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Netscape The Internet

Communicator Is Losing The War..... 562

Carnage4Life writes "Here's a ZDNet article that backs up the post by Dave seems corporate IT types are tired of waiting for Navigator to catch up and may begin to abandon it... Wonder where that leaves Linux users if websites start tending to be IE enabled to perform useful tasks."
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Communicator Is Losing The War.....

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  • I don't see that where I work. Im a web developer and the company still supports netscape. we don't want to be tied up with microsoft too much and make us vulnerable. but they are right that communicator would have to move forward to maintain their position. Otherwise we would be forced to use web technologies that only IE can use currently. Another thing that worries me is Office 2000 web conversions. These programs are popular or will be in the future. You can save them as a web document. However it won't work well under Netscape.. but of course will work fine under IE.. What if companies do that? that would be troublesome..
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 06, 1999 @02:53PM (#1555700)
    Netscape had lost every software battle it has fought. This isn't a troll, its just the facts - they were creamed in both the client (browser) wars, and the server wars, where Apache and IIS have pretty much put it out of the running.

    Now the big issue is, why? Plainly put, crappy products. Their browser is a dog, even worse than IE.

    Their servers are woefully inadequate compared to the freely-available Apache, which also has captured the market for server extensions.

    As much as Microsoft damaged them with questionable practices, there is no doubt Netscape helped dig their own grave.

  • by slk ( 2510 ) on Saturday November 06, 1999 @02:54PM (#1555701)
    Netscape, pretty much for the entire 4.x release
    process, appears to be unable to release a
    solid, stable browser that behaves consistently
    across different color depths, and doesn't crash
    regardless of what java and javascript do.

    By version 4.7, you would think that they'd
    figure out how to make Java work consistently,
    regardless of how many times NS has crashed
    during that X session. By verison 4.7, you would
    think that random pieces of javascript (i.e.
    what's on /.'s homepage) wouldn't cause browser
    crashes under some circumstances but not others.

    Finally, you would think that bugs that have
    been reported since 4.05 and earlier would
    actually be fixed in 4.7, instead of them
    just adding new features.

    Right now, in terms of stability, netscape
    is crap. Right now, if IE was available for
    FreeBSD (either native of a Linux version),
    I would probably be running it, because IE
    on NT sure is a hell of a lot more stable
    than Netscape on anything. I don't think IE
    has better features. I don't think it has a
    better interface. The only reason I care about
    IE is that it has less bugs.

    Right now I'd also be very very happy to be able
    to pay $35 for a copy of Opera for FreeBSD.
    It's small, fast, and STABLE! Yes, the most
    important part of that is STABLE. Besides being
    annoying, flaky software isn't user friendly.

  • Well, perhaps people should pay attention to what people are talking about in the talkback part of the article. Not to mention that NS5 will have the Gecko engine, so Internet Explorer will definately feel some fear ... Gecko has a rendering subroutine that is really really fast. Internet explorer still seems slow to me on the wind0z3 95 side.
  • I like NS because when I hit an LDAP server I get all the attributes. IE pops up it's idiotic "address book" and tries to make the server schema fit with the MS schema. Useless. Oh yeah, and when NS locks, I can kill it and restart. When IE freezes, my ^&#*^ TASK BAR is useless! Often the explorer as well! Bah.
  • If you have tried a fresh install of 98 SE, with ie5 installed (and do it correctly!) you will notice that ie is an extremely stable process under the correct setup. Much better even that netscape is under windows. I have a theory... Netscape, although it used to be known for stability over IE, has since tried so hard to catch up with M$, that it sacrificed stability for features, and you end up with an unstable N. Its no fun. Netscape WILL go down. IE is for Windows, Mozilla (which i am decently faithful in) is for Linux. I am faithful that once mozilla gets rolling, netscape wont have a place in windoze or linux....
  • by Anonymous Coward
    You know what? Any company that caters only to IE doesn't really deserve to be visited. They're only limiting their user base. As Linux users grow, their only real graphical browser is Netscape. Opera, Mnemonic, Gzilla... well I haven't seen anything yet. W3C's Amaya is ok, but it is quite slow.

    So, these companies base their entire websites on some stupid toy feature that only IE provides? Don't visit it.. hmm.. perhaps a boycott of all these sites and their products. A non-compatible website blacklist :) Oh no, then their stock value will go down... too bad...

    As I have said before. It isn't hard to have an effective and good looking website that is compatible with most browsers. Catering to one single browser is a bad choice, but it doesn't seem like it now, just because most people are using IE. What if, suddenly a company like Opera turns up and their browser is 100x better? Uh oh....

    "But we're too lazy to cater to other browsers! We want to make money now!!" Whine whine blah blah. Like it would be hard for a web design company to download netscape and lynx for a quick check. "But HTML coding is hard... we don't want to change just so the +30% who use Netscape can visit our site. Then we will actually have to work to get this feature to do something, not just rely on <crap> tag that IE has."

    And with all these cell-phones and PDAs that can surf the web now, why wouldn't you want to cater to text browsers? What about blind people? These are things that these companies are not thinking about.

    When stupid people design websites, this is what happens...
  • This situation should be no surprise for anyone. Netscape has done everything wrong since they first started.

    First, they fucked up the standards. Since Netscape did not follow the standards, IETF released HTML 2.0, which was an attempt for a standard to follow Netscape. But they still managed to screw it up, thus making standard violation acceptable, and "enhancements" hard to detect.

    Then they stopped enhancing the hypertext system, and instead started to play the "feature" game. The only game Microsoft knows how to play beside Monopoly. They invented the javascript language, which is so crappy Microsofts incompetent language designers could easily fuck it up without people noticing a quality loss.

    They managed to write a browser which could not render pages properly. When web pages started to be IE only, there was no way to tell which browser was most to blame.

    The browser source they released was so crappy that most of the pieces had to be replaced.

    There's only one way to win this war:
    1. Finish the browser
    2. Hang on to Microsofts "enhancements"
    3. Start to innovate. Don't just add something to the current mess. Change it all to be a little better than before. When noone innovates, people choose Microsoft.
    4. STICK TO THE STANDARDS! If you have to add something non-standard, make the integration standard-compliant and make sure noone fucks up the integration.

    Personally, I think doing smart stuff with XML, like writing DTDs with client side graphich layout and making W3C standardize them, is a good start. Just make sure there's no way to use the DTD to affect rendering.

    Personally, I think this is the Battle[tm]. If we loose, there will be no access to the web from linux. And who are gonna run linux then? Or any other OS with no IE? Noone. Not even me. And I truly hate Microsoft and thinks a lot of the people working there deserves penalties in the range from large fines to a few years in prison.

  • Simple bug fix: disable java-script. Really!
    Every time this incredibly irritating bug has popped up for me has been due to Javascript errors. Going into Edit->Preferences->Advanced, turning off Javascript and reloading has fixed it every time.

    Nowadays i just surf with Java and Javascript off. It helps with a lot of the bugs and most java(script) on the net is crap anyway :(
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 06, 1999 @04:48PM (#1555720)
    In my oppinion what browsers need is not *more* functionality loaded at start up, but less.

    Let me elaborate this statement.
    First off, as we all know there is a formula (at the moment I don't recall it's name) stating that for each ammount of code, there are X number of faults (bugs) in the code. As the code increases, so does the bugs.

    So.. In order to minimize the bugs there are two solutions: A) Review and beta test the apps more before release, and B) use less code.

    The easiest to do would be option B, while I personally think a combination of A and B would be the best.

    The solution the browser makers could apply would be to start the software without and 'plug-ins', java support and other 'fancy'(cloggy) features. Just plain HTML (and perhaps image support).
    This would enable the browser to start much quicker than todays'.
    If the user would like to have support for additional features, then they would load dynamically (and by the user's choice in the options section, reside in memmory until app. closure for ex.).

    Tip for web page software creators.
    Any provider of HTML creation software should provide information that says something like: "remember, if you create a page with 'this' or 'that' feature requirement, which is not specified in the W3 standard of HTML, then you will risk loosing business, since many potential customers might not be able to access your pages or might not accept the extra load time".

    Myself I remember the days when Gopher was popular, and when Mosaic arrived (and the first Netscape). These tools were great. Unfortunately they aren't of much use today since many sites will not work properly on them. (some because of newer HTML standard and most because of unneccecary extra 'enhancements' which you must have support for).
    By that time it was even quicker viewing a rendom web page by using a 14Kbit modem than today's random page with MS or NS browsers and a V.90 modem.

    To conclude this post (which became longer than expected), I'd just like to say: Please be aware of the *magic* second, which is a rule all developers should aim to meet (or come close to).
  • by Mikesch ( 31341 ) on Saturday November 06, 1999 @04:48PM (#1555721) Homepage
    I just thought I'd try to sum up the general feelings of users as far as Netscape goes. I work tech support for an ISP and I think this also adresses a lot of issues that regular users run into:

    1) Support the damn standards.

    I want to build compliant style sheets and tables and actually have them look decent in both browsers. I don't want some wacky bug screwing with table rendering or mucking about with javascript. I want JavaScript to work without specifying which browser I'm taking into account and writing an individual subroutine for each one.

    2) Let me download just the browser again.

    Dear Netscape Messenger development team;
    Messenger sucks.

    As someone who works in tech support, I'm sick of explaining to people why there are user interface issues that crop up, why some things are displayed inline and others aren't. I honestly would rather use a 3rd party mail program than that bloated POS. On a wintel platform, follow Microsoft's lead and make the mail and new separate programs, it'll make everyone happier.

    Also, nobody uses Collabra, Composer or any of the other crap that you shovel into every release. There are other programs which do the job much better. This goes for AOL IMmer too, I have ICQ thank you very much. If I want AOL IMmer, I know where to get it. A bit of an idea, take all the coders working on that crap and have them work on the main browser, finding bugs and whatnot.

    A functional web browser that is under a 10 meg download wouldn't be bad.

    3) Tone down the user interface.

    Nobody needs a goddamned shop button. I found that I use a grand total of 4 buttons on my browser:

    back, forward, stop, and refresh.

    That is all, anything else is mostly useless. Nobody uses the Cool sites crap, or anything else for that matter. More features that take up room. People will invariably use the extra crap for stuff it wasn't intended to be used for, breaking the browser, leading to a call to tech support.

    4) Keep bookmarks html.

    This is the one thing that Navigator has done right. If I want to move bookmarks from one version to another, or one computer to another I just need to copy a file, unlike IE where I have to copy a whole directory.

    5) Load time counts.

    Yes, the new layout engine is fast, but that doesn't mean anything if the damn program takes 30 seconds to load. The computers that we use at work are pII-266's with 64 megs of RAM, and IE5 loads in 2 seconds, Navigator takes about 30 seconds to load. You can make all the excuses you want about IE5 being part of the OS and all that. That is beside the point, if IE can do it, so can Navigator, figure out a way. Nobody notices if a web page loads in 1.4 seconds in one browser and 1.7 in another, If the interface feels slow and clunky, that is enough to turn me off.

    6) Make the interface decent.

    See how smooth IE is, attempt to make Navigator look similar. Navigator is too industrial looking for most peoples tastes. This may be harder because M$ has hidden a lot of the API that IE uses (it is undocumented). Netscape can at least try to get Navigator to look close. This is a minor point, but it counts.

    7) A bit controversial, but if IE has bugs, occasionally try to make the page look decent anyway.

    People write bad html, tested in only IE. IE renders it the way they want it to render and that is enough. I'm not supporting bad HTML, but it is not the browser's job to become style police. There are a lot of bugs out there and a lot of sites taking advantage of those bugs. Navigator is now in a position of playing catch up. Emma in Nebraska doesn't care about HTML correctness, she cares about being able to read webpages, regardless of the platform they were designed on. Keep standards compliance, but don't be totally rigid on it. In situations where the standard is not clear, follow Microsoft's implementation of it.

    I was a faithful Navigator user up until version 4. I continued to use Navigator for a while after it was released, but fewer and fewer sites looked correct and I had to switch to IE. I go over to the people working in web adesign where I work and they are constantly cussing out Navigator.

    Anyone have anything else to add?

    Andrew (patiently awaitng a version of Navigator that doesn't suck dead kittens through straws.)
  • You know what? Any company that caters only to IE doesn't really deserve to be visited. They're only limiting their user base.

    Yeh, to the 90% of people who use IE...

    Look, the fact is netscape dosn't suport standards correctly, unless you consider "CSS" and "Tables" and "Java 2.0" to be propritary IE features (Yes, I've had trouble with tables in netscape, each cell has the background in a table, even when the table itself has no background and its in another cell).

    Economic pressure isn't going to make anyone support a POS web browser
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • Unless AOL has driven the development of Navigator 5.0 to the point that it is an easy to adapt component system you won't see Navigator inside of an AOL client for quite some time. The entire 4.0-5.0 codebase for the AOL client is written to access IE for web browsing. It doesn't just launch IE as a separate program, it uses IE as it's internal web browsing technology.

    Even if they stood up now and said, "6.0 will have NN as the browser" we wouldn't see the result of that for at least 12-14 months. That's a horrendously long time to wait for the tide to change.

  • Must software constantly change to be useful? Can't tools reach their ultimate evolutionary point and then remain constant, unchanging, and useful? I mean, no one's trying to add more functionality to 'chdir'. Why? Because it's beautiful and elegant as it is. The same goes for the C language. Let IE turn into a limping, bloated, lumbering monstrosity. Netscape is nearly perfect as it. It just needs the remaining bugs ironed out. But new features? No. That's what plug-ins are for. Leave the core Netscape alone.

  • Doesn't NeoPlanet send a record of every site you go to back to their tracking server?
  • Gecko can be the greatest thing since sliced bread. But, if the entire program is as wobbly as the 4.x series it won't matter one bit.

    With 700+ MHz processors who really gives a damn how optimized the rendering engine is? If IE 5.0 on my 900MHz Athlon (just an example) is stable and can render pages brought down by my ADSL modem in the blink of an eye I really won't have cause to switch to NN 5.0 just because it is a couple of milliseconds faster.

  • Has anyone noticed that the mozilla releases seem to be much more stable on windows than linux? Is there some reason for this? GTK stablity? Or what?
  • As someone who is currently developing a web interface to a system, I have to say that rendering speed is an issue even on today's machines.

    The system uses tables for layout, and often nests tables 3 or 4 deep. Current browsers on middle-range hardware (PII 400) take on the order of 5-10 seconds to render an average page. Needless to say, this is suboptimal.

  • Armadillo, but still at Looks kinda neat, but still very very young.

    Likes -- about as fast as Lynx.
    Dislikes -- can't display properly, trying to configure it via File | Preferences does nothing.
  • I see you've never actually worked with web pages. Netscape is 100% fubar. If you do anything more complicated than tables (Ie...DHTML and layers, and useful stuff, netscape bitchs, moans, and falls apart.) We'll whip out a page, work perfectly in IE than spend 3 days trying to get it to do the same thing in Netscape.

    IE all in all is a very forgiving browser.

  • I disagree - the Web was designed to be a hyperlinked multimedia delivery system. That doesn't mean that it is a multi-service delivery system. Essentially, it's a resource request mechanism: you ask for a resource, the server gives it up. What the requesting client does with it is completely up to implementation. The idea of standards provides a consistant representation of what the client should do with that resource.

    SMTP/POP/IMAP/NNTP were designed to provide completely different types of services. These types of transactions are not request/response based, but instead are dialog based (ie, LIST/UIDL/GET[[UIDL/GET]...] for POP3). The underlying mechanisms are completely different paradigms, therefore they should use different tools.

    This is not to say that each of these services couldn't be properly delivered through the web, but that should be handled on the server side and the web interface would only be a representation of whats really going on. Sites like Hotmail and such provide email using an actual web interface - and it works fine with the standalone browser because it's request/response based.

    In all, I'm basically begging the rest of the world to wake up to what the unix world realized a long time ago: 'do one thing and do it well - then connect the tools'. I've seen some great ideas in this area (OpenDoc comes to mind - great idea, absolutely shitty follow-through) end up pushed aside by the raging bloatware juggernaut. If this keeps up, there eventually won't be any applications - just 'systems'...

  • If a company wants to put up an IE only website, they just won't get any money from me. It's that simple.
    At one time, that argument worked, and well. That's why for a number of years web designers went to great pains to ensure that webpages were well-tested on both browsers.

    But not today. Considering the number of people that use IE, many web designers are simply testing their page against IE. If the current trend continues, you'll become a *very* small minority, one that they don't care about since the percentage doesn't substantially hurt their business.

    THAT is the real danger.


  • I hate the multiple document interface Opera uses. And it weirds out on CSS a lot, as well as croaking on some jscript. IE, annoying as it may be, sure is stable, looks good, and costs nothing.


    PS - It is the only Microsoft product I have any appreciation for, and it took until version 5.
  • Netscape, while being a dog for the user Is also one for the developer as well. This is beacuse just using "standards" dosn't work at all on netscape. CSS is horribly broken, for example
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • I can't help but feel we brought this on ourselves. You know, for a long time, I thought that the idea of paying for a decent browser was Unspeakable -- it was like my birthright as an American included having a stable, free (as in beer) Web browser. Now I look at the market, though, and I wonder if what we're seeing isn't just the logical extension of that expectation:

    • Netscape, realizing that it couldn't stay alive if its primary product was something you couldn't sell, focused its attention on things it could make money on, such as Netcenter and Enterprise Server. Not surprisingly, development of the browser suffered as Netscape's priorities shifted away from it, sputtering and finally dying out.
    • Microsoft, knowing that it didn't need browser revenue one way or the other, used its browser to defend the thing it makes money on -- the Windows platform.

    The thing is, these corporate strategies are perfectly rational reactions to a market where web browsers are regarded as economically valueless. Would you expect Netscape (a public company, don't forget) to have poured millions of dollars more into R & D for a product they would never see one cent of revenue from?

    Maybe if we had voted with our dollars for the proposition that a good browser was important to us, rather than expecting one to automagically appear and get better every year, things would be different today. Maybe if, back in 1996 when it mattered, we had stepped forward and said "Yes, I'll gladly pay a fair price for a good, stable cross-platform browser," someone would be providing one today, rather than what we ended up with: one browser that's cross-platform [] and another that's stable []. Just a thought.

    -- Jason A. Lefkowitz

  • Just the kind of thinking I would expect from someone so uncreative as to steal their "name" wholesale from a TV show.
  • There is only one solution to this. Adapt their technology for our own use. To do this we should divide our efforts into two camps.

    1. Focus WINE development on getting IE to run on Linux.

    2. Focus more efforts on the development of Mozilla.

    If we can get IE running on WINE then we might be able to augment the installation of IE and eventually ship a "mini-wine" specifically for IE. My understanding is that there is an HP-UX version of IE which may make it easier to port IE to Linux the "emulator" way.

  • This embeddedness figured prominently into Judge Jackson's ruling. As things stand, only Microsoft can get stuff like this to work. The people who tailor web pages to IE5 are shooting us all in the foot. I do not care whether IE5 works better. Once you have to have a specific browser to access web sites, not only is Linux at risk but the internet as well.

    Don't be an idiot. IE is the best browser. It views standards compliant pages very well. You don't have to use IE specific features if you don't want to. *rolls eyes*.
    Every _real_ web developer who develops for the public either develops two sites (using ASP or wotever)...or uses standard.
    Even views fine on older browsers but views even better with DHTML when it detects you're using IE.
    What pages out there need IE to view huh? They're enhanced for IE, but always have simpler sites for older and less advanced browsers like netscape.

    By the way componentisation is GOOD.
  • I've develop programs using MFC and I can say that there are not APIs that MS has that are not documented. That is to say all GUI APIs are all available to anyone wanteding to develop software for windows. Anyone that wants to develop any windows app has the same info that any developer at MS has. So all this crap about how MS has hidden thier APIs is total bullshit. Now I know they are not open source but the docs are all there. System calls are all documented as well.
  • It's comments like yours which show just how close-minded some people are.

    IE4 blew big hairy donkeys with smelly feet and gingivitis. No arguement. I used Nutscrape because a) it worked in Linux and Windows, and b) it was far less buggy.

    However, I had my share of trouble with Netscape. Crashes for no apparent reason (nothing to do with java) being my biggest problem. It had serious problems loading large (>400k or so) web pages (I read /. in flat mode), but that wouldn't have bothered me so much if it didn't take down the other eight browser windows I had open!! What else did it do wrong... Let's see... Messenger opened up a connection and downloaded a goddamn Netscape ADVERTISEMENT every time I opened it (prefs.js fixed that). In their infinite wisdom they disabled multiple POP mailboxes but allowed multiple IMAP boxes since they were trying to push IMAP over POP. all kinds of little yuckies, but it was better than IE4. Even going from 4.5 to 4.51 to 4.6 to 4.61 didn't solve any of these problems. There was no email address to complain to. Their FullCircle software often crashed before it could get the report in.

    This wasn't because my hardware or install was buggy, this was over three reinstalls and over two completely seperate computers, from Win95OSR2 to Win98. Netscape Communicator just blew, but it was better than IE4.

    IE5 is MILES ahead of any Netscape offering, and I hate to admit it. CSS WORKS, it renders HTML much faster and more correctly than Nutscrape, and it would load huge pages without error. It even handles bad HTML better than Nutscrape. I now use IE5 almost exclusively on Win, but am stuck with NS's failures on Linux (albeit not as many failures as Win version).

    I very much dislike Opera, it reminds me of being stuck in StarOffice. MDI blows, in my opinion. I need the graphics and a bit of java at times, so don't talk about Lynx. Mozilla may remedy all this, but I'm not getting too excited over it yet.

    There will always be a back-and-forth battle until someone finally gets their act together and releases a decent cross-platform browser. Your comment about never touching IE again because of one **first-release-of-software** bugfest is like the child who's bitten by a dog once and vows to kill every dog they ever see as long as they live. What a childish outlook.
  • Terribly flawed. It hurts my brain that you think this way. I'm not even going to try and explain...
  • I think there was a 'beta' version of neoplanet out that used Mozilla as a backend. Of course, considering Mozilla isn't anywhere close to being done...
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • At my last job, I steadfastly refused to use IE, on a Win platform, for ethical reasons. This really isn't the same as being "So anti-MS that I'd rather use an abacus!" It's just a recognition that the process that brought us IE was an unethical business practice in which I would be participating by using it.

    I have to admit, that even at that last job I would keep IE around for compatibility testing. I had Web apps that behaved differently on IE and Netscape and when someone reported some odd behavior on IE I would try and reproduce it.

    My current employer requires that I use IE for various application compatibility reasons. I suppose I could have threatened to quit over it or something, but I didn't feel that strongly about it. I still use Netscape or Mozilla where I can.

    I find it hard to believe that this is only now hitting the news that employers are switching to IE in droves. I've seen this happening since IE4 came out. I've not seen a workplace that won't allow you to use IE if you choose, but I have seen ones that forbid Netscape.

  • Netscape 5 has slipped a bit too much. Since its purchase by AOL (only interested in increasing its service revenues, hence the "Shop" button where the "Stop" button used to be), they seem to have stopped caring about competing. All the best engineers have since left, leaving a skeleton staff.

    Netscape has conceded defeat, by its actions if not by words. They are no longer a competitor to Microsoft, who now all but own the HTML standard. Like it or not, the commercial desktop world is now a one-browser environment.

    Hopefully the post-judgment Microsoft won't be able to "de-commoditise" HTML too much.
  • I have noticed it on most applocations that run under both OSs.
  • Actually, I think it might not be such a bad idea if M$ were to start releasing some of it's non-OS software (including IE) for other platforms. Even though their OS sucks, they do have some neat programs, IE being one of them. As much as I hate Windows, I do sometimes miss the variety of apps that were available when I used that system.

    Back when Win95 was first released (and before I found out about Linux) I used to have fun playing around with Compton's Encyclopedia, MS Encarta, and of course all the games. Now, I use Linux exclusively because it is a much more stable and robust OS, but I long for the day when there will be just as many good apps for Linux. I still need to dual boot into Windows now and then because my wife likes to use the American Greeting Create-a-Card program to make greeting cards. There is no reason why this kind of software can't one day be made available for Linux.

    I am excited about the recent ruling against M$ because maybe this is the start of an era where software vendors will start taking Linux more seriously; once they realize that most people don't care what OS they're using as long as they can still use the programs they like. I predict that someday in the near future (5-10 years) M$ will lose its dominance in the OS market, but it will still retain its strengths as a software vendor. Remember, what made M$ succeed was not its superior OS but rather that it produced a plethora of software that 'normal' people could use. This will alwyas be their strength. I think they should realize, however, that their days of OS dominance are numbered.

  • Why are all these companies seemingly looking for exuses to make their web sites incompatible with X browser--the old NS-only sites, the IE-only sites, etc.? Whatever happened to HTML being browser independant?
    It's not that they are trying to make it explicitly incompatible - just that they don't need to spend money and time to enforce compatibility, since they just need test their HTML against the majority browser.

    Unfortunately, you and I don't count as part of the majority anymore, and we make up a smaller and smaller share of the e-commerce pie.


  • A month from prime time? I doubt it.

    It's anyone's guess whether Mozilla, the GNU Hurd or Xanadu will make it out the door first. Or possibly Freedows.
  • With CSS, what are you going to use it for? Pull down menus like I guess that is one thing, but you don't need it. Simple things like highlighting links and removing the underline are supported in both browsers and don't change anything for text-mode browsers. Quite simply, I want to use CSS for positioning, font choice, color, etc. IE, all of the *presentation* aspects. SO I created a web page that did just that. And it crashed Netscape. It crashed Netscape under windows, *and* under linux. But it wouldn't crash Netscape if I turned off JavaScript. Interesting that...there was no JavaScript on the page. I'd run Mozilla, it does a decent job of CSS, but it won't run on my computer. It won't compile either. *sigh* GenericJoe
  • That's because there's no other browser, save for Lynx (which doesn't do graphics). Most distributions come with Lynx as well though.

    Other than Netscape what would they use? NCSA Mosaic from about 1995 or so, which can't do tables properly? One of those hobbyist-made browsers which implements about 10% of HTML? Granted, the commercial ones could bulk-buy Opera, though it would add to the cost.
  • Check out: []

    -- Netscape's market share among our users has hardly dropped at all. Is it only the corporate side that's dropping it? Then again, it could be because almost 50% of our users aren't on any form of Windows.

    I also don't understand how this article can claim that XML support is critical when MSIE 5's support is very buggy and full of proprietary MS extensions - for example relying heavily on the ID attribute which has no special meaning in XML. If you look at the Word 2000 "XML" output you'll see it's basically bastardized HTML 4.0, full of "html:span's" and "div's" for example. Mozilla's XML support is excellent and much more standards based. If the promise of XML turns into just another proprietary MS format that only renders correctly on MS software, the W3C has lost a major, major battle here.
  • Right on. I've been designing web pages for years, and more recently dynamic pages using ASP, PHP, and the like. Netscape just pisses me off these days. I can't stand it any more. I worship IE for its ability to render pretty much whatever I throw at it beautifully, but even when I go to great pains to be totally compliant with the specs, Netscape still chokes on my stuff.
  • Read Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's FoF [] in the DoJ vs. MS trial if you haven't already. Now answer this question:

    What was the one thing he emphasized over and over again that MS does to uphold the Applications Barrier to Entry in favor of Windows?

    That's right, winning the browser wars. If MS can kill Netscape (and Java, including Netscape's Java engine), MS will have a stranglehold on the PC market.

    The OSS community needs to embrace Netscape/Mozilla or come up with an OSS alternative real quick if it values its computing freedom.

    (Personally I even think Netscape is better than IE when it comes to stability. IE on Windows will crash and freeze (and in the case of Windows 9x take the OS with it) seemingly at random. My experience is that IE crashes frequently, leaving the OS in an unusable or unstable state. At least with Netscape it's pretty predictable, over time you learn what makes it crash so you can avoid it. If you run Netscape on a proper OS like Linux it can't take the OS with it so all in all you have a much more stable and predictable web viewing experience.)

    Use Opera, use Lynx, use Netscape, use whatever except IE if you value your freedom!

    Let webmasters know that if they require IE to view their site you will be taking your business elsewhere!

    -- Gunnar

  • Someone moderate it up.
  • You're right. Linux is ancient technology. Somewhere in the '70s, if I'm not wrong. But unfortunately, that and FreeBSD are the only useable alternatives.

    Microsofts operating systems is even more dated. And the user interface is crippled. And they have done everything wrong. Everything in they're operating systems are either missing or they sucks. Personally, I think that for anything other than launching games, Windows do not work.

    I don't think Linux' user interface is dated. What is dated are the current "We're still on a PDP11" development environment.

  • How far are we from being able to run IE on Wine?
    Has anyone given it a try? Is it doable in any sense?

    An IE-on-Wine HOWTO would be good once it's viable; running a commercially supported Windows browsing environment in an emulated sandbox would be a lot better than putting up with AOL's bloated, crash-prone browser. (Netscape for UNIX has gone down the toilet as far as usability goes. So much so that at home I use NS 3, as it crashes less often.)
  • Using Netscape is like getting in a time machine set for 1995.. This means just one thing...IE for Linux. Hurry up already, Bill!
  • ..of course you're gonna justify NS...its not like you can run anything else..oh wait, Lynx!
  • 1. Focus WINE development on getting IE to run on Linux.

    That's only useful to those of you who use Linux on x86's.. For the rest of us Alpha, SPARC, PowerPC, etc. users, that isn't an option.
  • That's why for a number of years web designers went to great pains to ensure that webpages were well-tested on both browsers

    "What kind of music do you usually have here?"
    "Oh, we got both kinds. We got country *and* western."

    People "designing" web pages or web sites for a specific set of browsers are utter lusers who do not understand the media they are working with. 2 digit IQs - in octal.

    Either you make something for the World Wide Web, or you don't. There's no middle ground. Regardless of what Netscape and MSIE are making you believe.

    -- Abigail

  • How do you prevent it from loading the "goddamn Netscape ADVERTISEMENT"?
  • I have tried Opera and I didn't like it. I don't like MDI, and the last time I checked (latest version) it had problems rendering the tables on But, IIRC it doesn't support Java.
  • I haven't tried it, but doesn't Opera already support most of the standards?

    Opera already has a committed and competent full-time programming team. Much more competent than Netscape and much further along than Mozilla. It would certainly give more choices and add more browser competition.

    Opera can certainly compete with IE if it only gets market share. Of course, it's not open-source. I wonder if the Stallman inspired attitude of some Linux devotees has scared Opera away from supporting Linux. I mean, they chose to support BeOS before supporting Linux!
    Scott Ferguson

  • IE was released by some third party company not affiliated with M$ how many of you would really have a problem with using it (besides the fact there's no Linux version)? I use IE5 in Win 98 and I use IE 4.5 in MacOS 8.6. Whenever I'm on a linux box I try not to use Netscape, it turned to shit after 3.01 INMO. When I want to browse the internet I want my browser to load up, not a software suite. WHen IE4 first came out it was trudging down the same path Navigator embarked on, it tried to make everything part of the browser and load it all up at once for you. With IE5 that philosophy has been dropped in lieu of giving you all the software but keeping the browser, email, news, ect. all separate binaries. Netscape insists that 'Communicator' come with absofreakinlutely everything you will possibly use. Besides the programming aspect, IE is much more stable than Communicator is and when I do have it crash on me I can kill the process with a tool like Wintop. When Communicator freezes it takes down the entire interface and a reboot is needed, I can usually salvage an IE crash. As soon as Netscape changed Navigator into Communicator they really screwed up their chances of winning the browser war. Netscape no longer resides on my system because it couldn't keep itself running very long. I'm not M$ fan and if I had an adequate replacement for IE5 I wouldn't use it either. I've seen nothing else comparable and I don't use half functional crap that is "a good idea". Opera has an annoying interface and lacks alot of the usability features I rarely use in IE but would miss them at inoppertune times.
  • But it wouldn't crash Netscape if I turned off JavaScript. Interesting that...there was no JavaScript on the page.

    The reason Netscape stopped crashing when you turned off JS is because turning it off also turns off CSS. Why?

    Back when NN 4.0 was under development, Netscape decided that they wanted stylesheets in their browser. They just couldn't wait for CSS, so they designed their own. Netscape's answer: JavaScript Stylesheets. Of course, the W3C was putting the finishing touches on CSS, and Netscape realized that it had better support that as well. So, they just put translation code in their browser to translate from CSS to JSSS. Result? Their CSS implementation depends on JavaScript.

    That's why it crashes. That's why it turns itself off when you turn off JavaScript, even with CSS still enabled. And that's why it doesn't support CSS properly. So, when yet again Netscape crashes when you use even the simplest of CSS attributes, remember JSSS.

  • The system uses tables for layout

    Who the frig would care whether your site renders fast or not? Tables for layout means you've no fucking clue about the media you're working with.

    -- Abigail

  • "Dr. Dobb's Journal, November, 1992 " The year is 1999 not 1992. For proof, just go to any book store and you will find a lot of programming books on windows APIs. Also see is a good resource.
  • In fact the only reason I've upgraded my copies of Netscape is to get bugfixes. It seems like there was a big increase in bugginess sometime after 4.0 shipped, but recent versions have been causing me fewer problems. 4.5 died several times a week (NT4) but 4.61 does so less than once a week. My Linuxen are on 4.71 and are pretty much OK, though they're fat and slow. And insufficiently conformant, though one is tempted to call that a feature issue.

    The real problem is that Netscape never put enough effort into its browser! For one major example, they didn't invest enough to get a structure based rendering engine; the Gecko engine corresponds to stuff Microsoft did in order to ship IE4, as I recall. There was the post talking about how the IE/IIS teams (just engineering) were bigger than all Netscape. Clearly that's "enough" effort ... but I sure hope that it can be done with a LOT less effort.

    The web will be lost (to everyone, not just Linux folk) if people can't actually implement a standards-conformant browser unless they have monopoly resources backing them. And I'm sadly afraid that's what's been happening at the W3C ... lots of huge specs, which MS implements at the 60%-80% level (plus proprietary features) and nobody else can afford to get even that far along.

  • Netscape was charging for commercial users until Microsoft started giving away an IE of comparable quality (I think it was IE4, because IE3 sucked far worse than any Netscape), at which point Navigator became very hard to sell. Navigator sales once represented about 40% of Netscape's revenues, so having to give it away was a major hit to their bottom line.
  • Netscape created the JavaScript standard, so maybe it's IE mucking about it. CSS works great in Mozilla. Try for yourself.

    This may surprise you, but IE actually supports some of the standards that NS created better than NS itself does. I've been developing an app that uses the NS invented Liveconnect API (which lets Java communicate with Javascript), and amazingly enough, IE5 works much better with than Netscape (and I'm following the documentation on the NS site religously).

  • First of all, AOL have committed themselves to the concept of an open source project to rewrite the browser. There are already over 100 in-house developers working on Mozilla, plus the dozen or so external contributors.

    IE5 is *not* a partially implemented piece of software. It's the best (read: fastest, most stable, most standards-compliant) browser available today. I wish it had serious competition, but anyone who knows what you can do in IE5 knows exactly how far away the other browsers are.

    You're deluding yourself thinking Mozilla can regain its lost ground; IE5 is far ahead. It's doing everything you might expect Mozilla to do, plus a few more things, and it's already been available for months. There are currently more IE5 users than IE4 users. It would be nice if they ported it to BSD/Linux, but why should they?

    All "we" have to do is develop a better (or even remotely comparable) browser and maybe the perceptions will shift. Maybe. Frankly I doubt it. Anyone who has seen and used Office 2000 will understand that, even though it's proprietary, IE5 uses embedded COM objects in an incredibly powerful and interactive way.

    Make no mistake, IE5 is already *the* choice for corporate Intranet solutions, and it's only a matter of a short time before it entirely supplants its alternatives on the Internet. The benefits far outweigh the drawback of losing a small percentage of customers through incompatibility.

    Convince me otherwise.
  • Please, everyone, there are no hidden APIs. Period. This conspiracy stuff is what makes me hate to admit to liking Linux. Microsoft hires thousands of developers. Lots of them cycle through fairly quickly, and a lot of the ones that leave don't feel too warm and fuzzy toward MS. Do you really think that of those thouands of snarky ex-devs, not one of them would have had access to those 'hidden APIs' and disclosed them after they left? Not a single one? I'm sure they could leak them 'anonymously' to some anti-MS dev house, like Oracle or Sun, with no problem whatever. Heck, no NDA would stop them, not when the simple fact of Microsoft pursuing the ex-employee over the data would be a crippling admission of guilt. This is another stupid net myth, mindlessly parrotted by folks who really want to believe it, or who cannot be bothered to think for themselves. Just one more ludicrous conspiracy theory, an inheritor of an inglorious history stretching back from the Kennedy assassination all the way back to the trial of the Templars (actually the first historical example, and one that is still argued about several hundred years later.)

    Rationally, there is no such thing as a secret when several thousand people know it. Sorry. MS is not in the business of being nice, and they do a lot of shady and ruthless things. But keeping that sort of thing secret doesn't involve shady practice, it would have to involve mind-control. And if they had that, the recent legal announcement would have been rather different...

  • I must also concur to this assessment that it's already begun.

    Two Years ago, QuickBooks [] changed their policy of using Netscape as their included Web Browser, in their Version 5.0, to IE.
    Now, Intuit [] has released both Version 6.0 and Version 99 of Quickbooks with Microsoft Internet Explorer actually imbedded into the Quickbooks Software, and from what I hear, QuickBooks 2000 uses a seemless integration of internet and desktop software in it's operation.

    Intuit has not shown signs of changing their policy again, at least not in the near future.

    From what I understand, when Version 5.0 was released, Netscape had lacked several integration features that were key to Quickbooks' Online features, and the software stuck. (I do not believe that it was due to a political/economic reason.)

    *Carlos: Exit Stage Right*

    "Geeks, Where would you be without them?"

  • I don't hate IE because it's from MS, I hate it because the interface sucks. Scrolling in IE is absolutely broken. That's a big enough deal to me that I use Opera instead in Windows, even though I dislike MDI interfaces. IEs UI is also ugly, but that I could live with (and there are ways to fix it, I suppose).
    And then there is IE on Solaris... Absolutely useless, it's really slow (and that's on a 440MHz Ultra10 with 256 megs of RAM) and really unstable. Netscape is much more usable. That's my experience with it, anyway.
    But then, I use Linux almost exclusively, so IE simply isn't an option.
  • Lynx is no alternative for IE. Its only useful if your blind in which case you would want to put a braille machine on it or an enormous nerd with very thick glasses and skull. In all other cases people also want to view the graphical information. Netscape 4 is now at least two years old and we haven't seen it progressing. Netscape 5 is a promissing product but it will take several months to become final. When it will become final it is an unproven but still promising product. In other words it will take at least half a year for mozilla to catch on. That's a lot of time for a browser.

  • Netscape had/has a problem. The browser is a prime example of a wonderful hack. The PROBLEM with wonderful hacks is this. When someone else needs to work on them, or they need massive extention, it's hard for anyone to work on it (even the original author). This is where good design, documentaion (including COMMENTS in the code) and the like really helps. It's called shooting yourself in the foot
  • by trance9 ( 10504 ) on Saturday November 06, 1999 @02:56PM (#1555888) Homepage Journal
    A lot of people have a lot of hope invested in communicator. However, Netscape has consistently put effort into adding features, when most of us would just be happy to see it run all day without crashing.

    I think we would all put up with a few less features, if the features that we had worked reliably. I suspect that it's not just geeks who feel this way.

    Whatever happened to software quality? In order to beat Microsoft, Netscape appears to be playing the same dangerous game of releasing unreliable software. Dangerous for Netscape, because nobody plays this game better than MSFT.

    So I know the mozilla people are reading this: Mike, get with it, fix some more bugs. Get people off of features and onto stability.
  • Sorry folks, but anyone who has used both IE and Netscape any time in the last few months could have told you this. I worked at an ISP up until four months ago and I had to be really framiliar with both broswers as we supported them both. As much as I hated to admit it, Netscape couldn't hold a candle to IE.

    At least on the Windows platform (which is really one of the only two platforms that are relevant to this discussion), IE is faster, more stable and overall more functional. When it was first released, IE was just a pale shadow of Netscape; just a photocopied feature set. That's not the case anymore.

    I have hopes for Mozilla, but I'm beginning to come around to seeing that the delays in getting a production version out are really hurting it. No matter how progressed it is, there needs to be a shipping version within, say, six months. If this is not accomplished or if that version sucks, Netscape will have lost such serious ground that it will have difficulty catching up. Already we can see that their reputation as being a quality product is being damaged.

    Man, I hate saying that sort of thing; admitting that MS is better in this case makes my teeth ache.


  • Why are all these companies seemingly looking for exuses to make their web sites incompatible with X browser--the old NS-only sites, the IE-only sites, etc.? Whatever happened to HTML being browser independant? The WWW is starting to stand for Won't Work Well.

    No, we're talking about STANDARDS here. All of the technologies mentioned in the article - XML, CSS, XSL - are either current or proposed W3C recommendations. Check for yourself. []

    If a page written according to these guidlelines won't work well, then something's the matter with your browser. Which is exacltly why I loathe Netscape 4.x. I can write a page with perfect code (according the the w3c validator), and it will look like crap in Netscape due to it's poor CSS support. So I prefer IE. Web designers and businesses are understandably pissed that they can't use standard technology becasue Netscape breaks their pages. The solutions are design for the lowest common denominator or have browser-specific pages, which undermines the whole point of the web.

    Mozilla, on the other hand, is even superior to IE in its support of web standards. So I'll admit I'm a fair-weather friend with no loyalites whatsoever - when mozilla/netscape5/whatever comes out, it will be my new favorite browser.
  • I've used Netscape as my main browser for years.
    It's been irritating me to no end that it's become such
    a bloated and unstable application. :/

    With the current events surrounding the M$ trial, one
    wonders how much better of a product Navigator would be at this time
    if they'd not had to deal with M$'s embrace and corrupt
    policy on html/java/javascript standards.
    Seems that 90% of the time that Nav crashes on me these days
    is on pages that use m$ specific Java-crud. This is
    truly irritating.

    If IE had been written as a competitive application, by a
    company _other_ than m$, without m$'s specific
    advantages as a monopoly (which I firmly belive it is), it's my opinion that Netscape Corp. never would
    have sold out. In fact, I belive that it would have been a
    much MUCH bigger company today and we'd have a much
    better navigator because of it.

    Without m$'s clout.... IE would have died a horrible, yet appropriate,

    Bummer daze... :(

  • Well...I'm certainly not going to argue with *you*... :-)

    Of course, as you point out, the Netcenter portal was the key reason for the acquisition. I was trying to say, but failing to make it clear, that it is my belief that when you own something as valuable as Netscape Communicator, you don't generally throw it away. It still has value. Also, I believe that I had heard shortly after the acquisition that AOL fully intended to move to Navigator 5 at some point for the AOL browser component. And when they do, it *will* have a significant effect on browser share two ways about it.

    Don't count on AOL to save the day.

    I'm not. I'm well aware of you feelings about the Mozilla project, and I agree to an extent about the failure of the project to achieve significant goals. Nevertheless, they are going to ship something *eventually*, and when they do, it will still attract a fair amount of interest.

    I guess I'm just trying to tell people that there is no reason to panic. People like to get themselves worked up into a frenzy over software "wars," and I really don't think there's any reason to do so. The Mozilla source is out there; so is the Linux source, the FreeBSD source, the OpenBSD source, and the Xscreensaver source (:-)). It's not going away; there will be a significant number of people who wish to use it for the forseeable future, so it can be maintained.

    There's just no reason to least not now, in my opinion.

    Thanks for responding, BTW!

    Interested in XFMail? New XFMail home page []

  • 1) Support the damn standards.

    Mozilla is the most standards-compliant browser you can get.

    2) Let me download just the browser again.

    Messenger is actually much improved in Mozilla. For example, you finally get to have multiple POP3 accounts. If you really don't want it, I suspect that somebody if not Netscape will release a browser-only version. It is open-source, after all. (BTW: Collabra hasn't been part of Communicator for a LONG time...which makes me think you haven't seen the Messenger overhaul in 4.5) As for size, my last Mozilla download was under 5MB, and that's with all the debug tools and everything. No Java VM though, but even with that Mozilla/Netscape 5 will definitely be under 10MB.

    3) Tone down the user interface.

    Mozilla has EXACTLY this... the only toolbar buttons are Back,Forward,Stop,Reload. They're integrated into the address bar, too, which means less space taken up by the toolbars and more for the actual browser.

    4) Keep bookmarks html.

    It's still there, don't worry.

    5) Load time counts.

    This is not quite at 2 seconds, but it is at 10 and being worked on. In addition to Mozilla, I'm also running 4.7 now, which usually takes 10 seconds on a PII-350. 30 seconds, even if it is a slower computer, seems HIGHLY exaggerated. IE5 takes about 5 seconds.

    6) Make the interface decent.

    Download any Mozilla nightly build dated after 26 October, and you'll see a beautiful new skin that is completely unique and quite beautiful. Plus Mozilla has skin support, so you can make it look like whatever you want (there's already an IE4 skin).

    7) A bit controversial, but if IE has bugs, occasionally try to make the page look decent anyway.

    I'm not 100% sure as to the current status of this, though there was talk of a "compatability mode" at one point. I know that every standard that was not clear was checked out to make sure Mozilla does it the right way. As well, I believe that most content developers will choose to follow the standards: they'd rather do that now, but no released browser supports them correctly Netscape 5 will change that.

    I strongly recommend that you check the latest nightly build of Mozilla. Not quite fiished, but I think you'll be very impressed. Beta 1 is just a little over a month away.

  • often to promote Linux at trade shows. For the last 3 years Netscape was the only program you'd see at trade shows. It's in every screenshot. It's the only program dual headed X is demonstrated on. We haven't had anything as flashy to demonstrate Linux on since Netscape. Losing Netscape would definitely put us back a few years.
  • Here's a listing of features that IE supports but that Netscape doesn't. []
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Not only is Navigator losing, apache seems to be sliding. Check out [] to see Netcraft's chart. Microsoft had at big 2.78 percent increase last month. It seems as if Netscape servers are holding their own, so there is one bright spot for the former "Microsoft Killer".
  • What do you mean? If there's no other browser on the scene?!?

    Hello? AOL owns Netscape. Do you think they are going to just let that investment go to waste? Of course not! AOL is going to replace IE with Netscape in their client; it's just a matter of time.

    Then, we will see the resurgence of Netscape...and just how much AOL skews the browser usage numbers.

    Interested in XFMail? New XFMail home page []

  • by steffl ( 74683 ) on Saturday November 06, 1999 @10:06PM (#1555999) Homepage Journal
    you have some good points but:

    2) Let me download just the browser again.

    I agree on this one. user should have control on what parts are actually installed - they should be all separate programs...

    however I use some of the tools - e-mail client and composer. btw the e-mail client recognizes the links - it lets me do anything with a link that I can in navigator, e.g. open it in new window, I haven't find out how to do it in inbox (microsoft e-mail client)

    3) Tone down the user interface.

    obviously the toolbars should be configurable (just like the personal toolbar is). about the only button I use is the back button (rarely, I prefer keyboard). it should have better support for keyboard (more hotkeys, configurable), for example I do not know how to get to the Location field using keyboard (on windows platform the tab key gets you there)

    5) Load time counts.

    the reason the explorer loads so fast is that it loads during win startup and is in memory all the time, whether you use it or not. the netscape actually loads when you start it for the first time. if you close it and start again, it usually loads pretty fast... you can start the netscape during startup and keep it minimized, it is basically the same thing that IE does (you just don't see the IE icon in taskbar)

    6) Make the interface decent

    that's the matter of taste. one thing I hate about the IE is smooth scrolling (which sucks a lot). other then that I don't want ANY browser interface, I want to see web pages. the interface should be as minimal as possible. I would include only one toolbar, no menu, on toolbar I would like to have bookmark button, location field and menu button (possibly back/forward/reload/stop buttons). of course not everybody would want the same setup so - it should be completely configurable.

    regarding: "I was a faithful Navigator user up until version 4. I continued to use Navigator for a while after it was released, but fewer and fewer sites looked correct and I had to switch to IE."

    what are you talking about??? I use netscape almost all the time (I very rarely use IE, usually if it is called by some program) and I do not see any major problems with webpages.

  • by gad_zuki! ( 70830 ) on Saturday November 06, 1999 @03:22PM (#1556004)
    There are only 2 real reasons why you'd use Netscape on a mac or win platform.

    1. I'm so anti-MS I'd rather use an abacus!

    2. Security.

    Not that Netscape is bulletproof, but look at IE's trackrecord in the past few months. Something like a dozen exploits, most of which do a lot more than just crash your system. So I patiently wait for 5.0 because I don't need the headache of some exploit trashing my system and I don't want to support a company so lax on security.

    Heh, I got a kick out of the guy who lists one of IE's strong points as frequent security patches. If these are the 'experts' I'm glad I disagree.
  • Your viewpoint would be a shade more convincing if you made references to facts in the opinion that are verifiably wrong.


  • Please stop FUDding. We're obviously talking about *after* the release of Netscape 5.0, which will be based on Mozilla, and bears little resemblance to the old proprietary code base.

    Mozilla is stable enough for me to use right now, as I'm posting with it; it should be quite stable by the time it gets put into Communicator 5.

    Besides that, Netscape 4.x isn't *that* unstable. I manage to keep it running for a couple of days, usually. It just has a huge memory leak.

    Interested in XFMail? New XFMail home page []

  • When AOL switches back to Netscape, the numbers will look a *lot* different.

    No reason to panic yet.

    Interested in XFMail? New XFMail home page []

  • The WWW is starting to stand for Won't Work Well. Well, it's THEIR throats they're utting: I ain't going to do any worse for not having the opportunity to be advertised to, but thye'll be MUH worse if I make my buying decisions in their self-imposed silence.

    The web should, no *must* be browser independent. It should be standards dependent. If it makes a difference what web browser you use, then someone has abused the web.

    I use IE now, because it is the newest Windows browser. I use it in the same way I'd buy a 99 Ford model car because Chevy hadn't released a new model for 2 years to make their 2000 models irresistable. Driving a Ford this year shouldn't prevent me from replacing it with a Chevy next year. And likewise, I should be able to pop out IE 5 and pop in Mozilla without noticing a difference in functionality.

    If I do, then the one that's not standards compliant is *wrong* and will be disposed of as quickly as possible. I think that a lot of other people/companies think the same way.

    And as you mentioned, if they don't, then they are the ones that are losing. If I am not able to buy a ticket for Northwest online because they aren't out to serve *me*, well, then there are plenty of other airlines to go to.

  • Wrong. I've been able to set up roaming profiles on an NT domain using Samba and all as the server.

    This is different that Netscape's version. With this, anyone, anywhere, with teh right login and password, can authenticate against the web server and retrieve all of their settings and bookmarks and use the browser as if they were at their machine. No matter what OS they're running on. This is much more powerful than the roaming profiles of NT domains.
  • by keytoe ( 91531 ) on Saturday November 06, 1999 @03:54PM (#1556132) Homepage

    Ahhhh... Remember the days when a Web Browser was used for browsing the web rather than handling every aspect of the internet experience? If I recall, the stability of Netscape started seriously slipping when it started doing mail/news/development. Well, the first couple of iterations of Java and JavaScript were a little flakey, but hey, you'd expect that from new features.

    I've found that Navigator Standalone runs much more stably on my Mac than any version of IE. The only thing I can see in IE that I like more than Navigator is dynamic rendering of pages (man, I HATE waiting for these nested comments wrapped in one huge table to load on /.) - not really that much though...

    If only Netscape(AOL) would focus on making Web Browsers rather than slapping a shoddy email client (I already have one that works well), a crummy newsreader (got one of those too, thanks) and a composer (that's what text editors are for - ok, I'm a purist ;) into the works. All it seems to accomplish is increase the complexity of the project and suck valuable resources away from the real goal of a Web Browser: Browsing the web!

  • and the server wars, where Apache and IIS have pretty much put it out of the running

    That's incorrect. Apache has more servers by number, but Apache also has a larger fraction of the piddly little iconsequential servers. If you survey major web sites, you'll find Netscape is doing quite well compared to Apache and IIS.

  • Likewise, I use Navigator Standalone on the Mac. I didn't used to- I used iCab, but was forced to stop because their betas expired and the new betas went through impossible bugridden phases. I went back to Navigator 4 and have been staying with that ever since.
    Maybe the government should just _seize_ IE and make it the Government Issue Web Browser for All that so many people seem to desperately want. I could cope with that, but it's no good letting any commercial entity have that kind of power. At least the government is obligated to pretend to look after its citizens. I won't _touch_ IE unless it's nationalized. I don't care if they dumped so many billions of dollars of work into it that it sucks less than Netscape. People need to understand the control implications behind handing anybody the total control of the Net.
  • Isn't that just the same as saying the Judge is right, MS is a monopoly, has caused an immense amount of damage, most notably killing off all other browser competition, dumping their product and starving out any other browser projects then burning the ground they walk on so nothing will ever grow there again?
    Isn't that a more accurate statement of the situation than 'IE is better. Drat!'?
    Isn't that EXACTLY the point as far as the antitrust case is concerned? If there was lots of thriving competition and lots of good effective choices to use, would the Judge have hit MS as hard as he did?
    I don't know what he has in mind, but this only proves how right Penfield Jackson is and how much he 'gets it'. Personally, I have no problem being a 'protest vote', as the sites _I_ like work with Mac Navigator, and I've found a version (not very new) that runs pretty good for me, and decided to ignore CSS and most Java content and javascript. That's my choice. I make it because I _really_ can't stomach helping a monopoly scorch the earth. I don't expect other people to do likewise, which is why the judge was right in his findings of fact. IE is technically better in various ways than Netscape (at least on Windows) _because_ it's impossible to compete with a monopoly dumping a product they're spending billions on perfecting. All their effort has gone into making it actually work. It's possible to understand that this has happened and still remember that it is _part_ of an anticompetitive action that has also made it flat-out impossible for ANY other business venture to try and make a commercial web browser. Certain technical tricks like the ZDNet vanishing poll bug suggest that MS has also put great effort into finding ways to make it impossible for ANY venture to make ANY web browser and not be hammered by buggy problems. If IE accepts malformed HTML that seriously screws up Netscape, and then MS-supporting sites and authoring tools begin producing that malformed HTML _on_ _purpose_, what then? That becomes anticompetitive behavior against both commercial and uncommercial entities, and it's impossible to defend against within the free market system alone. It needs to be treated as a criminal act- and IE needs to be nationalised, confiscated, since Microsoft has managed to make things so that going into the new millenium, the world does not HAVE any choices, and no new choices are going to arise. All that is required is to get IE away from commercial control- it's in way too controlling a position to be any part of a free market. It's the informational equivalent of a totalitarian state- let's start treating it as one and making it exist within a structure of rules and checks and balances.
  • by Jamie Zawinski ( 775 ) <> on Sunday November 07, 1999 @08:15AM (#1556166) Homepage
    AOL owns Netscape. Do you think they are going to just let that investment go to waste?

    AOL bought Netscape for the Netcenter portal. They didn't want the server business, and they didn't want the client. There were legal and tax reasons why Netscape couldn't be easily broken up and sold off for parts, or I'm pretty sure that's what would have happened. This whole ``Netscape/Sun Alliance'' thing is AOL's way of selling-but-not-really-selling that side of the business to Sun.

    Of course not! AOL is going to replace IE with Netscape in their client; it's just a matter of time.

    If there is ever an end-user version of Mozilla, and it's highly compatible with MSIE, AOL may yet do this (as a target of opportunity.) That would be a very good thing for the web, and for Linux. But I seriously doubt it's keeping anyone in AOL management up at night; they're perfectly happy using MSIE, and they won't stop until something better comes along. And if nothing ever does, it won't matter to them.

    Don't count on AOL to save the day.

  • I'm not a big MSIE fan myself, but you can easily switch off the smooth scrolling - I think it's in the preferences / advanced tab. One of about 1,000,000 options, but it's there, and once you find it, the irritating smooth scroll goes away.

    I still pine for Netscape 3, which had a way better interface than Netscape 4. In fact, NS 4 stuck me as a bit of a copy of the then-current version of IE, which is exactly what I didn't want in a browser.

    Generally, I won't use IE simply due to the symbolism - I hate Microsoft's junkware, and using IE proclaims to the world: "I use Microsoft's junkware, I'm a MS clone guy". So I only use IE to test my own web pages, and occasionally when I've found some sites that I need to access that don't work with NS.

    Before using IE, I recommend you read Judge Jackson's findings of fact in the MS antitrust case. Made me sick to my stomach. Do I want to do what those bastards want me to?



  • Most of the features I see in sites requiring recent browsers simply aren't worth it. I want useful, interesting information, not little programs that pop up and do useless things.

    Personally, I look at my site in all browsers I can get, and if it doesn't look right, I tweak it until it's OK. I'm certainly not going to want to exclude someone just because his idea of the best browser is different from mine.


  • by jbrewer ( 2668 ) on Saturday November 06, 1999 @04:06PM (#1556179) Homepage
    Mozilla was Microsoft's master stroke. Not only has it failed to deliver a viable competitor to Netscape, it has also kept any other open source browser project from gaining critical mass.
  • (posting a day late. Will anyone read this?)

    There was a recent report (dunno where) which suggested that in two years' time, desktop PCs will not be the most common way of accessing the Internet, with the large number of set-top-box systems on their way.

    For example, now I have a Dreamcast, if I just want to check a web page quickly, and I happen to be downstairs, I'll use the DC rather than leave the comfort of my living room.

    The DC browser lacks a whole lot of features, which in one way is a shame -- but one positive aspect is that a large population of (potentially money-spending) internet users, stuck with basic HTML renderers and not much else, might encourage content providers to tone down their reliance on obscure plugins.

    There's *very little* of real worth that can't be accomplished using a browser something akin to Netscape 2, and the fancy stuff goes on at the server side. That's what made the Web so nice in the first place.
  • Truth and an important fact is that we doneed Mozilla to succede. Personal computing now is not a standalone desktop in an attic: Linux (or any other *nix) needsa rock-solid browser, maybe even morethan multiple desktop environments and window managers.

    I'm certainly believe that with all my heart. And I think that when Mozilla is released we'll have it. And I think it won't be as big a problem to get people to use Mozilla as you think.

    Microsoft will be prevented from forcing IE on OEM's and IAP's. We'll see more of them using Mozilla as their browser, that'll result in more people writing real web pages. And life will be good.

    Well, I can dream...

  • AOL is contractually obligated to use IE through 2001, unless the courts overturn that. By that time, if there's no other browser on the scene, IE will be the only web browser, and the web will be a microsoft proprietary interface.

    Barring gov't action against Microsoft, we -have- lost the war. AOL isn't going to save anything. Mozilla or Netscape or Opera in combination with gov't action might.

  • According to netcraft [], Apache has 54% market share, IIS 25%, and Netscape 7%.
  • NeoPlanet strikes me as amusing. "Wait. You're saying IE provides a method for applications to be 'web-enabled'? What if we write our own front-end to these IE hooks? We can have our own 'browser' without developing browser technology, per se!"

    If I've gotta use IE for something, I use NeoPlanet. Its flashy. And it kinda makes me feel like I'm not really using IE (even though weblogs will pick it up as an IE hit).

  • Apache still picked up around 250000 new hostnames. Microsoft picked up around 400000, though:
    "Much of this came at hosting company Webjump, which offers free web hosting on a system made up of NT machines fronted by a Resonate switch. This is one of the first deployements of NT in a large scale hosting environment, and it will be interesting to see if other providers follow Webjump's lead. Traditionally, hosting companies [who control the great majority of internet web sites] have almost always chosen to run Apache based servers, often on Pentium based systems running Linux, FreeBSD, or BSDI."
    While it is an interesting development, there's probably little cause for worry unless it becomes a trend.

  • by Splat ( 9175 ) on Saturday November 06, 1999 @04:21PM (#1556233)
    Despite all those little alarms going off in my head to ignore this, it's sadly happening, and in my immediate world. Upon arriving back at school this year, I found they finally got the T1 connection up, and the machines have - Internet Explorer 5. I assist in the computer labs and was going to protest this decision, then it occured to me - why bother.

    The machines are 486/133's (how sad I know), and they simply don't cut the mustard when it comes to using Netscape. I don't know why (ok I _probably_ know why ... propiterary API's that aren't being shared or whatnot), but Netscape sucks big time on the machines. Crashes left and right, renders like a drunk slug, and takes way too long to load. Meanwhile IE 5 somehow manages to perform efficently on the machines.

    I then arrived back at the technical school I goto, to the newly arrived Pentium III's. How odd, we had Netscape last year, suddenly IE's our browser this year. I installed Netscape for a project about a month later and boy, was I surprised. There I was on a state of the art new spiffy Gateway machine, and Netscape's performance was still horrid. IE 5 wins again.

    I am (was?) a devout Netscape user. IE had never seen the light of day on my machine. I've used Netscape from version 2.02 to 4.61. My computer dual boots Windows 98 (I just can't kick the games, doh!) and Linux. While in Windows after playing a game, I was using a webpage that required a browser with some of the new specs (HTTP 1.1 or whatnot, I forget exactly.) "Netscape 4.61 or Internet Explorer 4 required". Well, I only have Netscape 4.07 in Windows installed because I don't really use the internet in there. Let's see, I obviously need one of these browsers. I have a 56K modem, do I wait an hour and a half to download Netscape 4.7, or hm, is that "Includes Internet Explorer" I see on that CD there?

    I install IE 5. After what seemed about 5 reboots, and about 20 minutes later I'm in Windows on the internet. Boy, this thing just FEELS better then Netscape. I use Internet Junkbuster in Linux for cookie filtering (call me paranoid?), and misc other utilites to customize my browsing. Well I'll be damned, Internet Explorers got all these nice customized "Security Settings" per website you can use. No longer do I have to open up my /etc/junkbuster/cookiefile, I simply add the site to the "Trusted Sites" zone. Nice. I also spend the time to marvel at the faster more intelligent rendering engine IE seems to have, the nice smooth scrolling, and all the other little things.

    Fast forward, two weeks later. Sitting in Linux I am, curious on the status of Mozilla. I download Mozilla M10. An excellent work so far, and I look forward to using the final version. The only problem here? IE 5, with what seems to me has almost all the features of Mozilla I'm looking for is out now. Mozilla M20, Gecko, Netscape 5 - whatever it may be called, doesn't look like it's coming anytime soon. While I can certainly wait a few months, my schools obviously can't. And that means IT departments everywhere probably won't. With Linux comes the need for a browser that can perform well. While we all love lynx, it just won't work in corporate settings. Opera looks promising, but it's not here yet, and everyones become too jaded and used to a "Free" browser anyways.

    This is not intended as flamebait or whatnot, I'm simply telling the tragic story of how myself, a Linux geek, Netscape loving guy, has unwillingly come to accept IE.
  • Wow, just like AFS was doing for people at MIT and CMU... over a decade ago.

    With Kerberos authentication (you know, that stuff that MICROS~1 is about to invent for Win2000) integrated.

    With network transparency.

    With secure remote access.

"No, no, I don't mind being called the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one." -- Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, WATCHMEN