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?
#14 Re: What if Netscape had held onto their code...
Monday April 3rd, 2000 5:20 PM
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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.