I have been known to say that “Netscape 4 must die”. I still believe the web would be a better place if all copies of Netscape 4 disappeared from every hard disk on the planet. However, newer versions of Netscape, especially the latest (last?) release, 7.1, is a completely different thing. Built upon Mozilla 1.4 it is among the very best when it comes to standards compliance and CSS implementation. Way ahead of dinosaurs like IE.
Unfortunately AOL has decided to kill Netscape. Since Microsoft has already killed IE, that leaves Mozilla, Safari and Opera to push the web forward. The nightmare I really hope does not come true is what Simon Willison writes:
With Netscape dead, less enlightened web developers may be tempted to drop all pretences at cross browser compatibility and go back to targeting Internet Explorer.
Other people’s takes on this:
- Simon Willison: Netscape R.I.P.
- Webstandards.org: Sorting it Out
- Eric Meyer: Moments of Transition
- Jeffrey Zeldman: Netscape’s first mistake
All hope is not lost though! Mozilla is still alive. Mozilla.org is now renamed The Mozilla Foundation, a new non-profit organization backed by AOL, Sun Microsystems, Red Hat and others.