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Netscape 6 Pre release is Official. . .
April 5, 2000 11:01 AM   Subscribe

Netscape 6 Pre release is Official. . . Looks like Netscape caved in and released the leaked version of Communicator 6. I got it and it's identical to the leaked version posted here earlier. Which is almost identical to Mozilla M14.
BTW, does anyone else have a problem with AOL/Netscape having the entire internet develop it's newest browser through the Mozilla effort while they plan to profit from it? Especially with Mozilla's ardent open source position. Or, is it just me.
posted by Dean_Paxton (29 comments total)

 
(I deleted my post about this - it repeated the same info)
I suppose we can all celebrate this tomorrow at the mozilla party in SF. Here's the download link for NN6.

Did you notice that if you click around on some of the NN6 release news, you end up with urls starting with "corp.aol.com"? It's just plain icky.
posted by mathowie at 11:22 AM on April 5, 2000


Hmm, Im probably missing something, so go easy on me... but... where did netscape get *6* from? i thought it would be 5...
posted by Ian at 11:59 AM on April 5, 2000


The marketing spin on that is that when the browser went open source, that was 5, and now that's it's a real thing, it's 6. Shrug. In reality, they just don't want to still be 5 when IE 5.5/6 comes out.
posted by endquote at 12:12 PM on April 5, 2000


It's just you, Dean. :-)


I don't at all mind them making money off it. Does anyone mind Bob Young and Marc Ewing becoming billionaires off of *their* work?


My outlook is: as long as they *do it right*, I'd be perfectly willing to volunteer to help them get there, were there not so many people so eminently better qualified than I to do that...


Cheers,
-- jra
posted by baylink at 12:17 PM on April 5, 2000



Time to go fix all that DHTML I've been putting off.

grrrrrr

posted by alan at 12:30 PM on April 5, 2000


While the project has been open source, netscape has put a LOT of resources in the project - something like 80 paid engineers, not to mention the server and bandwidth they contributed. In fact, one of the charges laid against mozilla is that there hasn't been ENOUGH outside contribution. So, I personally don't have any problem with this at all. I do wish they would release a decent UI though - I'm really growing to dislike the mozilla default. alphanumerica is proving it's possible to create a very smooth UI with the mozilla XUL tools.
posted by icathing at 12:45 PM on April 5, 2000


I can't say that I am a big fan of the new netscape. Maybe it will just take some time to get used to it.
posted by cmeck33 at 12:55 PM on April 5, 2000


and the official netscape release which I *hope* is more stable than m14 is not out for my OS. :(
posted by benbrown at 12:57 PM on April 5, 2000


oh, and regarding the idea of netscape making money off the open source thing -- A lot of companies make money off of open source software. Linux vendors, FreeBSD vendors, etc. Part of most of the open source licenses allow for the code to be incorporated into and/or used for commercial uses. People work on open source software for the joy of it, to make better stuff, to have fun, you know? And the more people use that code, the better, even if they're making money off of it.
posted by benbrown at 1:00 PM on April 5, 2000


The preview release that was officially released today is a newer build than the one I downloaded last week. (032306 vs (033112) Functionally they appear to be the same but I'm sure there are a few bugs fixed here and there. Of course, I can still make it crash messing about with preferences but it held up well to me trying to find my netcenter membership which it forced me to update (ugh!).

The strict adherance to standards while ignoring compatibility is a real pain but if they can give MS a run for their money I think we'll all benefit.
posted by mutagen at 1:25 PM on April 5, 2000


I am still a Netscape fan, despite stability and usability issues. With respect to all of your points, I guess that there is nothing stopping all of us from grabbing the Gecko engine and developing a "Metafilter" branded browser and charging $500.00 a license...

Hell, for that matter, the NSCA Mosaic source is still available, we could start there. Just like Netscape and Microsoft did.

My only problem is that AOL was not open about it's intentions for the browser. As for the resources and staff, that was part of the Netscape merger agreement. The parameters were outlined by Netscape, AOL had not choice but to comply. I don't think that AOL would allow any part of a core product to be developed in open source? Besides, so far, the only other company actually doing anything with it is Citec with it's DocZilla project (I could be wrong, I'd love to be corrected).

I guess this is why I bailed last year. I saw this coming and I'm still not too happy about it. Even if I am the only one! (hahahehe)
posted by Dean_Paxton at 1:29 PM on April 5, 2000


I like it.

Installed OK on my NT system, runs better than M14 did. When it did eventually borf, it kind of took everything with it... so don't run it when you're working on anything, I guess.
posted by danwalker at 2:03 PM on April 5, 2000


(look, it's Dan! *ha*ha, Dan reads Metafilter...)

*ahem* In the first 15 minutes I was playing with today's release it crashed about 8 times, when I tried to take it to sites I know are heavy on client-side scripting (word.com had some sort of popup window that came up just saying [object] and then the browser died; I tried again and without the popup it was fine).

I'm trying to remember it's just a very early release... someone on one of my mailing lists today pointed out that it's not *too* clear for the uninitiated just what "pre-release" means, and since this has been all over the news in the past couple days, there just might be a bunch of people out there downloading this thing and not having quite the savvy to know that it's in a very rough-around-the-edges state right now. I wonder about that too: could perhaps Netscape's rush to get something out where we could all see it be, in a way, shooting themselves in the foot in terms of perception? I wouldn't worry about it if this had been a quieter release, but it was anything but.
posted by Sapphireblue at 2:13 PM on April 5, 2000


it's impossible to have a quiet release around internet world; plus, it was bound to make headlines with the timing related to the microsoft stuff that's going on. interesting to note, though, is that the aol/netscape relationship is starting to show up in the product, by having the mail client able to read and send messages from aol. on the surface it seems similar to the ability of outlook express to send/recieve hotmail messages, but aol's mail system has been notoriously proprietary...
posted by msippey at 2:17 PM on April 5, 2000


I did notice that skins work in the NT release of NN6, although it seems the skin authors changed the drop down menus and everything. I couldn't find a view source option on the view menu. drat!
posted by mathowie at 3:11 PM on April 5, 2000


I found the view source menu on that skin, they buried it under "Accessories." How odd.
posted by mathowie at 3:20 PM on April 5, 2000


I suspect a lot of dhtml-heavy sites will have to be reworked for this release, because most if not all browser detection routines no longer work. Old standbys like checking document.all and document.layers no longer work because NN6 will support neither. There's a good article about this here.
posted by icathing at 3:23 PM on April 5, 2000


Now if only I could get it to download... hello world, leave prol a little bandwidth.
posted by prolific at 3:50 PM on April 5, 2000


Even basic sites will need to be re-tooled. Many of the simplest things we rely on are non-standard hacks whose age has given them the flavor of legitimacy. Perhaps for that reason - or possibly because of serious software flaws - the current version and its predecessors run many sites through the Picasso machine.

So if the browser catches on, the entire web will need to be retooled - and that's assuming the browser actually complies with all these standards, does not have a mechanism for dealing with older authoring practices, and is not seriously flawed. Since the real browser isn't out yet, we can't know.

On the Open Source tip, I think there's a perceptual difference between software that begins its life as Open Source and eventually becomes a corporate product (Linux), vs. Netscape's browser, which was a corporate product until 1998 - and will be a corporate product again upon release. It seems to me that most people will view Mozilla as Netscape (if they are even aware of Mozilla). If "Netscape 6" was the latest version of software that had always been Open Source, it would probably be embraced with more passion. Zawinski didn't quit because the Open Source strategy was working so well; he quit because he was disappointed. Then again, at Slashdot, most of the posters love it.

These are interesting times.


posted by Zeldman at 4:09 PM on April 5, 2000


What I don't get is, current AOL 5.0 (4.0 on the Mac) uses Internet Explorer as its default browser engine. So are they jumping ship because of Microsofts legal trouble, or did I miss a merger somewhere?
posted by Awol at 4:22 PM on April 5, 2000


AOL has contracts in place with Microsoft. When they purchased Netscape this question came up, and their position hasn't really changed. Obviously this could have been a great way to boost usership of Netscape.
posted by dhartung at 6:16 PM on April 5, 2000


Yeah, but as AOL expressed once again in today's webcast, the prime real estate on the Windows desktop is much too valuable for them to consider dropping any existing deals with Microsoft (AOL 5.0 Mac Beta also uses IE). To me it seems that they are biting the hand of the one who feeds them. But, I am sure there is more to the story then lil' me knows.
posted by bvanveen at 6:49 PM on April 5, 2000


Heh. Netscape 6 may be the name, but navigator.appVersion tells a different story.

Seems much more stable than M14. The UI is a lot more responsive, although they need a new default skin. BLEARGH!

I hate those little network installer apps. I hope the ftp site gets a full downloadable . . . like past Netscapes have.

Still, not bad for pre-beta software . . . reminds me of the days where we'd be downloading a release every month.

posted by alan at 7:19 PM on April 5, 2000


Hey, is anyone here going to the Mozilla party by the way?

I'm with everyone, I hate the thought or redesigning everything, but I still love Netscape... Even if The Man owns it.
posted by Dean_Paxton at 7:55 PM on April 5, 2000


So there I am, pondering the task of re-doing all the DHTML on my site, or just saying the hell with it and get the mandatory 4 month redesign out of the way. I hop on over to the W3 and take a look at the DOM1 recommendation.

EEP!

So has anyone deciphered this so mere mortals can understand it?


posted by alan at 8:26 PM on April 5, 2000


Dean, I'll probably be at the mozilla party, except my train leaves for home at 10pm, and the party doesn't start until 8pm, which means it won't be for long. Dang.
posted by mathowie at 9:30 PM on April 5, 2000


>> So has anyone deciphered this so mere mortals can understand it? <<

We will be covering it in A List Apart in a week or two. Obviously one or two articles won't really make sense of it, but they could help.

I've WANTED to do this since January 1999, but I was not qualified to write it, and I was unable to find a writer who (a.) could handle it and (b.) had the time to actually write the piece.

Now that Netscape 6 is nearly here, I finally found the (I hope) right writer.




posted by Zeldman at 10:41 PM on April 5, 2000


The Mozilla team responds...
posted by mathowie at 5:52 PM on April 6, 2000


Wonderful reading, thanks Matt.
posted by Dean_Paxton at 6:16 PM on April 6, 2000


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