Comment of Paul Festa's article

I worked a lot today and only glanced at the article. Back at home, I read it slowly. It deserves comments:

When Mozilla.org announced plans last month to focus development resources on separate browser and mail applications, a pioneering Web authoring tool called Composer was left a software orphan.
Well, not really. Composer is still part of the Mozilla Application Suite. We are still working on it, fixing bugs, improving standards support, increasing speed and stability.

But a contributor to Mozilla, Netscape's open-source development group, plans to rescue Composer from its current limbo.

Mozilla is not Netscape's OSS development group. And the name is Mozilla.org. And Composer is not in limbo.

"If you read (the) last Mozilla.org staff meeting's minutes, you know that I proposed myself to maintain Composer," Daniel Glazman, a Mozilla contributor and Netscape software engineer based in Saint-German en Laye, France, wrote in his Web log. "I did that because I do care about this product, and because I do think it has a great potential."

Very kind of him to mention the place where I live instead of the place where I work, and link my CV/Resume instead of the blog posting where I write about Composer.

Composer's potential may indeed be great, but its recent past has been less than good.

Less than good ? Hum. This is a less than journalistic comment. The nearly TWO HUNDRED emails I received in the two days after MozillaZine article just show that some large companies and groups use Composer on a daily basis. That a lot of people find it super-easy to use and producing markup much nicer than the other editors it can be compared too.

Although Composer was one of the earliest mass market applications for Web authoring and survives as a component of the free download Netscape 7, it has fallen by the wayside as Microsoft FrontPage has taken over the low end of the market for Web authoring tools and Macromedia Dreamweaver has dominated the high end.

Survives in Netscape 7 ? And not in Mozilla ?!?!? Oh, and comparing Composer and Dreamweaver is like comparing a 125cc scooter and a 3.0L SUV.

Last month, when Mozilla announced it would scrap its unwieldy, feature-packed browser for a leaner version called Phoenix, it simultaneously announced plans to develop the Netscape mail client along with Phoenix, under the name Minotaur. (Both those names were abandoned because of trademark conflicts.)

He is so mixing Mozilla and Netscape it is pathetic.

Three other Mozilla components--the date book, Calendar; the instant messenger, Chatzilla; and Composer--were put on the back burner, albeit with assurances that they wouldn't be going the way of Collabra and Netcaster, other applications once bundled with Netscape under the Communicator suite that no longer exist under Mozilla.

On the black burner ?!? Uh. Does he read english ?

"We're not sure yet how they'll evolve--whether they'll become standalone toolkit applications...or popular add-ons to Phoenix," read the road map. "But we're committed to supporting them to the fullest extent required by their owners, including providing daily and milestone builds of them for community testing and feedback." Minutes from an April 28 Mozilla staff meeting where Glazman volunteered to take ownership--an open-source development term indicating authority over a project--indicated that Composer would live on as an extension to the new Mozilla browser rather than a standalone application.

The minutes mention "probably", and quote no decision about it. This is far from fair to summarize the Minutes like he did above.

Glazman has other plans, however.

No!!! I have other opinions, that's all. I expressed my opinions, and since I am not the Master of the Universe, I will try to convince my colleagues that my opinion is a good one. I may succeed. Or fail. We'll see. We'll probably reach a consensus and I will live with it.

"We should make a standalone Composer," Glazman wrote in his blog. "One should be able to install and use a content editor based on (Mozilla's browser engine) Gecko without having to install the corresponding browser. It's not an easy task, but it's mandatory."

This is so taken out of the context. In the intro of my posting, I said that I was listing my thoughts about the future of Composer. Not my decisions.

Glazman and Mozilla could not immediately be reached for comment.

And that is the topping on the cake, as we say in French...

Festa's article was published onZDNet May 8, 2003, 5:49 AM PT. He tried to reach me by email during the wednesday/thursday night (night in Europe, I mean). I got his mail at 1:10am Paris local time the 8th! And he knew I live in France, since he even quoted it in his article. His mail said "I saw your blog entry about reviving Composer as a standalone product. Any chance I could interview you in the next 1/2 hour for a story this PM?". Come on.... OF COURSE I could not be reached for comment.

I mailed him back the 8th at 3:53am local time (I could not sleep), so exactly 2:43 hours after HIS mail, SO about at 7pm the 7th PT !!! I said precisely "Thursday the 8th of May is a legal holiday here in France and I will stay away from my computer all day. You can catch me at the office on friday, european business hours.".

He did not wait, did not dare telling me he released an article quoting me, did not dare calling me back since.

It was soooooo urgent to announce to the World that Composer is still alive? A friend of mine calls that Journalistic Cystitis. Good night.

Mat, Asa Dotzler, Chris Blizzard