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Mozilla Poised for Revival? 430

Posted by michael
from the hallelujah dept.
MarkedMan writes "An interesting and fairly lengthy CNET article on Mozilla and the pending 1.0 release. Kind of shallow research, making some common mistakes (Like many others, he half implies that AOL picking Mozilla as the default browser automatically puts 35 million users in the Netscape camp.) Good to see this getting some fairly mainline press."
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Mozilla Poised for Revival?

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  • All right (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SomeOtherGuy (179082) on Friday April 12, 2002 @12:36PM (#3330035) Journal
    I have to admit that it will be good to be on this side of the fence during a brute force conversion of browsers (AOL to Netscape/Mozilla). I would love for some of these sites that use IE specific features of CSS or DHTML (or god forbid ActiveX) having 35 million screaming AOL users at their doors.
    • Re:All right (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hex1848 (182881)
      You have to remember, many of the 35 million users that are going to get Netscape on the new AOL coaster (err, cd) are also going to be windows users with IE already installed on their boxen.
      • Do you think they'll be happy when they go to site X with Netscape-based AOL 9 (or whatever) and find they must use IE to view it? Just because they have IE doesn't mean they'll enjoy cutting the address from AOL and pasting it into IE to reach that site. We're talking AOL users here -- if AOL doesn't open IE for them when it finds an IE "enhanced" web site, many of these people will be upset that they have to do it themselves. (then they'll be proud that they learned something new about 'puters)

      • by stego (146071) on Friday April 12, 2002 @01:07PM (#3330230) Homepage
        It has been my experience that a great percentage of AOL users simply do not know that they can use any browser other than 'AOL'. They do not think of it as a browser, but an application called 'AOL'. ('How can you run AOL in Internet Explorer?' 'Can it run in Word, too?')
        • It has been my experience that a great percentage of AOL users simply do not know that they can use any browser other than 'AOL'. They do not think of it as a browser, but an application called 'AOL'. ('How can you run AOL in Internet Explorer?' 'Can it run in Word, too?')

          I'm up for some good old-fashioned AOL-bashing, so let's *really* pile on, eh?

          The AOL cluelessness is so rampant...

          ...[how rampant is it?]

          It's so rampant that in my neck of the woods, AOL's renaming their products to accomodate. Apparantly, a large section of the AOL community is confused enough by "Internet Service Provider" that Time-Warner is now running radio ads billing their RoadRunner Cable-Modem service as (((DEEP shudder))) "The RoadRunner High-Speed Online". [gack!]
    • I have to admit that it will be good to be on this side of the fence during a brute force conversion of browsers (AOL to Netscape/Mozilla). I would love for some of these sites that use IE specific features of CSS or DHTML (or god forbid ActiveX) having 35 million screaming AOL users at their doors.

      Wishful thinking. These AOL users will still have Internet Explorer on their machines. A good majority of them will just change their AOL options to use IE instead of Netscape once they upgrade to a version that defaults to Netscape. They may not be completely computer literate, but they aren't morons...

      At any rate, neither DHTML nor CSS are IE specific features, so you have no idea what you're talking about to begin with..How did your post get moderated up?

      • Re:All right (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ShawnDoc (572959)

        Wishful thinking. These AOL users will still have Internet Explorer on their machines. A good majority of them will just change their AOL options to use IE instead of Netscape once they upgrade to a version that defaults to Netscape. They may not be completely computer literate, but they aren't morons...

        I think you are overestimating AOL users. The majority of AOL users use AOL because they don't know how to work a computer. That's AOL's big selling point, that they don't have to think.

        At any rate, neither DHTML nor CSS are IE specific features, so you have no idea what you're talking about to begin with..How did your post get moderated up?

        How did your post get modded up? IE uses proprietary tags not found in the WC3 standards to implement "features" exclusive to IE. Many web sites use these tags that only work in IE.

        This has been going on since the earliest days of web browsers, and in the past both IE and Netscape were just as guilty of inventing proprietary tags to give their browser more "features". That is what is so great about Mozilla, it is the most standards compliant web browser available. Now developers can code to the WC3 standards and know there is a browser capable of displaying the page correctly. Once (if) AOL converts their users to Mozilla it will hopefully force MS to make IE more standards compliant and in return allow developers to finally be able to easily design browser agnostic web sites.

        Obviously you don't have much experience dealing with either end users or web page design issues.

      • Oh I beg to differ, they are morons, by and large, we have some customers at our ISP (AOL doesn't have a pop here...yet) who insist on paying the full $20+/month for AOL instead of droping AOL together or switching to the bring your own. I'm just waiting for our DSL customers to start doing this.
      • >At any rate, neither DHTML nor CSS are IE
        > specific features, so you have no idea what
        >you're talking about to begin with..How did your
        >post get moderated up?

        Ahh...Believe it or not -- IE has found some way to add extensibility to DHTML/CSS that go "above and beyond" what the "meak" w3c had published. Thus all it takes is one page to rely on these extensions in a way that it disturbs the intended usage, navigation and look of their page -- to alienate the browsers who stuck to the w3c published standards. Have you been in a cave?
    • Re:All right (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I re-activated a Compuserve account I hadn't used for years just to get my grubby meathooks on the beta of the Compuserve browser V7.0 with the Gecko engine. I've gotta tell ya, it kicks some serious butt over V6.00 with the Explorer engine. Actually, there seem to be few sites where I've had a problem. The only one I can think of off hand is the MSN Communities sites. Even then, the only restriction is that some of the cutesy features aren't available to me. But they don't even appear to be broken, they just don't appear. Assuming AOL is using Compuserve customers as beta testers for their AOL client, I don't think they'll have many issues. The change over, for the Compuserve client at any rate, is pretty much transparent. Glad I held on to that Compuserve account for all these years. I'd originally had it in the pre-net days for downloading patches and what, and I never got around to canceling it. So they just kept charging my credit card.
    • For me it's not as much about having AOL users take em out, but the fact that websites will have to now be tested for non MS compatibility leaving an option for some of us that don't use IE. I use Galeon in Linux and Opera on windows.
  • Even if (Score:2, Interesting)

    by geordie (258181)
    Even if AOL + Mozilla meant 35 million more Mozilla users and 35 million less IE users... It isn't that big a number when you look at the number of users using IE right now.
    Would be nice if you could count on 35 million to just switch at the drop of a hat... but howmany are still using AOL3, 4,5,6 etc...
  • Now pretty good (Score:3, Informative)

    by prestwich (123353) on Friday April 12, 2002 @12:37PM (#3330045) Homepage
    When Mozilla was first turned open source it was pretty bity and crashy and hopeless.

    Now its probably one of the more stable browsers.

    It does show that dumping a large amount of commercial source into the open community can produce results - but with this amount of code it does take time.

    (Running mozilla 0.9.9)
  • by Grasshopper (153602) on Friday April 12, 2002 @12:39PM (#3330054)
    I've seen a lot of comments that seem to totally discard any significance coming from AOL using Mozilla as the base of its browser.

    If nothing else, this seems particularly important to me because it will force more Web developers to stop using IE as a test browser.

    With the poorest standards compliance of all browsers, this has created a flood of these "Best Viewed with Internet Explorer" pages, because they write THML, Javascript, etc. that is broken.

    Now, if these broken Web sites are revealed as such by a larger audience, we could see some improvements in the overall quality, because something tells me the typical AOL user will happily complain about anything. :)

    • by Digitalia (127982) on Friday April 12, 2002 @12:43PM (#3330083) Homepage
      Yet, if the majority continues to use Internet Explorer, those who do use Mozilla will consider their browser to be the one defying standards. Though we try and impose ideals on software and hwardware, the only true standards come about when the majority of users embrace a certain idea. In this case, Microsoft has the ability to establish "standards" because of superior market share.
      • I believe, however, that your typical AOL user isn't going to jump ship on a whim because a few Web sites are broken. I don't think these people will instantly conclude that their AOL software is broken, which is what it seems like you are suggesting.

        Rather, it will seem like the Web site is broken, which is what I would love to see. :) After all, all these broken Web sites with screwed up HTML (tables especially - ugh!), JavaScript, and especially anything that's intentionally IE-specific deserve it. When 35 million additional users can't use your Web site because you have crap code, there's a compelling reason to fix it.

        This "fixing" that I am optimistically hoping will happen is what I think the biggest benefit might be.

        • I don't think these people will instantly conclude that their AOL software is broken, which is what it seems like you are suggesting.

          Why not?
          Especially if these users are used to browsing the web at work (with IE), or are upgrading from a previous version of AOL, or are coming from a different service (to AOL? yeah.. it COULD happen).

          "It USED to work. This new AOL x.y is messed up. I'm going to call Customer Service."

          AOL will then have to a) explain to the users that the web sites they're viewing are not standards-compliant, which most people won't care about, and will just want their AOL to work, or b) start trying to support non-standard technologies in the AOL release, which will be hard or impossible, and could lead to them eventually switching back to IE.

          Yes, I'm cynical. I hope for the best, but I'm realistic.

          S

          • by sphealey (2855) on Friday April 12, 2002 @01:24PM (#3330332)
            Especially if these users are used to browsing the web at work (with IE), or are upgrading from a previous version of AOL, or are coming from a different service (to AOL? yeah.. it COULD happen). "It USED to work. This new AOL x.y is messed up. I'm going to call Customer Service."
            Do you do much front line technical support? When something goes wrong, 99.99% of humans blame whatever is farthest away from them, whatever is least under their control, or some combination of those two entities.

            Things I have observed:

            • End user types wrong data directly into input screen, presses enter, naturally gets wrong result. All other software works as before. "There must be a bug in this software"
            • E.U. downloads software from Internet (say IE6 or Netscape 6.0), installs, new software crashes and blue-screens the PC on every startup. "There must be something wrong with the configuration of this PC".

              E.U. goes to old PC, fires up Netscape 2.0, surfs to site which says in big, bold letters: YOU MUST USE IE4/Netscape 4 TO VIEW THIS SITE, gets garbage. "There must be something wrong with this web site".

            The absolutely last thing the end user will do is blame the AOL 7 software. After all, AOL is their friend, the web site designer is not.

            sPh

      • It is hard to copy Microsoft's standards, but it is easy for Mozilla to simply follow the W3C standard [w3c.org]. Then we will see who is defying the standards, though many AOL users may not know the difference.
      • "the majority continues to use Internet Explorer" - because it comes with the OS that the majority of people use. Getting people to download something new & use it is a bit of a chicken and an egg situation. They won't use it till their friends use it so it ends up with IE remaining dominant. However if (and it seems very unlikely) AOL bundled it with their CDs lots of people would be using it & that would convince other non-AOL users to change from IE to Mozilla.
    • because something tells me the typical AOL user will happily complain about anything. :)


      ME TOO!

    • Good Web Developers hit up w3.org's validators for testing compliance. Even better Web Developers would also use PHP, Perl, [favorite server side language here] to further fix compatiblities with broken IE and other browser functionality. IE 6 also follows HTML 4.01/Transitional to spec IIRC. However, you must defined the DOCTYPE to HTML 4.01 Transitional or it will revert to Microsoft's bastardized HTML. Which you'd have to do to be following 4.01 spec anyway. I can't say for CSS or JavaScript though ..
      • W3C Validator (Score:3, Interesting)

        by hendridm (302246)
        > Good Web Developers hit up w3.org's validators for testing compliance.

        I don't know, that thing is awefully picky. It doesn't even validate with the Mozilla [w3.org] web site (although it is possible [w3.org]). Are the Mozilla developers bad at web development? Perhaps. More acurately, I think a good web site doesn't necessarily have to follow all the W3C standards (although it is nice, I suppose).

        I've seen countless web sites that display very well in Mozilla that get torn apart by the validator. I know, by ensuring W3C compiance you can be sure it will work in almost all browsers, but I don't necessarily care. I only worry about Mozilla and Internet Explorer. (Sorry Opera users, but it's bad enough dealing with two browsers on 3 different operating systems.)

        I guess that's not why I'm not a web development professional...
        • Re:W3C Validator (Score:3, Interesting)

          I know I'm a little late for this discussion but I thought I'd post this anyway.

          The whole ideal behind standards is so that you (theoretically) shouldn't have to care about all the browsers.

          From my point of view, if I design a web page and follow the standards to the "t" and verify it for compliance after every single minor change, then if a browser doesn't render my page properly the browser is at fault and I don't give a shit. It's not my problem.

          Now from a more practical standpoint. If my web page is going to be making me money and 90%+ of my users are IE users then I better make sure it renders properly in IE. However, that's still no reason not to follow standards. Because if I make a concerted effort to follow the standards then I can be reasonably sure that any other browsers (that I haven't tested it with) stand a good chance of rendering it properly.

          With the above stated there's absolutely no reason not to verify your pages for standards compliance with the exception of pure lazyness.

          --
          Garett
    • I think the end result will be integration of IE features into Mozilla. Not sure if that's a good thing, but I do agree that using Gecko will definitely cut down on the number of "Best with Internet Explorer" sites.

      /Brian
      • "Best with Internet Explorer"

        People that put stuff like that on their sites are morons anyway. If they halfway good at doing simple html and make a few mistakes here and there, it'll render just about the same in every browser anyway..
    • AOL has consistantly caused problems for website maintainers, thats why several websites have specific AOL only instructions, ie. IF YOU ARE USING AOL, CLICK THIS LINK TO DOWNLOAD STUFF. etc.. Most sites don't worry about it and just let them suffer for their choice of using aol for a net connection.. Hell, a huge percentage of AOL users never leave the confines of AOL's system to even get real internet content.
  • Maybe it will turn out like the dinosours in Jurassic Park, and destroy Internet Explorer?
  • Mozilla will be a great product eventually, but unfortunately I agree with Joel Spolsky [joelonsoftware.com] that good software takes ten years to write [joelonsoftware.com], and you should NEVER [joelonsoftware.com] rewrite code from scratch.

    I know that as a software developer, I've certainly learned from Netscape's mistake.

    • Yes! And why can't /. make Joel a slashbox? I asked them once, and never got a response. Maybe we should ask Joel to work on that. =]
    • Yea, but Mozilla is an backend architecture for internet applications. While netscape 4.x was just a browser and an email program. YES most of the networking components should have been reused, no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater. But as the complete underlying API is different, very little of the code could have been reused to create the product that mozilla is today. It may have gotten here faster, but it would just be another browser, the market has enough browsers, mozilla architecture is something innovative and once accepted could truly create innovation in the market place.
    • Mozilla will be a great product eventually, but unfortunately I agree with Joel Spolsky [joelonsoftware.com] that good software takes ten years to write [joelonsoftware.com], and you should NEVER [joelonsoftware.com] rewrite code from scratch.

      Mozilla is great software NOW, it only took four years, and it was re-written from scratch to compete with MSIE and blow away the last version of Netscape.

      Sounds like you and Joel need to revise your views?
    • by Lendrick (314723) on Friday April 12, 2002 @02:02PM (#3330587) Homepage Journal
      Over the course of my employment--about three years now--I've rewritten over four applications from scratch... and it's the best thing that could have ever happened to the code.

      The problem with application development is that new features tend to get tacked on over the years. Joe Idiot Manager says, "Ahh, it looks good, but can you make it do my laundry?" and all of a sudden, you're given a chice: either hack on a modification to make the code do something it wasn't originally intended to do, or rewrite it from scratch. The first choice is quicker the first few times through, but programs grow more and more buggy and cumbersome as more and more extra features are hacked into the code. Pretty soon, you're left with a horrid, unmaintainable mess that has tons of random, hard-to-find bugs--much like Netscape 4.x.

      If you're writing a piece of software the second time around, you know what mistakes you made the first time, and can avoid them. Mozilla may have taken longer to write because it was written from scratch, but you can be damn sure it's a better browser than it would have been had it been based on the Netscape 4 code. The Mozilla project wouldn't have thrown away all that code unless they had a good reason to do so, and anyone outside the project who arbitrarily says they should have kept it is talking out of their ass.
    • How do you reconcile Joel's "never rewrite code from scratch" with Brooks' "Plan to throw one away. You will anyway"?
    • Netscape 4.x was an utter piece of crap. You SHOULD rewrite software when said software would be easier to rewrite than fix. Rewriting software is only the wrong decision when it's actually harder.

      Further, "good software takes ten years to write" is a silly generalization from a silly man. Software simply takes, as long as it takes... like Duke Nukem Forever, which may take 20 years ;-)

  • by anser (224618) on Friday April 12, 2002 @12:45PM (#3330093) Homepage
    What matters about AOL adopting Mozilla is not that IE would somehow lose its majority share, but that a non-IE browser would subtend an important enough fraction of visitors that site designers could ill afford to ignore it. The IE-only travesties of today might give way to something approaching a standards compliant Web.
    • The IE only days are now over. Anyone that realizes what is going on is scrambling to get compliant pages up. My main client was willing to ignore Netscape originally, then when we determined that Netscape 4.x was 6-8% of the audience for his site, he wanted the next version to support Netscape 4.x.

      The site sorta works in Mozilla, but not terrifically. We're busting ass to redo the site with full HTML 4.01 compliance, CSS 1.0 compliance, and verifying everything in Netscape 4.7. Once you know Netscape's quirks, you can avoid using CSS features that confuse it.

      We'll stay away from XHTML until Netscape 4.x is dead, and a properly working Netscape 6.5 will go a long way towards that. It's mostly corporate users, and they'll migrate when something better is available. In about 2 years, I'd expect Netscape 4.x to be dead, and we can all move on to XHTML.

      Of course, there is always the option of doing two renderers, one for Netscape 4.x in HTML 4.01 and CSS 1, and one for IE 5+, NS 6+ in XHTML + CSS 2.0...

      Alex
      • So you're redoing things to be CSS1.0 compliant AND Netscape 4.x compliant - just NOT USING parts of CSS that break NS4.x? Why bother to try to code to 'standards' then? Will you leave out CSS stuff that looks bad/wrong under various versions of IE as well?
        • Re:Exactly (Score:3, Informative)

          by sab39 (10510)
          The problem is that *every* browser, from IE1 and NS1 up, will simply ignore CSS features they don't understand, which was part of the design of CSS and allows pages to degrade gracefully. Every browser, that is, *except* for Netscape 4.

          Every other browser will either honor or ignore your font color selections, either of which looks okay. Netscape 4 will honor your font color selections only on the table row where the text is longest, in some circumstances, which invariably looks awful. Setting certain vertical-alignment properties on images will either work or not work in other browsers; in Netscape 4 it will randomly reorder your images. And so on.

          For every other browser ever made, you can safely use any feature of CSS and get something which will look *okay* - either your stylesheet will be honored or not. With Netscape 4, if you happen to use the wrong part of CSS, your page will be completely unreadable.

          You might not agree with the previous poster's position, but it is a logical approach. If Netscape 4 is remotely widely used among your site's visitors, it's really the only approach.

          Stuart.
        • A certain percentage of my users are on Netscape 4.x, and I need to make the site viewable to them. Therefore, I will make certain that the siet works for them.

          For everyone else, HTML 4.01 and CSS 1.0 should work fine. If they don't understand a tag, they ignore it. Netscape 4.x has some cascading and inheritance issues, so we need to work around them. After you've done it a bit, you get the hang of it.

          Of course I'll test the site on IE, you think that I'm an idiot?

          I won't, however, bother with Konqueror, Opera, OmniWeb, or other "fringe" browsers. They can take my compliant web sites and deal with them or not.

          I am coding to the standards because its the best approach. Search engine spiders will understand the code, fringe browsers will understand the code, and anyone that writes a user agent that understands the standard will understand the code.

          I need to meet business needs, and that requires the site being usable under IE and Netscape, so I'll do so.

          If I'm coding to HTML 4.01 Transitional (with the DocType) AND CSS 1.0 to the standard, why the hell do you care that I'm ignoring certain CSS options? I'm giving you a standard document, I really don't understand your hostility to my approach?

          Alex

          Why are you offended
  • by Tayto (4193) on Friday April 12, 2002 @12:48PM (#3330118) Homepage
    Check out mpt [phrasewise.com] and hyatt [blogspot.com]'s viewpoints on current and future trends in mozilla development. Some very interesting views there, I think Dave Hyatt's call for hundreds of different browsers to suit different people should be a call to action! Look at how well galeon has done - as long as they all use the gecko engine, we'll all be richer for having different browsers for different occasions.
  • Cell Phones (Score:5, Funny)

    by guinnessnwhiskey (322657) on Friday April 12, 2002 @12:49PM (#3330122)
    The next generation of cell phones, pagers, PDAs (personal digital assistants) and set-top boxes will require slimmed-down technology to access the Web, and Mozilla could model itself as the technology of choice.

    So the next generation of cell phones will have 256MB RAM?
  • Mistakes (Score:4, Funny)

    by Knunov (158076) <eat@my.ass> on Friday April 12, 2002 @12:55PM (#3330157) Homepage
    "Kind of shallow research, making a some common mistakes..."

    Yeah a it is a easy to a make a some a common mostakes.

    Knunov
  • by stego (146071) on Friday April 12, 2002 @12:58PM (#3330176) Homepage
    I use Mac OS X. There are atleast 3 Mozilla based browser floating around for OS X. And, for yucks, I _just_ installed a version of Mozilla that uses Xfree to display - I wanted to see how it might look different and I wanted the experience(wow, the text sure looks crappy)(but the code renders the same). The point is that Mozilla is available here and everywhere - certainly one the 'most available' applications that I have experienced. It seems like every permutation of every platform has a Mozilla available.
  • Like many other authors, Jim Hu has failed to grasp the larger picture. While Mozilla could be a potential competitor to IE, it's more of an alternative to IE. Most of the people that I know who use Mozilla do so because they are under a platform that doesn't have an IE browser installed by default. (I don't mean to suggest that my colleaques would use an IE browser if it were installed on the box).

    I run linux 99% of my uptime. And I use galeon on top of Mozilla. Why? Not because I hate the concept of IE (I hate IE for other reasons) but because it's an alternative. Sure I have a Sun that I could run IE on, but the velocity of the Mozilla and Galeon development is the alternative solution that I'm looking for.

    OpenSource developers aren't "let's go give MS a run for their money!" people. They're "let's go make a browser that sucks less." Not everything is a competition - some projects exist just to provide alternatives.

    What is Python a competitor to? I dunno... It's just an alternative... Just like Mozilla...

    -c
  • Get Real. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Doktor Memory (237313) on Friday April 12, 2002 @12:59PM (#3330191) Journal

    Folks, I have a newsflash for you. AOL is never, ever going to use Gecko/Mozilla as its default browser. Not in 8.0, not in any version.

    This is all about negotiating leverage: AOL's contract with Microsoft is up for renewal, and they want to squeeze the best terms possible out of MS to ensure that the little AOL icon is on as many OEM Windows desktops as possible. So they'll threaten and bluster about dumping IE for Gecko, and in the end MS will make a few token concessions and AOL will re-up with IE.

    For all of their public bravado, MS and AOL's executives are both painfully aware that their respective near-monopolies are entirely dependent upon a mutual detente. Neither one can survive without the other.
    • Microsoft is pushing to convert AOL's user base to MSN. They are no longer bedfellows, they are in competition.
    • Its Microsoft who refused to deal with AOL not the other way around.

      AOL wanted a deal, Microsoft said AOL would have to ditch AIM, Winamp and Realplayer, AOL would have to use Microsofts Media Player, MSN IM and IE in their product?!

      Please, AOL is not spending millions if not billions of dollars so they can waste it in a deal with Microsoft.

      AOL purchased netscape, made AIM, purchased ICQ and Winamp because they knew at some point it would come down to this

      ITs all part of a bigger plan, now that AOL is Time Warner, AOL is bigger than Microsoft and does nt NEED a deal, AOL is set to take Microsoft out.
    • I am not trolling. The actual article under discussion makes reference to the prediction that AOL is going to replace IE with a gecko-based browser. I am stating my reasons for believing that prediction to be incorrect. This is on-topic and relvant.

      If you disagree with that prediction, I'd be happy to wager a Guinness over the matter.
    • Neither one can survive without the other.

      Just how big a slice of Microsoft's profits are you suggesting AOL contribute?
    • Whoever modded down you should be virtually slapped, IMHO. :-)

      I agree with your assessments. There is also another good reason for this: having two big web browsers on the same system can cause no end of confusion to end users and many application programs, and that is something everybody wants to avoid, especially for casual computer users.

      Now, AOL 8.0 with the Mozilla 1.0 browser makes way more sense if the DoJ as part of its final settlement with Microsoft requires a Plain Jane version of Windows XP, since the default install will have no web browser or multimedia programs on the system.
    • Re:Get Real. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tswinzig (210999)
      Folks, I have a newsflash for you. AOL is never, ever going to use Gecko/Mozilla as its default browser. Not in 8.0, not in any version.

      This is all about negotiating leverage: AOL's contract with Microsoft is up for renewal, and they want to squeeze the best terms possible out of MS to ensure that the little AOL icon is on as many OEM Windows desktops as possible.


      So AOL spent millions of dollars funding Mozilla development, buying ICQ, WinAmp, etc. just so they can make a deal with Microsoft?

      Or did they do all that to have answers to MSIE, MSN Messenger, and Windows Media Player?

      Then again, I don't presume to issue my opinions as "news flashes."

      P.S. With the remedy phase against Microsoft coming, I don't think AOL Time Warner is quite as scared of Microsoft as you think.

    • by BRSQUIRRL (69271) on Friday April 12, 2002 @02:39PM (#3330826)
      ..."never, ever" must have arrived, because the latest beta versions of AOL 7.0 use the Gecko engine.
  • FWIW (Score:3, Interesting)

    by White Roses (211207) on Friday April 12, 2002 @01:02PM (#3330204)
    I've been using Mozilla for a while now on Linux and Mac. The classic Mac version crashed often, and would actually force a reboot. I think it was probably my underlying system (which was very old and had more esoteric non-standard peripherals and extensions hanging off it than, well, anything I can think of at the moment) more than Mozilla. I recently purchased a new iMac running OS X, and promptly installed Mozilla. Two days later I dumped "the browser of choice" from my system entirely - it crashed too often. Mozilla runs like a champ on OS X, on Linux, on just about any platform. IE runs good on Windows, lousy on Mac and not at all on anything else (well, okay, that old Solaris version). The fact that I can go to just about any platform and have the exact same browser interface makes all the difference to me. Of course, I'm a Java programmer, so cross-platform consistency counts for a lot in my book already.

    If AOL uses Moz, that'll help it gain acceptance much more quickly. Ask yourself where IE would be if Netscape had played nice with AOL all those years ago. Okay, probably still on every PC, but it'd be sharing much more mindshare with Netscape.

  • If you just Try it (Score:2, Insightful)

    by KingKire64 (321470)
    The Last time i used netscape was like 6 years ago. I fully believed IE was better and booted faster.

    2 months ago i heard Moz was making good prograss and seing how IE 6 is Junk(keeps freezing when Looking up DNS) I gave Moz a shot. I am converted.

    I dont have to worry about pop up ads and VIruses. I say if We just Get Ppl to acutally try it the word of mouth with spread.

    Just think of what will happed whejn AOL includes it with AOL 8?(is that what the next number wil be?) Kudos to the devs they put out a great product
  • by ltsmash (569641)
    he half implies that AOL picking Mozilla as the default browser automatically puts 35 million users in the Netscape camp When ever has a MAJOR company been successful in pushing a product on users?
  • by Schlemphfer (556732) on Friday April 12, 2002 @01:14PM (#3330275) Homepage

    One big appeal of Mozilla is that, with this browser, non-Wintel users aren't second-class citizens.

    IE 6.0 for Windows came out last August. Yet Mac users still aren't even at the 5.5 version -- the most current version for Macs is still 5.1.

    The unstated message Microsoft sends to Mac users is, "You want the coolest, latest browser, then switch to Windows. If you want your browser to be two years obsolete, stick with your little toy Mac."

    With the release of Mozilla 1.0, this browser will be giving IE some heavy competition -- particularly on non-Wintel platforms. It'll be interesting to see if Microsoft suddenly starts offering Mac users a much more current and attractive version of IE. And if they do, the question will be: why weren't they doing this all along?

    • Claiming that PC users get IE 6 while Mac users languish at 5.1 is misleading, as the two versions have very different feature sets. 5.1 for mac already has some features that still aren't in the PC version, and have been present for some time - the "GetRight" like download manager has been present since (iirc) 4.5, and things like the Page Holder and Scrapbook (which let you basically hold pages full of links in a sidebar, making it easy to navigate through sites) are very, very clever.

      I run a PC and Mac at work, with IE 5.1 on the Mac. I'm typing this message on the Mac, because IE 5.1 is a damned good browser - I've been using it for the past few months, and it hasn't crashed on me once (and I browse a lot).
    • by mblase (200735) on Friday April 12, 2002 @01:34PM (#3330397)
      IE for Mac and IE for Windows don't begin to have identical feature sets, even where HTML tags and CSS support [webreview.com] are concerned. The same actually goes for MS Office on the Mac, which also doesn't use the same names as Office for Windows.

      The reason for this is because Microsoft's Mac products are produced by an entirely different division of the company [microsoft.com], which focuses on Mac-specific interfaces and features as well as maximum compatibility with Windows-made files. It's also partly because most of the whiz-bang features for IE-Win (and Office-Win) are specific to the Windows OS, nearly impossible to reproduce on the Mac even if Mac users wanted them. Microsoft's Mac and Windows products may have the same name, but invariably that's where the similarity ends.

      Mozilla and Netscape Navigator have used a common code base for all platforms, so identical version numbers were meaningful there. Microsoft does not. Comparing IE-Mac and IE-Win by version numbers is an exercise in futility.

      And as an unrelated aside: is IE6 for Windows [microsoft.com] really all that different from IE5? I sure don't see any major differences in my day-to-day browsing.

    • IE 6.0 for Windows came out last August. Yet Mac users still aren't even at the 5.5

      Version numbering is not a fair comparison. The codebases are separate. You may as well say that Windows 2000 is two hundredfold better than OS X.

      In fact, large chunks of v6 Win standards rendering is based on v5 Mac, which was the first browser to implement CSS1 [alistapart.com] 99+% correctly.

      Yes, there are a couple bonus features in 6 that aren't on Mac. Personally, I can live without the My Pictures folder and the Windows Media sidebar.

      I personally use the latest Mozilla as my browser, but IE 5.1 doesn't suck.
  • Missing the server (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mgkimsal2 (200677)
    We're all missing the server equation here - MS is pretty damn big in the server side of things.

    Yeah yeah yeah - quote netcraft at me with Apache = 60% and so on. I believe it too, but it doesn't matter. *MANY* commerce site - the things your parents and friends visit - run on IIS (for better or for worse). You can argue percentages all you want, but there's enough of them out there. Heck Macs are about 5% of the computer market, but some people still care about them.

    If you even concede that IIS has a 15% share of servers conducting commerce, that's a big number.

    My point? If mozilla ever starts to be a credible browser threat, IIS7 (or 8 or whatever) will suddenly either not work with mozilla at all, OR give lower priority treatment to mozilla requests. Or, better yet, just occasionally drop requests, making it even harder to diagnose.

    "Works fine when I use IE7.5, but danged if Mozilla 1.01.02RC3 (cause that's about where they'll be) crashes sometimes!"

    There's already issues with SSL between IE and Apache servers and non IE browsers and IIS. MS controls too much on both sides - IN BUSINESS/COMMERCE, WHERE IT COUNTS - to ever let anything else ever get too big again.

    Responses? :)
    • My point? If mozilla ever starts to be a credible browser threat, IIS7 (or 8 or whatever) will suddenly either not work with mozilla at all, OR give lower priority treatment to mozilla requests. Or, better yet, just occasionally drop requests, making it even harder to diagnose.

      Now I've heard some paranoid things before, but Microsoft is not quite so stupid as to cripple the performance of their software for a competing browser, just to make "15% of the web" slower to surf for Mozilla users. They will INSTANTLY lose credibility with MANY IIS MAINTAINERS. Companies tend to get pissed off when software excludes some of their customers. (Ignoring those companies in bed with Microsoft, of course.)

      Works fine when I use IE7.5, but danged if Mozilla 1.01.02RC3 (cause that's about where they'll be) crashes sometimes!

      You're trying to make fun of the version numbering for Mozilla, but I've got IE 6 installed right now, which lists it's version number as: 6.0.2600.0000.xpclnt_qfe.010827-1803.

      Yes, that is what it says in the "About MSIE" window for "version."
      • "You're trying to make fun of the version numbering for Mozilla, but I've got IE 6 installed right now, which lists it's version number as: 6.0.2600.0000.xpclnt_qfe.010827-1803."

        But it's generally known as IE6.

        Now I've heard some paranoid things before, but Microsoft is not quite so stupid as to cripple the performance of their software for a competing browser, just to make "15% of the web" slower to surf for Mozilla users.

        DR DOS.

        Now that that's out of the way, I'm being conservative when I say 15%. I've watched my wife surf, and probably 50-60% of the sites she visits are IIS-based.

        They will INSTANTLY lose credibility with MANY IIS MAINTAINERS.

        Whoops! Here I thought it was CEOs and CIOs and whatnot that make purchasing decisions, not 'IIS maintainers'. People will take what's pushed to them by IIS, by and large, and MS is smart enough to go after *large* public customer accounts with gusto. It's not Amazon, but bn.com is IIS based. They are a very big company with a lot of public exposure (stores around the country, etc). That's just one example.

        Doesn't matter how many people are using mozilla - if they sites they're going to to shop/browse don't work, they won't use that browser. And it's a hell of a lot easier to change a few servers at a few companies than it is to try to get people to switch en-masse to a new browser.
    • Responses? :)

      How do you think cripling software would make people want to use it? You're paranoid:) If most of the Mozilla users that visit my webshop would not be able to buy anything because I run an intentionally cripled webserver, I'd ditch that webserver immediately. The same story for cripled browsers. Stability is very important to nearly all users so I don't think there is any reason for your scenario to happen. Ever.

      Could you tell me more about the Apache/SSL problems with IE? I've never experienced any trouble at all.

      (Is it cripled, crippled or kriplet?:))

      • http://www.modssl.org/docs/2.6/ssl_faq.html#ToC48 is the only one that I can find right now, but there's another MS KB article as well on a similar but different topic. The KB article states that using SSL with non-MS browsers and IIS can cause problems.

  • I recently upgraded a Win box (yes, the shame) from Netscape 4.75 to 6.11 and it's a dog.

    Slow as molasses. Tuned it a bit, but it's still dog slow.

    I hate IE - but I need something that uses my DSL and doesn't take 60 seconds to render an email or bring up a page.

    Is there much difference between the Mozilla 1.0 build and the Netscape 6.11? Should I have chosen native Win code during the install instead of "generic" code?

    Are there any useful sites to help with this - and what are their URLs? And does anyone know how much of a difference (stats, URLs, basic ratio) there is between the Netscape build and the Mozilla build?

    Yes, I tried Google - and it helped a bit in tuning some things. But I've got a Qwest DSL line, and it's dog slow now.

    -
    • Is there much difference between the Mozilla 1.0 build and the Netscape 6.11?

      One major difference I saw first-hand from a development standpoint is that Mozilla 0.9x has better support for CSS than Netscape 6.2

    • > Is there much difference between the Mozilla 1.0 build and the Netscape 6.11?

      IIRC, Netscape 6.11 is based on mozilla 0.9.2, which was released about 9 months ago. There have been some improvements since then, notably:
      - substantial performance tuning
      - tabbed browsing
      - the javascript debugger
      - DOM inspector (I think)
      - a complete re-jig of the menus and context menus (though the latter is driving some people nuts)
    • Mozilla was slow on my p166 (Linux), so I didn't use it very often. But then I had to start doing web development work, and bought the cheapest new motherboard/cpu I could. So sure, on a p166/64 megs of ram it was admitidly not very usable, on my el cheapo $400 CDN AMD CPU/Motherboard/128 megs of ram combo the feb 10 nightly has been running just great with no problems at all. I don't think you can get away with saying rendering is slow, because its not. But I would believe its slower to popup and start with only 64megs of ram.
  • by steveha (103154) on Friday April 12, 2002 @01:28PM (#3330364) Homepage
    I use Mozilla or Galeon everywhere now. Some web sites detect which browser you are using, and if they don't see "IE" or "Netscape" they won't let you in.

    So I have changed my user agent string, and both Mozilla and Galeon now claim to be Netscape 4.0. Given how buggy and crash-prone 4.0 was, everyone is using 4.7x if they are really using Netscape, so "Netscape 4.0" ought to be a red flag in a server log.

    Here is my user agent string for Mozilla:

    Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; Mozilla 0.9.9; Debian GNU/Linux;)

    So there is at least a chance that if webmasters look at the server logs, they can see that I'm actually using Mozilla. If they just use scripts to tally what browsers have visited their sites, and the scripts ignore the "compatible" remark, my visits will show up as Netscape 4.0... oh well, no trick is perfect.

    Here is what you put into prefs.js to set the user agent string this way:

    user_pref("general.useragent.override", "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; Mozilla 0.9.9; Debian GNU/Linux;)")

    Mozilla can handle every web site I care about, if it can get in. This trick lets it in.

    Maybe Mozilla should have a feature that lets you set the user agent string on a per-site basis! That way we could be leaving "Mozilla" in the logs on most sites, and only lying to the sites that won't let Mozilla in.

    steveha
    • For the per-site-basis -- there's a sitebar thing out there that lets you change the ua string on the fly -- that's a decent workaround.

      But really, the good thing is that I've seen fewer and fewer sites that require this. Having an incorrect UA string is counterproductive in the long run -- it's better to leave it as it is and whine to the broken sites.
  • by tswinzig (210999) on Friday April 12, 2002 @01:52PM (#3330518) Journal
    In the past, Netscape browsers had Mozilla/x.x at the beginning of their user agent string. Then MSIE mimicked that in their early browsers so that sites built for Netscape would see MSIE 3.x as compatible (or whenever they started doing this). Now MSIE 6 continues this, with a user agent like:

    Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; Q312461)

    The new Mozilla browser, which AOL calls Netscape 6, is showing a user agent string like this:

    Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:0.9.9+)

    So when the 1.0 version is released, are they really going to follow that same trend? Or will they use the user agent I propose here:

    Mozilla/1.0 (No, really, this is Mozilla 1.0, not Netscape or shitty old MSIE pretending to be Mozilla.)

    And just imagine when we get to Mozilla 4.0:

    Mozilla/4.0 (No, not Netscape 4.x or MSIE 6.x, this is truly Mozilla 4.0... PLEASE, YOU MUST BELIEVE ME!)
  • I work on a Web Application, and we want to tell our users its ok to use mozilla, however we still have too many problems with Multilanguage support. In particular use of Global IME for language input just does not work right in Mozilla. See defect (98434). Our web app has over a 1000 input fields. So this is a show stopper for us. Hence we can't back mozilla till this is fixed. I imagine this is a show stopper for lots of other sites, especially overseas. Until this is fixed I don't think Mozilla is ready for the big time like everyone is claiming.
  • She got laid off by AOL. Apparently she still "runs" the Mozilla project though as the "Chief Lizard Wrangler".

    I personally don't like her (having met her in person), and think that she deserved to get laid off because she didn't seem to have a good attitude and was not very outgoing. She was even pushing for a "source-only" release of Mozilla 1.0 so they "don't have to support it".

    I personally hope that Mozilla 1.0 will bring in fresh new developers to the project. That would definitely be a boost, otherwise I am afraid that developers are getting burnt out.
  • Is it just me... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Nomad7674 (453223)
    ...or was that not a very flattering article. The post makes it sound like this was a victory for Mozila - being recognized by CNET. But my reading was that they basically said:
    1. It is not really a "real" 1.0 release
    2. It has always been buggy and not useable
    3. It is not as mature as IE
    4. AOL might switch to it, but only because of sour grapes
    5. Its history shows it is unreliable
    6. No one in their right mind would trust their future in Mozilla.

    Maybe I read too much into it, but that was the sense I got. As someone who has been using Mozilla on Windows, Macintosh, and Linux since 0.8 or so, none of this has been my experience. It is more solid than IE, faster, and very reliable. It now has at least as many features as IE and crashes almost never on any of the platforms I have used it on.
  • by mmcshane (155414) on Friday April 12, 2002 @03:06PM (#3330997)
    I write this as a standards-loving web developer who has been fooling with Visual Studio .NET for 2 months...

    It is going to be UGLY when the 35 Million Gecko users (I know, shush) smack up against hundreds of ASP .NET sites built in VS.NET WYSIWYG mode. There is a compatability mode but it drops back to Netscape 4 which also won't work correctly.

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