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What happened to Netscape 5.0?
What happened to Communicator 5.0?
Netscape 5.0 was based on the 4.x code base that Netscape released in 1998. Netscape also released the beginnings of Netscape Gecko -- a new code base -- at about the same time. Soon the Web was clamoring for Gecko's superior performance and standards support. So, [in 1999], Netscape switched code bases and rewrote the new software based on Gecko, canceling 5.0 (Mozilla classic) in favour of Netscape 6.
Now, Netscape 7 is based on final release of Mozilla.
(Based on Netscape 6 FAQ page, archived by archive.org)

There is a compiled version of Netscape Communicator 5.0 based on the very early source code released by Netscape. (Note, very buggy, not recommended.)

Other explainations:
Big number = big change and marketing. "If there is a big enough change in the software program, version numbers should increase to reflect that, even jumping a whole number. Netscape 6 shares very little of the code from Netscape 4.xx, changes are drastic and warrant jumping." (from NewsZilla)

For more infromation, please read Netscape 6: New Approach To Browsers (BYTE.com)
Mozilla Preview/History (Geek.com)

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The relationship between Netscape and Mozilla
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This page was last modified on 12 February, 2006.