Five Years Ago: Netscape Announces Intention to Release Source Code

Wednesday January 22nd, 2003

On this day in 1998, Netscape Communications Corporation announced that it was planning to release the Netscape Communicator 5.0 source code to the public. Heralding the move as "bold" and "aggressive", Netscape described how it intended to "create a special Web site service where all interested parties can download the source code, post their enhancements, take part in newsgroup discussions, and obtain and share Communicator-related information with others in the Internet community." You'll know this site as

#18 Monolithic app

by Malc

Thursday January 23rd, 2003 6:16 AM

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And they didn't learn from their experiences and copied what I considered the single biggest architectural flaw in Netscape: monolithic app.

Just the other day I was trying to download the headers from a news group with 180,000 articles... after two hours I had to kill Mozilla from task manager. Due to the poor architecture, I couldn't browse the web, or use any other component of Mozilla in that time. It's a good job I hadn't been in the middle of something, such as email as I would have lost it. On top of that, Mozilla used 100% of my machines CPU and grew to over 90MB in that time.

The other example that always and will never go away: a crash in one component brings all components down. How many times have I lost a lengthy email because I decided to check my facts on the web and the browser crashed? Or just as bad: have it crash when I look at new mail after spending ages typing in a textarea like this one. So far, it would appear that especially in the mail/news component that testing is minimal and doesn't extend to how well it scales to large newsgroups or mailboxes.

It's frustrating... so I stick with the hardly ideal solution of Netscape 4.x for my mail and news, and Mozilla for my browser. This product has a long way to go yet - I wish they would fix the current problems rather than constantly piling in new features and improving the coolness factor.