Weekend Discussion: Is Netscape Doing the Right Thing?
Friday May 12th, 2000
Netscape recently released its plans for the PR2 branch. Mozilla.org then released their tree plans for the next few months, and then followed up this evening with a more detailed position on tree management. The one thing that is clear is that Netscape is working on an accelerated schedule. Mozilla.org has yet to release a beta, and Netscape is currently working towards a second beta. Feature freeze for Netscape is coming much earlier than for Mozilla. This means that Netscape's feature list will probably be truncated somewhat (although the developers are trying mightily to get the remaining features in), and it also means that there might be changes to Mozilla before its release that impact its compatibility with Netscape's final release. Netscape has promised standards compliance, but there is also the serious question as to how bug-free that standards compliance will be by final release.
Is Netscape doing the right thing by pushing ahead and trying to get a release into the public's hands? Or will they just end up alienating Mozilla developers and website developers by rushing a product to market? Is it even fair to consider it "rushing"?
#21 Opera is NOT a competitor
Saturday May 13th, 2000 7:04 PM
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Firstly, again, no one uses Opera. Rather, hardly anyone, especially when compared to Netscape and IE.
Secondly, they ARE morons for thinking they can charge money for a browser that doesn't even support current W3C standards like Mozilla does.
Thirdly, Mozilla is far from just a browser, it's a Web application platform (read: integrated IRC/chat clients, Web editing software, embeddable rendering engines, integrated mail/IM clients), all made from the same code. And the browser package is about twice as fully featured as Opera, features that can be removed for smaller embeddable versions of the software. Further, Mozilla is very modular and will get smaller with optimization, which obviously can't happen until the features are frozen. Opera offers NONE of this Web application platform capability to my knowledge, and yet still thinks they can live in pre-IE times by charging $30 for what amounts to yet another broken Web browser.
You want small, use Espial's browser which is like 80k and runs completely in Java. But that doesn't mean it's not still broken compared to Mozilla's standards support, nor does it have a fraction the potential of Mozilla as a Web app platform any more than Opera does.
Mozilla itself is probably already more used than Opera, and if not it will be about ten minutes after Netscape 6 is released final. I don't see Opera (or Espial) as competitors, I'm afraid -- I see them as a walking corpse.
Finally, IE IS pretty much free to use. Part of the argument in the MS trial is that to woo developers they gave away development software for IE that any company that actually intended to support itself from the product would have charged money for -- in some cases even PAYING developers to use that software -- and they did that specifically to crush Netscape. This is still pretty much the case and will be unless the trial results in Microsoft having to stop this behavior.