Astounding Comments From the WSP
Thursday July 20th, 2000
The WSP (Web Standards Project) now states that it is interested in released products more than compliance, and has released one of the most astounding pieces of work I have seen come out of their office.
The WaSP, a pseudonym which speaks for the whole WSP (or at least its leaders) has written a piece taking Netscape to task for failing to produce a browser in the allotted time limit. Click "Full Article..." below to read my response. For the record, I am not an employee of Netscape.
#61 They're silly. Mostly.
Friday July 21st, 2000 6:15 PM
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> OK, some of the things that the WSP says are silly.
Some? You are kidding right?
> Can you honestly believe that IE's dominance over Netscape is a result of monopoly control exterminating an inferior product? Netscape 4 sucks, pure and simple. Its rendering engine is hopelessly buggy; its support for basic standards is awful; it uses proprietary and equally awful things (like LAYER) wherever possible. It's slow, the interface is clunky, and it crashes often. I use IE exclusively, and standards are in fact a main reason for my doing so.
It may be your main reason for doing so, but for many, IE is used exclusively because it came with their OS, no, their Computer! NS4's standard compliance is terrible, but that is not why they have been loosing market share.
> Two years IS forever in computer terms. There's no argument there. And Microsoft has certainly not "coasted" after releasing version 4. (Are you saying, seriously, that the difference between IE 5.5 and 4.0 is the same as that between Netscape 4.72 and Netscape 4.0? The timeframe between the two is about the same.) IE 5.5's standards support is much better than 4's. Much. Sure, it isn't great, but if we're comparing it to Netscape, it's wonderful.
IE 4 was MS's browser rewrite, IE 5.5 is an upgraded IE 4. The difference is that IE4 / IE5 is more modular than NS4.
> The area where you're not understanding the WSP is summed up here: "The WSP underestimated what it would take to produce a browser that could run on any of the major platforms, with a limited number of developers." It's the "limited numner of developers" that's the issue. The WSP is taking issue with the fact that AOL just ain't trying hard enough to get Mozilla out. AOL is not a struggling, cash-strapped startup. If getting a good browser out quickly was a priority, there would not be a limited number of developers.
Blame AOL for limited number of developers? You're kidding me again? Mozilla.org's primary goal is, among others, to produce a standard compliant browser, AOL's primary goal is not. Another thing about this argument is that are you sure that having more developers on this project will really speed it up? Don't get me wrong, more developers will help, but does it nessasary speed up the development of the browser?
> Some other points: - Microsoft did not turn the browser into a revenue-less commodity. Yes, Netscape used to be shareware, but the evaluation versions were evaluation versions in name only: 99% of Netscape users never paid for it.
Many NS browsers were branded and distributed by ISPs. Those were paid versions.
> Many didn't even know that they were supposed to. - A browser integrated into the shell is a useful feature. Yes, if Microsoft was motivated by kindness and altruism, they'd have designed it so that the rendering engine was a replaceable component. Hopefully the antitrust suit will force this to happen. But for evidence that integrated browsers are not monopolistic and useless but useful and essential, just look at the primary Linux desktops, built without a thought to monopoly: KDE and Gnome (2.0, admittedly).
What are you talking about? We have no qualms about MS integrating IE into MSWin, just they did it in such a way that it cannot be removed.
> The WSP is supporting standards-compliance. They've been supporting it for ages. They're angry at the fact that, after all these ages, Netscape has still not produced a usable, standards-compliant browser. (During the same time, Microsoft HAS done this with IE5/Mac, and Opera has come quite close.) Sure, the anger is a little extreme, but it's very much justified.
Very true, NS has NS4 (usable but not standard compliant), and NS6 pr1 (standard compliant but not usable). So? I'm more surprised that AOL has not shutdown NS's client development department, but WSP getting all worked up over netscape not producing a product soon? LOL