AOL to Release New Netscape Update in Early Summer

Tuesday March 30th, 2004

The Inquirer is reporting that America Online is to release a new version of the Netscape browser. The upgrade will be a "'point' release based on the latest Mozilla code" and "will be made available in the very early summer timeframe." Speculation that an update was in the works began last week, when the San Francisco Bay Area's Mercury News paraphrased an AOL spokeswoman as saying that "there will be future versions of Netscape that are essentially repackaged upgrades of Mozilla."

The confirmation that a new Netscape release is on the way does not indicate that AOL is planning to provide any further development or financial support to the Mozilla project. Indeed, no AOL employees are paid to work on Mozilla and we can expect this latest version to be even more similar to Mozilla than previous releases. The more intriguing question is what made AOL change its mind about shelving the veteran browser.

#39 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: New stable branch?

by jgraham

Thursday April 1st, 2004 6:28 AM

You are replying to this message

What are you talking about? No one has suggested that there's any problem with trying to fix up 1.7 to be stable in the sense of 'doesn't crash', given that there are several products releasing from that branch (although I doubt very much that Fiirefox 1.0 will have a 'pure' 1.7 at it's core; I thoroughly expect that fixes that go into 1.8 will be backported to the firefox 1.0 branch, given that it will be 2 months behind the trunk by the time it releases) that's pretty obviously a good idea.

The problem is that stable releases are the preferred basis on which external embeddors are expected to build. Given that there are no security fixes for anything other than stable branches, embeddors either have to remain on stable branches or waste a lot of time keeping their product in sync with the trunk (difficult because $foo_random_embeddor doesn't get the luxury of turning the tinderboxes red everytime a checkin breaks their product). These are the people who are going to have to suffer for a year messing about with half-finished API changes. These are the people who will be put off embedding gecko because the API is inconsistent.

If drivers have been discussion "for months" whether to make 1.7 or 1.8 the new stable branch, they should have made a decision and announced that decision before 1.7a opened for checkins so people could make sure it was worthy of being a stable release during the entire cycle. As far as I can tell, that didn't happen. Flaming people because they feel there has been a breakdown of communication is hardly likely to improve the situation.