Mozilla was formed from the ashes of Netscape. When the browser went open-source in the late 90s, the Mozilla Foundation used it as a basis for their Mozilla Browser, which in turned spawned the Firefox that we all know and love. Now Netscape is being revitalized (AOL owns it now), but based upon the Mozilla browser. Let me take that back: it is the Mozilla browser, but rebranded and much uglier. Case in point: puce green? Balloon edges? Ack!

As if that’s not enough, AOL (which owns Netscape, from which Mozilla arose), which uses Netscape-based browsing code in it’s client, is making its own standalone browser… based on the insecure, inefficient, and ungainly Internet Explorer engine. This, to compete with monsters like the rumored Gbrowser (which will also be based on Firefox).

To be fair, there are really only 4 serious types of browsers:

  • Based on the Internet Explorer engine, which is bad (Maxthon, Avant, AOL Browser)
  • Based on the Gecko Engine, which is good (Netscape, Gbrowser, Firefox/Mozilla)
  • Based on the KHTML engine, which is good (Safari, Konqueror)
  • Based on the Opera engine, which is worthless, since only one browser uses it, but it costs $30

However, I think that all of these different rebrandings are going to cause more harm than good. How will security updates be applied quickly when X number of companies offer their own nonconcurrent versions of XYZ browser? The situation could get even messier than it is now. At least all the competition is forcing innovation from the market. The open-source browsers are headed in the right direction: security and standards-compliance, which is more than you can say for IE.

§459 · December 10, 2004 · Tags: , ·

3 Comments to “Netscape: It Comes Full Circle”

  1. S4R says:

    I used to think Avant was the best alternative to IE. We all have to be newbs at some point.

  2. Jeff says:

    Avant isn’t too bad, I used it for a while. Doesn’t beat Firefox, of course.

    Gbrowser looks interesting, but I doubt it will be good enough to get me off Firefox.

  3. Ben says:

    Gbrowser will be Firefox, just rebranding, most likely, with maybe some widgets built in. The only advantage Google will have is its name.

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