OK, it's pretty much finished : the latest incarnation of the Netscape browser. In an amazing break from tradition, I'm going to look at it objectively. I am not going to harp on about Mozilla, or standards, or Internet Explorer. And certainly not fucking Lynx. I am certainly not going to ruminate over the so-called Browser Wars (which would be better titled the Browser Siege, or possibly The Concerted, Heavily Funded Attempt By Microsoft To Force Netscape Out Of Business, Without Any Regard To Meeting Customers Needs).

Good stuff : It looks mighty cool, is fast and responsive, and has a very nice renderer indeed (the best in the field, in fact). The user interface components are generally quite nifty. You can import bookmarks. Woo. Basically, it does everything you need. It "feels" very sturdy and well laid out. I've heard loads of complains about it being full of pointless gimmicks. Basically some of them work, some don't, but hey, it's not like you have to use them. Compared to the evil, trampy, advert-festooned whore that is RealPlayer, it's pretty clean. I thought the Netscape Radio was quite nifty. The sidebar is very handy though, much more so than IE's clunky thing.

Bad Stuff : Puts an AOL icon on your desktop! THE HORROR! That's going to take me all of one second to remove. I feel so violated. The Java plug-in and (possibly) the Realplayer plugin have problems. But that might just be my machine, which is full of conflicting Java stuff already. (And when the Java 2 plugin works, it is damn awesome.) There is the occasional freeze-up for about five seconds, which I was unable to work out the cause of. There is a slight feeling that by adhering to standards to the letter, it is a bit "precious" about what you feed into it. A number of pages come up with a dialogue box about "Saving octet stream" which I was unable to fathom.

It's still not quite there, but give it a few weeks and you can finally kiss your crappy old browser goodbye. Fingers crossed. Or you can use Mozilla. Whatever floats your boat. There's certainly no valid reason to favour IE over this.

Update : The cause of the lengthy pauses : importing a heavily mashed up Netscape 4.7 bookmark file with several hundred entries. Deleted the bookmarks, and the pauses are gone.

bheistein : Err, so in what major way does Netscape 6 deviate from standards? Seeing as it's effectively a rebadged and tweaked version of Mozilla M18, I find your complaint confusing. I will ignore any mention of ECMAScript, as their frothing zealotry over the "standardisation" of such a bastardised piece of crap as JavaScript is pitiful.

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