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Netscape 8.0 Browser release appears imminent
8.0 Beta pages gone, Coming Soon pages up.

 9:21 pm on May 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

Well, here comes another browser to check your pages against.

The "Try Netscape 8.0 Beta" pages have been removed, and "Coming Soon!" pages for Netscape 8.0 [browser.netscape.com] have been posted. Not quite sure why they did it this way, since "Coming Soon" is more common on amateur sites, but there it is anyway. No clue on when the official release date will be.

I need a new hard drive to store all these 'test' browsers!




 2:03 pm on May 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

grandpa, if you're looking to move from Netscape 7.2 then Netscape 8.0 is not a direct upgrade. 7.2 was based on the Mozila suite, and Netscape 8.0 is based on Firefox.

Funnily enough, Netscape 7.2 is equally vulnerable to the security bugs in the original 8.0 release: Netscape appear to have abandoned any semblance of proper patching of their products. If you want the same thing as Netscape 7.2, then you should switch to the latest Mozilla suite, currently 1.7.8:


It is fully patched and will continue to receive security updates. Netscape 7.x is a clone of Mozilla, so you should be able to uninstall NN7.2 via Add/Remove programs then install Mozilla and the same profile should be used. Do back up your profile first though! It's under Application Data if you're running XP.

Answering here as your Foo thread is locked.


 4:20 pm on May 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think it curious to see what sites the browser thinks are "trusted" and which are not. For example, Yahoo displays using the IE engine, so we can assume it's trusted. On the other hand, google displays in the FF engine. Does that mean google is not to be trusted?


 10:42 am on May 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

To mrMister: for NN3 just disable Javascript first...

Which also disables CSS. No thanks!


 3:45 pm on May 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

So... No-one else thinks it's interesting that this browser has two rendering engines -- Firefox/Mozilla Gecko and IE -- built-in? Or that MS allowed this to happen? I found it quite surprising.



 3:53 pm on May 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Any program is able to use the MSIE rendering engine - Eudora is one. When you say IE6 is "built-in" to Netscape 8, what that means is that it's able to use the HTML renderer that comes with Windows. (As seen not just in IE6, but also Windows Explorer, Outlook Express etc.)

So basically all Netscape are doing are licensing the Gecko renderer (used for Firefox) and wrapping it in a skin, with the added feature of using the Windows renderer instead.

Quite a good idea, so long as people can choose which one to use. Of course what will probably happen is that people stick with one, without realising, or knowing what the difference is. (Could you explain the difference easily to someone not involved in following browsers?)

The only question remains: who will bother to actually use this browser? Netscape can't seriously think they can regain lost ground - can they?


 3:54 pm on May 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Jim, it would be interesting to see what happens if you install Netscape 8.0 on a machine with only IE 5.0 or 5.5. Netscape doesn't include an IE parser, it just uses the pre-installed one used by IE - in that respect it is no different from the other IE-based (skinned) browser products out there. As the Windows HTML parser is independent of IE it is being used as intended by MS - as a modular component for other applications. To a non-technical user, the notion of different rendering modes with user-selected switching is a bad one - it should "just work" without worrying about the arcane technicalities, don't you think?

If you want to try an IE viewer within Firefox, there is the IEView extension [ieview.mozdev.org], which is not without its faults.


 3:57 pm on May 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

You can't even get V8.0 now, and if you can, don't! It's already up to V8.0.1

The parent company, AOL, really botched this.

Looks like the intial release still had those two widely publicized FireFox security holes -- the ones thast were just patched in FF 1.0.4. Why AOL went ahead and released Netscape 8 without first incorporating those new fixes is a tale only AOL insiders probably understand completely.

But now, instead of reinforcing a security positive image, they've created a boondoggle (and they're blaming "unnamed third party security experts).

eWeek Article [eweek.com]

The episode prompted a sharp rebuke from Firefox lead engineer Ben Goodger, who published exploit code on his blog to highlight one of the Netscape 8 flaws.

"If security is important to you, this demonstration should show that browsers that are redistributions of the official Mozilla releases are never going to give you security updates as quickly as Mozilla will itself for its supported products," Goodger said.

I know that I have personally been reluctant to download this browser. I would only intend to use it for testing my own development anyway, but ...

What a shame for the once proud Netscape brand name. It's bad enough that Netscape was trashed by Microsoft in the early browser wars -- but now further damage comes from the friendly fire of their own parent company.


 4:23 pm on May 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Without getting into the deep technical details of *how* Netscape provides IE rendering, I just think it's fascinating that this product offers both engines. I'd expect MS to be apoplectic about it! I know Avant and others offer similar 'wrappers' around the IE engine, but I'm talking one level of abstraction above that -- Users will 'see' two rendering engines at work in Netscape 8.

Ben Goodger's right -- You can't keep up with the source if you're going to add on a bunch of goodies -- there has to be some test time, at least.

The only users likely to adopt NN8 are NN7.x users. And it is kinda sad for the Netscape brand, but at least the core browser lives on in Firefox and Mozilla suite. Perhaps the book of Mozilla can offer them some comfort...

I dunno, I just saw the apparent inclusion of two rendering engines in NN8 as resembling an advertisement for a Ferrari where the announcer then says, "and for added safety, we include a free Volvo, and the same ignition key fits both!" (Note to critics, I am not saying that IE is a Ferrari, here, or that FF is a Volvo. The reference is intended more to highlight 'custom performance features' such as ActiveX versus 'standards and more safety').

I'd expect MS to be doing some serious arm-twisting to make Netscape 'quit it.' I don't expect NN8 to create a great comeback for Netscape, but the dual-rendering idea *is* rather ingenious, even if it does reduce pressure to bring IE in to W3C compliance.



 5:18 pm on May 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

I don't expect NN8 to create a great comeback for Netscape

Neither do I, unless they hope to piggy-back the browser with their ISP services. And that would be an AOL-style approach, and may be exactly what their game plan is. They only need to have a solid business, not rule the web.

In fact, I hope any and all strategies of ruling the entire web crumble rapidly - that attitude works against
what makes the web a valuable resource for humanity. Redmond, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, and any
other would-be kings - get the message, please. Make your contribution, take honest profits, but don't
try for all the marbles.


 7:01 pm on May 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'd expect MS to be doing some serious arm-twisting to make Netscape 'quit it.'

I don't agree with you here: it's a big victory for Microsoft. This "feature" ties Netscape 8.0 to Windows as much as IE itself is: it is the first release ever of a Netscape product which does not have (and cannot have) a Unix version.

...the dual-rendering idea *is* rather ingenious, even if it does reduce pressure to bring IE in to W3C compliance.

So what Netscape are now saying is that "compatible" equals "Microsoft-only", IE-based. What a turn-around! If you didn't think the old Netscape was dead before, it certainly is now. I'm frankly not sure why Netscape have bothered including the Gecko renderer at all.

Finally, I'm not sure Netscape 8.0 will be used by Netscape 7.x users: I can't install it myself (no Windows) but I don't think there is direct upgrade path (importing bookmarks etc.). What's more, what will the Netscape Mail users do? Oops, Netscape have conveniently forgotten that part. (Netscape was always a combined browser/email client, and a great many people resisted switching from Netscape 4.x due to the email client tie-in.)


 3:30 pm on May 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

> I'm frankly not sure why Netscape have bothered including the Gecko renderer at all.

So that they can claim to have a browser that is both 'safe'--using FF--and 'enabled' --using IE. That's why I'm surprised that MS isn't howling; Netcape's marketing plan for this browser is based on exploiting IE's relative lack of security due to tight OS integration, and they must explicitly beat the drum of IE insecurity in order to sell it. And they're likely to beat it loudly, too, after investing all the time it takes to add the logic to switch from FF to IE on the 'trusted sites.'

Tedster's point above about staking out a little private corner of the Web and then expanding from there applies here -- I'm sure that dropping *nix and Mac support was based on targeting the AOL customer base only. But since *nix users have much better choices available, I'm not too upset about it; My only interest in this browser is as 'yet another test browser' as I stated initially, and as an example of a clever (if not open) solution. Otherwise, it's Firefox, Mozilla Suite, and Opera for me, thanks. ;)



 6:12 am on May 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

I need a new hard drive to store all these 'test' browsers!

jdMorgan you can save that drive space for another browser. The newest problems [pcworld.com] for 8.? are being revealed. M$ is urging consumers to remove it and modify their registry settings.

...Spokespeople for America Online ...said, however, that the problem probably will affect only a small number of users in the interim.

Well Duh! Only a small number of users are using it! And that number is about to get smaller. Could we be witnessing the death of Netscape?

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