Mozilla.org, AOL-Time Warner’s open-source browser development group, has
a new roadmap for its Web browser development plans. Those plans include shifting to Phoenix, a lightweight browser introduced last September, as its default browser. Good news for Mac fans: Mozilla.org’s plans include Mac OS X.
The Mozilla.org team will begin using a new application architecture based on the Gecko Runtime Environment (GRE), which can be shared between separate application processes. They’ll switch Mozilla’s default browser component from the XPFE-based Navigator to the standalone Phoenix browser.
Mozilla.org will also continue to develop the standalone mail companion application to Phoenix (code-named Minotaur), but will now base it on a XUL toolkit used by Phoenix and redub it Thunderbird. XUL, or Extensible User Interface Language (pronounced “zool”), is an interface description language.
However, in switching browsers, they’re not dropping XUL on the Mac. Mozilla.org said that when they switch their default browser to Phoenix, they’ll provide “daily and milestone” builds of it for Mac OS X.
The organization added that they’re revising their product roadmap because Phoenix is “smaller, faster, and better” than the Navigator browser that preceded it. Also, Mozilla’s integrated mail has “many fine features, but it suffers from too many integration points with the other apps, and it remains a complicated front end maintained by too few people, most of whom have different day jobs now,” they added.
Various projects inside and outside Mozilla.org have been undertaken to slim down Mozilla and resulted in such products as Camino. Camino, previously known as Chimera, is a Cocoa-built, Mac OS X Web browser. The latest version is 0.7,
released on March 7.