The fate of Netscape

Does anyone know the current status of Netscape? Are they keeping up with new developments?

The latest version of their browser, Netscape 7.1, just came out a few months ago. It’s as up to date as just about any browser.

The browser is really Mozilla, which can be found at . It’s my browser of choice.

Netscape 7.1 is the last Netscape browser, but it is basically Mozilla with annoying things added. (Netscape laid off a bunch of people.) I use Mozilla at home also, it is fast, has never crashed, so far at least, and is a reasonably small download. It picked up all my Netscape bookmarks and settings perfectly.

While I have yet to locate any cites that Netscape will be no more, Mozilla will continue operating (Netscape is a rebadged Mozilla with extra crap added).

Mozillia now has a foundation to help support it, along with pledges from AOL, Sun Microsystems, Red Hat, and other companies. It also doesn’t hurt when Mozillia makes it into PC World’s annual “Best of …” awards, among others.

(At the same time, there are rumors that Microsoft is no longer working on new versions of IE, concentrating on its .net technology. It also doesn’t help that the $500 million plus lawsuit they lost recently may require them to cripple IE as part of the settlement. But I digress.)

Rest assured, the engine that drives Netscape will continue to be maintained and developed. Just use Mozilla.

Yes, Netscape 7.1 is essentially identical to Mozilla 1.4. I use them both. I don’t know what annoying things or extra crap you’re talking about, but if you mean, for instance, AOL Instant Messenger, that’s optional. I don’t have it installed. It is difficult to use both browsers at the same time, however, because they share user settings like bookmarks. But any settings you have in one will be automatically used by the other.

Note that Netscape isn’t really the same thing as Mozilla. The Netscape programmers contributed to Mozilla and produced their own version. AOL is (was?) just one company supporting Mozilla. AOL has fired almost the entire Netscape programming group. It is now pretty much dead in the water just waiting to go under.

But Mozilla will live on as open-source, it won’t have any Netscape affiliation at all down the road.

Two bad things can happen to a tech business:

  1. It can be declared MS enemy #1.
  2. It can be absorbed by AOL.

Oh well.

I’ll have to give Mozilla a try. Being an old Unix hack from way back, I deplore being cornered by Wild Bill.

Achernar wrote:
I think he’s talking largely about the fact that Mozilla allows you to block unrequested pop-up windows, and AOL’s Netscape specifically took that function out. And does Netscape have a “Block images from this server” feature? Mozilla does.

I’m using the next Mozilla, which is called Firebird. It’s smaller and faster, plus it’s extensible with capability developed by all kinds of folks. For example, a really great extension is the one that blocks the display of Flash animations, unless you click the box where the animation goes.

Another nice thing about Mozilla is that you can download brand new builds almost every night if you like.

I’ve found one place that Mozilla falls flat. Sites that rely on browser autorecognition and require “netscape 6 or better” very often state that the browser version of mozilla isn’t up-to-date enough, since its internal ID is Mozilla 5.something.

Netscape 7.1 has the popup blocker just like Mozilla 1.4, and at least one version previous had it as well. I do believe that Netscape 6 lacked that feature, but I don’t know what version of Mozilla it was based on.

Which versions are you talking about?

Netscape as an entity no longer exists. A few months ago it was completely dissolved by AOL, with all employees being either transferred or fired.

Current browser development is centered on MozillaFirebird, a project to create a small, fast, and modern browser based on Mozilla. It will become the official Mozilla browser, replacing the current Seamonkey, in Mozilla 1.6 (it was originally targetted for 1.5, but has been delayed, apparently). It’s quite nifty, as CurtC mentioned. Noticeably faster than Mozilla, about half the size too, and with a neater theme.