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Netscape Reborn? 413

Posted by timothy
from the persistence dept.
An anonymous reader writes "BetaNews reports that Netscape has been revived with Firefox backing. 'Despite media reports and industry pundits over the years relegating Netscape to Internet history books, AOL has restarted the browser's development. The company plans to bring back a refreshed Netscape browser based on Firefox.'"
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Netscape Reborn?

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  • ... live longer.

    Well, the post war era will show.

    CC.
    • Why bother? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by shokk (187512) <ernieoporto.yahoo@com> on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @11:06AM (#10842004) Homepage Journal
      Why not just get firefox [mozilla.org] itself??!? The AOL-ized Netscape is just going to be a advertisement festival that I'd really rather just skip altogether.

      Is AOL that delusioned, that they believe they will be able to provide any real value on top of what Firefox already brings? I imagine that they will repackage it and put it on all their mass-mailed CDs, which is a good thing overall if it gets people to use it, but who knows what spyware and adware AOL will strap onto this.

      This is just another example that AOL/Netscape isn't actually going to innovate something; they just splash a new coat of paint and call it their own. That's why Netscape lost the browser wars. Thankfully its corpse was used to grow the seeds of Mozilla.
      • Re:Why bother? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by LWATCDR (28044) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @11:22AM (#10842138) Homepage Journal
        What they can add is volume. If AOL moved to Firebird it would be a HUGE step in killing IE only websites. Would you want a commercial website that AOL users could not get to? Netscape could bring a more commercial feeling to Firefox that big companies want. Or you can look at it this way... What can it hurt?
        • Re:Why bother? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Haxwell (229790)
          AOL signed an agreement in May 2003 [com.com] to use Microsoft Microsoft Microsoft pretty much across the board. They had Mozilla/Netscape all this time, and the hope has always been that they would use the Gecko engine as their main browser. But they didn't. And they won't. So yeah, it will be a cool thing, a GREAT thing, but I doubt it will happen. They already had their chance, and passed it up.

          Hax.
        • Better Yet... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by WindBourne (631190)

          They have a chance to bring back their network from the dead. They can not play in MS's yard and win. This offers them a chance to move their customers to Linux (or some other OS, but I do not think it is possible).

          By moving their default Browser to Firefox AND offering Open Office and some form of open multi-media (ogg/vorbis, real, whatever), they can get their current customers use to alternatives. Then offer up a dvd with a Linux install. It should have Firefox, OOO, and some simplified form of a Linux

  • Bah (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @09:18AM (#10841125)
    It may be based on Firefox, the old source for Netscape/Mozilla, it may even look like Netscape of old, but it'll never have the same feel that Netscape had.
    • Re:Bah (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rpbailey1642 (766298) <robert,b,pratt&gmail,com> on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @09:28AM (#10841206)
      A lot of us chose to use Netscape when we realized that IE was a piece of crap. We were a small but dedicated group. After Netscape died, a lot of us moved to Mozilla, where we brought our passion and dedication. Yes, Netscape may have returned from the dead, but it's not *our* Netscape, it's a familiar-looking (and smelly) corpse animated by the dark AOL magic that seems to autospawn new AOL coasters every month. Netscape of lore is dead. It might steal marketshare from IE because of the familiar name, but somehow I doubt users will get excited about it the way they did for the original Netscape.
      • Re:Bah (Score:5, Funny)

        by ConceptJunkie (24823) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @09:33AM (#10841260) Homepage Journal
        And I'm sure that if this fails, the next Netscape will just be a skinned version of IE.

        • RTFA (Score:5, Informative)

          by POWRSURG (755318) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @10:16AM (#10841618) Homepage

          From the article

          Seemingly in competition with itself, AOL has also been beta testing an Internet Explorer based Web browser it calls "AOL Browser." AOL Browser is independent from the company's client software and adds features such as tabbed browsing and privacy options on top of Microsoft's IE engine.

          They already are making a browser based off IE, but it won't be called Netscape.

          • SlimBrowser (Score:3, Informative)

            by KermodeBear (738243)

            Where I work, we design our sites to work with IE; Not my decision, but a decision none the less. One of the things that I really missed about having to use IE over FireFox is the tabs.

            Enter FlashPeaks' Slimbrowser [flashpeak.com]; It is simply a browser that puts IE into tabs and has the ability to use XML-based toolbars (of limited use, but still not bad). It is a good space saver on my taskbar. There are a few minor issues but they're nothing horrible.

            I would imagine that AOL's IE-based browser would be more of the

            • Re:SlimBrowser (Score:4, Informative)

              by AstroDrabb (534369) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @03:35PM (#10845009)
              Where I work, we design our sites to work with IE; Not my decision
              So where you work someone comes along and if they see one your sites working in Firefox/Mozilla/Opera/Safari they yell out you and make you break it on purpose?

              You see, if you actaully follow some _very_ simple standards, you will get sites that work in the major browsers. Don't do stupid things like use document.all, use document.getElementById instead. When you refer to a forms "controls" such as textarea and inputs, don't just use FormName.inputName, use docuemnt.FormName.inputName. It only takes one second to look at a site your building in IE and Firefox.

              If I am doing a web app, I only use Firefox to test with. Firefox has tons of great extenstion to make it much easier to do web development. Once everything is working. I then go through the app with IE to make sure it works. If I find a problem with IE, I make changes as needed. However, 99.99% of the time if you follow the simple rules above, your web sites/apps will work in the major browsers.

              I do GUI, server and web based apps. I put the same level of effort into web apps as my C/C#/Java GUI/Server apps. If I need some DHMTL type functionality, I spend an extra 5 minutes to write or find something that works with the major browser. For example, I wanted a popup calendar. There are tons of crappy IE only popup calendars on the web. However, I spent an extra 2 minutes on Google and found this one, Calendar Components III [theopensourcery.com]. I wanted a JavaScript based table sorter and found this one, SortTable [kryogenix.org]. You just drop SortTable into a page and it does the rest and makes all your tables sortable in IE _and_ Firefox/Mozilla. The point of all of this is that it takes no extra time to do things right and not have silly IE only requirements. The only things that should be IE only is if you are for some reason using an ActiveX control.

      • Re:Bah (Score:5, Interesting)

        by mwood (25379) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @09:48AM (#10841398)
        Gotta be precise here. Netscape the company went foom, but Netscape the browser just got a new name and a new set of priorities, and IMHO became much better as FOSS.

        I really don't see the point of another "Netscape" release, for the customer. It'll probably be just like the previous one: the current best from Mozilla with a bucketload of advertising gunk poured over it. Who needs it? Some of my favorite changes as NS Communicator became Mozilla were the things they took out.

        I certainly do see the attraction for AOL, though: they can sell areas of the UI like billboard space.
      • Re:Bah (Score:3, Insightful)

        "Netscape of lore is dead. It might steal marketshare from IE because of the familiar name, but somehow I doubt users will get excited about it the way they did for the original Netscape."

        This is exactly why this 'new' Netscape is important. You need a familiar name to sell to your PHB.

        • Re:Bah (Score:5, Interesting)

          by SpinyManiac (542071) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @10:27AM (#10841709) Homepage
          Not here.

          The new guy in Legal just requested Firefox.
          Management have OKed it, I just installed it.
          There were already 3 unofficial installs, now the landslide begins. 4 down, 496 to go.

          Off topic, but I've gotta' say it. Firefox used to require a proxyserver password, and we have to change every 30 days. Now it uses the login credentials like IE. The last barrier to corporate deployment here.
      • Re:Bah (Score:4, Informative)

        by duffbeer703 (177751) * on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @10:47AM (#10841840)
        I don't know where you were in 1998, but IE 4 blew Netscape away. Netscape responded initially by planning a rewrite in Java (ha!)
    • Re:Bah (Score:5, Interesting)

      by gilesjuk (604902) <giles,jones&zen,co,uk> on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @09:47AM (#10841392)
      The feeling that your browser window was about to crash, the feeling of boredom while it loaded.

      C'mon, Netscape of old was inferior to IE. With Firefox it's finally matured into something decent, both in terms of appearance and performance.

      I'd almost say Netscape RIP, the brand does a diservice to Mozilla, people will remember the old clunky Netscape and think Firefox is like that.
      • Re:Bah (Score:5, Interesting)

        by the unbeliever (201915) <chris+slashdot@nOSpaM.atlgeek.com> on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @09:53AM (#10841442) Homepage
        Netscape 4.x was inferior to IE 4+, that is certain.

        However, Netscape Navigator 3 was far superior to it's IE version counterpart.
      • Re:Bah (Score:5, Insightful)

        by canavan (14778) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @12:01PM (#10842511)
        Netscape 4.x is much faster than ie, firefox or mozilla, except for deeply nested tables. It starts faster, loads faster, renders and scrolls faster and yes, it's a lot faster at crashing as well. It doesn't support css etc. but compared to any other so called 'modern' browser I've tried, it's lightning fast and has a tiny memory footprint.

        Just because Firefox feels faster on your three point something GHz machine and Netscape 4.x didn't back in the days when you were still using a 486 or 100MHz pentium doesn't mean Netscape was slow.
        • Re:Bah (Score:3, Insightful)

          by hkmwbz (531650)
          I guess it's faster simply because it doesn't support all the stuff that modern browsers have to worry about.
    • Re:Bah (Score:5, Funny)

      by Colonel Cholling (715787) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @10:26AM (#10841701)
      but it'll never have the same feel that Netscape had.

      God be praised.
    • It'll never have the same feel that Netscape had.

      I've got that feel right here, in Firefox: Tools > options > general > fonts and colors > and set the background to light grey. :)

      ...then be amazed at how many web sites break because they assume it's white and don't bother specifying white in the CSS.

  • by beacher (82033) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @09:20AM (#10841134) Homepage
    FTA - "The browser's market share has dropped to single digits"

    HEY! I'm 20% of all Netscape users! w00t!
    -B
  • by Malfourmed (633699) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @09:20AM (#10841136) Homepage
    And lo, the child did become father to the man, and the student the master.
  • by thoolie (442789) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @09:20AM (#10841138) Homepage
    Isn't firefox based on Mozilla? Wasn't Mozilla based on Netscape? So now Netscape is going to be based on Firefox?

    Netscape->Mozilla->FireFox->Netscape!?!?!

    *Head Explodes*
    • by Anonymous Coward
      > Isn't firefox based on Mozilla?

      Yes.

      > Wasn't Mozilla based on Netscape

      No, Netscape was based on Mozilla.

      > So now Netscape is going to be based on Firefox?

      Yes.

      > Netscape->Mozilla->FireFox->Netscape!?!?!

      No:
      Mozilla -> Netscape
      Mozilla -> Firefox
      Firefox -> Netscape
    • A little history leason is in order:

      Netscape, the company, begot Mozilla, the Browser.
      Mozilla, the browser begot Netscape, the Browser.
      Mozilla, the browser, begot Firefox, the Browser.
      Firefox, the browser, begot Netscape the Browser.

      Man, that's one screwed up family tree :>

    • by joib (70841) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @09:56AM (#10841453)
      Actually, if you go back even longer, you'll find Mosaic, the common ancestor of both Mozilla and Internet explorer.

      And before you ask, no, there is no common source code. The source code lineage has been broken many times. For example, the original Netscape was made by the same guys who did Mosaic, but apparently they didn't reuse Mosaic code. Same for Internet explorer, MS licenced a version of Mosaic (Spyglass) but it is doubtful if they actually used any of the source code for IE. And lets not forget that the Mozilla project decided to ditch the netscape codebase they had been given.

      And of course, to make it even more complicated, netscape 7.x were/are based on Mozilla.
    • by multipartmixed (163409) * on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @03:09PM (#10844748) Homepage
      Let's say you and your buddies decide to write a book, and you call yourselves "Netscape Communications Corp.". You start with a short story that was called "Mosaic" written by a bunch of nerds called the NCSA.

      Now, you wrote this book, and called it "Netscape". It was pretty good, but you kept updating it through revisions 1.2, 2, , and 4, each a few months or years apart. While you were at it, you released a couple of special "Gold" editions which had a bunch of extra crap in it, and maybe a "Communicator" edition which was really a trilogy.

      By the time you've realeased version 4 of the book/trilogy (and a few subrevisions to correct the awful spelling mistakes and grammatical errors), you realize that it sucks pretty hard.. you've added pointless plot twists, introduced internal inconsistencies, and basically, it's not all that great any more.. so people stop buying it.

      You decide to work on version 5 of your book, only realize it's going to be a LOT of work to make anything worth reading, and your publisher has told you to stuff it. So, you stop working on it, and say, "Hey! You want rights to a book?" to the first group of bearded hippies that walks buy.

      So, the hippies take the book, some chips, smoke a lot of dope, and make friends with you and your crew. They pour through it carefully, keeping the good parts and ditching the crap. These hippies release a version of your triology and call it "Mozilla".

      But; the story's not over yet. Your publisher has been sold, along with your name. The new owner of your name asks the hippies for a copy, which they gladly provide. This copy is put through the spin cycle on a washing machine along with some gum and wax crayons, and is released as version 6 of the trilogy.

      Now, a bunch of other hippies come along (while the Mozilla hippies are fiddling with this and that -- trying to get the book "perfect", as only hippies can do), and decide they want a book, too... only the Mozilla book is the size of the freakin' family bible and they're too frail to lift it. So, they release the Reader's Digest version of the first book of the trilogy -- which, due to the editorial skill of this second set of long-hairs, happens to be quite good.

      This second group of hippies called the book by a variety of names. First, they called it Phoenix, but an evil company that made typewrite daisy wheels told them to change it, or they'd sue. Next, they called it Firebird, and another evil company (this time making filing cabinets) told them the same thing. Then one of the hippies was on an acid trip, and thought he saw a red panda in his vision quest. Looking up "red panda" in warezed version of Microsoft Encarta, he saw that it was also known as a "Fire Fox". Taking this as a sign from Budha (or at least a Karma-earning omen), the hippies called their latest book "Firefox".

      And lo, they editted and polished Firefox for many moons, until the publisher who bought your original publisher who went tits up when your Netscape Communicator "trilogy" failed decided THEY wanted a book of their own. But rather than fix that steaming pile of crap, they dropped by to see the second group of hippies.

      The hippies weren't home, so they couldn't ask if they could use the book, but there is it was -- sitting on top of the photocopier, along with a sign that said "Yo - wanna book? Have one. If you've got some extra, we'd appreciate if you'd stick around for a toke".

      And so, this distant relative of your original publisher, using your name (Netscape Communications Corp) makes some photocopies of the Firebird book, splashes some paint on the cover, sticks a couple of coupons in, and releases a "new" book on newstands everywhere.

      Now? What the hell was that book about?

      Oh yeah. It's the source code for a web browser.
  • So Netscape will be based on Firefox which was based on Mozilla which was based on Netscape? Do I have that correct? ;)
  • Netscape for Whom? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by earthstar (748263)
    "Netscape to be based on firefox "

    Now ,who is this Netscape browser being revived for?
    What is the reasoning behinnd creating Netscape,when firefox already exists?Is it for name sake?

    • "What is the reasoning behind creating Netscape,when firefox already exists? Is it for name sake?"

      No, the reason is not name sake, it's just sake.

      They had too much when deciding the faith of Netscape, and, just as in the hi-tech area, they are no match for the japanese spirit.

    • by CdBee (742846) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @09:51AM (#10841422)
      Yes exactly that. Bear in mind that the name Netscape still has tremendous recognition: Firms which would jib at the idea of installing "open-source" software might have fewer fears if the product was backed up with support from AOL.

      Geeks like us will continue to use and recommend the "true" firefox but the Netscape browser may be able to win some people over who would otherwise have stuck with internet explorer
  • Maybe AOL got it? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jokumuu (831894)
    Maybe AOL has finally understood that their previous strategy was not optimal in the long run, if IE wins hands down(as it has almost done) so that there is no competition, will Microsoft then still play with the ISPs, or will they start requiring use of their server sofware and such "to be fully supported"
  • by liquidpele (663430) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @09:21AM (#10841147) Journal
    Just when the name "Mozilla" and "firefox" started to become creditable, then all of a sudden AOL wants back in! Fuck them. They will just make an adware version of firefox that also installs aol icons all over the place, and slap the name Netscape on it.

    I was really hoping we were going to be able to move away from the name Netscape since it's bogged down by them so much. I wanted Mozilla to replace the term Netscape when people talked about browsers. Hopefully this will still come true.
    • Branding is important so I think that they should perhaps promote both project by naming it Netscpae Firefox.
      • ...promote both project by naming it Netscpae [sic] Firefox.

        Or, how about "Fire (E)scape"?

        (Doesn't really matter what they name it first, though. If history is any guide, they will probably change the name several times.)
      • by Evil Grinn (223934) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @09:59AM (#10841480)
        Branding is important so I think that they should perhaps promote both project by naming it Netscpae Firefox.

        I think the name "Netscape" actually carries negative currency. I know people who still harbor such residual hatred for Netscape 4 that the only reason they happily use Firefox now is because it doesn't say "Netscape" on it anywhere. And these people are developers!
    • by quarrel (194077) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @09:29AM (#10841221)
      This is GOOD. Firefox will still be around- AOL can't make it go anywhere.

      But having Netscape back is great for many reasons. Having a commercial vendor chasing bug fixes and adding features helps, but most importantly Firefox was born from the Ashes of Netscape, but the code was set free first. The more companies that can see a project like this happen the more they'll be inclined to release code that they've run out of legs to push.

      IBM has helped pave the way- opening big chunks of code and hoping others will help them push the projects along, but the open source movement will be helped tremendously if this is happening across a wide open front.

      -- Q
    • by woodhouse (625329) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @09:30AM (#10841231) Homepage
      Yes well we're not all flag-waving fanboys. From a practical point of view, anything that increases the popularity of Mozilla-based browsers is a good thing. The more people who use Mozilla (in whatever form), the more web developers who'll have to design their sites properly. All of this reduces the dominance of IE.
      • Exactly. And how many computer "idiots" (this is quite obviously a generalization - I know not all of AOL users are technologically incompetant) are subscribed to AOL? How many will follow the leader?

        That's a lot of market share.
    • Just when the name "Mozilla" and "firefox" started to become creditable, then all of a sudden AOL wants back in! They will just make an adware version of firefox that also installs aol icons all over the place, and slap the name Netscape on it.

      Just as Richard M. Stallman predicted [gnu.org].

      Netscape can use our changes in any way at all--even in proprietary licensed versions of the software... [it] says that working on a free program means contributing to a proprietary software product.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @09:23AM (#10841152)
    Peoples memories of Netscape and the brand are not good now, why bother with this, why not just back the Mozilla name and at the same time unite to take on Internet Explorer.

    If they do this, it just means browser stats will start to show up as something like IE 50%, Mozilla Firefox 25%, Netscape 20% which would totally obscure the actual success of Firefox.

    (Don't bother debating the values I've used, they are totally fictional and not meant to even be predictions)
  • Let a bunch of other people do the work you tried to do.

    Maybe I am wrong (and PLEASE correct me if I am because others may be laboring under this same idea)...
    1. Firefox gets developed as an open source product
    2. Netscape, by AOL, flounders and they basically fail in their mission
    3. AOL kills Netscape development
    4. AOL seeing a better mousetrap that's open source, decides to get BACK in the game on the backs of hard working open source developers everywhere.

    On the other hand I am all for any initia
    • Re:Well duh..... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tim C (15259)
      That's the whole point of open source. As long as they act in accordance with the Firefox licence, there's no problem.

      If you do consider this a problem, I can only suggest creating your own licence that prevents this sort of thing.
  • by syntap (242090) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @09:24AM (#10841168)
    Maybe they should call it Netscape Phoenix or Netscape Firebird (ducks)
  • What's the point? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by stevenbdjr (539653) <steven@mrchuckles.net> on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @09:24AM (#10841171) Homepage
    Would someone mind trying to explain what the point of all this is? Why would I choose a Netscape branded version of Firefox, repleat with pre-set home and search pages aimed at generating ad revenue for one of largest companies in the U.S., when I could simply download and install the free and fully function version from Mozilla.org? Plus, are they going to ensure compatibility with all the existing extensions? Why is Slashdot even interested in following Netscape anymore? The last time I visited their homepage, I really had to dig to find the browser.
    • by drkich (305460) <dkichline&gmail,com> on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @09:34AM (#10841272) Homepage
      Guess what? You are not the target audience. If you know about FireFox, sure why would you use their browser. Their audience is the millions of people the fork their service over to, who do not know any better.

      AOL will add some proprietary plug-ins. Change the look and feel, add a new skin and you have the AOL/Netscape branded Fire Fox.

      However there is a possible bright side to all of this. They may contribute to the project. They may find bugs that they want to fix, and they should have to contribute those fixes back to the community.

      So even if you don't use their browser, depending on how they work this, it is a win-win for everyone involved.
      • However there is a possible bright side to all of this. They may contribute to the project. They may find bugs that they want to fix, and they should have to contribute those fixes back to the community.

        While all good, those things are *nothing8 compared to what AOL could do for Mozilla, if they truely wanted. ALl they have to do is ship Firefox as the default browser in the next AOL update, and Firefox is instantly one of the most used browsers on the internet.

        Do not underestemate the huge market share A

    • Why would I choose a Netscape branded version of Firefox, repleat with pre-set home and search pages aimed at generating ad revenue for one of largest companies in the U.S., when I could simply download and install the free and fully function version from Mozilla.org?

      Because it came on your AOL CD and was installed when you installed AOL, and URL's in AOL open in Firefox by default.
    • Why do people use AOL when they could get a cheaper, less intrusive internet service for half the price? I don't know, but they do.
  • Netscape developers are smoking crack. Nobody is in the mood for another corporate anal retracting, spyware planting browser.
  • Unless AOL makes Netscape/Firefox/Mozilla the default browser, it's merely just more of the same. (Almost) nobody will be interested because Mozilla/Firefox will be more up to date and will come with fewer ads. And they force their own users to IE, so who's left?

  • It wasn't long ago that AOL decided to kill Winamp [betanews.com]. Now they have decided to breathe life into Netscape. Interesting turn of events ...

    One can only hope the bulb lights up and they switch to the excellent Gecko engine in the next version of the AOL browser. Many a web developer would raise a toast to that.
  • by ewg (158266) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @09:29AM (#10841222)
    The Netscape name still means a lot to people. Slashdotters care about the codebase and feature set, not the branding (or rebranding, or re-rebranding). But there are still many, many users who will "upgrade Netscape" before they will "download and install Firefox", all due to the familiarity of the name and trust in the brand.

    And "Mozilla" is a tougher sell yet.
  • Developers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by johnhennessy (94737) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @09:31AM (#10841245)
    With a version 1.0 of Firefox do we now have the proof that the Gecko engine can be embedded in applications outside of the Mozilla suite.

    Shouldn't it be more important to try and develop an embeddable browser (already done) and its supporting infrastructure (not as complete) - like documentation, languge bindings, etc, etc.

    This is something that Gecko# has started in a way, but I'm sure a lot of projects (both open source and commercial) would benefit from being able to embed gecko.

    In the Windows world, developers can just embed the IE browser using an ActiveX control. I'll bet that a lot of commercial developers would have no problem dropping the IE control in exchange for a Gecko control - less operating system (assuming one buys into the idea that IE is comingled with the OS) level dependancies.

    With a well supported embedded component, Walmart could have their own browser.
    • Shouldn't it be more important to try and develop an embeddable browser (already done) and its supporting infrastructure (not as complete) - like documentation, languge bindings, etc, etc.
      I'm sure Mozilla developes consider this a priority over working on a Netscape-branded Firefox, but Netscape developers don't necessarily agree with them.
    • Re:Developers (Score:4, Informative)

      by Evil Grinn (223934) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @10:09AM (#10841556)
      n the Windows world, developers can just embed the IE browser using an ActiveX control. I'll bet that a lot of commercial developers would have no problem dropping the IE control in exchange for a Gecko control

      http://www.iol.ie/~locka/mozilla/mozilla.htm [www.iol.ie]
  • Netscape is an original example of the outstanding possibilities for open source development models.

    Over the course of a few years in the 90s Microsoft managed to push Netscape out of the market, and somehow Netscape managed to fuck up the original Netscape source base. The didn't stand a chance to compete back then.

    Netscape went opensource '98. and now, 6 years later, their product has developed into the most evolved, innovative browser available in a massive community project that went more than success

  • Are they bringing out netscape just to fragment the userbase of Firefox?

    If they want to add AOL extras, why not just bring out a "Firefox" by AOL version? or a "Firefox powered by AOL"?

    Everyone knows Netscape is dead, it just seems like a losing brand strategy. . . unless they are trying to hurt firefox marketshare.
  • by Dausha (546002) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @09:34AM (#10841269) Homepage
    You can put lipstick on it and call it Gertrude, but in the end, a pig is still a pig.

    That is, what I like about Firefox/Thunderbird is that they aren't "Netscape" per se. AOL is looking at Netscape's shortcomings and assuming that a simple substitution of the browser code with Firefox will gain support? Maybe for the unwashed masses who don't really care (and are probably using IE because it's there). If you told me it was "Netscape; powered by Firefox," that would not intice me to use Netscape.

    I think what is not said is that MS probably plans the same thing for IE, albeit in some surrepticious manner. Maybe a rewrite to avoid any obvious license violation. But, I bet we'll notice that IE will start behaving a lot more like Firefox.

    But, I wonder if Firefox will start having integration issues with Winders machines? It's been known to happen. MS sends out a critical security update, and Firefox will start having problems. Things break, din't they?
  • by ieatglue0111 (759007) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @09:36AM (#10841280)
    This is one of the things I don't get about open source. Don't the developers of Mozilla open them selves for exploitation developing these projects and then allowing companies like AOL to basically take all their hard work, re-brand it, then make money off of it? We have a few "internet appliances" in the office which are basically just Linux distributions with a fancy web gui to control them. Yet these companies make boatloads of money selling other people's work. The original programmers don't even get credited! Is it time for some sort of new GNU? Something that protects the effort these buys put into everything by ensuring that the projects they create can't make _someone else_ rich? Or am I totally ignorant to how this all works?
    • by I confirm I'm not a (720413) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @09:45AM (#10841370) Journal

      Don't the developers of Mozilla open them selves for exploitation developing these projects and then allowing companies like AOL to basically take all their hard work, re-brand it, then make money off of it?

      It really depends on the license, and the Mozilla license is fairly permissive, so one could argue that Mozilla - in choosing their licensing regime - knew exactly what might happen. Other licenses, like the GPL, do not allow code to be made proprietary. There are pros and cons for both types of license: BSD-style licenses have their enthusiasts, even though corporations can steal BSD-licensed code and turn it into closed-source projects. Likewise, GPL-style licenses have their enthusiasts, even though we are denied the freedom to use GPL'd code in our own, closed-source projects.

      The original programmers don't even get credited!

      I'd be surprised if that were the case - I'm fairly sure the Mozilla Public License requires attribution? Anyway, Netscape's selling point will probably be that it's based on Mozilla, so I wouldn't worry too much about the Mozilla devs!

    • That's exactly right, and people to whom that happens generally chose their license knowing it could happen and are okay with it. There's a great deal of value in having the freedom to make what you think is needed, without having to joust with Marketing and Finance and hamstring your own product to meet nontechnical goals, then have some big outfit promote it for you for free. As long as the big boys play by the stated rules, that should be good enough. Some kinds of riches can't be spent at the grocery
  • What's left to do? Make a theme? Can't I just install an AOL theme? Isn't this just a marketing thing? Well, at least there'll be dozens of coffee cup coasters out there with Netscape ala Firefox ala AOL on it.
  • by Mstrgeek (820200) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @09:41AM (#10841329)
    This is a great site on the history of Netscape what has beeen for Netscape and what is to come I think it fits in well with what we are talking about

    http://www.blooberry.com/indexdot/history/netscape .htm

  • 'cause netscape 7.2 is a very stable release based on mozilla 1.7 so it has most of the "standards" feature set of firefox only with specific user-interface controls to match old-school netscape. all it needs is the better popup controls, find bar, and simpler extension management tools, and its got what makes firefox useful.
  • More of the same (Score:3, Informative)

    by MC Negro (780194) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @09:51AM (#10841425) Journal
    I would like to point out (as I'm sure many people already know) Netscape is also being launched as an ISP [netscape.com]. Given Netscape's ownership, I would guess that it's simply AOL repackaged with pretty, less-offensive icons. Commercials have been all over History channel. Seems to be the same target audience as AOL. Maybe I'm being overly skeptical, but it seems that AOL is getting more desperate with each quarter. Can't we just give Netscape a proper burial and move on? Is there really a need for another Earthlink/NetZero rip-off?

    Anyways, they even have one of those new-fangled web accelerator gadgets that makes one of them there internets go really fast. I also hear there are naked chicks. My cousin's got it.
  • by museumpeace (735109) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @10:02AM (#10841493) Journal
    Turn your flagging product code over to nameless unwashed masses who chip away at improvements and kick in a few great new features. Then a few years later, harvest the improved code and restart your business. I may be cynical. I may be assuming too much about netscape re-appropriating Firefox/Mozilla code. But AOL is NOT the nicest or most deserving entity to receive such a boon from Netscape's original dicision to open up mozilla code. Our tolerance of AOL must be that we all just hate Microsoft and want somebody to stand up against MS.
  • by tabdelgawad (590061) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @10:24AM (#10841676) Homepage
    AOL bankrolled the Mozilla foundation for several years, and when they let them go, they donated some stuff and did the decent thing (IIRC). Netscape 6+ was based on the Mozilla suite. What's so strange/controversial about Netscape basing a browser on Firefox?

    AOL is in the dumps, but it's still a large corporation with huge marketing muscle. Is it bad for Firefox if a Netscape browser based on it starts to show up in AOL marketing?!

    Beyond brand cheering, the most important thing for the success of Firefox is that it (or branded versions of it) reach about 10% or so of websurfers; large enough to force sites (except slashdot!) to write compliant HTML, and small enough not to attract the majority of internet security attacks. AOL/Netscape's move can only help.
  • by cmoney (216557) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @11:22AM (#10842136)
    People, even if you don't use it, it means the Mozilla engine now has more marketing muscle behind it. And the more the Mozilla engine is used--regardless of whether it's Netscape, Mozilla, Firefox, Camino--it's one less copy of IE in use!

    And really, what's the big deal if people use Netscape instead of Firefox?
  • by CptnSbaitso (800632) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @11:40AM (#10842290)
    http://community.netscape.com/nscpbrowser [netscape.com] requires an AOL Logon (i.e. AIM) but allows you to check up on what is going on. Not too informative right now though.. Check back on the 30th.

    I do like the poll. Currently, 81% of users are running Firefox. I didn't realize we were spreading THAT quickly!
  • AOL Browser ? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PetoskeyGuy (648788) on Wednesday November 17, 2004 @12:00PM (#10842496)
    Seemingly in competition with itself, AOL has also been beta testing an Internet Explorer based Web browser it calls "AOL Browser." AOL Browser is independent from the company's client software and adds features such as tabbed browsing and privacy options on top of Microsoft's IE engine.

    Wow, all the features of Firefox, with the security of IE. Why build a browser based on IE?? Reminds me of the Holy Grail.

    ---

    HERBERT: But Father, I don't want any of that.
    FATHER: Listen, lad. I've built this kingdom up from nothing.
    When I started here, all there was was swamp. The king said I was
    daft to build a castle in a swamp, but I built it all the same,
    just to show 'em. It sank into the swamp. So, I built a second
    one. That sank into the swamp. So I built a third one. That
    burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp. But the fourth
    one stayed up. An' that's what your gonna get, lad -- the strongest
    castle in these islands.

As far as we know, our computer has never had an undetected error. -- Weisert

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