Communicator 4.61 Out

Tuesday June 15th, 1999

A new Communicator is at the ftp site, with more bugfixes. ZuperDee writes, "For those of you waiting patiently for Communicator 5.0 to be released, Netscape has now released 4.61. It contains some security enhancements, and various bugfixes. You can find it here. Notice that it is now in a different place from where it used to go."

Thanks to ZuperDee and Peter Fabian for the news.

#5 Re:Communicator 4.61 Out

by zuperdee

Tuesday June 15th, 1999 4:55 PM

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To Wheezy: I don't know much about the development scene at Netscape either, but I do remember one of the Netscapers telling me once that they are not spending too much in development resources on 4.x anymore. He says they have a small team composed of mainly non-SeaMonkey people, who are now only doing small things like security enhancements and bugfixes. Most of the development effort is concentrated on SeaMonkey at this point.

And this is okay in my opinion. After all, many open source development efforts do this. Example: Alan Cox just released (hopefully) the last of the 2.0.x Linux kernels. But most of the development is going on in 2.3.x now.

No, what Netscape is doing on 4.x now is far different from what Zawinski was complaining about, which was that Netscape was putting practically *everything* they had into doing major new features for the 4.5 release, and doing this in parallel with what they were doing on Mozilla.

Even then, I am not entirely convinced of Zawinski's arguments. If you read the Mozilla-At-One paper that appeared on shortly after Zawinski's resignation essay, the author raised a good point: considering Netscape's market needs for a new release at the time, would they have done as well to put their all into SeaMonkey from the start, and had a longer interval of people waiting from the 4.0x release to a new one? On the surface of it: yes, SeaMonkey might have been done sooner. But it isn't that easy. The other question was: would people have been willing to wait that long for a major new version in between 4.x and SeaMonkey? This is a much more difficult question to answer. In my opinion, yes the 4.x releases are absolutely terrible, but in the software business, if a product is not given a major new release every once in a while, people will begin to think it is becoming obsolete. And no, bugfix releases are not enough. It is important to remember that people do not buy new versions of software mainly for bugfixes.

In the open source world, it is much more feasable for people to download a small patch to get a bugfix, but the traditional software market is quite different. That is why this is so tricky. And especially since Netscape is still learning the open source thing, I think we can rest assured that Netscape did (and is continuing to do) the best it can, given the situation it is in. SeaMonkey is now their real chance to redeem themselves for the garbage that they shipped for the 4.x releases. So let us give them a little bit of leadway on this.