Tuesday September 28th, 1999
4.7 is out and available and available for download here. Get it while it's hot.
#71 Was Netscape 4.X ever a "good browser" ?
Friday October 1st, 1999 5:10 PM
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I'm off the opinion that I took an instant dislike to the Netscape 4.X series and have stuck with Netscape 3.04. I don't have much choice really, because I use UNIX.
Netscape 4.X's ergonomics and memory usage are horrendous really, particularly on 8-bit colour UNIX displays (the infamous "colour drain" that wasn't present on NS 3.04).
Here's the stuff that's wrong with all NS 4.X releases on UNIX:
* Navigator Standalone has no mailto: link support by default. * 8-bit colour displays map colours badly (even with "-install"). * Option to toggle auto image loading is ludicrously stuck way down in a dialogue box. * Far too much "chrome" at the top and bottom compared to NS 3.04. * RAM usage is off the scale compared to 3.X (30MB+ is not uncommon for the Complete Install version). * Very crucial "Find" button in NS 3.04 removed and replaced with the utterly, utterly pointless "Search" button (luckily, you can reverse this disaster by app-defaults hacking). * You can't close the "View Document Source" or "View Document Windows" (no menu option or keyboard shortcut to do it !!) - this means I end up with dozens of open windows and have to use my window manager to remove them....grrr.... * Security dialog can be brought up by about 4 different icons/keystrokes which is redundancy gone mad, particularly as the Security dialog is utterly irrelevant in non-secure mode !
Netscape must have had at least a dozen 4.X releases by now and have failed to fix any of the above major UNIX problems. Let's just be thankful they threw away the poor 4.X code and started again from scratch with Mozilla.
Netscape still have the eyes and ears of UNIX users mainly because IE never came out for Linux and the IE 5 implementations on Solaris and HP-UX are a major travesty.
Roll on Mozilla beta - I might finally be able to switch from NS 3.04 on UNIX (currently the best browser on that platform, IMHO).