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Main Page Rants

With a whimper

After two-and-a-half long years there is a new Netscape browser.

AOL’s release of Netscape 6 (having skipped version 5) is the latest iteration of what was once the most-used browser on the Web.

Where once there were shockwaves after a browser release, Netscape’s latest created but a ripple.

Yet no matter the intensity of the impact, the event is still noteworthy. Without getting too technical, Netscape 6 is based on the Gecko layout engine, thereby laying to rest the tired code-base used since 1994.

A big step

With Gecko, the Web community now has two major commercial browsers (the other browser being Internet Explorer 5.5) that come incredibly close to rendering Web pages the way they were intended to look.

Those browsers—combined with “the open-source Netscape,” Mozilla; the W3C’s release of Amaya 4.0; Opera 4.x; and iCab 2.x—mean there is now a real opportunity for a standards-based Web.

Why is that important? Because now Web designers can concentrate on creating better sites without resorting to ugly hacks; users can have a more consistent experience; and the advantages of the medium can be better exploited.

While the general public will take a while to adopt the latest browsers (despite AOL offering Netscape 6 CDs to readers of Time Warner magazines), the playing field has once again been levelled.

Want the latest?

Choose from the browsers below (the first three have been tested thoroughly on this site).

Browser Version
Netscape 6
Mozilla 0.6
Internet Explorer 5.5 SR1
Opera 4.02
Amaya 4.0
The Mac-only iCab 2.2

Don't want latest?

Send me an email explaining why you don’t want to upgrade your browser. I’ll likely post the responses in a future column.