Monday August 7th, 2000
Netscape 6 PR2 has hit the servers. These are accessible from Netcenter, so I suppose they're official.
CAVEAT:On the Windows version (the only version I tested), the files apparently aren't final yet. To get the install to work, click "Cancel" while Smartdownload makes its attempt to start the download process. When it asks you if you want to Cancel your download, click "Yes". The process should start properly.
My verdict, upon initial viewing: Why doesn't the install work without having to do that workaround? Why don't the links on the initial-start-front-page work? Why do I have a Net2Phone link on my personal toolbar even though I didn't install it? And why does Net2Phone start (and then crash) when I click that link??? Why is the default skin not Classic, and instead that goofball Modern skin? Why are all the extra sidebar panels visible in the AIM client? Why is the "Setup" button obscured on the AIM client? Why? Why? Why?
Why am I bothering with this when M18 is already so much better? My wish: that Netscape gets their act together for PR3. This is one of the stupidest rollouts that I've seen (worse than PR1, even). Damnit, guys - the Mozilla product is so much better.
I recommend downloading an M18 build if you're looking for a better indication of where the product is at currently. The PR2 build doesn't do it justice, and I don't see that it has enough useful extras to recommend it.
Why are you surprised that the Netcenter Ad (Modern skin) is the default? Netscape has ignored all the negative reactions to it since last October. It isn't going away. It dosen't matter how much you hate it, because marketing loves it. Last month I visited my parents while I was on vacation. I was talking to my mother while she was watching her soap operas. On a TV show I was paying NO attention to, somebody was using a computer. Netscape PR1 was on the screen! It's that eye catching. It stands out from any other UI. With AOL/Time-Warner's ability to stick that in hundreds of Movies, TV shows, and other media, Modern is a great marketing tool. If you look at the Modern skin as a Netcenter ad and a marketing tool instead of a UI, then you will realize there is zero chance that any other skin will ever be the default Netscape skin. The best you can hope for is a new Netcenter ad that is better at it's secondary function (Default UI in Netscape) and a different default skin in Mozilla.