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Something of a Potemkin Village? Acid2 and Mozilla’s Efforts to Comply with HTML4

Abstract : Acid3 is the third of three benchmark tests that have been devised to challenge browsers to comply with Internet standards [6]. While Firefox developers at Mozilla had fully embraced the predecessor to Acid3, Acid2, they showed themselves much more reticent this time around. As the quote above indicates they had come to feel that Acid3 would divert attention from the real issues and might actually make it more difficult to achieve “deep compliance” as developers would scramble to come up with quick fixes just to pass the benchmark test. But were these fears justified? To find out, we retrieved the bug reports for bugs in Mozilla’s Bugzilla bug tracker concerning compliance with the HTML4 standard and tried to analyze the differences in the process of bug resolution between bugs that were linked to Acid2 and bugs that were not. In Bugzilla, the bug resolution process passes a number of well-defined stages. Based on the transition rates that we observe we conclude that the process of bug resolution is markedly different for bugs associated with Acid2. In particular, bug resolution appears to be much more chaotic in case of Acid2. This might be symptomatic for “scrambling”, which would explain why developers were not so keen to repeat the experience when Acid3 came around. Further investigations, however, are needed to corroborate this hypothesis.
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Matthijs Besten, Jean-Michel Dalle. Something of a Potemkin Village? Acid2 and Mozilla’s Efforts to Comply with HTML4. 9th Open Source Software (OSS), Oct 2011, Salvador, Brazil. pp.320-324, ⟨10.1007/978-3-642-24418-6_25⟩. ⟨hal-01570760⟩

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