AOL 6.0 and Mozilla

Tuesday May 30th, 2000

We have two news items regarding AOL's latest software development efforts. The first, from, is a look at an unofficial, accidentally-released version of AOL's 6.0 software. What's interesting is not the new look of the AOL software, but rather a post in that article's forum. In it, the poster ("BUBKAII") claims that Gecko is the rendering engine behind the application itself, even though IE5 is still the browser inside the application! No kidding. Anyone else want to try downloading and testing this?

Next, Jedbro writes: "AOL has started on a new project called 'Gamera' that will put AOL on Linux and such 'Internet appliances' granting it the AOL Everywhere ability they are after. Interesting stuff, and most importantly... GECKO's the browser behind all this!! =) =)" You can read more at the Kenton Industries website.

#1 Only Natural

by ERICmurphy

Tuesday May 30th, 2000 9:48 AM

I think we all knew deep down this was going to happen sooner or later. The Mozilla technology is too good to pass up for AOL to be using.

Just think of all the improvements AOL could make to their software by using Mozilla.

However, I wish they would drop IE completely, as I thought their contract with Microsoft was over with this year. Does anyone know?

Not to mention that the Mozilla basis for the IA devices will also rock :-), even if the IA devices are not that popular.

#2 Re: Only Natural

by gerbilpower

Tuesday May 30th, 2000 10:21 AM

I heard no official word on this, but I heard that the AOL/MS contract ends by the end of this year.


#3 Re: Only Natural

by sdm

Tuesday May 30th, 2000 10:39 AM

All I can remember is Eric Krock saying that AOL is committed to making a fast, small, standards compliant browser. There would be no reason to make such a product if they weren't going to use it (well duh). So, this is one place were they are going to use it. I only wish they would give more resources to the linux version of mozilla!

#6 Re: Re: Only Natural

by basic

Tuesday May 30th, 2000 5:21 PM

If "Gamera" turns out, they will give more resources to linux dev.

#4 Gee, I'm stunned...

by jesusX

Tuesday May 30th, 2000 2:07 PM

Anyone smart enough to be part of Mozilla should have seen this coming as soon as they came out of shock at the AOL Netscape deal. Yes they wanted Netcenter, but Netscape has other products. The server stuff has been spun off to iPlanet, but the client, gee, AOL kept that. Could it be because of the rivalry between AOL and MS, and AOLs desire to give MS the boot?

OF COURSE! As soon as the software folks at AOL have completely switched the content to a Gecko friendly format (and tweaked Gecko to an AOL friendly format) then IE will be gone. Have no doubts people, it's coming.

#10 Re: Gee, I'm stunned...

by danielhill

Tuesday May 30th, 2000 10:54 PM

I've got a better idea. Rather than bend Gecko to AOL's "standards", why not change AOL's content to HTML or XUL??

It would reduce the size of the renderer, as no translation code would be needed to convert AOL's stupid propietary format to something Gecko can read. And size is important for embedded devices.

#11 Re: Re: Gee, I'm stunned...

by jesusX

Wednesday May 31st, 2000 12:26 AM

Well, first, that's a good idea, but then AOL would have less control over what can view their content, and there's be a lot of overhead and redundancy with old client compatibility. Still a good idea.

Second, that makes too much sense! This is Corporate America, remember!?! =-]

#13 Re: Re: Re: Gee, I'm stunned...

by danielhill

Thursday June 1st, 2000 1:45 AM


OK, maybe that was a dumb idea, but I really think in the interim, they should make some sort of "gateway" or translation server, that translates the old propietary stuff into some sort of XML or XUL that can be natively read by Gecko.

It would keep the size of the client down ...

#5 I wonder

by aengblom

Tuesday May 30th, 2000 2:31 PM

I wonder if anyone told AOL that they could have used Mozilla whether they spent $4.3 Billion or not :)

"You mean we could've gotten it for FREE!? Yes, Mr. Case." :)

#8 Not quite....

by jesusX

Tuesday May 30th, 2000 5:32 PM

They're given a lot more freedom on the Netscape side under the NPL/MPL. Plus they get all of Netscape's other technologies, and Netcenter, etc. Quite the valuable purchase. I'm glad Sun didn't buy Netscape, that'd have been a horrible idea. I'm glad AOL isn't trying to revamp Netscape like they did Compuserve... Ugh.

#18 Re: Not quite....

by basic

Friday June 2nd, 2000 12:51 PM

Yeah! Imagine Mozilla released in JCP... ouch!

#23 Re: Not quite....

by basic

Saturday June 3rd, 2000 2:57 PM

Under NPL they might get more freedom, but if I'm not mistaken most of the stuff on Moz is under MPL. How does buying netscape give them more freedom under MPL?


by basic

Tuesday May 30th, 2000 5:32 PM

I don't think BUBKAII knows what he is talking about. The screenshots don't look anything like what XUL is capable of (unless there is some code that NS/AOL has that we don't, which is unlikely).


by Stromgol

Tuesday May 30th, 2000 7:18 PM

I don't think they actually use XUL for the GUI. What the poster meant (as I understand it) is that it uses NGLayout to display HTML mail msgs and the content of the popups. The GUI is probably hardcoded in C++.

#15 Re: Re: BUBKAII

by basic

Thursday June 1st, 2000 1:37 PM

Thanks for clarifying, must have lost my head for while there.


by thelem

Wednesday May 31st, 2000 1:35 AM

XUL is capable of that easily, so long as lots of image files are used. And what is to stop AOL doing that?

#14 Re: Re: BUBKAII

by basic

Thursday June 1st, 2000 1:27 PM

Even with images, the menus would not look like what was in the screenshots. Using images to simulate MDI? You're kidding right?

#16 Yes, it CAN!

by jesusX

Thursday June 1st, 2000 3:43 PM

Why COULDN'T XUL do that? That's the whole PURPOSE of XUL, to give developers a nice UI development language, that is also very flexible.

#19 Re: Yes, it CAN!

by basic

Friday June 2nd, 2000 12:56 PM

XUL currently doesn't have the capability to do MDI. My impression from the creators of XUL is that they have no interest in adding that feature. AOL might ask for it though...

#21 Apples and Pommegrantes

by jesusX

Friday June 2nd, 2000 11:27 PM

I'm talking about replicating appearance and results, not recreating architecture and methods. Who would want to create ANOTHER AOL?

#22 Re: Apples and Pommegrantes

by basic

Saturday June 3rd, 2000 12:42 AM

Well, in the screenshot it was ANOTHER AOL. But you are right about who would want to create another AOL.

#17 Re: Re: Re: BUBKAII

by danielhill

Thursday June 1st, 2000 9:16 PM

They should dump MDI, IMO. Make it more "web-like".

#20 Re: Re: Re: Re: BUBKAII

by basic

Friday June 2nd, 2000 12:57 PM

Hear! Hear!