Netscape 6.1 Browser-Suite Coming Soon?
Mike Angelo -- 29 July 2001 (c)
Look for Netscape 6.1 soon. The directory for Netscape 6.1 already is in place on the Netscape FTP server. However, at publication time the Netscape FTP server NS 6.1 directory is not open for public downloading. Meanwhile Netscape denies that Netscape 6.1 is on its way. (Please see Note 2 below.)
Current plans are to build the Netscape 6.1 browser-suite from Mozilla Milestone 0.9.2, which was released June 29, 2001. Netscape 6.1 Preview Release 1 was released June 13, 2001, more than six weeks ago.
However, Mozilla 0.9.2 was very buggy. As we pointed out in our article, Netscape 6.1 PR 2 Browser-Suite Coming Soon, at the time Netscape took over the Mozilla 0.9.2 branch, there were some 1,258 bugs targeted to Milestone 0.9.3 and 1,657 bugs targeted to Mozilla 1.0. That's a total of 2,915 bugs targeted to those two, work-in-progress, Mozilla releases upon which Netscape 6.1 Preview 2 would have been based. All those 2,915 bugs were in Mozilla 0.9.2 when Netscape took over the Mozilla 0.9.2 branch. They just are not expected to be fixed until release of the specified targets.
We noted in our article, Netscape 6.1 PR 2 Browser-Suite Coming Soon, that Unless AOL-Time-Warner's Netscape division wants Netscape 6.1 to be another loser, it is going to have to reduce substantially the number of bugs in Netscape 6.1. Hopefully the Netscape Division will do that before it releases Netscape 6.1 PR2 to the public -- even if that means putting off that release until the lion's share of the bugs is fixed.
Rather then release such a bugy Netscape 6.1 version, the Netscape people did put off releasing Netscape 6.1 PR2. Instead, for the past six weeks they focused on fixing bugs. Apparently that put the Netscape people behind in their releases scheduling so they decided to make this upcoming release the final Netscape 6.1 edition rather than Netscape 6.1 PR2.
AOL-Time-Warner's Netscape division wants to release Netscape 6.5 in October 2001. It has lots of work to do if it plans to have a not-so-buggy Netscape 6.5 product ready for October 2001.
Netscape 6.1 Preview Release 1 was the first public beta or preview edition of the upcoming Netscape 6.1 browser-suite. For more information about Netscape 6.1 Preview Release 1 (NS 6.1, PR 1), please see our article, Netscape 6.1 PR 1 Browser-Suite Released.
Netscape 6.1 will be an upgrade from the current Netscape 6.0 and Netscape 6.01 browser-suite editions. It's for the Linux, Macintosh, and Microsoft Windows platforms and will be available for free downloading on the Netscape FTP servers when it is released to the public.
Netscape 6.1 could be the last gasp for AOL-Time-Warner's Netscape browser offering. Starting with the first Netscape 6 preview release (Netscape 6 PR 1), in April 2000 and then through the NS 6 PR 2, NS 6 PR 3, Netscape 6.0 and Netscape 6.01 editions, Netscape 6 has come under heavy criticism from the computer trade press, consumers, loyal Netscape fans, and developers.
Fortunately for AOL-Time-Warner's Netscape division, Netscape 6.1 PR 1 has lots of improvements since the Netscape 6.0 and Netscape 6.01 editions. There has not been the heavy criticism for Netscape 6.1 PR 1 that there was for the Netscape 6.0 and Netscape 6.01 editions. Moreover, users seem to like the many user-interface and user-experience improvements. For more information about what's new and improved in Netscape 6.1 Preview Release 1 (NS 6.1, PR 1), please see our article, Netscape 6.1 PR 1 Browser-Suite Released.
The four dominant Linux distribution packagers, Caldera, Mandrake, Red Hat, and SuSE rejected Netscape 6.x for inclusion as a default browser in their most recent Linux distributions. That pretty much kicks Netscape off the Linux desktop. Microsoft's Internet Explorer kicked Netscape off the Windows desktop some time ago. Please see our two part series, Is Netscape Losing the Browser Wars? Part I: Linux Could Be Netscape's Last Browser Battlefield and Part II: Why Are Major Linux Distributions Rejecting Netscape 6?
That could be a difficult task. So far, the major Linux packagers seem to prefer Mozilla to Netscape 6.x. Also, the major Linux distribution packagers include the KDE desktop and its Konqueror browser. Konqueror is a very nice browser and file manager, which is well-integrated into the KDE desktop. For more information about that please see our article Caldera OpenLinux Workstation 3.1 -- A First Look.
Will Netscape 6.1 be able to meet that awesome challenge? You be the judge. Download a copy of Netscape 6.1 when it is released to the public and see for yourself. Or if you have not already done so, grab a copy of Netscape 6 PR1 in the meantime and give it a try
Check the MozillaQuest Magazine front page (mozillaquest.com) regularly for updated news about the upcoming Netscape 6.1 release and for download links when it is available.
The Netscape 6 browser suite is based upon the cross-platform (XP), open source, Mozilla browser-suite. The current Milestone Mozilla browser-suite release is Mozilla 0.9.2. It was released 29 June 2001.
Simply put, the Netscape Division grabs the Mozilla source code, adds its own and third party products such as Net2Phone and AIM, and then puts its own Netscape branding on the added-too and customized Mozilla-base. The Netscape Division also adds its portal and bookmark items to the Mozilla-base while customizing the underlying Mozilla browser suite. Stir all that together and voila, that's the Netscape 6 browser suite.
All told, the Mozilla browser suite upon which Netscape 6.1 will be based is a nice browser. And it has come a long way since early February, which is when Netscape 6.01 was released. However, there are nearly three-thousand bugs in Mozilla, using conservative bug counting techniques -- many more if you apply less conservative bug counting techniques. That's too many bugs for a commercial product.
Earlier today, there were some 156 bugs targeted to Mozilla Milestone 0.9.3, 1,038 bugs targeted to 0.9.4, 46 bugs targeted to 0.9.5 and 1,698 bugs targeted to Mozilla 1.0. That's a total of 2,938 bugs targeted to these four, work-in-progress, Mozilla releases.
At the time Netscape took over the Mozilla 0.9.2 branch, there were some 1,258 bugs targeted to Milestone 0.9.3 and 1,657 bugs targeted to Mozilla 1.0. That's a total of 2,915 bugs targeted to these two, work-in-progress, Mozilla releases upon which Netscape 6.1 will be based. All those 2,915 bugs were in Mozilla 0.9.2 when Netscape took over the Mozilla 0.9.2 branch. They just are not expected to be fixed until release of the specified targets.
To Netscape's credit many of those bugs have been fixed during the past six weeks. However, it seems that new and/or re-opened bugs are surfacing as fast, if not faster, than bugs can be fixed.
Incidentally, there are some 4,761 bugs targeted to Future Mozilla releases at this time. Please see the bugs list in the right-hand sidebar on the MozillaQuest Magazine front page (mozillaquest.com) for the updated Mozilla bug counts.
For more information about the Mozilla browser-suite and downloading it, please see our recent article Mozilla Milestone 0.9.2 Browser-Suite Released. For updated Mozilla bug counts, please see the right sidebar on the MozillaQuest Magazine front page (mozillaquest.com).
To download and install the Netscape 6.1 PR 1 browser suite, please see: Netscape 6.1 PR 1 Browser-Suite Released.
To create your own Netscape 6 themes or to build you own customized Mozilla-based browser suite, please see:
Additional Resources & Related Articles
Is Netscape Losing the Browser Wars?
For more information about the Mozilla Organization, the Mozilla applications programming framework, and the Mozilla browser, please see:
Please do not forget to report bugs, problems, or suggestions for enhancements to Bugzilla.
For more information about the Mozilla Roadmap and Milestone Plan, please see:
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