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Netscape The Internet

Whither Netscape 5.0? 349

An anonymous reader wrote in to point us to a Time Digital article (By Nathaniel Wice: Hey man!) about AOL Shelving plans for Netscape 5's release yet this year. So is the browser war really over? Does Mozilla have a chance?
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Whither Netscape 5.0?

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  • IE4 gave you the chose whether or not to install the shell upgrades. IE5 doesn't even let you do that (IE - it WON'T take over your desktop). I don't see the problem anyway - it's just like your windows explorer - gee big deal.
    IE for solaris is mostly the same source as IE for windows, it was ported using one of those windows -> unix tools.
    And no, it won't take over your desktop - if it's not like you can't run another window manager.
  • Does it have XML support like IE in the sense that you can programtically go thru the data. Or does it just not blow up like communicator when it sees XML (or HTML, CSS for that matter).
  • I bet Microsoft paid AOL off to buy Netscape so they could shut it down. Thus making Internet Destroyer the king. Which would probably explain why Netscape isn't included in AOL 5.0 Just my two cents, earther
  • There's a very simple reason people write fud articles like this - they're scared of what might happen if it's true! If Mozilla smashed IE to pieces and toppled the Great Microsoft Empire.. there'd be nothing left to write about. :)

  • by zaw ( 40348 )
    IE is my Deafult browser because my corprate browser is IE. but i use netscape. When netscape crash Netscape crash.. When IE crash it crash whole computer. win95+IE5 doesn't work well at all. Even Mozilla Alpha doesn't do that this system.
  • I've got an even better idea. Why don't they hire some damn developers and get the thing out the door? I would willingly pay for a decent browser for Linux and I bet tons of other people would too...

    First of all, hiring more new developers in an ad-hoc attempt to add more bodies to the project, would probably slow development down, not speed it up. This is a large complex project which requires that it's developers be knowedgable about its internal specifics; that is something one cannot buy off the street either from contractors or new employees. Secondly, Microsoft has already proven one cannot sell browsers as they now own our "air supply"... IOW: as long as MS gives away Explorer, there's little money to be had in selling a competing browser -- I certainly don't see Opera gaining significant market share other than in the embedded market.

    [snipped previous posters "how to help" comment]

    You know I already have a job, I don't need to do free QA for one of the largest companies in the world. I don't know why anyone else would either.

    Mozilla is "Free Software" for real. If you're unwilling to even minimally help support free software by simply running a nightly or even a Milestone build, and reporting your success or failure back, then you have nothing to complain about regarding the project pace. I've been pretty damn impressed with the quality of the Mozilla builds under Linux and fully expect a quality beta browser in the next couple of months.

    Of course, you could just be trolling for flames...
  • Thanks for pointing that out to me. Your absolutely right. Judging by some slashdot posts, it seems many got that impression. They should (and I should) be more careful in what we read.
  • Does this mean Mozilla will just ship little descriptive files about the UI. Or will they change with the envirement. Like if I am in windows and I change the colors/fonts of the main widget (pretty easy to do), could some XUL thingamagiggy get those styles. A more extreme example, could XUL get styles when I change the theme engine in gtk, like from the defualt windows style to the GTKStep theme.

    Otherwise, it seems the user would have to make an XUL skin for each slight change they make for their desktop.
  • TBPH the way IE does bookmarking is retarded. It prevents some non-alphanumeric characters in the title (most annoyingly : and / ) and isn't a cross-platform solution.

    A simple HTML compatible file is the _right_way_ as it can be loaded and used by any browser.
  • Actually I think Internet Exploiter is a cooler nickname than Internet Destroyer. It doesn't really destroy the internet... I was always fond of Internet Exploder too.
  • What I like about IE5(so far Ive only used it at work) is the zoom in/out feature for images(right click menu), the fact that ie5 and 4 support fixed backgrounds(never could get it to work in Netscape), and that even if i accidentally start up the browser, I don't wait a half hour looking at a splash screen that says "loading java". It comes up real nice and fast. I don't like the custom MS messages for 404 errors(if an ad banner fails, soemtiems the whole window gets taken over by the error message, and it takes away URLs for retries on slow/slashdotted websites), but it is EXTREMLY stable compared to Netscape.

    Each time netscape crashes on me, the last thing I want to do is send a little note to their little quality feed back agent(and that even scerws up), well, except "sit on this and spin"
  • I dig Mozilla. But what's Netscape/AOL plan to market the browser? How do they expect to gain the market share they've lost? Microsoft has an advantage because they control the desktop. I suppose AOL could integrate Mozilla into their clients, but don't they have contracts with MS?
  • Indeed. Salon did a piece [] on exactly this. Worth a minute, if you have one.


  • I wish I knew the answer to this. Apple has been taking a lot of heat in the Mac press for the UI on this product.

  • ugh. i wish it wasn't so slow. who left all the debugging code ? j/k i've tried all the previous releases and they just didn't cut it for me. maybe becuase i was using it on windows. =) all this bad press made me wanted to check out what the current state of the browser is. is it really that bad? it seems to work fine on my debian box. then again, netscape hasn't crashed on me either... i don't know what all the fuss is about. it all seems more political than what the codebase deserves. the browser is free and you don't have to buy windows to use it!
  • Interesting, considering /. rejected my submission of the same news item two days ago ...

    However, to be realistic, the only way that AOL/Netscape can succeed with 5.0 is if they kick out the Linux and Mac versions REAL SOON. Without the non-MS OS crowd, they're doomed.

    And, stop fudging on the standards compliance issue.

  • Really, it is a fine piece of software. No, it is not yet up to the stability levels we have come to expect. No, it is not on time (hello? W2K?) But it is featurful, standards compliant, and has a lot going for it, and I think anyone who actually runs a nightly binary (as I do 90% of the time) will see that. Furthermore, they are very responsive- I filed a bug report (li tags used by my favorite site were handled not quite correctly) and had it fixed within a week. It is already good, and will continue to get that way with your feedback. Go and grab a copy...
    ~luge (who is in a rush for class, thus the slight incoherence....)
  • If you were AOL and you wanted to have "AOL Everywhere", which would you choose:

    1) An AOL client built on IE that runs only on Windows. (IE on Mac and Unix are separate products with very little in common and would require separate AOL development efforts.)

    2) An AOL client built once to standards that runs within Navigator 5 (like any other Web page) but still looks like AOL since a Web page can swap out the whole "skin" of Navigator 5. Note that this would run unaltered on Windows, Macintosh and Unix desktops. It would run anywhere you could get enough Linux going to run the whole (5MB) Navigator or the 1.5MB Gecko rendering engine. Set-top boxes, embedded devices, phones, pay terminals in airports, malls and cafes ... computers of every shape and size.

    The choice is the same for every AOL-wannabe as well.

    Add to this that the Web development community is anxious for a standards-based browser because development in the absence of standards takes way more time and money. Web developers know this now, but the money men will realize it soon enough as more of their business moves to Web-only. "What do you mean IE only supports 89% of XML?"

    The browser war has hardly started. IE won the desktop-computing battle because it came with the OS. They extended their desktop OS dominance to desktop browser dominance. The Web is about a lot more than just desktop computing, though. Most people aren't on the Internet yet, even in America. Most people do not have the extra time, money or technical expertise to run a Windows PC just to look at the Web.
  • So, in a nutshell:

    There is no data. There is only XUL.


  • This is really important to note because Microsoft doesn't have the same stranglehold on which browser gets installed on the Mac like they do on the PC

    Is that really true? I have not seen a Macintosh for a long time that did not come with Internet Explorer (and not Netscape) all the Powerbooks/ Imacs/ and G3's that are sold at my University come from the factory with such a configuration.

    Our Mac guy told me that part of the deal MS conviced Apple to agree to forced IE to be included with recent MacOS cd's in exchange for the creation of a Macintosh version of MS Office. Can anyone verify this?

  • While Mac OS X does indeed have a UNIX underbelly, the GUI that sits atop it will be the same GUI that Apple have been providing since the beginning. Need to quit an application? Clover-Q or File->Quit will still be the ways to do it.

    However, cracks are beginning to appear in the rigid consistency that Apple has enforced, and sadly, the cracks appear to be driven by high-level Apple bosses (including iCEO Jobs). The QT4 debacle is the first of what I suspect will be many applications that break the Apple desktop metaphor because they are trying to force another metaphor. In the case of QT4, they are trying to force the metaphor of the handheld remote control.

    I'm not a Mac person but I appreciate the machines and the company mindset -- and I think OS X is going to represent a sea change for the company. The union of the incomparable Mac OS GUI and the near-failsafe UNIX OS promises to be nothing short of astounding -- if and only if the company understands that the hours spent in usability studies and user feedback can't be thrown away just because Steve wants his Movie player to look like a TV remote.
  • Have you ever looked at the mozilla code? It looked like whenever MS promised a new feature, the Netscape coders slapped something together and stapled it at the end. Mozilla was "blessed" with this code as a base. It's quite unfair for the article to point to this as an example of open source development, simply because by the time the source was available, it was FUBARed. Honestly, I use IE on solaris piped into an X session on a linux box. It's slow, but still faster than Netscape natively in linux. MS had this battle won 15 months ago...netscape's just now admitting it.

  • That's the cool thing about XUL. You can restyle the interface any way you please. Say AOL ships Comm. 5.0 with platform-sensitive styles; Windows for Windows, Mac for Mac, some hideous Enlightenment theme for Linux :-). The iMac/iBook/iWantCandy crowd will stick with the Mac style, blissfully ignorant of what else can be done with the User Experience. The Power Users will be scouring the web looking for the coolest styles around, or building their own.

    It's an opt-in feature. If you like it, use it. If you don't like it, don't use it. If you're not sure, try it. It's undoable.

    I know what you mean about "shovelware," though. Have you ever seen the Windows version of Metacreations Poser? The main window's not bad. Being a Windows guy, I wish more of the tool palettes were dockable, but that's neither here nor there. It's the dialog boxes where everything goes south. The layouts, colors, and fonts all scream Macintosh. But it gets worse, though, because Metacreations picked some Porting Toolkit From Hell. The controls are seriously broken. I get the impression that the PTFH couldn't convert Mac controls into Windows equivalents, and it couldn't replicate Mac controls on the Windows platform, so it created its own ugly, half-baked compromise consisting of sliders that can't be manipulated by keyboard, fonts too damn small to read at 800x600, and text entry fields that defy family-friendly description.

    I hear you, brother. Let's hope and AOL hear you, too.

    Keith Russell
    OS != Religion
  • Has AOL actually announced that Mozilla is being discontinued? Is there an official press release somewhere? Did this reporter even bother to check for a source before engaging in what appears to be blind speculation about the future of Mozilla?

    I didn't think so. Until we can answer "yes" to these questions, let's not panic.

    Meanwhile, I am eagerly awaiting a stable release of the new mozilla...

  • by SEE ( 7681 ) on Friday October 08, 1999 @11:49AM (#1628517) Homepage
    Is not slapping the "5.0" version number on what was released as Netscape Communicator 4.5.

    Think about it. Sure, techies would have derided the numbering a bit, and there would have been some confusion, but nobody would be talking about Netscape being dead/browser wars being over/Mozilla a failure.

    So, today, Netscape 5.2 (4.7) would have recently started shipping while IE is still back at version 5.0, and people would be talking about how Mozilla is shaping up to be a major advance in browser technology and development methodology even if it's being delayed for a while.

    And it even would have been truer to the original Mozilla roadmap, since the 4.5/4.6/4.7 series is descended from the old codebase like 5.0 was originally intended to be, and Netscape 6.0 was originally going to be the first NGLayout-based version of Netscape.
  • Check any Mac newsgroup and you're sure to find a couple hundred posts from people absolutely incensed about this. To a non Mac person like me, it's actually kind of funny how much the community is freaking out over - egads! - a new interface. Then again I'm from the Enlightenment school of thought, so... Anyways my point is is that this is the first time in memory that Apple has violated their hallowed interface guidelines in the fifteen years since that they have existed, to my knowledge, and trust me, every product they've ever released has followed the religiously. It's highly unlikey that they'll do it again based on the respsonce they've gotten. There's a piece on Salon [] all about this if you want to read more.
  • Think about it. Is NS really becoming more stable? Nah, it's just becoming more feature bloated. & not in a useful way. I think if more concentration is put into Mozilla (this'll free up resources & make Mozilla more attractive to work on for Linux users), then that could lead to a better, more stable browser, but NS hasn't exactly been going anywhere recently.

    -Laktar, a.k.a. Nick Rosen,

    If I Ever Became An Evil Overlord:
    75. I will instruct my Legions of Terror to attack the hero en masse, instead
    of standing around waiting while members break off and attack one or two at a
    -- Peter's Evil Overlord List,
  • you dumb shit. Mac OS is dead not the other way around. MacOS 9 is the last MacOS that apple is going to ship. MacOS X is now totally unix

    Clueless idiot. Have you seen any of the developer releases for Mac OS X? Let me tell you, the UI is essentially identical to Mac OS 9. In fact Mac OS 9 has the ability to run Carbon apps using the same UI that Mac OS X runs.

  • by linuxci ( 3530 ) on Friday October 08, 1999 @09:20AM (#1628521)
    Sorry about the strong headline but I'm personally fed up with articles like these. Mozilla was delayed for one reason - they originally tried to base an open source project on their terrible Communicator codebase. They worked for months on that and nearly had a shipping version but they decided to scrap it and rewrite the browser totally. Now although it's nearly a year 'late' at least we're getting a small (5 MB) and standards compliant browser rather than yet another bloated released based on Communicator.

    I wouldn't say Mozilla is ready yet and has a few months to go but the progress has been much improved the past few months and external developers are starting to get involved. Look at and check the weekly status updates, check for more up to date news. There's a lot going on. Open source didn't prove to be the ultimate solution for Netscape, the couldn't release the source and suddenly get a top class browser. They had to improve the code before anyone would go near it and that's what they have done. It's took them longer than expected because they didn't understand that people wouldn't hack on any crap. They've got their act together and are doing well.

    There are a number of ways to help.
    1) Contribute patches and bug fixes
    2) Provide testcases for bugfixes (The Gecko bugathon)
    3) Rate bugs in order of importance.
    4) Download builds regualrly to test them.

    Read the getting involved document on for more ideas.

    Mozilla is not dead, it's coming back to life.
  • Netscape 5 never really had a chance. People have lost hope in Netscape. It has so many outstanding bugs, and if they are actually addressed in Netscape 5, I'm sure the Netscape programmers could find some other little nuance to annoy users.

    In fact, I really think that's what the browser war is over. It's who can come up with the most annoying little nuances. What's with IE's "ftp server returned extended information?" And what's with that desktop integration? It's a ploy to make 486's obsolete, that's what it is.

    My response to this? Until someone comes along and fixes this situation, I'm going back to gopher (except for reading /., of course).
  • 1. Mozilla == Open Source.

    2. Netscape != Mozilla, however, Netscape 5 will be based upon Mozilla.

    So, let's think. Will I be able to get Mozilla without getting Netscape 5? Yes.
  • We can't hide the truth. Netscape lost technological battle with IE. It simply doesn't work as well as IE, is more crash prone, not as fast and generally feels clumsy when compared to newest MS offering. We really lack good browser on the unix platform - there is some hope with Opera but I don't know enough about this product to compare it to IE. KDE has one too but I found it usefull only for viewing static HTML ( localy)
    So what are we left with ??
    Anybody has any ideas ?
  • That sucks.

    What's weird is, the Mac version's UI isn't all that hot from my perspective, either. Kind of sad, as Metacreations has done cool stuff in the UI department in the past (Painter comes to mind).

    On the Mac side of things, games have been the worst. It's funny how much artwork used in popular PC games is done on the Mac, but the actual Mac version of the game either:

    1. Sucks (lame PC port, nonstandard UI, etc)


    2. Never appears.

    It's getting better, though, as the Mac becomes an actual consumer product again.

    - Darchmare
    - Axis Mutatis,
  • I agree completely. I use KFM for all my browsing chores (that don't require Java/JavaScript/Plugins). There is no point in competing, parallel development of two browsers if Mozilla is stable and has a good license. The licensing issue is the main issue here, they might have to keep the Konqueror HTML engine around for a while.
  • >Our Mac guy told me that part of the deal MS
    >conviced Apple to agree to forced IE to be
    >included with recent MacOS cd's in exchange for
    >the creation of a Macintosh version of MS Office.
    >Can anyone verify this?

    Yep. This has come out in the anti-trust trial. MS basically said that they had a mostly functional version of Office 98 ready and waiting, and they'd only release it if Apple agreed to drop their lawsuits against them (I believe for the whole Quicktime code stealing thing, maybe some of the UI theft things, etc). As a show of goodwill - heh - Microsoft would also make an investment in Apple (not much) and release O98. I believe Microsoft also wanted Apple to simply GIVE UP on QuickTime and let them have that market. Obviously, Apple didn't give in on that. However, it was only after this deal that Apple started bundling IE as the 'default browser'.

    Testimony in the case by Avie Tevanian (head engineer at Apple) and yet another revealing email between MS execs show Microsoft at guilt. I believe the quote from the email was that witholding Office 98 would be 'the perfect club' to use against Apple.

    Grr. Luckly, unlike Windows users, we can toss IE into the trash.

    - Darchmare
    - Axis Mutatis,
  • M9 is not really the "current state of the browser". M9 came out a while back... check of course the linux one in there is broken. ;( I am using the snapshot from this morning to post this. it's pretty darn fast and nice for alpha code.
  • A better question is what ever happened to readable cache directories. Back in the day of IE2 (and maybe 3, I disremember) the cache data was stored as regular files, with their names preserved. IE had some sort of resource file that specified which URL each file belonged to that would show up in the normal file view, it replaced the file type description if I remember. It made it easy to go into your cache and copy files, or even an entire website, for later use or reference (or delete all traces of pr0n)

    I thought it was a good feature, if completely unintended, and was sorry to see it go in IE 4. Now they creat 4 subdirectories with random serial numbers and provide a special interface for viewing cache that is not as useful as being able to manipulate the files directly.
  • It affected IE5 on Win95 and Win98, but not NT. There was an unchecked buffer involved in the code, so a hacker could present a malformed icon which would overrun the buffer and then run arbitrary code on the victim's box. I imagine you haven't heard much about it because it was patched back in May.


  • Er...
    Lessee. IE5 came out, with XML support and some relatively good CSS and CSS2 support, quite a while ago, and netscrape has been on 4.5 - 4.7 ever since.
    So.. if we netscapers were to up the version to 5, we'd be making a pretty loud point that NS is as good as IE (at receiving anything that happens to come over HTTP, be it html/css/xml or whatever), and of course the product wouldn't deliver.
    Much better to get their fingers out and keep with the idea of a "Generation 5 browser", I think - concentrating far more on standards compliance than any of this Instant Messaging hoo-har.
  • yes, theyre almost done with BEOS apparently, and are waiting for red hat and someone to do something before anything else happens with the unix version. The Amiga version seems to be doomes, but um... er, well i have a browser anyway.
  • As long as there is no alternative on UNIX (I don't envisage a decent IE5 release for all UNIX variants and Opera isn't gratis) Netscape/Mozilla cannot die.

    UNIX is gaining these days, even on the desktop (Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris/Ray-1 etc) and these users need a web browser. If people say Netscape/Mozilla dies, apparently they also say UNIX on the desktop dies. This simply isn't true.
  • I'm using InternetExplorer 4.5, mainly because it has the closest standards support, much better in the CSS-1 arena when compared to Netscape 4.7.

    However, IE's JavaScript is horrid, often going nut's on Microsoft's own pages. (Now that's just plain humorous.) From a pure, 'sane application' stand point, IE is evil. Nasty memory leaks which Microsoft describes as features, not bugs -- mainly IE's tendenacny to use all available RAM on your system as a RAM cache, eventually hanging the machine.

  • I'll say one thing, Netscape has really gone down the tubes. The Mac version of 4.7 has serious bugs in it that were known two years ago, and have not been fixed. Mostly Netscape seems to be fixated on adding AIM and Shopping buttons and sending you too Netscape Center. Mac users by nature are anti-Microsoft, but the fact of the matter is that IE is continuing to gain share on the Mac.

    This is really important to note because Microsoft doesn't have the same stranglehold on which browser gets installed on the Mac like they do on the PC. Damnit I hate MS and IE, but the fact is that Netscape has really fallen behind technically. I hope Mozilla really does turn into a good competitor to IE. It's crucial in the long run for Linux to be a good desktop machine.
  • > In what way will Netscape 5 be a quantum leap
    > over Netscape 4?
    > More stable? Faster? Less bloaty?

    Hmmm... yes, these won't make it a "quantum leap".

    But I don't think Netscape 5, and in general Mozilla, is all about having a more efficient and less buggy browser. It's about having a browser which people can really "work with", as oppose to just "use".

    How about standard compliance? Mozilla is completely standard compliant, easing web developers a real lot on developing applications which works on all browsers.

    How about XUL? Now you can have a say about the "look and feel" of your browser, finally. No more talk about "they place a useless My Netscape button there that I never use!".

    How about being built as a library as well as a program? Now your desktop application that want to emit a help message doesn't need to create a full browser to do that. You can really start to write programs that contain a browser-like widget.

    How about XML support? Now you don't have to wait for minutes downloading graphics just to download the stupid equations: MathML do all that just using text. And all the XML applications.

    How about a more open architecture? Now you can easily plug in whatever component to the browser so that it support strong cryptography, which cannot be supported due to the stupid US export regulation.

    How about a more open development model? Now if you find a bug, or a feature of IE that is not supported by Mozilla, you can put in a bug report and see how it get resolved. You can even grasp the source and do it yourselves.

    Do you really mean all these are just "bug fixes"? I'd say, it's quite a quantum leap, indeed.
  • I've got an even better idea. Why don't they hire some damn developers and get the thing out the door? I would willingly pay for a decent browser for Linux and I bet tons of other people would too...

    They have hired some developers. If you check bugzilla, there's something in common with most of the people that are assigned bugs. They have e-mail addresses with the domain. IE, Netscape (AOL) employees.

    I need to rant a bit. You just can't please everyone. Some people say that Netscape has too many people working on the Mozilla project. The other people say that Netscape doesn't have enough. Netscape has what they have, and the project is going smoothly. And what's more, they've been choosing strong software models over fast development cycles. The next browser will kill IE. And that's all there is too it.

    But the thing I really hate is the concept that consumers/non-programmers have that software development is rather quick. I mean, how many of you have had the experience of letting marketing know of a new product coming up so they could prepare for it. 3 weeks later they come back and ask when the product will be done, not understanding the development is a major process and takes time. They just expect it too be whipped out in no time flat. Oh, and bug free too. And they don't realize that you've spent 6 months on it already, just to get it to the point it is.

    People usually don't see development time. The Mozilla Project is an eye-opener for most people because they have no idea how the development cycle works. Mozilla isn't being developed any slower then anything else, but people don't see anything else to compare it to. MS announces IE in beta and then releases it 3 months later. They don't realize that MS has spent much time on it before the beta to get it to that point.

    Think of Windows 2000. That's been in development for a long time. But we don't hear the same conclusions about that? Why not? I'm not going to get into any pro/anti-Microsoft reasons here, but for one thing, the closed development cycle is hidden. Therefore it's not percieved the effort put into it. It's the same for any industry. The cars that a manufacturer releases this year weren't developed and prepared for manufacturing in 3 weeks. It takes years. For anything.

    No, the battle isn't over. In fact, it hasn't even begun. When Netscape releases their Mozilla-based browser, then we'll see the real battle. And Mozilla has been developed, not to just ship crap out faster then MS, but to ship a product that beats IE hands-down. And it doesn't matter how long it takes Mozilla to achieve that, that's the only thing that counts right now.

  • Shouldn't that be kill instead of killall ?

    Russian Roulette? while :; do kill -9 $RANDOM ; done

  • I'm losing all respect for TIME magazine. If I read it right, they say that because IE is around, and competing with them, then they should be snappy to release, and that their failure to do so already, plainly shows that they've given up.

    *Well*, I guess then that with Win2000/NT5 whatever being late, with so many other OS's out there or on the way, means that M$ has given up, abandoned it's OS, never going to release it...

    "Dear TIME journalist, boy do I have a scoop for you..."
  • Watch what you say about my grammer. Actually, she died this year. I guess she wasn't Y2K-compliant.

  • Try loading up with opera, you'll see what I mean.

    "know HTML, and not from someone who relies on the browser's error correction?

  • Will this Mac "skin" be written in their language, or will it actually use the standard Mac toolbox?
  • Disregarding the Netscape/Mozilla disconnect, what about bookmarking in IE is better than Netscape 4? I personally hate IE's treatment, which seems to alphabetize when you don't want it to. That's a usability error IMO, because things aren't where you originally put them, nor where you really want them to be.

    Also, if you put a folder of bookmarks into the personal toolbar (just called "Links" in IE), and IE is not your default browser, and you then attempt to use a link in one of those folders, your default browser will be started and the bookmark used in that browser. That's f*cked up.

  • I think that when you get down to it, it's a primarily a marketing gimmick. The idea of having an interface more similar to consumer electronics and looks cool is not a bad idea per se.. It's just that the execution sucks.

    And I think at this point, the management doesn't really care as long as they can brand it. I'm thinking that whatever Apple's longterm UI plans are will be much more carefully thought out.
  • I'm basically satisfiied with Netscape 4.61 which I use on both Linux an Windows, its reliable and convenient if a bit slow. I had heard how good IE was and tried it for a few days when I got my new system a few months ago, CRASH, the whole system, repeatedly, when Netscape has crashed, rarely under 4.61, Netscape alone crashes, same for Opera. KFM is a nice fast browser for Linux too, but without Java and Javascript support it wont always let you in to some sites.
  • And what's with that desktop integration? It's a ploy to make 486's obsolete, that's what it is.

    And I thought it was a ploy to make P/200's running NT look like 486s. Which is what IE4 + Craptive Desktop did to one I had at work... :(

  • Some media guys has seen that Mozilla is behind schedule -- and started a feeding frenzy.

    I heard of another major project behind schedule. Oh, umm, memory eludes me for the minute. .......... Oh, yes, Windows 2000, that'd be. Windows 2000 is a whole lot further behind any possible schedule that you could find, yet I don't see any journalists promising its demise.

    The media just cannot understand that unlike a "normal" development process, Mozilla is being developed to be stable, robust, standards compliant browser. They are not going to release it until it's finished.

    What company releases software before its finished. .... Oh, that'd be Microsoft again.

    No bias, eh? A project that is behind because they are doing what's best is sure to fail. A project that is behind because of ... well you decide ... wil be the OS to replace all OS's.

    Well, whatever....

  • > How about standard compliance? Mozilla is completely standard compliant, easing web developers a real lot on developing applications which works on all browsers.
    > How about XUL? ...
    > How about being built as a library...
    > How about XML support?
    > How about a more open architecture? ...
    > How about a more open development model?...

    How about a browser?
  • So why aren't you predicting the death of Quicktime 4 while you're at it? The interface for it is so bad, it got itself a whole column in the Interface Hall of Shame []
  • Don't take this at as a troll comment, but telling him to add the features isn't very usefull. I'm sure there are many people that like a particular feature of IE over netscape or mozilla, so they use IE. I for example like the way IE pops up quicker than netscape or mozilla( I know it adds overhead, but my machine can take it). If the features of IE were available in mozilla or netscape I'd use them, but they arent. I dont have the skill to add the feature I'd like, and I don't have the time to learn them.
  • Oh, so they're letting the media drive the development of the product? There is no use arguing about it now, but I think the alternative method would have shown much more clearly how the open source development process actually works.

    Perhaps they haven't chosen their specific development decisions based on how the media responds, but they certainly could have done a lot worse. In this day, where Microsoft has such a control over the media, we must accept that the media is part of the battle. If we just give them wide open holes to shoot through, then they will destroy us.

    There are relatively few projects that leap, fully grown from the thigh of Zeus, fully formed like Athena.

    Nope, as the Mozilla project clearly shows. But let's not say that it's finished before it's really finished.

  • A good goal is to produce the world's best browser. If you do that, then Microsoft will be "beaten", but better yet, you'll have a good browser.

    And don't you think that's what Mozilla's goal is? To make the best browser no matter how much time, or even how much effort it takes. If they were just trying to beat Microsoft, they'd have released something decent as fast as possible. But they are not. They are putting in the effort and time required to develop a great browser.

    So that's what people are complaining about. That Mozilla isn't about beating Microsoft. Give it the time it takes, because when it's finished, then it'll be good. Don't rush it. There's no need, because we aren't in a race. When it's finished, it's finished.

  • by Ledge Kindred ( 82988 ) on Friday October 08, 1999 @09:22AM (#1628617)
    Someone tell the guys over at they can stop working and go home now....

    I'm about as sick of these "Mozilla is a failure", "Netscape is dead" stories as I am of hearing Larry Ellison spouting off about once every six months for the last six or seven years, "The PC is dead. Network computing is the future!"

    As long as people continue to use it and work on it, it won't die.

    Besides, the reason it's taking so long is because it's a quantum leap over what Netscape 4.x is. Not just adding a few more fancy buttons on the same-old same-old as Netscape and MSIE have been since their versions 1.x.

    I am personally very happy using and will continue to use Mozilla.


  • What good does it do to work in the user experience if the back-end code is shifting out from underneath it?

    Ah, a perfect example of the linux mind set. I wrote about this in a post here a while back. It's all about power v. ease-of-use. This statement betrays the underlying theme: "Power/function is everything. You do it first, then do UI."

    Of the three OS paradigms that matter today: *nix, WinXX, & MacOS, we see a clear lineage. Unix: Power is everything, UI is secondary. Mac: UI is everything, power is secondary. And WinXX: Try to split the difference (often losing both, sometimes hitting a nice balance).

    When I write an app, I usually spend MORE time interviewing users, having them look at possible UI's, etc., then coding the "power." In other words, I do it FIRST.

    Just my 2 cents......
  • I'd say that Mozilla represents Netscape's recent development efforts. It is rapidly becoming much more stable, configurable, and small.

    If you want a better browser, the tools are there. Work on Mozilla. If you can't or won't, you can test Mozilla, and submit bug reports to the people who are willing to work.

    Anyone who won't do any of these things shouldn't be so quick to complain about lack of progress.
  • I didn't say closed source didn't work I was trying to criticise the validity of the article. The exact same reasons they were using to say that open source didn't work could have been used to say closed source didn't work. Basically saying that the article was totally wrong.
  • by Tigger4 ( 2523 )
    I wish people would stop blathering about Mozilla/netscape's death, and download it (or cvs) try it, and submit bug reports to the developers. Atleast that way you'll be doing something helpful. I try to make a new build atleast once or twice a week, and for the most part mozilla is running pretty well on my system (Debian Potato)

    So just give it a shot, and help the developers out.

    And if you're not willing to help, then shut up.

  • If for no other reason than to support diversity period. A world with only one browser, that made by Microsoft, is a very sad world indeed. If you think Netscape is bad, then wait 5 years and see what IE devolves into without any competition.

    However, I've been very impressed with recent Mozilla builds. It's still not ready for prime time, but then again, Netscape 4.5 and later aren't either. If there's any "last best hope" for standards compliance, diversity, and non Microsoft dominance, it's Mozilla.

    "The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
  • Hey, I agree with most of what you said... I've done work in (closed-source) commercial software development and until you've worked in an environment where you have to produce a product that actually walks out the door, burned into a CD, people who have never been though the process have no idea what it is like. Mix marketing into the mix, feature creep, not enough time for QA (is there ever enough time for QA?) and all the other items that go into the mix, and its a miracle anything works as well as it does.

    Having said all of that, I still wish there was a decent browser available for Linux, and I'm fustrated by the fact I don't have one. The Mozilla apoligists (sorry, I don't mean that in a bad way...) keep saying "well, this is going to be a real IE killer" when it ships. That's great, but why the emphasis on this point? It's not like MS is trying to bully its way into the Linux browser market. I would have liked to see a development cycle that ran more along the lines of the way the original Netscape devleopment cycle ended up running. For example:

    v1.0 Heres a browser that's rock solid and works as a HTML 3.2 client. Thats it.
    v2.0 Look, we added EMEAScript functionality, still rock solid.
    v3.0 Neat, we can do CSS 1.0 and 2.0 now, next release integrated mail and news or whatever...

    Even if this forced the development cycle to be even longer at least we (the users and maybe some developers) would have something to wrap our hands around. Instead of having something that is 100% funcational with 10% of the desired features, then 20%, then 30%, etc.. we've had something that implements 100% of the functionality we desire, but only work 10% of the time, then 20%, then 30%... I'm sure its just that I have a different development methodology than the Mozilla leaders, which is fine, its just annoying, that's all.

    Oh and one more thing...

    . The cars that a manufacturer releases this year weren't developed and prepared for manufacturing in 3 weeks. It takes years. For anything.

    You know, some of the US based car manufacturers have their development time down to 18 months from design to car sitting in the lot? Mozilla has been up for that long (yeah, I know the first 6 months went down the tubes when the Gecko engine went in..) Is a browser that much more complicated than a car? Or is it that having a profit motive forces you to look at and improve your develoment methodologies, while when you take this away it is easy to fall into a complacent state of always adding one more feature, always crushing that one last bug?
  • When Mozilla says they are not going to release until its finished it's accepted as fact,

    Did you read the article? The guy was basically saying that the development was a failure because Mozilla wasn't churned out in 2 months. That hardly seems accepting, and less as fact.

    On the other hand, he probably has absolutely no second thoughts of waiting and waiting and waiting for Microsoft to release Windows 2000 after they delay it and delay it. So whos the hypocrite?

    Maybe Janus (the two faced god) would be a good logo for some of the Linux zealots around here.

    I personally don't care whether MS releases W2K or not. I'll never use it. I don't see how you could accuse be of being a hypocrite for pointing out that people have unreasonable expectations of *only* projects that aren't Microsoft controlled. As if Microsoft is the only entity who could ever release good software.

  • Umm, you obviously don't pay any attention to Mozilla development.

    Mozilla/Netscape 5 is a complete rewrite pretty much from the ground up. If you can explain how "complete rewrite == bug fix" I might accept your statements.


  • by Neph ( 5010 ) on Friday October 08, 1999 @09:30AM (#1628660) Homepage
    The fact that the latest version of the developpers' source is always available is a big plus that has been overlooked a lot, I think. In a closed-source environment, even if the developpers are very responsive to bug reports and feature requests, the customer only gets results based on the release schedule -- the code they wanted could have been written for months.

    Speaking of developper responsiveness, I just noticed something uber-cool over at Mozilla HQ []: Bugzilla, the bug-tracking database, will now allow you to vote on what you want fixed quickest! [] I think this is a great way to get the community involved. I'm beginning to believe Moz' greatest contribution won't be the browser itself (which should be awesome when it's eventually ready) but the ancillary stuff like this, and Tinderbox, LXR, Bonsai, etc. etc.

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

  • Mozilla will change a lot of things.

    I had just checked out one of the Linux nightly builds the other day (which was partially broken), and I was quite impressed. Very nice features, not TOO much bloat. The rendering was VERY fast, the new networking code works MUCH better than NS 4.x, and I was able to use it for quite a while before running into any problems. Very good for Alpha quality code.

    This is just part of the latest rash of anti-opensource articles. It will pass, just like all the articles from last year about Linux. When Mozilla is done, it may actually be Open Source's finest hour.....

  • I don't really disagree -- that's why I said the techies would have derided such a numbering. However, the generations weren't anywhere near synched until 3.0 anyway, and there's really nothing mystical about keeping the numbers synched to capabilities (especially since the two are taking radically different paths nowadays).

    And, it would have held back the goofiest of the rumormongering and theorizing and speculation.
  • It seems that with the anti-trust case ond other cases wrapping up that MS has more PR resources available. Its not so much in the info as in the spin. The info in the article is that the release day is slipped. The Slashdot mentions that this means Mozilla is shelved (Slashdot loves creating contraversy). Many have pointed out that win 2k (which was demonstrated to me almost two years ago as NT 5) has slipped also. But Netscape is touted as a failure and win2k is ensuring stability. I beleive this is more evident with Mozilla, even to completely rewriting it to comply better with different standards, as well as all the debugging tools developed and released for it. We have no idea what the hold up is for Microsoft. The article mentions releasing the souce code as a sublstitute for in house qualified staff, while JWZ (among others) mentions that it better serves the purpose of developing in a fishbowl. You get the benifit of many opinions, and bug fixes from other qualified people. The product is better, more stable and faster developed, but a substitute for your own workers I'm not sure it was ever intended to be that. Some might have dreamed that, but I don't think it was intended. Oh well, people who want a good browser will still help develop Mozilla and others. JWZ pointed out on many occationsh that open source means (essentialy) that it will never die unless we ourselves put it on the shelf.
    ^~~^~^^~~^~^~^~^^~^^~^~^~~^^^~^^~~^~~~^~~^ ~
  • by linuxci ( 3530 ) on Friday October 08, 1999 @09:36AM (#1628680)
    So the delay of Mozilla has meant Netscape has lost the browser war has it. I think I'd better become a reporter.

    Microsft have officialy lost the OS war due to the delay in releasing their closed source operating system called Windows 2000 which was originally due out in the beginning of the year. Microsoft had originally called Windows 2000 NT5 and expected it to be released in 98, then 99, then who knows.
    Insiders inside the Microsoft Corporation said this was to make sure they had integrated their messenger with every component of the operating system and also to add new features to control the user interface (e.g. a colour picker to change the colour of the screen of depth). This is one of a series of delays for Microsoft products since their experimentation with closed source in the seventies. This proves that closed source does not work.

    Now you don't see many articles saying that, so why do you see that about Mozilla?
  • Do you think Netscape 5.0 would have taken as long as Mozilla if the project had remained closed source?

    There are really 2 answers to this question.

    One is no, *if* they had used the old codebase. But in that case we'd probably have something like 4.7 now labelled as 5 but had a few more incomplete web standards. However, that would have hardly been a solution that would have been able to compete with MS on the Windows platform, and wouldn't have nearly had the external functionality that the current product does.

    If they'd started over in a closed source development cycle and planned on ending up with what they do now, I have absolutely no doubt it would have taken longer. Even if they didn't have other developers working on it, having thousands of people doing QA has certainly sped up development by finding bugs that would have taken a lot longer to find with a limited QA.

    Has the open source paradigm slowed it down?

    No, see above. Even if they benefitted from nothing else, finding bugs is a major hurdle in software development. The only drawback is that the development cycle is exposed to people who don't really understand what software development cycles are like. The Mozilla development cycle is really quite impressive. The major difference between the Mozilla development time and the IE development time probably amounts to no more then one you can see, and one you can't.

    If time to market were important for this project, Mozilla would be dead already.


    Okay not really. Microsoft released most of their products after competing products had a strong foothold in their respective markets, and Microsoft has always been able to overcome that. There's no special powers that Microsoft has (Except perhaps some anti-trust power) that allows Microsoft to compete better then anyone else. If Microsoft can do it anyone can. In fact, Netscape was in the position with the browser marketshare that Microsoft is in now. And it could change again in a year.

    But as was mentioned in other places we can't compete against Microsoft. We aren't just here to destroy Microsoft (although that'd be a nice side-effect). We need to give users what they want in a manner that drives them more then Microsoft does. And that is what secures the future. If we don't have that now, that not as important as never having it. The battle will wait until we are ready to fight. A lousy weapon now, will lose the battle, but a strong weapon later will win.

    Fortunately there is no significant lock-in that prevents users from switching browsers if something better comes along.

    Exactly. Browsers are built on none-vendor specific architectures. This isn't like Office 97 we are competing against. If you are using IE because it's the only thing that will (ever) work, then you are using the tool wrong.

    That's the only reason I gave up on Netscape and started using IE. When Mozilla is done, I'll be able to dump IE and use Mozilla with no consequence. Then I'll be thanking Microsoft for providing the browser I needed to bridge the gap between when Netscape was a good browser, to when Mozilla is a good browser. :)

  • by zrpg ( 10539 )
    A lot of people have mentioned Lynx as an alternative browser to Netscape. I agree with this, Lynx is small, fast, stable, and efficient at what it does. The problem with it isn't necessarily that it can't display images(most images on the web serve no purpose, important ones can be viewed with another application), but that it is not good when it comes to laying out tables and frames(doesn't do it). There's another browser called W3M, which can be configured with a lynx-like interface. In fact, I'm using W3M right now!

    I tried it several months ago and it worked really crappy. But recently(with the last release, in fact) the table layout engine was revised and I am amazed at how well it can render text. The Slashdot homepage looks fairly decent, and right now it is very navigable.

    Of course there are problems with it: I don't think cookies are implemented properly, you have to wait for the whole page to load before you view it, and theres a lot of minor glitches. But for those geeks who want an alternative to Netscape, want to browse for text (but are fed up with Lynx), grab a copy of W3M and try it yourself(do a search on Freshmeat). I think you'll agree with me that this puppy has a lot of potential. (Similar goal to the Opera text browser, but this is GPLed!) It's getting better with each release.

    Also, on the GUI side, I like Konqueror(the kde browser). Sure it's not perfect, but especially with the upcoming KDE 2.0, we'll have a great package that will be usable for anyone. So yes, there are good alternatives to Netscape! Don't worry about whether 5.0 is released or not! We'll defeat them with our own browser.
  • "I have read The Mythical Man-Month myself and I agree with you to a certain point. However, I must be missing something here, if adding paid contractors or employees will only slow the project down, doesn't allowing anyone to see the source and contribute do the same thing? Whether the person is paid or not, donesn't adding additonal developers in any form do the same thing?"

    This is an important point I think. A major thrust of ESR's CatB essay is that Linux violated Brooke's Law (from MMM), surprising a lot of people who thought they understood large software project management. This is what lead to the concept of a bazaar model. I believe the trick is that *when* the code is well organized and well written, new developers organize themselves and just start chipping in on corners of the code that interest them. The O(N**2) communication problem doesn't arise because not much communication is needed after some initial organizing and at patch submission times.

    Netscape, unfortunately, had just suffered rapid expansion in a browser war and from what I hear was not in a sufficiently organized state to support bazaar development well. Hence rewriting was undertaken, and this does involve problems with communication scaling that could easily be predicted to take a while. I am hopeful for the results though. Often being written again after having made mistakes with a first version is the best thing that can happen to software.

    I've seen too many software projects, including my own, take longer than expected. I'm not going to harass Mozilla over delays. When they release a stable beta I'll start forming an opinion and help as much as I can with feedback. Until then, I'm going to assume they know what they're about. If they don't, there's little I could say that would do much good in any case.
  • Quote:

    "Netscape's parent, America Online, has quietly put off the release of Netscape Communicator 5.0."

    This means delay, not kill.

    Also, the article is a mirror of a recent, possibly inaccurate, C|NET, anti-Mozilla article. The author claimed the 'e-mail/instant messenger' feature, which is NOT part of Mozilla. Mozilla will have a IM component, but not integrated with the e-mail. Netscape may have other plans, but AS WE ALL KNOW!!!! Netscape != Mozilla, especially recently.

    Development on Mozilla is continuing on, and while it has been delayed by about 1 month, things are still looking very good, especially on the Linux end.


  • Once upon a time, Netscape was good. Back in the days of 2.0 and 3.0. It was fast, and it worked. I think 4.0x did too many bad things to netscape, which made it much slower than anything else. However, IE was useless in the beginning. (1.x was non-functional, 2.0 was barely functional. 3.0 was somewhat usable. [On the side: What's up with M$ not making a usable thing until v3.x? I.e. in both the case of Win3.1 and NT 3.5]) But I've never liked IE's setup, and I really *hate* the idea of a browser being integrated into the OS. Sure, it pops up almost instantaneously in Win98, but that means it's lurking around eating up memory or swap space. Plus, how do I know it's not doing something evil in the background?

    Netscape has always annoyed me with the lack of advanced settings, since they considered it "advanced" to change the cache size. I want to be able to tweak it and say what I want it to and not want it to use(More than just picking to block javascript and such)..

    Something I would like to see, I haven't checked out mozilla source, or any other browser, but wouldn't it be nice to just compile the options you really want? So that you can shring memory requirements and loading time? That would certianly make me happy...

    This message is priced at $0.02. Thank you.
  • Even if this forced the development cycle to be even longer at least we (the users and maybe some developers) would have something to wrap our hands around. Instead of having something that is 100% funcational with 10% of the desired features, then 20%, then 30%, etc.. we've had something that implements 100% of the functionality we desire, but only work 10% of the time, then 20%, then 30%...

    Er, yes. That would have had more people really using Mozilla along side or their regular browser earlier. But can you imagine the press coverage then? It would have been no better, and probably *much* worse. Instead of having an article stating the demise of Mozilla, they'd really shoot barbs. "Mozilla released with only 10% of the functionality of IE. Open Source is a failure, because you can't develop all the features. Mozilla doesn't render complex pages. The browsers wars are over. IE supports dozens of more standards then Mozilla. Mozilla is a step backward. The latest failure of the Mozilla Project..." You get the picture.

    I'm sure its just that I have a different development methodology than the Mozilla leaders, which is fine, its just annoying, that's all.

    Yes, and it's not really that bad either. But with the bias in the press the way it is, I think that releasing a fully-functional browser suite is the least condemning.

  • The TIME journalist got practically all of the content for his piece directly from this article:

    Paul Festa, writer of the above CNet piece, is not known for his kind words to Netscape.

    Had either Paul or the writer of the TIME article actually did *any* research whatsoever, they would have found that Mozilla is chugging right along, and gaining more and more "third-party" support as time goes on.

    It astounds me that /. readers are not only _not_ reading the contents of the TIME article before posting their opinions here, they aren't even reading Taco's piece correctly (and somehow coming to the conclusion that Communicator has been shelved completely). I would suggest checking out, or, or a nightly mozilla build before making comments about its demise. Ignorant badmouthing does the Open Source community no good. Even Linus T. made unqualified comments about Mozilla the other day. Seems like y'all *want* Mozilla to fail.

  • Have _you_ ever looked at the code? mozilla dropped the classic code base almost entirely.
  • No they guy said they need to kick out the releases. You have to be able to read his defunct grammer, which is almost as bad as mine. But I think the guy meant kick out = release. So lets translate and review shall we.
    However, to be realistic, the only way that AOL/Netscape can succeed with 5.0 is if they release the Linux and Mac versions REAL SOON. Without the non-MS OS (linux) crowd, they're doomed.
  • I tried it for BeOS, and it looked pretty good.

    I know nobody wants to pay for a browser, but you did just tell me you might. :-)

    In any event, the Mozilla people will keep on trudging towards release, and it certainly looks like they'll eventually come up with a nice product, whether Netscape offically releases it or not.

    Of course the browser wars are never lost as long as people use platforms other than Windows(tm) and MacOS(tm).


  • > I'll be patiently waiting for a decent browser for Linux. I'd even pay for it

    Hopefully Mozilla will meet your needs it's a bit quicker than Netscape (hopefully that'll be much quicker once the debug code is removed) at starting up and definitely quicker than rendering.

    Personally I've had very little problem with Netscape on Linux apart from it's a bit slow, it rarely crashes. The same goes for Mozilla but it may crash regularly on your machine so I advise you to test mozilla on your machine so that all the bugs are ironed out and we have a really stable browser when it is released.

    If Mozilla doesn't meet your needs hopefully we'll have opera along for Linux soon but Mozilla is shaping up nicely as far as I'm concerned.

    I'd like to see IE for Linux just to keep competition healthy. They couldn't kill off Netscape (although they nearly did) so they can't kill Mozilla as it's open source. If Microsoft entered the Linux world with IE we'd see peoples motives even higher to produce a better web browser.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I saw your brilliant observation regarding bookmarks and decided to give IE a try. I must be dumb, though, 'cuz I can't get it to work. You are obviously a genius, so I figure you can help me make IE work. The error I get is:

    bash: ./iexplore.exe: cannot execute binary file

    Have you seen that before? How do I make IE work? Please help, I don't want to go on another day without the great and wonderful IE.
  • As I'm sure all of you are aware, us Mac users are an insanely particular, picky bunch when it comes to interface. In truth, it's because we've been spoiled: we've been given an operating system that, while lacking under the hood (no true multitasking, etc.), offers an experience and interface so finely-tuned, smooth, and consistent, that we can usually launch a program and understand it to deep levels on the very first try.

    You'll often read reviews lambasting a Mac program because the "Preferences" menu choice isn't in the expected place (Edit menu), or copy has the wrong keyboard chortcut (Command-C), or because it uses a Windows bring-over (tooltips), or even because the application's menus are using an old WDEF so they appear in black and white instead of MacOS 8-style grayscale (Netscape).

    We're picky, and we value our user experience.

    This is why Mozilla will fail on the Mac. A completely reinvented set of controls? Not a single button that looks like a Mac user would expect? I came across some windows in Mozilla 5 that didn't even use the standard MacOS-style *scrollbars* or resize gadgets! Everything looked all Windows-y. Every single nuance of Mozilla, from top to bottom, is completely un-Mac; to those of us whom love the Mac for the UI, it's about the biggest slap in the face a software company can give. Mozilla will be discarded as "shovelware", a bad port that's mainly Unix and Windows-centric.

    Internet Explorer, on the other hand, seems to understand the Mac user. They're adopting MacOS technologies left and right (Sherlock, translucent drag images, consistent drag and drop). They're extremely careful to adapt MacOS Appearance controls (nice shaded list views, buttons that look how they're supposed to look.) The whole thing feels and woks like Mac program should.

    I understand the reasons behind the Mozilla interface. Totally configurable! Totall customizable! To me, it sounds like a nightmare in waiting. A parable: with MacOS 8.5, Apple engineers devised a way to swap out practically any interface element with another to create colorful and unique "themes". Zany windows, hi-tech windows, unique shapes. At the last minute, this feature was pulled, and has never been seen since. While Mac users were upset, the reason was simple: consistency in an experience is important. Just because I can have a "hilarious" South Park browser, doesn't mean that's a good thing for most users.

    To conclude, I offer a bit of sadness: Mozilla 5 is the first release of Mozilla I don't care about. I remember the glory days of constantly checking the netscape FTP servers for a new version of Netscape (back in the 1.x 2.x days). I remember voraciously pouring through release notes, excitied about what I can make my web pages do. But now? It doesn't matter. A program designed by engineers, with features only an engineer could love, not a user.

    It's dead.

  • Full screen browsing has never worried me (I can get rid of all the buttons and just have the title bar showing which is good enough for me).

    But if you want the feature (which you seem to do) then please put an enhancement request in at First of all please check bugzilla to see if such a request has already been made (it probably has) and if it hasn't then submit a 'bug' report but categorize it as an 'Enhancement' so they know it's not really a bug it's a feature (request). More info on how to do this is at, just make sure you mark the bug report as an enhancement request rather than an actual bug.

    You may then want to report the 'bugs' id number so people here who also want the feature can vote for it.

  • by linuxci ( 3530 ) on Friday October 08, 1999 @10:07AM (#1628739)
    XUL which is used by Mozilla to customise every aspect of the user interface is responsible for the look and feel of the Netscape browser and allows the user to apply skins to cusomise the look of their browser and this INCLUDES all the widgets (buttons, etc) as they're using their own XP toolkit.

    This means that Netscape can release a Mac skin as the default with their Mac version and a Windwos skin with their win version and whatever with their UNIX version (we linke many skins!!).

    At the moment it's just easier to ship one skin.

    I seriously doubt the Netscape branded Mozilla will look like what you've got now.
  • by Hermelin ( 15608 ) on Friday October 08, 1999 @10:07AM (#1628741)
    ...why did Apple release QuickTime 4.0?

    In it's current state, I mean.

    It violates a lot of the so-called interface rules of a mac. Not a single button that a Mac user would expect seems to be the case for QuickTime 4.

    But maybe I'm wrong, since I don't have access to a Mac. The PC version is stupidly designed and lacks sane control structure.
  • by davie ( 191 )

    • Again, mozilla != Netscape.
    • Netscape 5.0 will be based on a totally new code base, not a rehash of the old bloated 4.x code. These complaints and speculation that 5.0 will be "worse" than 4.x versions are baseless.
    • For those who haven't been paying attention, the browser is evolving beyond a pr0n viewing tool--developers want to use browsers as application platforms. This is what MS and Netscape (to a lesser degree, I guess) have been pushing for years. IE and NS have been too broken to be really useful for this purpose, but a standards-compliant browser is what's called for, and mozilla and NS 5.0 will (AFAIK) finally begin to deliver.
    • In order to build a better browser, not just another crappy 4.x build, and attempt to become compliant and stable, had to start with a clean slate. That's why it's taken so long to get this far.
    • Contrary to published reports (including the CNET and Time articles), the developers aren't bailing out, and outsiders are participating.
    • The URLs have been posted here, go download a milestone release or a nightly build and try it out. Don't take the media BS at face value.
    • Any mozilla build you download now is going to be Alpha (pre-Beta, not "Compaq Alpha") software--in other words, don't whine about it being "buggy," it's there so you can work with it and report bugs, Ok?
    • Finally, get yourself a slashdot account and add the and mozillazine slashboxes to your preferences so you can keep up with what's going on.

    Sorry for the rant, but I'm fed up with all the disinformation on mozilla. Even our key advocates have been quoted as trashing it recently, which really bothers me.

  • Top 15 Possible Reasons Netscape Communicator 5 is Delayed

    (Of course, I'm not saying I 100% believe it has been delayed. I don't recall seeing a source on that article. But anyway....)

    15. But they aren't done adding One... More... Feature! (IRC? WTF? Just gimme a browser that doesn't crash all the time under X.)
    14. The Netscape campus has been invaded by communist squirrels.
    13. The remaining bugs are on strike for better health benefits.
    12. It is in accordance with prophecy.
    11. It has been proven by scientists that the web causes cancer (what doesn't?), and the browser will not be released until further knowledge on the matter has been obtained.
    10. Mozilla is caught in a subspace neutrino field distortion.
    9. They're trying to put down a peasant revolt against AOL.
    8. The developers are too busy playing Quake.
    7. Communicator 5 was actually released in May. Everyone else has happily been using it for months now. We just didn't know how else to tell you that we don't like you.
    6. They're arranging the code so that delays will be easier to conduct in the future.
    5. Future looks cloudy, ask again.
    4. Browser? What browser?
    3. They're all drunk.
    2. Too busy making smartass excuses instead of coding.
    1. It's all your fault. Now get out there and beta test!

  • You obviously are misinformed. The UI can be done to look *exactly* like Mac users would expect.

    You don't understand the reasons behind Mozilla's interface. The interface was implemented the way it was so that they could maintain one codebase with very little native code. In addition, the CSS2 and later specs essentially require that things like buttons, form-fields, drop-down menus, etc. be implemented by non-native controls, because the specs require them to do things that non-native controls can't do (change opacity, for example).

    Please attempt to inform yourself about Mozilla before making such disparaging comments. You've used a pre-beta build that has had little or no work done on the user experience, because they've been focusing on getting the back-end code running properly. What good does it do to work in the user experience if the back-end code is shifting out from underneath it?

    These issues will be addressed, but you can express your concern in the Mozilla newsgroups, and let the developers know how you feel. That's much more constructive criticism than what you attempted here.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    This is a really dumb article. AOL is not shelving Communicator 5. The Netscape devlopment managers decided to slip dates in order to meet quality targets. I don't know of a product in development at Netscape which didn't slip at least once. isn't 'saddled' with anything from AOL (referring to Instant Messenger). I think AOL IM is GREAT and the relatively minor task of integrating that support into the browser is real easy thanks to our open modular architecure. In fact, it's already been hacked on by third parties, who have, incidentally, also gotten IRC to work in the same framework.

    Anti-mozilla articles have plagued the project since the beginning. That's why it's important to only release the Beta when it's ready, and not before. Its important to make a good impression with the first beta. After the beta is released, who will remember all the nay-sayers like Mr Wood who wrote their crap?

    Here's how you can help make the first beta great:

    • Download the nightly builds []
    • try out all the features
    • discuss on the mozilla newsgroups
    • use mozilla as your browser.
    • report bugs with reproducible test cases
    • learn CSS, XML, javascript, MATHML, XUL, and make some websites which show the true power of Mozilla.

    Netscape Engineer

  • As far as I'm concerned, Mozilla is doing the right thing - standards complaince. Yeah its late as hell, and by the time it comes out, there might be an IE 6 release (or shall we say...bloat?). Mozilla is focused on releasing a small modular browser that follows standards.

    The largest problem with the web is poor support for w3 standards. After you look over webpages created with CSS2/CSS and HTML 4, you'll wonder why its taken so long for somebody to actually implement the standards. While technology has been so important for the first few releases, the standards are more important in the development of the web now.

    If there is one thing that Linux and the Internet has taught us, it is that open standards are good for the consumer and for the developer. If nobody follows standards, even browsers, then what happens is fragmentation. In other words, Mozilla is the right way instead of moving towards poor compliance.

    Finally, lets remember that Mozilla is a very ambitious project and does have a chance to dominate the browser wars once stable and released. Lets look at it this way - Mozilla is designed to be modular and cross platform. Necko, XUL, Jabber, so much good and hardly any bad.

    I know that when N5 does finally come out, developers will jump on it because it does support standards. Websites will be more attractive, easier to design, easier to read, and what else?

    ...and N4's CSS implentation is the worst...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    We should dump this whole net concept, which will be eventually be owned by M$, and go back to the good old days of archie, gopher, vernoica, nntp. Who needs these blinking advertisements brainwashing us 24 hrs a day. Give the net back to the people, specifically back to the super-spaz's, who created it in the first place. They mall and the boob-tube are still there for the idiotic rest of them

  • IE hasn't won the war. They won a huge battle and have a lot of marketshare, but Mozilla has a better chance in the long term:

    1/ Non MS platforms are going to become more important. Linux, Mac, Pamltops, Set-tops. Mozilla/Netscape 5.0 will dominate these markets. Windows may never go away, but it's days of 90% market share are numbered.

    2/ AOL will push Netscape on it's user base. They can't afford to let MS embrace and extend the Internet, so you can bet that 20M or so AOL users will be using Netscape by the end of 2001.

    3/ Mozilla will be technically superior to IE. That's why it's taken so long. Try the browser - it's fast, standards complient, and Open Source. It might have taken a while to get rolling, but individuals and companies outside of Netscape are starting to add features and use components for their own projects.

    I don't know if Netscape will ever get back their dominent position, but that doesn't really matter. What does matter is that there will be a robust, cross-platform, standards complient alternative to IE with considerable market share (at least 35%). That's all that we need to keep MS honest and be able to surf effectively from our favourite OS.

  • So what? As has been stated before, netscape is delayed, not dead.

    Remember the days when IE was the underdog? IE 2.0 was a seriously junior league bit of code. Then bam! out of the blue comes ie 3 (or 4?) and suddenly netscape begins to lose market share.

    My point is, there is still plenty of room for netscape to manuver and come out on top. There is still plenty of time for another browser to appear out of nowhere and take over.

    It's just a matter of a group of people sitting down to write a good software architecture. Maybe Netscape has done this with their code rewrite. Maybe Opera did this from the start. I dunno.

    Think of the "browser war" as a soccer tournament. Netscape's losing at halftime during the first game of a tournament. Opera and the K browser got bye's through the first round.

    So, are you the guy watching from the sidelines, or are you going to grab a bucket of water for the tired players? YOu can whine, or you can jump on mozilla, or the k browser, or any number of browser projects.

    "You want to kiss the sky? Better learn how to kneel." - U2
    "It was like trying to herd cats..." - Robert A. Heinlein
  • I like the voting idea - both in concept and execution. It's a wonderful change from the closed-source model of "we'll fix the bugs we want to fix, regardless of what our users want.

    Now, for all of you who liked my request for one-click image autoload toggle [] a week or so ago, drop by and vote! Maybe a future version of Mozilla will offer you as much control as the old 3.01 Netscape!

    Of particular interest - bugs #15148, 15145, 9307, 11875, and 7380. Special thanks to MattyT [] for doing the legwork of RFE submission and articulating a scheme whereby things could also be allowed/disallowed as a function of domain. I'd be overjoyed with one-click global toggles for all images/cookies/java/javascript, but it'd be positivly orgasmic if the toggles applied globally or according to a user-defined list of accept/deny domains depending on the user's configuration. (Bury the configuration as deep as you want in the menu structure, so long as the actual process of turning these "features" on and off is a single click or menu-hotkey.)

    Now if only we lived in an alternate universe where this had been implemented in 3.02, or rather 3.1 [] so many years ago, and had been part of the codebase ever since! :) Just imagine, a browser where one mouse-click will turn off images, cookies, and javascript, rather than hiding it under the present (4.x) pile of menus...

  • The real key here is to beat IE on it's own turf.

    Exactly. And that means that you don't release crappy source code fast just to have something. It means you release your product when it is absolutely solid.


The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable. -- John Kenneth Galbraith