Well, the first testing I did was to see how long it takes to render this article with comments in "nested" mode. For reference, it takes my dual PPro, running Netscape 4.6 for Linux 4 to 6 seconds to do that, with one processor cranking away at 100%. M13 did it in the same time it took to render the index page, without seeming to even break a sweat. Very impressive.
But how would it work to, say, administer a site like this. How easy is to use? Will I be able to post an entire story without a disaster happening? That's what I'm trying to find out here
The first thing I did was write the summary. You can see in the following screenshot that the form widgets are currently ugly as sin (they look just like the windows widgets!) and don't exactly respect the HTML around them. The font is not set, and for text fields labeled WRAP="soft", there's still a side-to-side scrollbar. But as you can see, it definitely does work.
The Kuro5hin "Edit" screen in Mozilla M13. Amusing how much the mozilla color scheme resembles kuro5hin.org!
So all was going pretty well. I could edit the story, all the form elements seem to work fine, and the overall layout of the page is just what I'd expect it to be. I saved what I had, and started to continue. Here, you can see the preview of the story (with my original typos intact!), and the top of the editing screen that follows it.
Saved what I had, started editing again.
At this point, however, I glanced over at my memory monitors. 99% of my RAM was gone (that's normal) but also swap was about 80% filled (that's not normal!). My total memory usage was about 220MB and growing. Most of this, I'm sure, can be put down to the fact that it's not even alpha software, it's a milestone build, so all debugging is still turned on. This sucks up a lot more memory than a stable, production application. So, worried, I turned back to the story.
Then it crashed. In the interests of getting the story done, and partly because those hideous widgets were hurting my eyes, I switched back to Navigator 4.6, my normal browser.
So to summarize, I think Mozilla is well on it's way (finally!) to being the next great open-source application. There's no doubt the renderer beats the pants off anything else out there in terms of speed. The interface is still kind of clunky, the buttons are way too big, and there seems to be too much "stuff" going on. All kinds of panes that slide in and out, and bars, and menus, and things. But these are all issues that usually get ironed out late in the game. The operation of M13 is very flaky. You constantly feel like it's going to crash any second. This, too, is totally normal for pre-alpha software.
All in all, I'd say that this is a browser that could (if you were patient) be used on a daily basis right now. Which can only mean that we will see a very good product at the end of the long road to open-source that Netscape started way back in 1998.