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Firefox-Based Netscape 8 Beta Goes Live 320

pigmelon writes "According to BetaNews, 'America Online's Netscape team has opened its doors to the public, releasing the first beta of the revived Netscape Web browser. (screenshot) Based upon Firefox, Netscape version 8 focuses on security and user privacy, and supports rendering with both Mozilla's Gecko and Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser engines.' Before downloading the beta, remember that it uses Firefox 1.0, which contains some vulnerabilities."
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Firefox-Based Netscape 8 Beta Goes Live

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  • one word (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 03, 2005 @07:06PM (#11839305)

    Horrible color scheme and very cluttered.
  • Custom widgets (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Koyaanisqatsi ( 581196 ) on Thursday March 03, 2005 @07:09PM (#11839330)

    What's so wrong with using standart window captions, buttons and so on? There's a reason for that: consistency ammong applications.

    Leave themes and eye candy for the OS level, and obey it if present; but please, not a single application should implement it's own custom UI controls, that's just wrong.
  • Re:LOUD (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 03, 2005 @07:09PM (#11839336)
    So uh, you don't like it?

  • by Osty ( 16825 ) on Thursday March 03, 2005 @07:10PM (#11839340)

    Holy crap! [] That has to be the worst browser interface I've ever seen. Awful color scheme, buttons everywhere, three different input bars (one for searching, one for addresses, and one for "shopping"?; worse, the most important bar, the address bar, is too small to show even the domain portion of a normal URL, and is not in a properly prominent position), funky menu positioning (by putting the menu in the title bar, I suppose you can no longer grab that part of the bar to drag the window), etc. Netscape really needs to invest in some competent UI designers ASAP.

  • by evn ( 686927 ) on Thursday March 03, 2005 @07:11PM (#11839366)
    Just when you think the Internet can't get any uglier or more difficult to use we get another browser with piss-poor interface.

    Why the heck do I need the weather below my address bar?

    Why is the menu bar over by the close/minimize/maximize widgets (don't miss click the help menu or your window will vanish to the task bar)?

    I /love/ the way they use completley non-standard UI elements throughout and the grace us with the standard windows scroll bar on the right.

    I think i'll leave my family/neighbors/girlfriend with Firefox or Mozilla thank-you. They may not be the perfect interface but they're an order of magnitude more useful than this monstrosity.

    And no, it doesn't run on Mac OS X, Linux, BSD, or anything but Windows. I guess that's a good thing in this case.
  • Re:why? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Low2000 ( 606536 ) on Thursday March 03, 2005 @07:13PM (#11839379)
    The advantage is brand recognition. There are still a lot of people out there who know who Netscape is (or think they know who Netscape is and aren't aware of the AOL purchase).
  • Re:Custom widgets (Score:2, Insightful)

    by soupdevil ( 587476 ) on Thursday March 03, 2005 @07:13PM (#11839381)
    Wait a minute, not a single application? I agree with you on the browser and other mainstream apps, but audio, video, design and other types of apps require their own paradigm for UI.
  • Re:windows only? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by betaguy9000 ( 863878 ) on Thursday March 03, 2005 @07:14PM (#11839387)
    Sadly it seems to be a windows only release.
    I'm willing to bet they couldn't figure out a way to implement that abortion of an interface design on other OSes.
  • brand recognition (Score:5, Insightful)

    by commodoresloat ( 172735 ) on Thursday March 03, 2005 @07:20PM (#11839453)
    One of the higherups where I work sent an email a couple months ago out complaining about this or that vulnerability in IE. He finished the email with "I guess that's just one more reason I should be using Netscape." Not Mozilla, not Firefox, but Netscape. Switching to Netscape is something I told him to do. In 1995. Ten years later, not only hasn't he switched yet, but he still thinks the only choice is between IE and Nutscrape. I don't think most computer users pay that much attention to new software (though Firefox and Mozilla are hardly new) nor to the technical aspects of software (the claim that Firefox and Netscape are both based on Mozilla will be met with a blank stare, followed by, "so I should use Netscape, and I'll be secure, right?" (and then followed by continued use of IE, because finding and downloading a new browser is still too much to deal with).
  • by linguae ( 763922 ) on Thursday March 03, 2005 @07:25PM (#11839481)

    The new Netscape browser is based on Firefox, but it looks, well, awful. It doesn't look as bad as some of the previous betas, but it still doesn't look good. It breaks many of the Windows design standards, such as its substandard menus, windows, icons, and title bars. Secondly, when I'm browsing the Internet (or doing anything else with my computer), I don't want to be looking at all of these flashy icons and weather and shopping and all of this other stuff. Why is the RSS icon on the URL box blocking the full URL? Where do AOL hire its UI designers from?

    Next, another feature about this browser is that it can switch its rendering engine from Gecko to IE's rendering system. Well, why? IE's rendering system doesn't support the latest web standards, and even for web pages that uses a lot of IE-only extensions (ActiveX, for example), Firefox handles these situations with a couple of extensions.

    Besides that, this will hurt in trying to remove substandard and nonstandard technologies from the Internet, such as ActiveX and non-standard HTML. Windows-only web developers need to get out of their Microsoft-funded cave and hop on the nearest bus to Standards Land and start dumping MSHTML, their Visual Basic-designed ActiveX programs, and ASP in favor of CSS and XHTML (standard web pages), Java or Perl/Python (standard programming languages), and PHP (to replace ASP). It will make the Internet a better and safer place for the rest of us.

    In short, what's the point of this Netscape release? Firefox and Mozilla is spreading like wildfire, and they are better browsers. Safari, Opera, and Konqueror do their jobs nicely, too, so what's the point of Netscape?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 03, 2005 @07:32PM (#11839531)
    I'm worried about the use of the MSIE rendering engine. I'm worried because a lot of clueless webmasters will say "We only support Netscape and MSIE". E.G. the sorts of idiots who design the web site you must use to apply for governments benefits or for classes at your school. Now, if the people design a MSIE-only web site, and use Netscape's MSIE engine to test rendering of said site, said cluless webmaster may force you to use Windows to get gov't benefits, apply for class, or what not.
  • Re:one word (Score:2, Insightful)

    by northcat ( 827059 ) on Thursday March 03, 2005 @07:35PM (#11839559) Journal
  • Bad user skin (Score:2, Insightful)

    by thomasdn ( 800430 ) on Thursday March 03, 2005 @07:36PM (#11839566) Homepage Journal
    I think that the user interface is really bad on this one. The buttons for search fields/etc. is too large. I personally do not like the light green/blue color they have given it. Combined with orange buttons just makes the contrast too high.
    The menus in the top are located on the right unlike their usual place on the left. This is something that will cause irritations.
  • by billstewart ( 78916 ) on Thursday March 03, 2005 @07:43PM (#11839616) Journal
    I don't use AOL myself, but there are ~20 million people who do, including my mother-in-law. Including Netscape/Zilla/Firefox on the AOL coaster would help get those people off IE.
  • by Octagon Most ( 522688 ) on Thursday March 03, 2005 @07:55PM (#11839716)
    There is no "5) Profit!".

    Profit is exactly the motive behind such UI-hostile interface elements as a permanent shopping search bar. AOL is throwing in several ways to get the user directly to AOL's own web properties. It looks as if they already pre-installed a few of those spyware toolbars.
  • by aendeuryu ( 844048 ) on Thursday March 03, 2005 @07:58PM (#11839730)
    Netscape's name-brand recognition among the great uneducated masses of Internet users might actually convince millions of otherwise-competent people to use this abomination.

    The old Netscape might have been junk. This new Netscape might also be junk. But who the heck cares? You don't need to like the smell of manure to appreciate roses at the flower shop.

    Netscape's decision once upon a time to release the source code gave us an excellent browser. The license for that browser is such that anybody can take it and release their own abomination, so if Netscape itself wants to do that, more power to them.
  • Netscape? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by p0rnking ( 255997 ) on Thursday March 03, 2005 @08:19PM (#11839875) Homepage
    What I don't get, is other than the amount of users that used to go to Netscape's portal (it was at the time, one of the busiest sites on the net), why did AOL buy Netscape?

    They bought Netscape, continued to use IE, started Mozilla then let Mozilla go (to become the Mozilla Foundation), and now they are developing their own browser, which is based on IE .... so I ask again, why did AOL buy Netscape, and why are they continuing to pump out Beta versions, but never use it?
  • Re:why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MustardMan ( 52102 ) on Thursday March 03, 2005 @08:33PM (#11839958)
    Supposedly the netscape version has built in the IE rendering engine for compatibility, while still maintaining the security of Firefox.

    This is a dangerous statement to be making. A large number of the security flaws in IE lie within the rendering engine itself, not in the surrounding wrappers. There was a big stink with yahoo messenger, because it uses IE mshtml.dll to render text, and was thus vulnerable to the iframe exploit. If a program renders in mshtml.dll, no amount of wrappers are going to suddenly fix the security flaws inherent in the engine. The best you can hope for is to eliminate some of the higher-up bugs with IE.
  • by nobodyman ( 90587 ) on Thursday March 03, 2005 @09:01PM (#11840141) Homepage
    Okay, agreed -- the UI is pretty over-the-top. I won't even argue that.

    However, I think that the general attitude on ./ is that Netscape has somehow "wronged" the Firefox team and the Firefox community by releasing this product, or that they don't "deserve" to rebrand firefox in such a way. I probably wont use it (the GUI hurts), but I don't have a problem with Netscape/AOL releasing it, considering:
    Netscape not only opened the source code, they also provided manpower, hardware , and cash. AOL was the single largest donor to the Mozilla foundation (2 million cash, but also assets such as webservers and bandwidth). Without Netscape and AOL, Firefox would not exist.

    Netscape is abiding by the mozilla public license, right? If so, what's the problem? Why do so many open source zealots villify large corporations for engaging in behaviour that is expressly condoned (even encouraged)?

    Though standards zealots will disagree, at least some people will like the dual rendering engine feature. So it's not like they didn't bring anything to the table and shamelessly replaced all the firefox logos with netscape logos.

    Isn't this really an open source success story? "If you open the source code to your product, other developers will extend it and improve it in ways that you couldn't dream of (let alone afford), and you will be free to incorporate these improvements back into your product!". Isn't this the return on investment that the OSS community talks about?
    Netscape's name-brand recognition among the great uneducated masses of Internet users might actually convince millions of otherwise-competent people to use this abomination.

    If we're talking about the same uneducated mass of Internet users that were convinced to use IE because of Microsoft's brand recognition, isn't that a good thing?
  • by NoMercy ( 105420 ) on Thursday March 03, 2005 @09:02PM (#11840145)
    I was so hoping netscape would put there name behind Firefox, instead of butchering a decent browser and making a mess of it again.

    Firefox could grow by at least 10% if netscape proclaimed it as the next version of there browser and included download links on there primary netscape download page.
  • by argent ( 18001 ) <peter&slashdot,2006,taronga,com> on Thursday March 03, 2005 @09:26PM (#11840321) Homepage Journal
    and supports rendering with both Mozilla's Gecko and Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser engines

    I guess I'll have to add Netscape to my list of banned applications, along with IE, Outlook, Windows Media Player, and Realplayer... basically, any application that uses the MS HTML control to render outside-sourced documents.

    After seven years of exploits and failed fixes, why does anyone outside Microsoft still use this "Typhoid Mary" of the software world?

Science may someday discover what faith has always known.