MozillaZine

AOL for Mac OS X Released with Integrated Gecko

Monday August 12th, 2002

Several people wrote in to tell us that AOL has released a new version of its client software for Mac OS X that integrates Gecko rather than Internet Explorer. Other new features include a counter on the Dock that displays the number of new emails and instant messages, a Welcome Screen with one-click access to member services and a redesigned interface. In addition, AOL Search has been improved and the software now detects the member's connection speed and optimises the online experience accordingly. Also new is support for QuickTime and Apple's forthcoming iChat service.

Reuters and ZDNet News have stories about the release. AOL members can download the software by going to Keyword: Upgrade.


#1 Great News.

by Benman

Monday August 12th, 2002 6:12 PM

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This is great news!!! Maybe soon we will finally see a Win AOL version with Gecko. Maybe AOL is searous about the Mozilla project after all...

#2 Re: Great News.

by bamm <bamm@gabriana.com>

Monday August 12th, 2002 8:30 PM

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I highly doubt it. Supporting Microsoft has tremendous benefits for AOL, and they are not about to abandon profits just for the sake of principle.

#5 Re: Re: Great News.

by AlexBishop <alex@mozillazine.org>

Monday August 12th, 2002 8:44 PM

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"Supporting Microsoft has tremendous benefits for AOL, and they are not about to abandon profits just for the sake of principle."

What benefits?

Alex

#17 Re: Re: Re: Great News.

by bamm <bamm@gabriana.com>

Tuesday August 13th, 2002 9:35 PM

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Exposure of the AOL icon > Sign-ups > Customers > Profits

And being tagged as a Microsoft partner is free advertisement in itself.

#20 Re: Re: Re: Re: Great News.

by AlexBishop <alex@mozillazine.org>

Tuesday August 13th, 2002 10:31 PM

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"Exposure of the AOL icon > Sign-ups > Customers > Profits"

You mean the deal where AOL got their icon in the Online Services folder of Windows if they included IE in their client software? That agreement ended ages ago. There's no AOL icon anywhere in Windows XP (there had talks about it but they collapsed when AOL refused to accept Microsoft's demands).

Alex

#21 Re: Great News.

by bamm <bamm@gabriana.com>

Tuesday August 13th, 2002 11:40 PM

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"there had talks about it but they collapsed when AOL refused to accept Microsoft's demands"

What were Microsoft's demands?

#28 Re: Great News

by garfieldbond

Wednesday August 14th, 2002 10:49 AM

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Use Windows Media instead of Real for internet media was one of them, in addition to locking themselves with IE for another who knows how long.

#30 Re: Re: Great News.

by AlexBishop <alex@mozillazine.org>

Wednesday August 14th, 2002 11:42 AM

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"What were Microsoft's demands?"

The talks were secret but apparently the demands included replacing RealPlayer with Windows Media Player and an agreement that Microsoft and AOL Time Warner wouldn't sue each other (which would have prevented Netscape filing a suit against Microsoft earlier this year).

This CNET News.com article <http://news.com.com/2100-1001-268532.html> from June 2001 explains more.

Alex

#31 Re: Great News.

by bamm <bamm@gabriana.com>

Wednesday August 14th, 2002 5:39 PM

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Thanks. :)

#33 Re: Re: Re: Great News.

by jsebrech

Thursday August 15th, 2002 6:13 AM

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Look, I may have a lot of imagination, but this is how I see it:

Gecko gives them leverage over Microsoft. They can sort of threaten Microsoft:

"Play nice with us, or we switch our customer base away from IE, dropping the IE marketshare by a huge amount over time."

That's something that matters to MS. Not _that_ much, but still... MS can't win the webserver race with apache. If AOL would get behind gecko and rekindle the browserwars then that would be a real threat to MS. (AOL's switch to IE was one of the major losses in the original browser war for Netscape) Switching would make them lose all that leverage. Obviously releasing these beta's is a way of saying that they mean it. I doubt though that they'll actually put gecko in the final product. But if MS crosses AOL, then gecko would be in AOL in no time.

Remember, all AOL has to do is get enough gecko marketshare so that web designers have to take it into account (historically this has been about 15 percent), which makes it very difficult for MS to subvert the net, as they're threatening to do with their palladium plans.

But then I have been told I have too much imagination :)

#34 oh, yeah, that's right

by jsebrech

Thursday August 15th, 2002 6:18 AM

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Ofcourse, I should read articles better. Only now do I notice this was about the final release of AOL for MacOS X. Well, it still doesn't blow away my theory. The home market for AOL is Windows. As long as that runs IE in the final product they still have leverage.

#8 Re: Re: Great News.

by asa <asa@mozilla.org>

Monday August 12th, 2002 9:19 PM

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"Supporting Microsoft has tremendous benefits for AOL"

What, like being vulnerable to all of the unpatched IE security holes or waiting months for security patches (or never getting them at all)? Being dependent on your competition's technology has tremendous benefits? Now I'm really confused.

#18 Re: Great News.

by bamm <bamm@gabriana.com>

Tuesday August 13th, 2002 9:46 PM

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"like being vulnerable to all of the unpatched IE security"

Exactly. It seems to me that Mozilla's security is not enough to get them to switch. Insecurity = loss of profits. So the gain from supporting MS apparently is large enough to offset that.

There is no good reason for AOL to continue using IE, but they still are. That sucks. I suspect the free advertisement of being associated with Microsoft is what they are after.

Think of the masses: "Oh, they're a Microsoft partner. They must be really good. I'll give it a try."

#19 and let me add...

by bamm <bamm@gabriana.com>

Tuesday August 13th, 2002 9:55 PM

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I was one of the millions who rejoiced prematurely when AOL released the Gecko-powered 7.0 beta. I used it as a reason to convince fellow web developers to start using standards-compliant code, since there will soon be 35 million people who cannot see IE proprietary crap.

I had to hide my face in shame when AOL 8.0 beta came out that was based on - yes, Internet Explorer.

#22 Re: Re: Great News.

by GregV

Tuesday August 13th, 2002 11:40 PM

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I disagree. Where do you see AOL and Microsoft together in ads? I've never seen anything that would make the general public think Microsoft and AOL were in any way associated.

AOL has the independent clout and name recognition at this point that they don't need to hang onto someone else for a little extra boost. Everybody has heard of AOL, and thanks to their ads, knows they're #1. I hardly think they're sticking with IE because of some perceived association which could look good.

They're together because it was part of a deal to get AOL bundled with Windows. That deal's over. Now they're just being cautious about switching their huge user base over to a different browser. They want to make sure it's stable and will view the popular web sites correctly. They're doing a slow rollout starting with their smaller user groups (Compuserve, AOL Mac) as a real world test before switching over the vast majority of their subscribers. They want everything to go as smoothly as possible.

#23 Re: Great News.

by bamm <bamm@gabriana.com>

Tuesday August 13th, 2002 11:45 PM

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"They're doing a slow rollout starting with their smaller user groups (Compuserve, AOL Mac) as a real world test before switching over the vast majority of their subscribers."

I hope you're right. :)

#24 I'm guessing

by Salsaman

Wednesday August 14th, 2002 3:48 AM

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...that by switching over slowly to gecko, they are hoping that more and more sites will make themselves gecko compliant. That way, when they do finally switch the Windows users over, there will be a lot less sites that are 'IE only'. Course, I could be wrong...

#25 Re: I'm guessing

by bamm <bamm@gabriana.com>

Wednesday August 14th, 2002 4:35 AM

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Thanks. Sana nga... :)

#10 Re: Great News.

by GregV

Monday August 12th, 2002 10:12 PM

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Maybe it used to, but the deal between AOL and Microsoft where Windows bundles AOL and AOL uses IE is over. Now there's no benefit that I can think of for AOL to continue using IE, in profit or principle.

I agree with the researcher who said this is a way for AOL to "kick the tires." Roll it out on Compuserve and see how it goes. Roll it out on AOL Mac and see how it goes. I can understand them being cautious about doing a browser switch on their bread and butter, AOL Windows, and its massive user base. Let them keep trying it out in the real world, and if all goes well, they'll finally switch the Windows client over. They just want to make damn sure they're not going to have millions of pissed off users first.

#11 Re: Great News.

by flacco

Monday August 12th, 2002 10:54 PM

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>> Supporting Microsoft has tremendous benefits for AOL, and they are not about to abandon profits just for the sake of principle. <<

There may be benefits, but there are also drawbacks: namely, the standard-issue "MS Partner" death-spiral for anyone in a market that MS wants to enter.

Better for AOL to fight now than wimper away later.

#29 Re: Re: Great News.

by garfieldbond

Wednesday August 14th, 2002 10:52 AM

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There is that thing called MSN that's trying to beat AOL out, and they're already up to like 15 million users.

#13 Re: Great News.

by DavidGrant

Tuesday August 13th, 2002 2:39 AM

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I thought AOL 7.0 on Win32 was already using Gecko? It seems highly likely that AOL is serious about Mozilla, since they're the (ultimate) parent company.

#15 Re: Re: Great News.

by jonasj

Tuesday August 13th, 2002 1:39 PM

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> I thought AOL 7.0 on Win32 was already using Gecko?

That was only a beta.

#32 But the latest Compuserve is using Gecko

by GAThrawn

Thursday August 15th, 2002 3:45 AM

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The latest version of the Compuserve client software for windows (Compuserve is also owned by AOL) is using Gecko as it's browser rendering component.

So far AOL for Windows has only used Gecko in a beta product, but even that shows that they are seriously considering it, and have modified the AOL software enough that it should be fairly easy to simply drop Gecko in instead of IE when the time does come.

#3 Looks Good!

by tny

Monday August 12th, 2002 8:31 PM

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#4 Re: Looks Good!

by tny

Monday August 12th, 2002 8:36 PM

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Oops. <http://www.methymna.com/mozilla/aolwithmoz.png>

That will only be up for a few days. Can't take much bandwidth, so if someone else wants to host it, go ahead.

#7 Re: Looks Good!

by AlexBishop <alex@mozillazine.org>

Monday August 12th, 2002 9:09 PM

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Mmm... pretty.

Do you happen to know the user-agent string for AOL for Mac OS X? You can find it out by going to <http://gemal.dk/browserspy/basic.html>

Alex

#27 Re: Re: Looks Good!

by tny

Wednesday August 14th, 2002 10:31 AM

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Haven't had a chance to check it yet. But I will.

#9 Another screenshot (http://www.apple.com/)

by asa <asa@mozilla.org>

Monday August 12th, 2002 9:30 PM

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<http://www.apple.com/macosx/applications/aol/> has a couple of screenshots.

--Asa

#12 I'm not an AOL user but...

by macpeep

Tuesday August 13th, 2002 12:16 AM

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.. this looks *VERY* nice and polished. I haven't used it, of course, since I'm in Finland and AOL isn't exactly big here. ;) But based on the screenshots, it looks very nice. Can anyone tell us more about the product? For example, is the user interface made with XUL or is it native like Chimera?

#14 Re: I'm not an AOL user but...

by tny

Tuesday August 13th, 2002 6:49 AM

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If it is made with XUL, it looks native.

Sorry about how big the screen shot is, I did it quick and dirty and my bandwidth is paying for it. Will try to reduce it later.

#26 Had to Remove Screen Shot

by tny

Wednesday August 14th, 2002 10:31 AM

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My stats were about 1000X normal. Sorry, folks.

#6 Apple and AOL forging a closer relationship?

by PaulB <pbergsag@home.com>

Monday August 12th, 2002 8:49 PM

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Just at the time when Apple seems to be cutting ties with Microsoft (i.e. Apple's Switch fro Microsoft to the Mac ads, and Apple's programing support for the opensource project "OpenOffice") now we see Apple and AOL developing a business relationship. AOL has let Apple offically develope iChat an AIM compatible instant messenger. Also AOL has developed a new OS X version of its internet software which has the look and feel of Mac OS X as well as great support for Quicktime. I hope (and this may be wishful thinking) that AOL's Quicktime support in their Mac software may be a signal that AOL's default media format may switch to Qucktime, or MPEG 4 which Quictime fully supports. Both of these formats function much better on the Mac than either Real or the totally horrible WMP. An embeded WMP file cannot ne view at all on the Mac.

It is also good news that this article hints that AOL may be preparing to migrate its online service oner to the Gecko technology.

Let's hope this news signals a move by AOL away from a strong dependence on the propritary technologies provided by Microsoft to standards based technologies such as MPEG 4 and Gecko. We need companies to embrace standards for services on the internet or the internet risks being a slave to propritary technologies governed by single companies, Thank goodness it appears that AOL appears to be embracing standards for its internet service!

#16 Netscape info-Gecko/AOL for Mac OS X compatibility

by suzilla <susiew@netscape.com>

Tuesday August 13th, 2002 6:38 PM

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Hello, below is an excerpt from a newsletter Netscape sent out today with some technical info about the AOL for Mac OS X release and compatibility testing. I thought this group might be interested although I know some of this info will be "old hat". Most importantly, Netscape's Evangelism team appreciates your help in spreading the word to any web developers you may know. Here's a link to the full newsletter:

<http://devedge.netscape.com/community/news/5.txt>

AOL for Mac OS X has shipped, with Netscape Gecko as its embedded browser. All AOL members downloading AOL software for Mac OS X 10.1+ will use this version.

<---------------TECH NOTES SNAPSHOT--------------> Even if your site works on Netscape 6, please review the testing section below to ensure your site is fully compatible with AOL for Mac OS X.

- Netscape Gecko is the name of the layout engine embedded in Netscape 6 and 7 (in beta), Mozilla, AOL for Mac OS X, CompuServe 7, a PC version of AOL (in beta), as well as other browsers. Details: <http://devedge.netscape.com/central/gecko>

- Sites compatible with AOL for Mac OS X 10.1+ should work equally as well across platforms on the other browsers mentioned above -- provided your browser detection is set up correctly.

- This announcement pertains to a US English version only. No other languages or platforms were announced.

- AOL for Mac OSX is based on Mozilla 1.0.1.

- The user agent string is: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; PPC Mac OS X; en-US; rv:1.0.1) Gecko/20020730 AOL/7.0

- Plugins that are now scriptable with Netscape Gecko browsers, so your players can "talk" to web pages, include: Apple QuickTime 6, Macromedia Flash 6 r47, RealPlayer 8 and RealOne. Details: <http://devedge.netscape.com/central/plugins>

<---DEVELOPMENT, TESTING & CUSTOMER SUPPORT------>

IMPORTANT: We strongly suggest you download AOL for Mac OS X at <http://free.aol.com/tryaolfree/cdt.adp?139331> (or click from <http://www.aol.com>) to verify the following:

1) that your site loads correctly 2) that your site's secure areas function correctly

Some sites have had issues due to inadequate browser sniffing.

***If for some reason you're not able to run AOL at your company please reply to this message to ask Netscape's team for help.

TESTING ON AOL FROM WITHIN A FIREWALL

You need Internet access to test AOL; a LAN connection is not sufficient.

If you need to connect to AOL via a corporate firewall, America Online has registered TCP/IP ports 5190 and 11523 so you can communicate with the AOL client software. This way you can test your site on the AOL client from behind your firewall, provided that your network administrators will open these ports.

SITE COMPATIBILITY INFORMATION

If you have not actively begun testing with Netscape 6+ browsers, and your site is DHTML and/or plugin heavy, the Netscape Gecko Compatibility Handbook is a good introduction: <http://devedge.netscape.c…2002/gecko-compatibility/>

The Netscape Gecko Central home page has useful tips as well: <http://devedge.netscape.com/central/gecko>

Want to see right away how your site works with AOL for Mac OS X? If you're using user-agent detection, try the User-Agent Toolbar:

- Launch the Netscape 7 preview release or Mozilla 1.0 for OSX (The benefit of using Mozilla is that if you're only detecting "Netscape" you'll see the issues right away.) <ftp://ftp.mozilla.org/pub…ozilla-macosX-1.0.smi.bin> <http://channels.netscape.…s/browsers/7/download.jsp>

- Go to <http://uabar.mozdev.org/source.html>

- Click "Install xpi here"

- Restart the browser

- Select the AOL Mac ua string from the toolbar dropdown list: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; PPC Mac OS X; en-US; rv:1.0.1) Gecko/20020730 AOL/7.0

- Hit Enter -> click Shift-Reload to reload the page (You can verify the string got changed by looking under Help | About)

About Your Results: ------------------- a) Site look funny? If your site is already Netscape 6 compatible, then try switching back to a Netscape 6 ua string. Drop down the list, pick the string, and hit Enter -> click Shift-Reload. If it looks ok, you're probably detecting only "Netscape" or "Netscape6." Detecting "Gecko" instead is the easy way to fix this. More browser detection info: <http://devedge.netscape.c…e/2002/browser-detection/>

NOTE: Detecting "Gecko" will also "fix" your site for CompuServe 7 users.

b) Still look funny? Try picking the IE 6 string. If this works, set up your detection to serve IE 6 content to visitors with "Gecko" in their ua strings.

c) Give up? Please take a look at the Netscape Gecko Compatibility Handbook: <http://devedge.netscape.c…2002/gecko-compatibility/>

PREPARING CUSTOMER SUPPORT INFORMATION

If your site lists system requirements or caveats, because your visitors will not know what "Netscape Gecko" is, we recommend that you use specific browser names as needed:

-AOL for Mac OS X -CompuServe 7 -Netscape 6+ -Mozilla