus on the end, where I mused about the future and Camino 2.0. I mentioned WebKit as a possible rendering engine and I mentioned the idea of crafting new versions for only the latest OS. Some have taken this to heart and are running around like I shot their goat. A few things are certain:
Gecko is a strength. Camino would be nowhere if its rendering engine sucked. Gecko has had the benefit of more than 8 years of development, and as part of that development, testing and exposure. AOL paid for QA to ensure that it correctly rendered over 98% of the net when they wanted to embed it in the AOL client. Anybody who thinks writing an HTML engine is easy is dead wrong. You spend years getting the last few percent, but it's in the last few percent that you make your users feel like they no longer have to worry their browser will be unsupported. To throw that away would be dangerous, it's what keeps us relevant. We say "Mozilla power, Mac style" for a reason, because it's true. I can't use Safari because the sites I care about just don't work. You can't overlook that.
Gecko is a liability. The architecture from day one was light years better than what we had (a grad-student project gone horribly wrong), but by no means was it well-designed. The horrible misapplication of COM, misguided pre-optimization, a singular focus on Windows, and a variety of other serious design flaws made Gecko difficult to understand and in some cases impossible to fix. The learning curve is immense (think Mt Everest), just ask my students every year; the look of terror in their eyes is proof enough. Gecko is as impenetrable and bloated as it is fast and compatible. WebKit, on the other hand, is sleek and svelte. It's approachable. It's really easy to fix bugs. If you ask developers which they'd rather work on, the ones who pick Gecko should get their heads examined.
So in my position, as the lead of a project trying to figure out a long-term vision, I'd be doing my development team a huge disservice to not consider all the alternatives. The easier it is for my development team to work, the better that is for users because things get fixed faster with less chance of mistakes.
What would you do? Oh..really? It's not that easy? Hrm. Who knew?
The video of my talk last month at Google is up on Google Video. I haven't watched it, so I can't tell you if it's worth an hour of your time. I actually had to do it twice, because the first time the audio didn't record, which is unfortunate because I think the first attempt was much better. If you're interested in lessons learned from a real-world, open source project, I think you'll get a lot out of it.
Om Malik (of Business 2.0 fame) gave Camino another glowing review of nightly builds in addition to personally sending me email praising the project. We hope to have a beta out around the time of Presidents Day, taking the extra time to get string-complete so our various localization projects can get on board.
I'm getting really excited, 1.1 is going to be another great release!