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JWZ isn't the only one 135

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the things-are-getting-crazy dept.
preed-man writes "I don't know what's up in Mountain View, but it's not good: AOL has laid off about 430 Netscape employees; in addition to this, a "key Mozilla.org figure" has resigned as well. It's a somber time in Mountain View. " CT : Sorry about the lag in story postings. Reformatted and reinstalled, but I now have a nice shiny new Debian box.
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JWZ isn't the only one

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    This may be just what Mozilla needs actually, as crazy as it sounds. With more Netscape developers off of the project it may force the community to pick up the peices. I personally have always felt intimidated by Mozilla because it IS big, but I'm thinking of downloading the code, seeing exactly what I can do with it. I like the idea of Netscape and AOL putting some more distance between itself and this project.


    Let's face something here. Linux doesn't have a GREAT browser, I don't know if any OS does, but I really think Linux should. Everything else is great. I prefer Netscape on my system to Opera or Arena, but Netscape is still slow, a hog, and not as stable as it could be.

  • They seem to have forgotten the first commandment, as spake by the lord ESR:

    1. "release early and release often!"

    They are bound by the unholy cathedral

  • by Anonymous Coward
    If JWZ thinks his resignation means he can't work on Mozilla anymore, then he clearly just doesn't get the whole open source idea, and probably never will.

    if you had any clue as to who jwz was then you would realize the stupidity of your statement. no where did he say that because he was leaving mozilla that he couldnt work on it, what he did was was the he was disillusioned with the project and was leaving it to other ppl to manage. due to his experience and knowledge of the project i would imagine that he will still contribute to it from time to time but he wont be devoting his life to it.

    Of course on the other hand, do ANY of the devs working on this get it?

    do you get it? it certainly dosent sound like it, or are you just trolling?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    As a fairly long-time Linux user, I must say that I fear for the platform because of Netscape's incompetence in putting out a web browser that compares with IE. Wait, before you dismiss what I'm saying, take a hard look at IE 5.0 (or 4.0 for that matter). Look at the feature set of 5.0 -- features like CSS2 which aren't even part of the spec for Mozilla. When I boot into Windows and use IE, I end up not wanting to boot back into Linux if I'm browsing something because of the sheer wasted time that Netscape causes me. This is not an insignificant factor for me. Between Netscape crashing and destroying newly created bookmarks (inexcusable -- it should save the file when you add one), locking up and not crashing, sitting locked for periods of up to three minutes while attempting to do a DNS lookup which can't be aborted, and the extremely poor rendering engine, Netscape wastes a lot of my time. IE doesn't crash often, doesn't have blocking problems on DNS, and has an extremely fast progressive rendering engine. The rendering advantage particularly shows up on slow sites where a banner ad or some image near the top of the page isn't loading and thus, on Netscape, prevents the display of the entire page. On IE, you will be able to see whatever has been loaded. As soon as I get a faster computer, I will be using IE in VMWare -- I'm just totally fed up with the fact that Netscape hasn't improved significantly since 3.0 or maybe even 2.0.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 03, 1999 @02:19PM (#1950448)

    2) They should dump their code to their FTP site more than once every two months; the last was 1-28-99 and it's like April already.

    April 02 --

    ftp://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla/nightly/last-bui lt/
    mozilla-source.tar.gz

    M3 March 23 --
    ftp://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla/releases/m3/TG Z/
    mozilla-5.0-SeaMonkey_M3_BRANCH_19990323.tar.gz
    3) They should establish a usenet news group. (if they have, then promote it but I don't see "mozilla" on dejanews "Browse Group"
    There are 46 newsgroups under the hierarchy
    netscape.public.mozilla.*
    4) There needs to be a code overview/tutorial for morons like me that might possibly want to help.
    Tutorial: "Extending Mozilla Or How To Do The Impossible"

    http://www.doczilla.com/development/index.html
  • The Netscape toolbar allows you to have folders that behave like hierarchical menus, at least the Motif version does.
  • Building Mozilla with full debugging takes ~320 megs for me. That's too much for me to participate in development, but it's not as bad as 1 gig.
  • Mozilla has several (a dozen or more) newsgroups.. They're on DejaNews somewhere (although I must admit that I've never been able to find them there on my own..)

    You can still participate in discussion by pointing your favorite news reader to news.mozilla.org
  • >With more Netscape developers off of the project >it may force the community to pick up the peices

    "force" ?? I seriously doubt if resignations such as these are of any help to keep the motivation of that community to help FS projects like Mozilla as high as it could be.. I don't want to blame the people resigning BTW.
  • Where is 4.51 for FreeBSD?

    Right here [netscape.com]

    I want to die peacefully in my sleep as my grandfather did...

  • Folks can get a great catch-up from Frank Hecker [mailto]s summary of the last year, available at mozilla.org [mozilla.org].

    Spend the time to read this, and then come back and post thoughtfully.

    I want to die peacefully in my sleep as my grandfather did...

  • The problem was _Netscape_ didn't get it.
    They turned off a lot of potential developers
    with the NPL, for one thing.

    Did you even read jwz's statements on the matter?
    Do you know his background?
    I didn't think so.
  • Fact: Smart hacker types don't want to work at a company as seriously unhip as AOL. Result: they're fleeing like rodents from a sinking ship. I mean, at least MS has an undeniable reputation for having some very smart cookies working for them (they must spend their days playing Ages of Empires or something, but they're there). AOL just has a reputation for having some pretty dumb users; I suspect that stigma carries over.


    But then again, they do buy a lot of machines from My Favorite Comupter Maker.

    ----

  • Well, there is a difference between the gurus and the rank and file.

    Let me clarify: in my experience, there always seem to be one or two people who really drive a successful development effort. While others put in a ton of work, these are the folks who you can single out and say "this wouldn't have worked without these guys". Think Romero and Carmack at id back in the olden days, Seymour Cray at Cray Research or (and you just knew I'd go there) Linus with the Linux kernel.

    These are the folks who seem to be leaving Netscape/AOL now. You can call them prima donnas or credit hogs or whatever, but the fact is that all really legendary development teams have them, and they always seem to fall apart when they lose them. In that manner, 2 of 2000 can be really important.

    PS: Don't call me a lemming. We prefer "sudden decelleration syndrome addicts".

    ----

  • Netscape introduced the hordes to the Web. That alone caused it to grow as quickly as it did.. And it had some pretty nifty features, the most important of which, to me at least, was the fact that I could type a URL into the 'Location' box.
    It also began to display a page before all the images were loaded...


    IIRC, Netscape was the first decent web browser for Windows, too..


    I still get a kick out of seeing the 'Throbbing N' in some movies of the time.. :^)

    • Windows 3.1: Netscape doesn't have the resources to support this right away. Do you want it badly? Code the support for it.
    • Gcc 2.8/egcs: Gcc 2.7.* sucks. It's much buggier than egcs or even gcc 2.8, and it does not support required things like namespaces, etc (Don't believe me? Ask Cygnus or the egcs people. gcc 2.7.3.2 is good for compiling the kernel because people have learned how to work around the bugs). In short, its support of C++ is lacking and it's therefore not good enough to compile Mozilla.
  • They release early and often. Check ftp.mozilla.org [mozilla.org] for proof - daily builds. Nearly all discussion about concepts, etc is done out in the open on the netscape.public.mozilla.* heirarchy of newsgroups. Mozilla is no cathedral.

    What people don't realise is that there is nothing wrong with Mozilla [mozilla.org] as it is; it is simply not finished, that's all.

  • In short, mozilla.org is failing to follow one of free software's most powerful and effective maxims: release early; release often. Just get the browser out there.
    No, they haven't. I refer you to ftp.mozilla.org [mozilla.org], on which you may find daily builds of Mozilla for many platforms, as well as a daily sourcedump.
    1. Where is 4.51 for FreeBSD?
    Who knows. Ask Netscape, that has nothing to do with Mozilla.org.
    2. The option to send email in HTML should be emphatically discouraged in the Preferences dialogue box, indicating, for example, that it is highly experimental and will cause lots of pain to users of standards compliant email clients.
    I agree. However, lacking a good formatting language for e-mail, which, indeed, is sometimes required, HTML is a good a markup language as any. Given my druthers, however, I would use plaintext only.
  • .. is that these layoffs have nothing to do with coders, and everything to do with a regular merger. No coders in Netscape were touched; it was mainly accounting and marketing-types. 'Technology' at AOL was affected, but I'm not sure what that means particularly.

    In any case, this had little to no effect on Mozilla itself. Coders are still working as hard on it as they were a year ago.

  • No. I'm saying that generally, code generation bugs - which is what gcc 2.7.2.3 has - can be programmed around, but unsupported features of a language - such as namespaces, which I believe is where one of the the real problems lie - are not a simple thing around which to work.

    Egcs supports the standard of C++, and gcc doesn't. This is a no-brainer, really.

  • by Jon Abbott (723) on Saturday April 03, 1999 @02:15PM (#1950465) Homepage
    I hope that the Mozilla team survives after such a strong lashing. While things sound like they're starting to crumble, the fact remains that the world needs a good browser.

    Perhaps it would be good (at this point) to not worry about integrating the mail and news clients into the initial release of Mozilla. Focusing on the browser is key. Something just needs to get out to the world that shows that something has been done. I don't mean developer test versions (such as M3) either. Those releases do show a lot, but only to a small crowd.

    Besides, it would be nice to componentize the release of Mozilla -- a "Browser Package" could contain just the browser, while a "Communication Package" could include News/Mail/etc.. Not only would it keep download times smaller for slow modem owners, it would allow the Mozilla team to get away with skipping the Communication Package for now.

    Maybe I'm just too anxious to see the first major release of Mozilla. :^)
  • that would be SGI then, I assume?

    Since their servers are mostly O2Ks last time I checked.

  • by bjk4 (885) on Saturday April 03, 1999 @01:33PM (#1950467) Homepage

    I think this is a bad sign for Netscape/Mozilla. With Jamie Zawinskileaving [jwz.org] and the recent layoffs at both Netscape and AOL, I'm beginning to worry about the future of the Mozilla project.

    At the same time I think they can rid themselves of all doubt simply by releasing a product as small as iCab [earthlink.net], has many more innovative features, and runs faster. There are two things lacking in iCab. First, it crashes on my computer. I expect this to be fixed soon. Second, it is slow in rendering images. I think Netscape/Mozilla can out do this easily, which would restore faith in the project, and enhance Mozilla's standing in the browser wars.

    Good luck guys.

    -Ben
  • Microsoft, amazon.com, eBay, etc. I guess it does pay to work for a startup if you know they have an excellent product that no one knows about and you get decent stock options. ;-)
  • It's not the NPL that turns off a lot of people, it's the way Mozilla is setup that turns people off. I said it before and I'll say it again. Not supporting Win 3.1 and requiring people to use GCC 2.8 to complie the Mozilla code for no good reason is stupid and won't attract very many people to the effort.
  • Let's see. You're basically saying that the kernal programers (and nearly everbody else) are good enough to program around the *known* bugs in GCC 2.7, but the Mozilla programers aren't, so that's why they are using a complier pretty much no one who's installed linux is using to complie code with. What's wrong with this picture?
  • Perhaps it would be good (at this point) to not worry about integrating the mail and news clients
    into the initial release of Mozilla.


    Or, better yet, not integrate them at all?

    Daniel
  • I just peeked at their site and it looks like they're going into beta soon. Does anyone know how it compares to Mozilla? (I was quite pleased to see *something* on their Web page, they seem to update once every two months...)

    I doubt this will be the "death of Mozilla", but it's good to know that there are other projects out there.

    Daniel
  • My guess is that there are two reasons (disclaimer: I do program but I don't do HTML, this is just my understanding of the situation):
    First, parsing HTML is trivial but displaying it is at best difficult for anything more complicated than Lynx. Even for Lynx it's probably not easy (although I haven't looked at how they do it) Formatting is generally a tricky business.
    Second, there are a bunch of non-HTML things which I can imagine would seriously complicate the situation, such as plugin architecture, JVMs, Javascript, and other such things.

    Of course, it is (as usual) possible that I'm completely wrong about all of this. :-)

    Daniel
  • Why is it a serious problem for Linux? I agree that Communicator 4.x was awful, but Navigator is (barely) bearable until a decent free browser gets out, and I can think of two or three projects offhand besides Mozilla to do this (mnemonic and kfm come to mind). Mozilla just has the biggest advertising budget.

    The situation isn't "Mozilla or bust". :-)

    Daniel
  • Hmm, as I said I don't have much experience with this but I'd think that well-formed HTML would not be particularly difficult to parse, especially given that there are a number of XML libraries available to jumpstart a parser anyway. It's just a matter of remembering what context you're in, whether tags can be implicitly closed, ...
    Trivial might be going a little far though, I admit.

    And of course in my world ill-formed HTML would be spit out by browsers anyway. Too bad I don't live in my world. :-)

    Daniel
  • Perhaps it would be good (at this point) to not worry about integrating the mail and news clients into the initial release of Mozilla.
    Or, better yet, not integrate them at all?

    Well, since Netscape already supports RDF, XUL, an JavaScript, which are used throughout the browser for the UI, the only real things necessary for mail/news support that aren't there are POP3/IMAP/SMTP/NNTP support and the Address Book/Mail DBs, at the moment, the only real sticking point is the DB, as one is being written from scratch for it (AFAIK). So, to create a mail/news reader, all one needs is a few HTML-style files, a bunch of GIFs, a few JavaScripts, and the networking and database backend. That's a grand total of somewhere under 1MB for Mail/News. Tacking this onto a 2.5MB browser isn't really that big a deal -- although I am sure that someone will write the prefs code so selecting another mail/newsreader is a simple task.

    We're not talking about a 10MB mailreader for this, you know. :-)

    Jim Cape
    http://www.jcinteractive.com [jcinteractive.com]
  • Someone else has already pointed out most of your mistakes. I'll add one more. Having the code available as tarballs via ftp doesn't do much good. The code changes too often, and then you get people complaining about old bugs, which adds more noise to the newsgroups. Besides, if you are interested in working on Mozilla, then updating using cvs saves you time too.

  • I'm running the Nav-only version of 4.5 on Linux right now and it's frustrating not being able to click on mail-to and nntp links. But I agree that the browser is most important. Maybe a better solution would be hooks for using your own mail and news clients (e.g. slrn and Mutt).

    If that was implemented then you could divert work on the Mozilla Editor to the browser too. As I understand it, the Editor is needed right now to provide editing capabilities for News and Mail.

  • | I use a DEC alpha as my main computer and run
    | a remote shell netscape from my p120(yes,
    | i have a box dedicated to running netscape).

    Seems a little extreme, but I suppose it's doable. It also solves the problem of other things like Realvideo and shockwave not being available for anything but Intel Linux either.

    |I have tried mozilla, hotjava, and kfm on my
    |alpha but they all suck royally. Don't even ask
    |about em86.

    Mozilla (old 102898 release) is at least somewhat usable. It's what I use on my Alphastation. Hotjava never worked properly on my Alpha - it would render the page you opened correctly, but if you tried to click a link it would render the new page behind the old one - which was still visible. This quickly got old. :)

    Kfm is ... well ... kfm. A file manager and a WWW browser, but a master of neither. It does make a nifty FTP client, however. On the Alpha, it's probably the least crash-happy graphical browser.

    I really wish Mozilla ... well, worked. Or even *mostly* worked. The new rendering engine appears to be pretty nice (I was able to check out "viewer" at least - no real luck with "apprunner"), but without the interface around it, it's mostly an academic curiousity.
  • | There is an open sourced Shockwave/Flash plugin
    | available. It shouldn't be hard to get it to
    | work with Linux for Alpha

    I actually tried this. :) Unfortunately, at the time I tried it, Mozilla would crash when trying to start the program. Whether it's the lizard or the plugin that's the problem I really don't know.
  • *nod* It wasn't even unexpected. EVERY merger of this size creates an overlapping set of jobs. Once the similar departments are merged, the top 50% are kept, the rest get relocation services. SOP. Trying to read any more into it then that is simply playing conspiracy games.

    --Dan

  • In short, mozilla.org is failing to follow one of free software's most powerful and effective maxims: release early; release often. Just get the browser out there.

    No, they haven't. I refer you to ftp.mozilla.org, on which you may find daily builds of Mozilla for many platforms, as well as a daily sourcedump.

    Ah ah -- there's a nuance you're missing there. The key word is release. That means a working, useful build of the product. Daily source dumps do not constitute a release. I've downloaded sources on three separate occasions, including the "official" 12/03 "release," and in all cases I couldn't even get the thing to build, and not for lack of trying either.

    M3 is close (I was actually shocked when it compiled succesfully, although I still can't get it actually working) but it's taken a year to get this far!

    Can someone in the know tell me why a minimal working browser was not released quickly, and features added in gradually, without breaking the source base for extended periods of time? Is it because, as JWZ noted, the actual released source was such a crawling horror?

    I'd like to know. . SNF .

    Steve 'Nephtes' Freeland | Okay, so maybe I'm a tiny itty

  • Mozilla was completely redone ... it will be more standards compliant. Yes, IE does currently kick Netscapes ass.

    IE still has more cruft. This will start to show later on, and IE might turn out to be another unmanageable micros~1 product. It's not bigger than 4.0, but it's sure close.

    I admit it's sure hard to defend netscape these days.

  • ok so jwz left. That's terrible because he was one of the project's biggest supporters. But why does everyone think the whole world is falling apart when mozilla is doing so well? The gtk group is mostly non-mozilla and is quite successful (oh yeah jwz was very pro-motif). The java mozilla is still alive and kicking even though jwz predicted they would give up due to failure. Doczilla is a commercial SGML/Hytime browser based on mozilla code and they have just released a tutorial on working with mozilla code. Be Inc has hired a full time engineer to work on bezilla (their site has some interesting screenshots). There's even an amiga mozilla port underway...no actually there are two! And let's not forget all the bug reports submitted by people from all over. So don't tell ME that nobody is interested in working with the mozilla code when there are people working really deep into the code-not just cutesy changes but you can now have fun with XUL anyway...
  • Ok, I'm not a programmer, this is an honest question. It's not intended to be inflammatory.

    So here goes: Is a browser really such a complicated piece of software? It just seems to me that compared to the kernel, XFree, Gnome or KDE, a browser would not be such a monumental project. I suppose that once you add in the news and mail, it's going to make things more complicated. But as someone pointed out earlier, why not modularize those things?

    Again, I'm looking for education here, not flames. Why is it so hard to get a good browser for linux?
  • Communicator 4.51 for FreeBSD and BSDi21 can be found here [netscape.com]:

    ftp://ftp1 3.netscape.com/pub/communicator/4.51/english/unix/ unsupported/ [netscape.com]

    Funny how it only took me about three seconds to find it...

  • The web is full of hilarious HTML

    ... For instance anything written with Netscape's Composer.

  • Look, the layoffs were of non-coders. After a merger you can downsize on lawyers, purchasing managers, marketing people, etc. It's not a sign of weakness.

    Now, the loss of two people important to Mozilla is a blow. On the other hand, Mozilla is far healthier now than it was nine months ago, when it had three months of futile pounding on the old codebase while Netscape programmers were busy working on 4.5.

    I mean, Mozilla is now to the point where bug hunting by non-coders is useful enough to recruit them. And when it eventually ships, even if it takes six months, it will take off.
  • I use Netscape 4.5/128-bit on FreeBSD and I have not had any significant crash problems. Sometimes it bugs out on really funky Java crap, but 99% of the time it's quite stable. It does have memory use problems, it won't let go of ram sometimes (all the time?).

    Maybe it's Linux that's not stable, hmm? ;)
  • I"ll agree with the first two (although I'm not certain how the politics issue affects users), but "Constant moving of FTP sites"? Yeah, there are mirrors that come and go, but ftp.us.debian.org (replace "us" with your country code, or a nearby code) is pretty consistent.
  • I for one would happily PAY MONEY for a Quality >= GOOD browser. I have tried the iCab and so far as features and potential are concerned, I like it a -lot- better than the Nav4.06 I am using. Communicator has way too much stuff loaded up at the same time that I don't need, which is just a good/great browser. No built-in email, no built-in HTML Composer, no built-in news reader, and so on. I do like Netscape's newsreader, but I don't want to have the sucker loaded up in RAM just 'cause I have the browser up. IE 4 for Mac admittedly has a lot of features and capabilities that I really like, it's just that the damn thing has a tendency to break very ungracefully, not much but enough to be a pain, and it -still- has problems with sometimes refusing to load all the graphics, no matter what I do, not to mention how it funkily renders some pages' tables, eg. news.com. I got hacked off finally and went back to Nav4, which seems kind of anemic compared to the bells and whistles of IE4, and the 'feature rich' capabilities of iCab. I REALLY want Netscape/AOL(sigh) to SUCCEED!! But geez Louise, it has been over a year(?) since a major release?? And it looks like Nav5 won't be here until after y2k-day? Damn, man. Bottom Line: I think there is at least SOME kind of market for selling browsers, but they have to be good enough to justify it. I don't care if IE Vx.y is "FREE" forever, they throw all these features in there, but still don't get the BASIC stuff right! Not to mention feeling like a pawn in Gates' Internet Domination Campaign.
  • It seemed to me that Netscape hasn't really changed since v3.0...Well, maybe the icon...
    This is the final nail in Netscape's cofin... I actually like Crashscape... kfm as a daily brower?
  • But there is at least one thing that may stall their effort. First and foremost is one of the very reasons that Zawinski cited for netscape's troubles - M$ destroyed the browser market by offering Explorer for free. Since iCab eventually plans to charge for their browser, it will be interesting to see how many people will part with $50 in order to use what can be had for free from two other companies.

    Just the same, iCab has some interesting things going for it - cookie management, ad filtering, a "checkable" hotlist, etc. etc. These innovative features, along with a lean code base, may get them a loyal following. There are, however, a few things I'd like to see improved:

    1. Most ad filtering only prevents the ad from being drawn - because the HTML is still there, the space is still allocated, so your stuck with something almost as bad as looking at the ads themselves - blank space. I'd like to see an option to REMOVE the HREFs that point to ads, rather than just keep them from drawing.

    2. The personal toolbar (even in Netscape) is a nice touch - but it'd be nice if it would expand to multiple lines if a user wants to include more than one line's worth of URLs. Folders shouldn't be excluded either- the folder name should appear and behave like a hierarchical menu.

    Maybe both M$ and Netscape should pay attention here. Sometimes the biggest isn't always the best.
  • The problem is that they need unix developers,
    it seems.. I don't normally use Microsoft OS'es,
    except that I have a job where I need to use
    NT (on a laptop) every once in a while..

    So while I was in NT, I decided to look at the
    windows mozilla build...

    WOW!

    It renders much faster then IE 4, it LOOKS very
    good, and it is VERY functional. If I could get
    bookmarks implimented, I would use this as my
    ONLY browser within windows.

    I've tried to get the new mozilla to work in Linux
    for a while now...just to be frustrated with an
    immediate segmentation fault, or other immediate
    crash, and I got apprunner to work once or twice,
    but it always looked like hell. Suffice to say,
    there are serious differences in parity..but
    my last cvs update was march 4th. Impressed with
    this latest mozilla binary, I'm compiling the linux
    m3 version on my desktop..hoping it is somewhat
    as good in terms of quality..

    It's very obvious that the back-end components are
    very high quality and finished...all we need are
    more linux people to help them get a usable
    front-end.

    But mozilla is NOT a project in trouble. It is
    VERY usable right now on the windows side, and
    hopefully on the Linux side as well (watching
    the compile continue as I type).

    It just seems that everyone is extremely impatient.
    Remember, the beta date is not until JULY 20th!

    It's not broken or defective..just not finished.
  • And currently none of the browsers available are standards compliant.

    If nobody follows the standards, they aren't really "standards" are they. I guess you could call them "W3C Feature Proposals".
    --
  • Can't blame this one on AOL. By the time Navigator/Communicator and IE were both released as version 4 products, Netscape had lost the huge technical advantage that it originally held over the IE team. Now more people use IE than use Netscape, and the lead is only going to widen as long as Netscape/Mozilla delays in coming out with their version 5, which is almost certain to be too late to turn the tide. Also, you certainly can't blame AOL for all the carping that people have done about the state of the source code that Netscape originally released for Mozilla.org.

    Cheers,
    ZicoKnows@hotmail.com

  • It doesn't even fully support HTML 3.2, much less 4.0, and it seems like it has a tendency to munge tables. which is not a good thing. Another big downside is that CNRI has announced that they're dropping the project.

    I like Python and all, and I think Grail was an interesting work, but it's definitely not a realistic replacement for Netscape/IE.

    Cheers,
    ZicoKnows@hotmail.com

  • I agree. The lack of availability of IE on Linux is a major factor that keeps me from trying Linux -- I can't bear the thought of having to go back to Netscape again.
    The guys who left netscape should get together and use the mozilla source to develop a kick-ass alternative to netscape and IE.
  • I'm not going to pass judgment on Mozilla.org, but Linux does need a Good browser. I like Netscape 3.01 better than any browser out there. And I know a few who agree with me.

    I hope people do get behind Mozilla or start a new browser project for Linux. Is it legal to take raptor an run with that?

  • JWZs departure, and his explanation of it, give me pause. I have been wondering when the hell netscape would ship 5.0 and it was very disheartening to learn that they didn't expect to have a beta out until July. JWZ's revalations just confirm my fears.

    (It seems to me that have a good, modern, browser is very important to the success of Linux and I hope that this will motivate people to chip in to the project.)

    On the other hand, the news in this latest article isn't nearly as significant and I think the author should be given 50 lashes for trying to play up this new information.

    JWZ was an early employee of the company. This other "key" developer sounds like a johny-come-lately, perhaps the sort of fair weather friend that JWZ seems to deplore.

    JWZ, in addition to whatever he did in the early days, made (by his own assesment, at least) a real effort at making the open source Mozilla fly free. This other guy lead the development of a privacy invasion feature. The sort of tail-fin feature that netscape wasted their effort on when they should have been cleaning up the core of their browser and building in standards support.

    As for the other layoffs, big woop. A sad symbol and no doubt stressful to those involved, but they don't sound like they are core to the developent of any products.
  • I wouldn't downplay the effect those layoffs will have, not just yet.

    People are going to be feeling very insecure for the next while, revising their resumes and following up head-hunter calls, just in case...

    AOL's not going to be able to stop the bleeding that quickly; it's great time for a career change in this business.

    JWZ's second-last paragraph, first sentence, just about sums it up: "I must say, though, that it feels good to be resigning from AOL instead of resigning from Netscape."
  • If XUL (rhymes with goul) is anything like it reads at http://www.mozilla.org/xpfe/languageSpec.html then mozilla will have been a smashing success in spite of JWZ's rhetoric.
  • Strongly disagree that Netscape is lagging behind MSIE. On the Windows side of my machine it handles my needs way better than MSIE, if for no other reason than the fact that it seamlessly integrates an HTML composer with the browser. The composer element is a *huge* benefit to Windows users that want to be able to create documents in a cross-platform file format. It beats the hell of the dreadful MS Front Page which requires you to launch three applications just to edit an HTML page.

    They finally addressed lack of the ability to [TAB] between URLs on the page, which was a big shortcoming that had me switching to MSIE for a couple of years.

    OK, so on my Linux side it takes a freakin' whole minute to launch Netscape (as opposed to one second on the Windows side). That's a serious problem but I think it is not a failure on the part of the product in general, just simply that they haven't taken time to optimize it for Linux.
  • AOL butchered Netscape Browser, Netscape fans and
    Netscape. When netscape was alone, it had a single
    goal of product development and they would have
    somehow managed to get Mozilla released. Now everything is with the new bosses...

    Was it a M$ conspiray...? :)

  • This is probably because you're using windows 98 and IE is always resident - a very underhanded way of making the browser seem to load faster.
  • Yes. It's documented in the Freshmeat FAQ [freshmeat.net].

    Get the glibc version of Netscape. Worked for me.

  • Well, you need friends who have access to Digital Unix' libraries then. The OSF version of Netscape is a typical Netscape, mostly stable, but crashes sometimes.

    Before I got the libraries I used a P166 as a Netscape "server." Worked, albeit not as fast as my 633MHz Alpha.

  • Fucking hell, IE is even more STANDARDS compliant than NS!

    More standards compliant? Huh?

    I'd say there is no such thing as being "more standards compliant". Either you are standards compliant or you are not. Make no compromises here.

    And currently none of the browsers available are standards compliant.

    The web of today is in really sorry state. I had hoped that Mozilla would bring us some hope, but now that hope seems quite vain...

    --

  • AOL does have some really high quality stuff under its wing, with smart people working on it. Witness AOLserver, formerly Naviserver before acquisition, which is a fast multithreaded Web server with powerful features (integrated interpreter for TCL, persistent db connections, etc). Managing it through the built in admin pages is a snap.

    One of the key developers on the project just left though.....

  • Netscape did actually create a revolution. The web is largely a result of their ideas back in 1992-1995.

    Unfortunately, since then they have done nothing innovative. It seems like they created the web, was pleased and spent the rest of their years parching Navigator.

    What they should have done was to keep supporting and extending Navigator, but focus on the design of WWW2.

  • In short, mozilla.org is failing to follow one of free software's most powerful and effective maxims: release early; release often. Just get the browser out there.

    The main reason is that the prize for joining is too high. First of all, you need nearly 1 GB of free disk space and waste amounts of time to compile this thing. Second, the development process is too complicated. You just don't use five minutes to fix a small bug in a system with 100 full time developers. When you submit it, they have probably rewritten the entire module. Of course you could try to keep track of what all of them are doing, but that requires too much time.

    In emacs I can just find a bug in CC-mode, fix it and submit the fix right away (except for the fact that I can't find a bug in CC-mode (except java-mode, which is crappy)). I don't have to recompile anything. In mozilla, I find a bug, I try to fix it, but I can't figure out where it is, or what will happen if I fix it, or what other things I will break.

    The correct approach would be a more kernel oriented design,

    And BTW, Javascript is a crappy, and not general enough, extension language.

  • When I tested it, it was with the original source on Solaris. I used some of the university's Ultra1 boxes (~200 mhz, 128MB RAM), and spread the source across 1 local and 3 NFS mounted disks (using symlinks).

    The compilation took 1+ hour, nearly 1 GB of disk space, and the resulting executable size was ~100MB.

  • Have a look at this
    http://www.dejanews.com/[ST_rn=ps]/query_profile .xp?QRY=netscape.public.mozilla.*&DBS=1&de faultOp=AND&ST=IF
  • There is mnemonic project , apparently
    beta should soon be available. It uses GTK
    libraries. All the development is done on
    Linux but apparently it already compiles on
    some other Unix-based platforms.
  • You're kidding me. IE4 final was worse crash-wise than some of the betas of Navigator 4 I've tried. Netscape is big, slow, and crash-prone but it's smaller, faster, and stabler than IE on Windows. (And Netscape's Linux incarnation is significantly faster than its Windows version.) I think Netscape has a good thing going and if the Mozilla project gets in gear Mozilla 5 will just blow everything away.
  • I've never had any speed problems with Nav. PARTICULARLY under Linux... under Windows Mozilla is a bit sluggish, I'll grant you that. And the rendering glitches that IE seems to exhibit regularly make me a die-hard Netscape user. Until something else that's free and as fully-featured as Mozilla comes along.
  • Wow, that's weird. Netscape may be a tad buggy, but it loads in 10 - 15 seconds under Linux. It usually takes 30 or more under 'Doze (NT 4.0). But, nothing can touch Netscape under 'Doze. (Well, Opera, perchance.) IE4 is just so full of security and stability problems AND it slows the rest of your machine down that it's just not worth even bothering with.
  • JWZ says [jwz.org] he feels Netscape had a shot at greatness and missed. I disagree: Netscape truly accomplished great things in keeping the net on the track it's been on in these first few years of what will be remembered as a revolution. Imagine if there had been no Netscape; once Microsoft discovered the web it would have sewn it all up inside MSN. It tried to do this anyway, and without Netscape around such an attempt may or may not have succeeded, but it is clear that Netscape's contributions kept the web a place where open standards reign.

    On the other hand, there are challenges ahead. But that doesn't diminish Netscape's past accomplishments.

There is no royal road to geometry. -- Euclid

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