What happened to Netscape?

Why is Netscape completely flaking out? I used to surf the web with Navigator 4.6 all the time. One day, several months ago, I started getting all sorts of goofy errors while using it: “Your browser sent a message this server could not understand” and “Application error” are two common ones.

I tried updating to Navigator 4.7, but it didn’t help. I still get the same error messages. I try to use as few Microsoft products as possible, but now I find myself a dedicated IE user (ick). Please help!

On a related note, what the hell ever happened to Netscape, Inc.?

They used to be the internet dream company, everyone was profiling them, they kept coming out with software innovations. Now nobody uses Navigator anymore and you never hear anything about them. Whats up with that?

My experience with this has been that the problem is with the server, not the browser. Specifically, I find that servers running Microsoft’s server software won’t play fair with Netscape’s browsers (Navigator or Communicator). I’m just cynical enough to believe this is intentional.

Application errors and Illegal Operation errors can happen anytime, but they seem mysteriously more prone to happen when viewing a site run on MS’s server software. The “Your browser sent a message” error is an almost guaranteed instance of selective hearing on the part of the server software.


I use Netscape 4.6 on my Wintel NT box with no problem except the occasional exception error that forces a quit. I use 4.7 on my Macs and it runs seamlessly. I suspect that your problems are rooted somewhere else. Have you installed anything lately that might be causing a conflict? What platform are you running Netscape under? You have to watch out for ‘new’ DLLs that are installed by other applications. Sometimes these have the same names and replace the ones already installed causing software breakage…

The server error messages are probably the fault of the server you’re connected to. Netscape does a much better job of following the HTML standards than does Internet Explorer.

They were bought out by AOL, but they still seem to be running as an autonomous entity. Netscape 6.0 is now available as public beta. I haven’t tried it yet, but it sounds cool!

Not true. I work for a very large corporation and we use Netscape exclusively due to all of the security issues with Internet Explorer. I prefer Netscape on my personal Macs because I find it more stable and I prefer it’s interface.

I’ve not had this trouble of which you speak, and I try to lean towards Netscape whenever I can. Without a whole lot of in-depth troubleshooting, the best guess answer is probably that some recent (around the time of the aformentioned flaky behaviour) software installation has corrupted some of the Netscape files. I know that browser reinstallation is somewhat drastic (especially if you didn’t save the installation file), but I find these kinds of troubles are hard to pin down and I frequently end up doing that anyway.

If you do reinstall, save (at least) your address book & mail folders first!

KneadToKnow wrote:

As an example of this, I’ve seen pages at Microsoft’s developer site where they post computer code (Visual Basic or C). Microsoft included a trick to make the code display OK in IE, but it displayed in Navigator all run-together with no line breaks.

The way they did this was to use the “preformatted” HTML tag (<PRE>) illegally. They would do this:

here is the code…

Navigator would ignore the second <PRE> since it was already in preformatted mode, and then the </PRE> would turn it off, so the code displayed without formatting. IE would treat it differently, thinking that the </PRE> just turned off the second <PRE>, leaving the first <PRE> still in effect.

I don’t think that there could be any doubt that this was an intentional thing done to thwart Navigator users.

By the way, if you don’t like using IE and you’re having problems with Navigator, you should definitely try Opera. When you’re reading the SDMB, you can open new windows in the background by shift-ctrl-clicking the link, then have a list of open windows at the top, where you just click one to switch to that window. It’s really a joy.

I’ve tried reinstalling, both from my Netscape 4.6 CD and from the 4.7 file I downloaded from the Netscape site. Both have the same problems.

Do you ever turn your PC off THespos?

'Taint so. My company (Bell Atlantic & Verizon Data Services) uses it exclusively. That’s a whole buncha users.

I’m reading a book called Dynamic HTML by Danny Goodman. It is a reference that tells you all of the HTML 4.0 specifications. It was published in 1988, so it is a little outdated. The thing that I found interesting is that it would give the HTML 4.0 spec and the earliest versions of NS and IE that were compatible.

Do you know what surprised me? NS had big fat N/A’s very regularly. IE had them, but not nearly as often. This was when versions 4.0 were the latest incarnation of each browser. So often I read about NS following the guidelines and IE not, but it didn’t ring true in this reference book.

Yes, jamesglewisf, those O’Reilly books are really good. However, don’t confuse them with the W3 Consortium. O’Reilly doesn’t set standards, the W3C does. Netscape is much better about adopting standards into their product than is Microsoft. Microsoft covers this up by adding support for tons of non-standard features and building that support into both their server software and their browsers so they can work together to make Netscape’s software look noncompliant by comparison.

IMHO, this is the kind of practice the DOJ should be investigating, not idiotic crap like bundling the browser with the OS.


It’s not quite that simple, necessarily. The Netscape installer may choose not to overwrite an existing newer (but possibly flawed) DLL.

I don’t know if Goodman was right or what the state of Netscape browser was at that time. However, assuming that he did properly characterize the state of the two browsers, don’t confuse a slowness to adopt on Netscape’s part with non compliance. Compliance is not about being up-to-date with all the latest elements, it’s about properly implementing the elements that are supported so that they properly display the information content as the author intended. It’s also about insuring that WWW authors follow the rules so that their pages are displayed in a predictable manner on any client. Also, there’s a question of intent with IE. One of the biggest concerns with HTMl is security on the client side. JavaScript tries to maintain the spirit of this intent. ActiveX spits in the face of this intent.

If you are using W98, then better check you system files.
e.g. START: RUN : sfc