Struggling to put out a browser that will help it regain lost
market share, Netscape
Communications Tuesday launched the latest beta version of the
Netscape 6 browser sporting a number of new features.
Available via free download, Preview Release 2
is a follow-up to the first release, launched in April. That
version first showcased Netscape's small, open source Gecko engine,
which the company licensed from mozilla.org.
Among the new tricks in the latest beta are "Themes," which allow users to
change the look of the browser by applying different combinations
of design elements or "skins." With this tool, businesses may
create and distribute custom versions of the new browser with their
Also included is a new, encrypted password manager that builds
on the privacy and security offerings of cookie manager and offers
users the convenience of protecting passwords, and revised My
Sidebar features, including My Sidebar Central and My Sidebar
Netscape Senior Vice President and General Manager Jim Martin
said the release was the America
Online Inc. subsidiary's latest step in its aggressive browser
"Built on the open source code, Netscape 6 continues to fulfill
its promise to deliver a browser that is smaller and faster, offers
a complete communications package, leads the industry in standards
compliance and can run across a wide variety of platforms, from
traditional desktop PCs to new computing devices," said Martin.
Martin expressed confidence that the final version of the
browser, released this fall, would be a driving, innovative tool
for consumers and developers.
But some industry observers aren't so sure this will happen.
Upon testing the first version, Andrew Starling, editor of
it was fitting that Netscape's revamped browser is powered by the
Gecko engine because of the slew of bugs he found in the first
"Its font handling is poor, it can't keep track of its own URL
history, it gave my CPU palpitations, and of course it's liable to
crash," Starling said, pulling no punches. "It rejects good Java,
and as for its DHTML handling - well, I haven't quite figured that
one out yet."
Starling also said the only reason Netscape would get away with
its new product was because of its brand -- coupled with the fact
that many people do not like Microsoft Corp. these days.
Indeed, one developer who encountered a problem with Netscape 6
sounded off Monday on Web
Developer.com's discussion forum.
"I'm in the process of putting up a site here
that is split into a top and a bottom frame," said the developer
who goes by the name Shadow. "Everything showed up great in both
both frames. Now, it only opens in IE, but in Netscape I just get a
big blank space at the top. That is definitely not what I had in
If problems snowball for Preview Release 2, and people turn
viciously on Netscape, Martin's assertion this week in an
interview with siliconvalley.internet.com that he did not want
to be in a browser war might be a gross understatement.
Some of the products that appear on this site are from companies from which QuinStreet receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site including, for example, the order in which they appear. QuinStreet does not include all companies or all types of products available in the marketplace.