Netscape (web browser)
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Netscape is the general name for a series of web browsers originally produced by Netscape Communications Corporation, but now developed by AOL. The original browser was once the dominant browser in terms of usage share, but as a result of the first browser war they lost many of their customers to Internet Explorer. As of September 2006, the usage share of Netscape browsers is under 1% and falling.
Netscape Classic releases
Netscape Navigator (versions 1.0–4.08)
Netscape Navigator was the name of Netscape's web browser from versions 1.0–4.8. The first beta release versions of the browser were released in 1994 and known as Mosaic and then Mosaic Netscape until a legal challenge from the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (makers of NCSA Mosaic), which many of Netscape's founders used to develop, led to the name change to Netscape Navigator. The company's name also changed from Mosaic Communications Corporation to Netscape Communications Corporation.
The browser was easily the most advanced available and was therefore an instant success, becoming market leader while still in beta. Netscape's feature-count and market share continued to grow rapidly after version 1.0 was released. Version 2.0 added a full mail reader called Netscape Mail, thus transforming Netscape from a mere web browser to an Internet suite. During this period, both the browser and the suite were known as Netscape Navigator. Around the same time, AOL started bundling their software with Microsoft's Internet Explorer.
Version 3.0 of Netscape (the first beta was codenamed "Atlas") was the first to face any serious competition in the form of Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0. Netscape, however, easily held off Microsoft's challenge and remained the number one browser for the time being. Version 3.0 was also available in a "Gold" version which featured a WYSIWYG HTML editor (later added to Netscape Communicator as a standard feature). Netscape 3.0 introduced many new features such as new plugins, background colors for tables, the archive attribute and the applet element. Netscape Navigator 3 was a huge success, and the undisputed Web Browser giant in its time. The latest version is 3.04.
Netscape Communicator (versions 4.0–4.8)
Netscape 4 addressed the problem of Netscape Navigator being used as both the name of the suite and the browser contained within it by renaming the suite to Netscape Communicator.
After releasing 5 preview releases from 1996 - 1997, Netscape Corp. released the final version of Netscape Communicator in June 1997. This new version, more or less based on Netscape Navigator 3 Code, updated and added new features (such as support of certain CSS1 elements, minimal dynamic font support and the proprietary object element). The new suite was successful, despite increasing competition from Internet Explorer 4.0 (which had, at that time, a far better HTML engine) and problems with the outdated browser core. The Communicator suite was made up of Netscape Navigator, Netscape Mail and Newsgroups, Netscape Address Book and Netscape Composer (an HTML editor, which later became Mozilla Composer and eventually was split off into a completely separate product, Nvu). In October 1998 version 4.5 of Netscape Communicator was released. This new version featured various functionality improvements, especially in the Mail/News component, but did not update the browser core (which, in its functionality, was basically identical with version 4.08). Only one month later, Netscape Communications Corporation was bought by AOL. A standalone version of Netscape Navigator was still available, but this was discontinued after version 4.08 for Windows. However, standalone versions for other operating systems such as Unix/Linux were maintained up to version 4.8.
In January 1998 Netscape Communications Corporation announced that all future versions of their software would be free of charge and developed by an Open Source Community (Mozilla). Netscape Communicator 5.0 was announced (codenamed "Grommit"). But there were significant delays to the release of Netscape's next major version and Communicator therefore aged badly over the many years it was still used. As a result of this, and a more advanced support of HTML 4, CSS, DOM, and ECMAScript by Internet Explorer starting with version 4, the more up-to-date Internet Explorer 5.0 became the market leader. In November 1998 work on Netscape 5.0 was cancelled in favor of developing a completely new program from scratch.
Netscape 6 (versions 6.0–6.2.3)
In 1998, an informal group called the Mozilla Organization was formed and largely funded by Netscape (the vast majority of programmers working on the code were paid by Netscape) to co-ordinate the development of Netscape 5 (codenamed "Grommit"), which would be based on the Communicator source code. However, the aging Communicator code proved difficult to work with and the decision was taken to scrap Netscape 5 and re-write the source code. The re-written source code was in the form of the Mozilla web browser, which, with a few additions, Netscape 6 was based on.
This decision meant that Netscape's next major version was severely delayed. In the meantime, Netscape was taken over by AOL who, acting under pressure from the Web Standards Project, forced its new division to release Netscape 6.0 in 2000. The suite again consisted of Netscape Navigator and the other Communicator components, with the addition of a built-in AOL Instant Messenger client, Netscape Instant Messenger. However, it was clear that Netscape 6 was not yet ready for release and it flopped badly. It was based on Mozilla 0.6, which was not ready to be used by the general public yet due to many serious bugs that would cause it to crash often or render web pages slowly.
Later versions of Netscape 6 were much improved (especially 6.2.x was regarded as a good release), but the browser still struggled to make an impact on a disappointed community.
Netscape (versions 7.0–7.2)
For the version 7 series (codenamed "Mach V"), the suite became simply known as Netscape, the name everyone else had been calling it for years. The browser inside continued to be known as Netscape Navigator.
Netscape 7.0 (based on Mozilla 1.0.1) was released in August 2002 was a direct continuation of Netscape 6 with very similar components. It picked up a few users, but was still very much a minority browser, one of the problems being that Mozilla itself was a worthy adversary. In addition, AOL had decided to deactivate Mozilla's popup-blocker functionality in Netscape 7.0, which created an outrage in the community. AOL learned the lesson for Netscape 7.01 and allowed Netscape to reinstate the popup-blocker. Netscape also introduced a new AOL-free-version (without the usual AOL addons) of the browser suite. Netscape 7.1 (codenamed "Buffy" and based on Mozilla 1.4) was released in June 2003.
In 2003, AOL closed down its Netscape division and laid-off or re-assigned all of Netscape's employees. Mozilla.org continued, however, as the independent Mozilla Foundation, taking on many of Netscape's ex-employees. AOL continued to develop Netscape in-house, but, due to there being no staff committed to it, improvements were minimal.
One year later, in August 2004, the last version based on Mozilla was released: Netscape 7.2, based on Mozilla 1.7.2.
Mozilla Firefox-based releases
Netscape Browser (version 8.0+)
AOL's latest Netscape releases, starting in 2005, are known as Netscape Browser. AOL chose to base Netscape Browser on the relatively successful Mozilla Firefox, a re-written version of Mozilla produced by the Mozilla Foundation. This release is not a full Internet suite as before, but is solely a web browser. Other controversial decisions include the browser's being made only for Microsoft Windows (as of now) and its featuring both the Gecko rendering engine of previous releases and the Trident engine used in Internet Explorer. The Mozilla Composer HTML editor was no longer included in Firefox, but it has been further developed into the standalone Nvu HTML editor by Linspire, an independent company.
- Netscape Navigator 1.0 – December 15, 1994
- Netscape Navigator 1.1
- Netscape Navigator 1.22
- Netscape Navigator 2.0 – September 18, 1995
- Netscape Navigator 2.01
- Netscape Navigator 2.02
- Netscape Navigator 3.0 – August 19, 1996
- Netscape Navigator 3.01
- Netscape Navigator 3.02
- Netscape Navigator 3.03 – July 31, 1997
- Netscape Navigator 3.04 – October 4, 1997
- Netscape Communicator/Navigator 4.0 – June 11, 1997
- Netscape Communicator/Navigator 4.01 – June 18, 1997
- Netscape Communicator/Navigator 4.01a – July 17, 1997
- Netscape Communicator/Navigator 4.02 – August 18, 1997
- Netscape Communicator/Navigator 4.03 – September 6, 1997
- Netscape Communicator/Navigator 4.04 – November 14, 1997
- Netscape Communicator/Navigator 4.05 – April 2, 1998
- Netscape Communicator/Navigator 4.06 – August 17, 1998
- Netscape Communicator/Navigator 4.07 – October 5, 1998
- Netscape Communicator/Navigator 4.08 – November 9, 1998 (last release for 16-bit Windows and 68k Macs)
- Netscape Communicator 4.5 – October 19, 1998
- Netscape Communicator 4.51 – March 8, 1999
- Netscape Communicator 4.6 – May 18, 1999
- Netscape Communicator 4.61 – June 14, 1999
- Netscape Communicator 4.7 – September 30, 1999
- Netscape Communicator 4.71 (version 4.71 was never officially released)
- Netscape Communicator 4.72 – February 22, 2000
- Netscape Communicator 4.73 – May 5, 2000
- Netscape Communicator 4.74 – July 22, 2000
- Netscape Communicator 4.75 – September 17, 2000
- Netscape Communicator 4.76 – October 25, 2000
- Netscape Communicator 4.77 – April 16, 2001
- Netscape Communicator 4.78 – July 20, 2001
- Netscape Communicator 4.79 – November 10, 2001
- Netscape Communicator 4.8 – August 22, 2002
- Netscape 6.0 – November 14, 2000 (based on Mozilla Milestone 18)
- Netscape 6.01 – February 9, 2001(based on Mozilla 0.7)
- Netscape 6.1 – August 8, 2001 (based on Mozilla 0.9.2.1)
- Netscape 6.2 – October 30, 2001 (based on Mozilla 0.9.4.1)
- Netscape 6.2.1 (based on Mozilla 0.9.4.1)
- Netscape 6.2.2 (based on Mozilla 0.9.4.1)
- Netscape 6.2.3 – May 15, 2002 (based on Mozilla 0.9.4.1)
- Netscape 7.0 – August 29, 2002 (based on Mozilla 1.0.1)
- Netscape 7.01 – December 10, 2002 (based on Mozilla 1.0.2)
- Netscape 7.02 – February 18, 2003 (based on Mozilla 1.0.2)
- Netscape 7.1 – June 30, 2003 (based on Mozilla 1.4)
- Netscape 7.2 – August 17, 2004 (based on Mozilla 1.7)
- Netscape Browser 8.0 – May 19, 2005 (based on Mozilla Firefox 1.0.3)
- Netscape Browser 8.0.1 – May 19, 2005 (based on Mozilla Firefox 1.0.4)
- Netscape Browser 8.0.2 – June 17, 2005 (based on Mozilla Firefox 1.0.4)
- Netscape Browser 126.96.36.199 – July 25, 2005 (based on Mozilla Firefox 1.0.6)
- Netscape Browser 188.8.131.52 – August 8, 2005 (based on Mozilla Firefox 1.0.6)
- Netscape Browser 184.108.40.206 – August 17, 2005 (based on Mozilla Firefox 1.0.6)
- Netscape Browser 8.0.4 – October 19, 2005 (based on Mozilla Firefox 1.0.7)
- Netscape Browser 8.1 – January 25, 2006 (based on Mozilla Firefox 1.0.7)
- Netscape Browser 8.1.2 – September 27, 2006 (based on Gecko 1.7.5)
- Mozilla Firefox
- Gecko rendering engine
- Download latest Netscape browser
- Netscape.com home page
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