Well, it’s official. After months of rumors and vague announcements, Netscape 7.2 has been released!
It’s been just over a year since AOL closed down Netscape and spun off the independent Mozilla Foundation. Despite the uncertainty of that transition, no one can deny that Mozilla has flourished. People everywhere are switching to Firefox and recommending it on security, usability, and capability grounds.
It’s really quite surprising, particularly since Netscape the company no longer exists. But Mozilla has been marching ahead, and all that stood between AOL and an updated Netscape was updating their proprietary features, like the AIM sidebar and access to AOL email, to work with the new Mozilla code.
For the past year, I’ve been advocating that people switch from Netscape to Mozilla, since it seemed the best upgrade path. (Someone on Mozillazine pointed out that AOL is actually promoting the Mozilla connection — an interesting switch.) I’ve been skeptical about the new version actually materializing, but here it is.
I’m going to stick with Firefox myself, but for Netscape fans and those looking for the full browser suite (complete with AIM/ICQ)…
- Download Netscape 7.2
Have you seen Browse Happy? They mention Mozilla, Firefox, etc., but not the new Netscape (or even older like 7.1). I wonder if that was an intentional oversight.
No, I hadn’t seen it — which is kind of strange, because I’ve been following the Web Standards Project weblog for several months, and they haven’t mentioned it. Actually, Google doesn’t seem to have indexed any links to it yet, so it must be fairly new. (And be careful about searching for the phrase “browse happy.”)
As for them leaving out Netscape, I can think of two reasons. The first is that when Mozilla split off last year, there was a real sense of torch-passing. 7.1 seemed like a last-ditch effort to get something out before they were shut down (with the rare distinction of being a high quality last-ditch effort), and it was clear that all the action would be with Mozilla. The second is complexity. At this point they’re plugging four browsers, two of which are based on the same core. Adding Netscape gives you five products, three using the same core, two of them almost identical. It might be worth adding Netscape info to the Mozilla entry, but limiting the list to four keeps the message simpler — and a simpler message is more likely to get through.
Make that three reasons. AOL had said at one point that there would be no more Netscape releases (before they changed their minds). At least with Mozilla, Firefox, Safari and Opera you know someone’s around to fix any security holes that crop up.