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The wicked witch of the net
June 11, 2002 7:56 AM   Subscribe

The wicked witch of the net is five years old today. "That's like 236 in Web years. Ancient. The Methuselah of browsers, kept alive on an IV drip of tag soup". (via scottandrew)
posted by aaronshaf (15 comments total)

 
Can't someone write a virus that only infects machines with Netscape 4 and upgrades them to Netscape 7 or something?
posted by kerplunk at 8:25 AM on June 11, 2002


Isn't Netscape 4 already a virus?
posted by aaronshaf at 8:31 AM on June 11, 2002


I see a day in the near future when we all look back at IE5 the way we look at Netscape 4 today.
posted by brownpau at 8:38 AM on June 11, 2002


I see a day in the near future when we all look back at IE5 the way we look at Netscape 4 today.

Highly unlikely. Netscape 4's problem is not its age but it's poor execution of HTML. Hell, it doesn't even render frames correctly!
posted by ljromanoff at 8:41 AM on June 11, 2002


I have to agree with ljromanoff, and I'm certainly no MS zealot. And I don't see it getting any better with NS 6.
posted by the_0ne at 9:01 AM on June 11, 2002


Well, okay, maybe not THAT badly. :)
posted by brownpau at 9:10 AM on June 11, 2002


Hell, if we really wanted to, we could use a script to block out anyone with NS4 from our sites. It could forward them to the NS7 download page. It would save alot of trouble for designers, but I guess you'd be turning away (what was it?) about 5% of your users. It might be worth it to finally make the switch to CSS layout.
posted by password at 10:32 AM on June 11, 2002


The problem is that most of those holding out are probably doing so because they can't, either because they're not technically skilled enough or they work for an organisation whose IT department has locked down the machines and they don't have access rights to do it. That's why it needs to be something automatic with no user intervention (and running with admin privileges). Just pointing them at a download page isn't enough and won't do the job.
posted by kerplunk at 10:50 AM on June 11, 2002


I see a day in the near future when we all look back at IE5 the way we look at Netscape 4 today.

Possibly. IE5 does have it's quirks, especially if for some reason you refuse to upgrade to 5.5. But for it to match the insanity that is NS4, you would have to have a handful of devout holdouts holding the web developers of the world hostage.

The problem is that most of those holding out are probably doing so because they can't...

I disagree. I think that most of them are doing it out of ideology; they hate MS so much that they can't admit that their browser is dead. Once we had a workaround on our site that involved NS4 users taking an extra click to navigate. On the extra page I explained that this was due to the limitations of the browser and advised the users to upgrade. The feedback was immediate and vitriolic.
posted by norm29 at 11:03 AM on June 11, 2002


the_One, you do realize that NS 6 is an entirely new rendering engine, and contains absolutely no code from NS 4? It may be based on a pre-release beta of Mozilla, which makes it a teensy bit unstable, but its HTML rendering is not comparable to NS 4 in any way: full CSS1 and partial CSS2 support where NS 4 had only partial support for CSS1. Other than the name and deliberate similarities in the user interface, it is an entirely new browser. Sheesh. Have you coded for either browser?
posted by dhartung at 11:15 AM on June 11, 2002


Why bother discussing NN6? The current version of Netscape is Netscape 7, based entirely on Mozilla, with much higher support for CSS2 than NN6. Compared to that piece of dreck, five year old, broken thing, NN7 is a beautiful little monster.
posted by Dreama at 11:25 AM on June 11, 2002


Netscape 7 is still in beta, should be out shortly Older.
posted by madmanz123 at 1:54 PM on June 11, 2002


I disagree. I think that most of them are doing it out of ideology; they hate MS so much that they can't admit that their browser is dead.

There are other browsers out there than just NS4 if you don't like microsoft. MS hatred only goes so far, they could be using a much better browser like opera or mozilla. I think the real problems (as stated earlier) are old PCs, corporate lockdowns, technophobes, etc.
posted by skallas at 4:09 PM on June 11, 2002


This prompted me to go look up the stats at thecounter.com. If you are looking at an 800x600 screen, you may have to scroll off to the right to see the navigation.

Does anyone else have a good link for browser/OS/screen resolution stats?

Stats for April:

1. MSIE 5.x   222190239 (55%)
2. MSIE 6.x   130460539 (32%)
3. Netscape 4.x   17818604 (4%)
4. MSIE 4.x   14252172 (3%)
5. Netscape comp.   4278541 (1%)
6. Netscape 6.x   3553751 (0%)
7. Opera x.x   2990936 (0%)
8. Unknown   1927854 (0%)
posted by planetkyoto at 4:50 PM on June 11, 2002


Remember that in designing your site you should really be thinking about your intended audience and that will make a big difference as to which browser quirks you try to play with. A site on Linux Soundcard drivers just isn't going to care half as much about IE6 as Microsoft.com for example.

And yeah I really hope that AOL 'do the right thing' and embed gecko in the next version of their software. It's one of the few things that they'll have done to make the web a better place. I can't see the w3c thinking up 'smart tags' for example. Well actually I can, but not with the whole keyword advertising thing going on.
posted by nedrichards at 5:50 PM on June 11, 2002


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