AOL to discontinue Netscape web browser

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Postby Fulvio » Tue 08 Jan, 2008 11:28 pm

I appreciate Jay's comments. Let's cool it. There are Netscape fanatics who "hate" Firefox, as much as IE. If one loves Netscape he/she should stick to the early 4.7.x revisions.
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Postby James » Wed 09 Jan, 2008 12:02 am

Hating or loving any software is idiotic, Fulvio. It's software, not a way of life. Fanboys of any stripe are juvenile regardless of the age. I "preferred" Netscape since I've used Netscape throughout most of my years using a computer (from NS 3.0). In fact, I've used every version including the latest Navigator. BUT that does NOT mean I hate Internet Explorer. I used to find DJGM's sigtag childish for that very reason. I appreciate that some have concerns about IE's security (as do I) and that is primarily why I have stuck with NS and now FF. I also use Opera (when the spirit moves me). It's a great suite of apps. But again, I prefer FF, probably because I've become accustomed to it. It seems to me that someone who claims to "hate" FF but love NN does not really understand the history of the latter. Sure there were a few social things that NN could do as well as browsing in the sidebar and other things that I did not find terribly interesting. But by and large, it worked well ... in fact... it worked LIKE Firefox! Wonder of wonders! Can you imagine that!

I agree. Let's cool it. The thread should be locked. Navigator is dead in the water. I'm sorry to say it but it's over and done with. Petitions are useless (as earlier petitions to repatch and update NS 7.2 were useless). And no one with deep pockets is going to play Santa and bail it out. Time to move on.
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Postby MJR » Wed 09 Jan, 2008 9:39 am

If there ever was a reason why I preferred Netscape above every other browser I had ever used, it was because it worked well for me.

It worked well with tabbed browsing and email and newsgroups. I've heard so much about IE winning the browser wars but the fact that IE bombarded me with pop-ups made me stay away from it. I never bothered with Mozilla until Phoenix came out. Phoenix was a novel idea: a small browser which accepts extensions. I liked it (up to now) but it didn't have email. Tabbrowser Extensions (TBE) also didn't work with Firefox (what became of Phoenix). TBE was simply awesome and it worked well with Netscape. I was happy.

I do commend Firefox for being innovative but IMHO, Netscape 8 was innovation itself. I never had any security issues with it so I was simply not sold with the whole "security" emphasis of Firefox. I had Netscape, Trend Micro and Spybot and installed all Windows updates and everything went well all these years.

Finally, I commend Navigator 9 for giving me the "wow" experience. For those who agree, you know what I mean. For those who don't, I couldn't be bothered at all. In hindsight, I greatly anticipated Navigator 9's release because the idea of building a browser upon Firefox was simply so bad***. I mean, what would you expect Firefox die-hards to say? Good guess. It's exactly what you're thinking.
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Postby James » Wed 09 Jan, 2008 9:46 am

Navigator is a clone with a few extras thrown in.

An after-thought:

I find it ironic that the UFAQ site has removed its download NN9 link and replaced it with a FF download link, particularly in light of some of the arguments we've heard coming from that site. If NN9 will be perfectly safe and secure for years to come (as the argument goes... i.e. NS 7.2) then why remove the download link? Why not continue to make it easy for folks to download and install NN9 instead of encouraging them to to the FF route?
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Postby n301 » Wed 09 Jan, 2008 11:10 am

The Netscape name will persevere whether you like it or not :)

I'm not going to speculate on how it will happen since like most of the people on this forum, I'm just an end-user of the product on offer.

Netscape browsers in my view have always set the benchmark and introduce new features before anyone else so this current plateau in Netscape development only means that we'll see nothing new in any of the other 'popular' browsers
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Postby James » Wed 09 Jan, 2008 11:46 am

Just two comments.

1. It's not a case of whether I like it or not. I've been using Netscape for eleven years now, every version since 3.0 so I'm somewhat familiar with it. My comments have nothing to do with my feelings as I've tried to make clear. In fact, your post contains far more emotion than mine.

2. Secondly, no one disputes that Netscape has been an innovative company. But let's not get carried away with our own rhetoric here. When you posted that it "introduced new features before anyone else" I have to interject that this was not always the case. Tabbed browsing, one of Netscape's big successes, was NOT introduced by Netscape. Opera brought out tabbed browsing before Netscape took up the cause. Extensions were introduced by Firefox. Skinning the browser was not a Netscape innovation. Navigator became a stand-alone browser but only after Firefox pioneered this innovation.

Netscape's name will certainly survive and I've no doubts there will be a small group who will continue to use it. Statistically it will be a very small group as websites that track browser usage already report this to be the case. And it's a given that this number will be further reduced as support is cut in the near future.
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Postby Fulvio » Wed 09 Jan, 2008 1:24 pm

no one disputes that Netscape has been an innovative company


I would say: no one disputes that Netscape had been an innovative company.
There has been no Netscape for, at least, ten years. Only, a division of AOL.
Things change over the years, after all.
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Postby JayGarcia » Wed 09 Jan, 2008 6:23 pm

James, please let me address some statements of yours ..

But first ..

Re: Jay, I noticed that there was no possibility yesterday to begin new threads on your forum.

Which forum? UFAQ, the Community Forum? The only way you can't start a new thread is to not log in or the thread has been locked/closed, otherwise there are no problems.

Re: Jay... be serious ............

I am very serious, remember I am on the INSIDE looking out an you're on the OUTSIDE looking in so therefore I have inside information and when I say "it ain't over until it's over" I am quite serious. I have stated more than once publicly that we have had some serious inquiries to obtain the brand. We are in the midst of investigating the inquiries. My statement AND my credibility stand. And when I said better and more exciting things to come that was an accurate statement "at the time". Things changed quite rapidly, one of our top engineers moved on to greener pastures, etc. Things can change in a heartbeat ... sorry, those are the facts.

Re: Navigator will not be updated from February 1st and on. Will it make you more vulnerable?

Not necessarily an "inaccurate" statement but rather one driven by panic. Think in terms of users still running Netscape 7 and how many attacks have been documented for security issues involving 7.2. Murphy's Law doesn't necessarily apply.

Re: Petitions are useless

They can be, in terms of who they are directed to. In this case, the petition to AOL is useless but at the same time may prove significant to show user interest to someone else that may be considering the brand. There was no "petition" to revive Netscape 7.2, it was just a "poll" to see how much interest there was. Polls are not petitions. And FYI, there was interest by the Netscape Staff at one time in reviving 7.2, hence the poll.

Re: Navigator is a clone with a few extras thrown in

Yes, common knowledge that it's a "clone", "reskinned", "rebadged" and all the other juvenile cliches when used in some contexts. However, there is a lot more to NN 9 feature-wise as opposed to Firefox. The two favorites of mine are "Restart Navigator" and the abilitiy to drag a text area to resize it on-the-fly. There is a lot more unique features to NN 9 as well.

Re: I find it ironic that the UFAQ site has removed its download NN9 link

The link to the NN 9 download was not removed, just moved to the side (right side), been there the last couple of months BTW. I moved it so that I could use the space to enter the clarification text. Also, there has been a link to 9.0.0.5 under the Netscape Archives on the right side middle of the index page. Instead of "trashing" the UFAQ why didn't you simply ASK what happened to the link. In other words "look before you leap" :-D

Re: Navigator became a stand-alone browser but only after Firefox pioneered this innovation

Nope, Navigator was the first with a stand-alone browser when Navigator 0.9 and 1 was released. The suite was released shorty afterwards. Netscape 7.2 has a stand-alone browser download available as well. IE is a standalone browser and does not contain an email component. So .. Firefox didn't pioneer or innovate anything at all in that respect.

Re: will be further reduced as support is cut in the near future.

I hope you're referring to AOL/Netscape's ceasing to provide "support" by discontinuing upgrades and updates after February 1st. Otherwise, end-user support will continue as long as there is an Internet and users are running any version of Netscape/Navigator. Support will continue here on Sillydog as well as on the UFAQ.

As regards your statement concerning why we are pushing Firefox on the UFAQ and in other venues. May I call your attention to this passage from the announcement by Tom Drapeau, to wit:

Q: Will I still be able to use Netscape?
A: You will still be able to download old versions of Netscape from the Netscape Archive (link coming). However, these products are no longer supported. Our recommendation for the nostalgic out there is to download Mozilla Firefox, and add on the Netscape theme and Netscape extensions which are available here:

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/user/56836

This way you'll have a current web browser that is very secure, and has the look and feel you have grown accustomed to with Netscape.

Thank you.
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Postby Edward » Wed 09 Jan, 2008 7:24 pm

With the benefit of hindsight, would Netscape have been better off on its own, had it not been purchased by AOL? Would it have survived on its own?

I do not believe the anti-trust regulators would have allowed the likes of Microsoft to acquire Netscape.
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Postby Fulvio » Wed 09 Jan, 2008 7:28 pm

Jay,
having been a frequent visitor to your website, I have bugged you quite often, but, also come to respect you, for what you stood for. And, people should defer to your knowledge about the future of a Netscape.
As for the features of Navigator 9, I have found that the differences were really minor. I have the Mr Tech Local Install add-on in my Firefox. That add-on creates a "Restart Firefox" line in the File dropdown. Navigator has inherited the extensive Tab control from NS8, and it is better than Firefox, up to a point. Too many Tabs contribute to bloat. Just this morning, after finding out that opening with five tabs used up near 80MB, I cut down to two, and reduce the memory usage to about 53 MB.
There are other features of Navigator, which I never used.
Just a question about the base or standalone NS7.2. Was it developed at the Netscape division of AOL?
As for who was the innovator, I would like the compare the present with the present. Let's face it, Netscape, never had the chance, in the present manifestation.
Bu, if someone is uncomfortable with anything other than a Netscape, so be it.
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Postby JayGarcia » Wed 09 Jan, 2008 7:53 pm

Edward wrote:With the benefit of hindsight, would Netscape have been better off on its own, had it not been purchased by AOL? Would it have survived on its own?


No, Netscape was in financial trouble after MS included it's IE on every computer in a box and offered it for free. I don't see any way that Netscape could have survived. Problem is, the wrong people purchased it. No expanded thoughts, make up your own mind and will probably be 100% accurate.
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Postby JayGarcia » Wed 09 Jan, 2008 8:00 pm

As for the features of Navigator 9, I have found that the differences were really minor


Link Pad
Mini-Browser
ResizableText Area
URLCorrection
Restart Navigator - no extension needed
TAB History and other more TAB features than Firefox - no extensions needed
OPML Support to export bookmarks in OPML format

And on and on but depends on the user and how many of these features are used/needed, etc. So "minor"? ... I disagree.

Just a question about the base or standalone NS7.2 . Was it developed at the Netscape division of AOL?


Yes, by the Netscape Staff at that time. And we all know their fate, don't we.
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Postby James » Wed 09 Jan, 2008 8:19 pm

All right, Jay. I'll defer to your insider's knowledge (as you put it and Fulvio suggests). Like everyone else reading this exchange, I'm waiting to "see" what transpires. Are we talking about six months? A year?

Most folks have made the same conclusions: Netscape Navigator was really not "that much more" than a reskinned Firefox. Sure it had some differences (two that I mentioned and two from you). But like Fulvio, I didn't find them unique enough to warrant an exodus from Firefox to Navigator. As for attracting IE users, they'd be far more likely to go to Firefox simply because of the manner in which it has been advertised.

But... I still have NN9 on this hard drive. I'm not opposed to firing it up occasionally for old time's sake. I have to say this. Way back (two years ago I believe), I was very happy with NS 7.2 (purchased the CD in fact). Ramona warned me then to abandon it because it was not being updated. Now you tell me that folks can still use it and that the fact that NN9 won't be updated in a few weeks is no big deal. As I mentioned before, "if" updating is as inconsequential as you are making it out to be, why is it we trumpet the fact that FF always updates more quickly than IE? It seems to me that at times we are guilty of speaking out of both sides of our mouths when it suits our personal agendas.

But hey... maybe updates AREN'T a big deal. Maybe unpatched browsers are inconsequential and Secunia can go to blazes. And maybe in a few months we're going to see these "exciting things" at which you're hinting. Okay. I'm willing to wait. My popcorn is all popped, the coffee is brewed....
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Postby JayGarcia » Wed 09 Jan, 2008 8:33 pm

Are we talking about six months? A year?
I have no ETA simply because we don't have anything concrete. We have a box full of emails, some trivial and some quite serious as per an acquisition of the brand. We're investigating all inquiries. From where I sit I surely hope someone with the interest and resources comes forward soon.

Netscape Navigator was really not "that much more" than a reskinned Firefox
We have never tried to shy away from the fact that Navigator was sourced from Firefox. Usually but not always, the "reskinned, rebadged and cloned" comments come from those that are in a rant with nothing better to do than enter the juvenile comments. I usually dismiss them as such.

Now you tell me that folks can still use it and that the fact that NN9 won't be updated in a few weeks is no big deal
It all depends on your level of expertise and awareness of security issues and notices, etc. If you practice safe hex you usually have nothing to fear but fear itself. I still use Communicator 4.8 and NS 7.2 on occassion without a hint of being afraid. I also run with Kaspersky AV which will alert me of any website with malicous code .. and it has done so on many occasions. I am in no way making "lite" of security issues, just that there is really no fear of an incident if basic precautions are employed.

and Secunia can go to blazes
You said it I didn't. :-)

going to see these "exciting things"
Only IF somebody else picks up the brand.
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Postby James » Wed 09 Jan, 2008 8:37 pm

By the way, Jay.... you asked a couple of questions so let me backtrack a bit.

Yesterday I went to you site and logged on from work. It loaded quickly as did the forums. I would say that each page came up within a few seconds. So obviously the "problem" I experienced there has to do with either my system at home here OR my ISP which is different than what we use at work.

Secondly, you asked about starting new threads. When I went to you site the day of the announcement (very shortly after the announcement was made) there was no way to post a new thread. I was logged in at that point but had found no opportunity to start a thread. I'm not making this up, after all... why would I do that? It's just the way it was.

Lastly... I know you think I'm being a jerk. Possibly I am. I know that I'm giving you a hard time and I suppose I should shut up at this point. I was royally ticked when the announcement came and in my frustration, simply looked for a target. I apologize.

Having said that, you've made some statements today that I hope will show results. After all... we're all going to be watching expectantly now. I hope for all our sakes that it materializes.
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