AOL Moving to Gecko

Monday March 11th, 2002

Newsforge, and others are reporting that the AOL client will use Gecko, starting with the next major release, 8.0. Along with that, the story talked about AOL's departure from any server platform that isn't linux, and AOL's plans to release a standalone linux client (there aren't any).

This has long been the rumor, and many felt until AOL started using Gecko, it would be hard to get sites to stop using proprietary IE code. This may be the kick in the pants that's needed to help get major sites to allow non-Microsoft browsers access to all of their content.

#16 Re: I gope this will be a good thing, but...

by strauss

Monday March 11th, 2002 3:36 PM

You are replying to this message

> AOL could very well ship a mozilla with document.all and window.event. That would fix 99% of the broken sites but it won't help standards.

I don't know what you mean by "help standards," and I think there's been a lot of strange, almost moralistic thinking about the standards issue. What support for document.layers (the Netscape standard) would accomplish is make thousands of currently web sites suddenly work with Mozilla. Users can use their favorite sites, and concern about Mozilla incompatibility largely evaporate. That's what we call a win-win situation.

> From a "management-guy" point of view, there's little reason for not paying just a couple of programmer to add the missing javascript code for doing this.

That really doesn't make sense to me. One Mozilla coder could spend one to two days adding document.layers support. Or, thousands of web sites, many of which have been stable for years, could re-open their code base, search for resources to change their code, and then implement, test and deploy those changes. The former option is about twenty person-hours at most; the latter is measured in person-years. Which is more efficient?

But it's not even a question of what would be more efficient for the whole human race. It's a purely pragmatic issue for Netscape. Compatibility with existing web sites is crucial to increasing market share, even given AOL backing. If they imagine that everyone is going to rev their sites before AOL 8 comes out, then they're on drugs. That's not how software built on a platform works. Much of the software is not being tended at any given time, and opening a code base presents large logistical difficulties for many organizations.