Netscape 6: At Long-Awaited Last - HTML with Style | 3 | WebReference

Netscape 6: At Long-Awaited Last - HTML with Style | 3


Netscape 6: At Long-Awaited Last

A New Hope

The history of the Mozilla project is a long and bumpy ride. I first mentioned Mozilla in my Gecko overview which was written almost two full years ago. Mozilla itself is several months older, and has been the the great hope of many Web developers: An open-source browser with the muscle of Netscape behind it. But things were far from simple. Relations between Netscape and outside developers were not ideal. When the project's conceptual founder and leader, net.personality Jamie Zawinsky, quit Netscape in April 1999, he stated a lot of personal reasons, but also a feeling that Mozilla couldn't work with Netscape at the state the company was in at the time.

A lot of people disparaged the Mozilla project as a move of desperation on Netscape's part. Some joked that the only reason Netscape released the source to their browser so that others could contribute was because their own engineers weren't up to the task.

Things are never that simple, of course, but as Zawinsky himself said, whatever the reasons, Mozilla failed. It's been nigh unto three years since the start of the project, and Mozilla 1.0 is still just over the horizon. Instead, we have Netscape 6; a browser based on the Mozilla source as of mid-September, officially stamped with the Netscape/AOL seal of approval.

If this browser was released two years ago, or even one year ago, I would be jumping up and down with joy. But by now, too many people think Internet Explorer is the Internet, and too many people won't bother switching browsers. For Netscape 6 to regain its foothold in the browser market, it needs to be truly exceptional. Of course, the browser is exceptional, but not in all the ways it could be.

As usual, my browser reviews here on Style Watch focus on the developer that creates sites for the browser, not the user that will actually use the browser to view pages. And for the developer, the browser is truly exceptional.


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Produced by Stephanos Piperoglou
Created: November 30, 2000
Revised: November 30, 2000