Microsoft Ruling to Come Today

Monday April 3rd, 2000

The Associated Press is reporting that Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson will issue a ruling in the Microsoft anititrust suit after the financial markets close today. The notice of the ruling follows the failure of settlement talks mediated by Richard A. Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago.

It's fair to consider Mozilla an indirect consequence of Microsoft's actions in the browser space. So, I have a hypothetical question to pose to you. What do you think the browser situation would look like today if Mozilla wasn't made Open Source -- if Netscape had held onto their code and produced it without outside help? What would the last two years have been like? Where would the browsers be today?

#1 Sorry to say this but...

by generaltao

Monday April 3rd, 2000 12:02 PM

I don't want to rain on anyone's parade, but if Netscape hadn't opened up the code and let the Mozilla project take over, we'd probably have a much better Netscape option right now, and Netscape's market share would not have dwindled so much. That's not to say Moz won't have a huge effect on the playing field in the near future, but the question was "where would we be today". The answer, in my honest opinion, is that we'd be farther along in browser technologies.

#6 Farther along, in the wrong direction.

by damian

Monday April 3rd, 2000 1:31 PM

I can imagine how botched up the standards support could be by now. Netscape probably would have pushed out more of their proprietory and disfunctional standards, Micro$oft would have done the same. Mozilla may in fact be the only reason that M$ made IE even slightly standards compliant. Probably a third browser, like Opera, would have gained more ground by trying to do the standards thing right. Indeed, web technologies that are not available today may have come into being, but what good would they be if they only worked in 30% or less of the browsers? Trying to build usable webpages would be more of a nightmare than it already is, the web would decay into uselessness, markets collapse, world economic depression, famine, plagues...

ok, maybe it wouldn't be that bad...

#15 One step back, then two leaps forward...

by jesusX

Monday April 3rd, 2000 7:50 PM

It was a very bold, dangerous, and in the short run, damaging move. But now that Moz is almost ready, Netscape 6 is being fired up, we're going to make up a lot of ground. I'm a web developer, and today, one of my biggest clients, who knows VERY LITTLE about computers (He though AMD was a vendor like Gateway or Dell), he asked me if I thought that "this Mozilla thing" will be a significant improvement over IE. He read it in the news articles and such. He further asked me if I'd help him test it out when NS6 is released. Since I'm his IT manager/consultant, that means I'll be responsible for rolling out NS6 across all 6 of his offices around the country.

Mozilla is one small step for a company, one giant leap for computing.

#2 IE standards would be Internet standards.

by Waldo

Monday April 3rd, 2000 12:17 PM

My opinion is that the existence of Mozilla has encouraged IE to become more standards compliant.

I also think that Mozilla has made more of the public aware of the open souce movement in general.

Finally, aside from the browser, I think the XUL architecture will really take internet applications in a new direction...

Time will tell. W

#3 Offtopic

by i_amsure

Monday April 3rd, 2000 12:29 PM

I have been trying to find out whether or not they are going to change a particular behaviour in Moz anytime. I have looked thru bugzilla, and searched, and the most freq. bugs list, etc. But I dont see it at all.

I was wondering if they will ever change it so that you can right click in the url/address bar, and copy/paste (as you can in IE and NS4.x), or if it is going to remain locked to the edit menu option.

Right click-copy works in the browser itself, but not in the address bar. It REALLY is a little annoying.

Sorry to go offtopic, but I didnt see a general discussion area.


#7 Re: Offtopic

by wolfseyn

Monday April 3rd, 2000 1:34 PM

I was wondering about this myself... I believe bug 33675 is what you're looking for.

I'm surprised it's such a new bug ;-)

#8 Re: Offtopic

by wolfseyn

Monday April 3rd, 2000 1:39 PM

Actually, bug 14874 is more specific... it mentions there's no context menu with the location bar.

#19 Re: Re: Offtopic

by i_amsure

Tuesday April 4th, 2000 6:10 AM

Thanks a lot.. Bugzilla certainly leaves some things to be desired when it comes to bug hunts.

I cant beleive the soonest they are gonna have that done is M16, and they have a NS release tommorow.. Hmm. Very surprised that no one on the dev team finds that to be a higher priority (read: annoying) bug.

Oh well.. Patrick

#4 Depends

by Kovu

Monday April 3rd, 2000 12:56 PM

If things had gone as they had until now minus the open-sourcing, Navigator would be history. I had the 5.0 beta, it wasn't impressively different. Microsoft would have won, because no one would have any incentive to switch to the new Navigator. Netscape would either be dead at this point (AOL may not have considered the company worth buying without the incredible Mozilla technologies) or aquired by someone else by now (Red Hat, perhaps?).

The last two years would probably have seen 5.x releases, and maybe by now a 6.x, and while I can't judge what the standards support would be, I assume it would still be broken, even if it was better (like Microsoft), and the code would still be a bloated nightmare.

Life in Netscape land, in short, would now suck in comparison.

#5 Not so good

by brista

Monday April 3rd, 2000 1:19 PM

I think that Netscape would be part of AOL not making browsers anymore but working on server apps with Sun or other AOL Software and making Netcenter.

#9 Open Source and Microsoft

by tkc

Monday April 3rd, 2000 1:44 PM

Here's my theory: If Communicator's source code hadn't been opened, Communicator would have died - and a nasty death at that. I also think that, with Netscape gone, Microsoft would have gone after Opera, or any other browser it could.

Viva la lizard!

#10 Would have been better for now

by thelem

Monday April 3rd, 2000 2:40 PM

I don't think anyone can argue that the biggest problem with is that we still have no product released. I think that would all be differant if it had been an internal project (MozClassic would have been released).

I also think that the better standards support, XUL and everything like that would have come about. IIRC these were both ideas from Netscape employees. Remember Netscape employees still make up the majority of the development effort

So what wouldn't have happened. Well we wouldn't have had JWZ, or rather it wouldn't have been repeated in every article about netscape. Nor would we have had hyatt, he would now be working full time on his new project.

We wouldn't have ChatZilla, we wouldn't have load of enhancements from users like Ben's menus. We probably wouldn't have engineers from external companies like RedHat, or maybe even sun working on Netscape. But most importantly we wouldn't have the potential to get even more users. Remember the number of external developers working on a project spirals as soon as you have a successful release. And I think this is the biggest differance that opening the source will make. So, you ain't seen nothing yet.


#11 Clone should have been exist

by ryuzi

Monday April 3rd, 2000 2:45 PM

I think there should have been exist one or more mozilla clone.

If Netscape would open code,there is open source community for the Full Spec WWW Browser,named mozilla.

#16 Re: Clone should have been exist

by damian

Monday April 3rd, 2000 9:19 PM

um, yes i agree entirely :)

#12 It's now REALLY official

by Quelish

Monday April 3rd, 2000 3:04 PM

Yep, Microsoft killed Netscape. It's official now.

#13 What should happen now is...

by ERICmurphy

Monday April 3rd, 2000 3:29 PM

I really do believe that Mozilla has the best future working with and optimized for alternative platforms, such as Linux and BeOS.

People could even build Mozilla into a Linux GUI or the recently opened BeOS GUI. Say what you want, but integration can be a good thing, if it is done right. As far as I am concerned, Windows/IE is only halfway there.

The Internet is here to stay, it is time to have our OSes and apps work with it 100%.

Should this be the next BIG Mozilla project? I think so, and it would also bring other organizations into the fold, maybe GNOME, KDE, Be, etc.

What do you think?

#14 Re: What if Netscape had held onto their code...

by Dan6992

Monday April 3rd, 2000 5:20 PM

First off I don't think IE's popularity has anything to do with it being a better/worse browser, because the average user could care less what they are using as long as it displays the pages they want to use and contains an interface they are comfortable with (I know people that still use Netscape 3).

Web developers are the ones who are frustrated by browser incompatibility, not users. So this is not a valid excuse!

IE's popularity is a simple case of exposure! Why would an average user want to spend an hour downloading Netscape when IE is already pre-installed on their computer. This is the same reason why a good percentage of IE users still use IE4, because there is no real advantage by upgrading to IE5.

Now if AOL decided to start installing Mozilla by default with it's software or better yet used Mozilla to build the next version of their software, then maybe Netscape would gain back some of it's market share. Other then that, unless the DOJ does something to prevent it, IE will continue to be the browser of choice simply because it's already there.*

As far as the actual question...

I think that Netscape probably would have continued with the original source for a 5.0 release some time in late 1998 or early 1999. Now it would still be lacking in standards support, but it would have been just enough keep NS loyalist happy and developers mad. They probably would have then continued on a joint development path working on both Gecko and the original source with a 6.0 version based on the original source or some sort of hybrid of the two. Then by version 7 they probably would have had Gecko ready to take over, but even then it would have been riddled with legacy bloat (layers support, etc...), similar to IE. It also would not have be built around XUL, and since *XUL is one of the only features in Mozilla that may actually compel IE users to download Mozilla it would probably have been to little to late and the last version of Netscape.

I sincerely hope Mozilla can gain back at least a small part of the market share Netscape use to hold and can continue with it's current goals to make Mozilla a cross platform web based development environment. Then maybe someday a Mozill/Linux hybrid will hit MS a little closer to home and steal away part of it's OS market share.

#17 My Thoughts

by Tanyel

Monday April 3rd, 2000 11:47 PM

The question is not "what would happen if Netscape never produced a 'standards-compliant' browser". The question is "what would happen if Netscape never became an open-source project".

Microsoft would have still gained its "dominance" because of its tyrannical business practices. Netscape would probably still embrace the W3C and use "standards compliance" as its battle cry. The project would fail but AOL would probably still acquire Netscape since all it wanted was the name anyway.

Eventually, Netscape would release a new browser, different from the current one but possibly still as good. There would be no Mozillazine. I suppose there might still be a Bugzilla.

There would be less support for Netscape. Much of the support comes from the "open source" community, which supports netscape as possibly the only satisfactory browser for their operating system. I suppose they would still prefer Netscape because it is not Microsoft. However, they would not feel so much a part of the struggle, and would not be as intense in their defense of the project. Maybe Opera would be their chosen browser.

#18 no difference

by arielb

Tuesday April 4th, 2000 1:22 AM

even if mozilla was out a year ago and it was super duper better in every way, IE would still win simply because it comes with windows.