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Netscape 8 Breaks IE XML 398

An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft has alerted users that Netscape's latest browser appears to break the XML rendering capabilities in Microsoft Internet Explorer. Dave Massy, a senior programme manager for IE, warned users in a blog posting that after installing Netscape 8, IE will render XML files as a blank page, including XML files that have an XSLT transformation. What a week for Netscape 8.0; first the browser needed several fixes hours after its release, then it was discovered that without IE installed, Netscape 8.0 will not install, and now IE needs Netscape uninstalled to work."
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Netscape 8 Breaks IE XML

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  • Does anyone use it? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by coop0030 ( 263345 ) * on Thursday May 26, 2005 @12:14PM (#12645904) Homepage
    I haven't tried out Netscape 8.0 (Firefox is fine with me for now), but what are some reasons people are switching to Netscape 8.0?

    Does anyone have any stats on how many people are even using it? What are the website statistics showing?

    To me this sounds like Netscape ran into a "too little, too late" situation with their newest iteration of their browser.
    • As far as "too little, too late", I read that it's actually a whole different team of developers that AOL has hired. So really it's not even the same people making the effort, just AOL making a browser and slapping a well-known brand name on it.

      Just what I heard, that's all...
      • According to someone in the IE Blog, AOL "outsourced development of NS8 to a company called Mercurial Communications. "
        • ml [] "Netscape had used Mercurial for a smaller project in the past, and based on that positive experience, chose them as a development partner for the Netscape 8.0 browser release. They did an excellent job, working under short deadlines and with complex requirements. Mercurial was a source of product innovation, as well as an excellent development shop. As a result of this experience, a number of other divisions of AOL are contracting with Mercurial for f
    • I personally don't, but there's a good article on Internet Week about it. cleID=163106005 []

      I'm going to be biased and stick with my Firefox for now.
    • by Will2k_is_here ( 675262 ) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @12:20PM (#12646004)
      I work the helpdesk part time at my University.

      Users have used Netscape since NS 4 days. They don't feel comfortable trying anything else. NS7.2 tells them they have an outdated browser so they just upgrade. That's why they download it.
    • I see no reason to use netscape since mozilla came out and now i use firefox.

      I think Netscape it just mozilla a few (minor) versions back + netstcape "branding" modifications.

      But i could be wrong, I did not used it in a while, I have note even seen it installed anywhere.

      I'm wondering why they even bother to release it instead of promoting mozilla and/or firefox, seems like a waste of energy to me.
      • I'm afraid it's worse than simply "a waste of time". Apparently, Netscape 8 incorporates the IE rendering engine, and uses it by default for "trusted" sites. This is a seditious act by AOL to tie the Netscape brand to the Windows platform, and shits on the web standards the Mozilla team has worked so hard to support.

        Now that Netscape 8 has been shown to corrupt IE installations, Microsoft can make statements about how alternative browsers are a security issue. Thanks a lot AOL. Netscape would be better off

    • by pebs ( 654334 )
      I haven't tried out Netscape 8.0 (Firefox is fine with me for now), but what are some reasons people are switching to Netscape 8.0?

      Surprisingly I know a good number of people using it. Though these are generally non-techies. Netscape's marketing seems to actually get some people to use it. I then have to go on to explain to them how Netscape is just a derivative of Firefox/Mozilla. Though in all these cases, these people have said they don't like IE or won't even allow IE usage on their PC. That's a
    • ... but what are some reasons people are switching to Netscape 8.0?

      If you design web pages, you would look at the pages in all the major browsers to ensure that your pages don't have any special problems.

      The way NS 8.0 is going, running it in a VMware session is probably safer for now. It's borking IE... ouch! In the old days, you could depend on IE to bork itself and/or the operating system.
    • I use it only for testing pages, and sometimes to look at complicated source code 'cause it makes it into pretty rainbows : )

      All right for the thumbs-up/thumbs-down comments, but perhaps these would have a little more weight if one could understand HOW one application can break another? I haven't found a word about it here nor in the article. What exactly is the modified "common" dependancy (file?) that makes them incompatible?
    • As somebody who designs a lot of web pages, I have IE, Netscape, FireFox & Opera on my Wintel Box. I need all these browsers to test out how my pages are displaying. I use FireFox as my main web browser, and I use IE for some pages that require Active X stuff here at work. As somebody who uses a lot of XML, I just now verified that the error does occur, so I've unistalled Netscape 8. I still have Netscape 7.2, which doesn't have the IE XML killing power that 8.0 does. Hopefully the IE XML problem will
    • If you develop web sites, NS8 has a nice feature of switching between Firefox/IE rendering engines with just a mouseclick. So you don't have to ever run IE. This was a big selling point in my book (ps. I use Firefox for everything and anything...if it made toast, I'd do that too!)
  • You're outta here! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TripMaster Monkey ( 862126 ) * on Thursday May 26, 2005 @12:14PM (#12645907)
    1. Netscape browser needed several fixes hours after its release.
    2. Netscape browser will not install unless IE is installed.
    3. Installation of Netscape breaks IE.

    Back in the day, I was a big Netscape fan, and I waas really hoping that this new release would bring them back as a player, but enough is enough, guys. Three strikes, and you are OUT.

    One more thing...
    Firefox rules...IE sucks...let's fight!


  • by yotto ( 590067 ) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @12:16PM (#12645943) Homepage
    *IE needs Netscape uninstalled to work.* /me runs out to install Netscape 8.
  • by AcquaCow ( 56720 ) * <> on Thursday May 26, 2005 @12:16PM (#12645945) Homepage
    Or rather booo....

    I'd love to know what kinda crap their QA department is getting right now.

    -- Dave
    • I'd love to know what kinda crap their QA department is getting right now.

      If they're anything like our QA department, nowt.
      As our QA department would have been told to "test it, so Marketing Manager can demo it to ABigSoftwareCompany tonight". or "test it, so we can release it this evening", both with no idea what said software is actually supposed to do.
  • Un(evil) (Score:3, Funny)

    by xbhatti ( 262449 ) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @12:17PM (#12645958)
    Having a hard time. Who is evil here?

  • Always humorous how one app can destroy another with impunity in the Win32 world. How do people deal with it?? Blech.
    • oh i'm sure you could do it on *nix without too much trouble assuming you are root (which most app installers are going to need).

      fact is if an installer runs amock on any platform you can end up with a pretty fucked up system.
      • You *could* screw up a *nix system with a bad installer, but it is harder to do for a couple of reasons:

        1 -- you usually only need to run the installer as root if you are doing a system-wide installation. If it is just for you it is easier just to install it in your home folder. Personally, I do that fairly often. I have an updated version of whatever I was installing in my space and can fall back on the system-wide version if I foobar it somehow.

        2 -- *nix apps are generally more self-contained than Windows apps. The fact that much of the configuration information for Windows programs resides in the registry is just asking for problems. For example:

        If program A uses protocol X and program B does so also, installing B may change registry entries concerning protocol X so that they match its needs. Program A stops working with protocol X.

        The *nix tradition of self-contained configuration files avoids the collisions that can arise in the registry.

        So again, YES, it is possible for an installer to completely wreck a *nix box BUT it is much less likely.

      • by MarkByers ( 770551 ) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @12:44PM (#12646343) Homepage Journal
        Gentoo installs first in an isolated sandbox (a fake root) which prevents a malicious installation program destroying the system. When the installation program is complete, portage finds the files which were installed into the sandbox and copies them across to the real system, keeping a note of which files belong to the packages, so that they can easily be removed later.

        So although the problem of installing packages without wrecking your system has been solved already.

        Out of interest, how do other distros approach it?
        • I'm not a Debian developer, just a user. Debian uses fakeroot plus a chroot or User-Mode Linux. All this applies to Ubuntu, too, of course.

          The standard way is to compile and build using "fakeroot". This program lets the installer chown and chmod all it wants and remembers it until fakeroot exits even though it's being run as an unprivileged user. It sets up PREFIX to be a subdirectory of sourcepackage-n.nn/debian/.

          In addition, Debian developers install using a chroot system. There is a package called
        • i said INSTALLERS not distro packages

          yes distro package managers with a sufficiantly anal design can mitigate a lot of the problems of bad installers but at the end of the day it only helps if your distro package manager supports the app you wan't.
  • Turn every release into a big beta test. At least they actually called it a beta with the anti-spyware program....and of course that's the one that didn't have many bugs (since someone else programmed it).
  • without IE installed, Netscape 8.0 will not install, and now IE needs Netscape uninstalled to work."

    Microsoft couldn't have planned it better themselves...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    " then it was discovered that without IE installed, Netscape 8.0 will not install,"

    WELL DUH. This is the Netscape with both Gecko and IE rendering engines. It needs both, but can only deliver Gecko they can't redistribute IE component so it has to come with the OS.

    DUH! Why is this such a huge discovery?
    • Then why couldn't Netscape Browser 8 soft-import the IE control and only call it when both 1. the user asks to view a page in IE and 2. IE is available?

  • by darkonc ( 47285 ) <stephen_samuel@bcgr e e n . com> on Thursday May 26, 2005 @12:23PM (#12646056) Homepage Journal
    I think I'll just quietly install NS8 on all of my clients' boxes before they fix this 'feature'.
    No need to tell them about it, though... Just leave them using Firefox.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 26, 2005 @12:27PM (#12646118)
    This is nothing new. When IE 4.0 first came out for Windows 95 and NT in 1997, it broke Netscape so it would not run at all. Even worse, if you attempted to uninstall IE, then NOTHING on the PC would function. Nothing short of a reformat would fix the mess. For this reason (and others) I vowed to never allow IE to infect any PC I care about.

    It's amazing how quickly everyone forgets the IE 4 chaos....

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 26, 2005 @12:28PM (#12646120)
    instance where an arbitrary and totally meaningless deadline for launch wrecked havoc on software.

    Releasing Netscape based on Firefox 1.03 after 1.04 was available with important security fixes was completely idiotic if a key differentiator of Netscape is supposed to be superior security!

    And then releasing an updated version within 24 hours based on 1.04 to show the world they could simply have delayed the initial launch by a day in the first place proved their mismanagement (any excuse about changing to 1.04 being complex and delaying the launch too much went out the window).

    Now their bragging rights about being able to switch betweeen IE and Firefox rendering is damaged because they didn't test enough to find out if their product breaks existing functionality like displaying XML?

    Not Netscape-specific but for software in general...Managers, get a clue, if you don't like deadlines given by engineers then remove features until they can provide timeframes that are acceptable. And you engineers that are too cowardly to say "No, that cannot be done by that time unless we eliminate/postpone some of the requirements" get some balls.

    • It's easy to say 'get some balls' when it's not your job on the line.
    • Now their bragging rights about being able to switch between IE and Firefox rendering is damaged because they didn't test enough to find out if their product breaks existing functionality like displaying XML?

      OK, so here's the deal. You're a QA lead for testing netscape and you have to prioritize tasks. What priority do you place on comprehensively testing a feature that only works some of the time and is used by very few people in a competitor's product with whom you are interfacing? I've tried to use IE

  • by jeffphil ( 461483 ) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @12:28PM (#12646121)
    !seineew era sreenigne epacsteN :)
  • Back in the mid 90's my boss in response to me bitching about windows said "Its not that M$ writes good software, its that everyone else's software is worse" This was shortly after we dumped all our unix servers in favor of NT. Yes, at that time linux was around and we had even tried it for a while. I showed it running on one of my machines and my other boss managed to lock it up in under 3 minuites. The general consensus at the time where I worked? Linux was just another unix complete will all the usual un
  • payback for bundling IE in the first place.

    Netscape's Revenge!

    (It's funny, laugh.)
  • laugh heh.
    there isnt anything i can say which can sum it up as well as just laughing
  • just some info... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Run4yourlives ( 716310 ) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @12:30PM (#12646154)
    the New netscape is owned by AOL, and really has nothign to do with Mozilla... that connection has long ago been severed.

    I lot of folk in this thread seem not to realize that.
  • by guttergod ( 94044 ) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @12:34PM (#12646210)
    If it already is broken, do you *really* break it?
  • by HighOrbit ( 631451 ) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @12:35PM (#12646223)
    Lots of people seem to be down on NS, first because of the patches and now this. But AFAIK, they have the only mainstream browser with two rendering engines. Even though the version number is "8", this is really a spanking new product. Any truly innovative product is going to have growing pains. So far, none of these are fatal flaws that can't be fixed with a patch. Cool down and give 'em a chance.

    I found it to be high praise for Firefox and damnation of IE that NS reverts to Firefox rendering when it considers a web-site to be even semi-suspect. Basically, they said IE is dangerous and Firefox is safe(r ).
  • by FhnuZoag ( 875558 ) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @12:39PM (#12646285)
    Really, just looking at the Microsoft Fanboys referenced in that article.

    "Internet Explorer (7?) is all I need."

    "Honestly, the rubbish you [Microsoft] have to put up with... my heart goes out to you guys. Keep up the good work with IE7"

    Yes, people, we are eulogising about software that hasn't even been released yet.

    I thought the point with Netscape is that it is meant to be an IE-replacement - hence the render using IE engine feature. Whether it respects an obsolete, badly coded application it is designed to get rid of is kinda irrelevant.

    Obviously, this is a bug that needs to be fixed, but let's not start burying Netscape yet. More competition is always good.
    • Yes, people, we are eulogising about software that hasn't even been released yet.

      Shocking. The F/OSS community would never engage in such barbaric activity, I tell you!

      Whether it respects an obsolete, badly coded application it is designed to get rid of is kinda irrelevant.

      I'm sure you'd say the same if installing Visual Studio rendered an old version of GCC unusable.

    • My favorite:

      It's obvious to the most casual observer that Firefox UI is orders of magnitude better than that of IE6, but that is (relatively) minor to correct. After which, there will be no compelling reason to use it.

      Yes, we all use it for the UI.

      (On second thought, maybe Windows users do only judge a program based on its UI? That's an interesting implication. Certainly would explain why they're using Windows in the first place, I guess.)
      • Doh! Guess I should have read the next sentence. Please excuse my above ramblings.

        Like other open standards extremists Mozilla are too insular. They should work on what end users want (UI) instead of what a whiny minority of web developers want.

        I'd like to point out here that were it not for those "whiny" web developers, there would exist no webpages over which to place your shiny UI. Kinda like those XML pages in IE now!
  • by jc42 ( 318812 )
    The article says:

    I decided to install Netscape on a copy of Windows that did not have IE installed. From there I would see how Netscape ran.

    But, but ...

    Bill Gates testified in court, under oath, that IE was an integral part of Windows, and you can't have Windows without IE. Bill would never tell a lie, would he? Would he?

    My world is shattered ...

    • As I'm sure you know, what Bill said is true with the prevailing (and I think common-sense) definitions of "Internet Explorer", "uninstalling", etc.

      BUT if you redefine "uninstalling" to mean "get rid of the icon and block external access to its APIs" then, yeah, you can "uninstall" it.

      In any case, Bill wasn't lying.
  • I'm not updating (Score:2, Interesting)

    by timster121 ( 820967 )
    At home I use Firefox.

    However, the company I work for standarizes on Netscape and IE. Right now I'm using Netscape 7.2. We were all told very specifically to *not* install Netscape 8 because of all the problems it's been having. This is interesting because previously we had always been encouraged to use the latest version to test out the new features and make sure our web applications were compatable.
  • No big deal (Score:5, Funny)

    by dtfinch ( 661405 ) * on Thursday May 26, 2005 @12:42PM (#12646321) Journal
    IE already renders a great number of XML pages as blank, without the help of Netscape.
  •'s a feature!

    Ok, obvious I know but somebody had to say it. =)

  • and now IE needs Netscape uninstalled to work.

    If only it were that easy!


  • ...this is Netscape's way of saying all browsers are evil and should be disabled immediately...
  • Is there any valid use for sending a browser XML+XSL anyway? I actually used it for a page for a while once. The results were good on modern software, but some users with older or alternative software couldn't render it and complained. Changing things so that the transform happened on the server side was relatively painless anyway and increased compatibility.

    Throw in the fact that Mozilla/Firefox is crippled in the XML/XSL area (refuses to load external entities in XML, id() function in XSL non-function
  • ... this alert is not coming from the same company who had hardcoded into Windows 3.1 that if was running under Caldera DOS or whatever was called in those days simply refuse to work?

    Anyway, could be Netscape fault, or (deja vu again) bugs in IE (MS IE with bugs? impossible), or DLL hell (both ns and ie have similary named dlls to i.e. render xml), or even Windows design choices (i.e. you can only have one xml renderer, if you install another then IE refuses to work).

    Is not so bad, people can dump enti

  • Try this... I know it must happen on other sites, but I was "fortunate" to find this.

    1) Navigate to [] w/ Firefox. Move through the site via the dropdown DHTML menus. Works.

    2) Navigate to [] w/ IE. Move through the site via the dropdown DHTML menus (albeit drawn differently). Works.

    3) Navigate to [] w/ NS8. Note that IE engine is being used. Move through the site via the dropdown DHTML menus. Get caught in a recursive site-provided "Page Not F

The absent ones are always at fault.