Netscape 6.2 Browser Source Code (Mozilla 0.9.4.1) Released
Mike Angelo -- 1 November 2001 (c)
The Mozilla Organization released the source code for the Milestone Mozilla 0.9.4.1 edition of its Mozilla browser-suite yesterday afternoon. This Mozilla 0.9.4.1 source code is the code AOL-Time-Warner's Netscape division used as the base for its Netscape 6.2 browser-suite upgrade for the Linux, Macintosh, and Microsoft Windows platforms even though the Mozilla Organization released Mozilla Milestone 0.9.4 nearly eight weeks ago, on 14 September 2001. If this sounds confusing, it is.
Why Netscape 6.2 is Mozilla 0.9.4.1
After the Mozilla 0.9.4 release, the Netscape developers took control of the Mozilla 0.9.4 branch, to prepare the Mozilla 0.9.4 browser-suite for conversion to Netscape 6.2. At that time, however, the Mozilla 0.9.4 branch was very buggy.
At the time Netscape took over the Mozilla 0.9.4 branch, there were some 44 bugs targeted to Milestone 0.9.4, 1,150 bugs targeted to Mozilla 0.9.5, 196 bugs to 0.9.6, 57 bugs targeted to 0.9.7, and 1,656 bugs targeted to Mozilla 1.0. That's a total of 3,103 bugs targeted to these five, work-in-progress, Mozilla releases upon which Netscape 6.2 has been based. All those 3,103 bugs were in Mozilla 0.9.4 when Netscape took over the Mozilla 0.9.4 branch. They just were not expected to be fixed until release of the specified targets.
The comparable bug count when the Netscape developers took over the Mozilla 0.9.2 branch to prepare Netscape 6.1 was 2,915 bugs. That suggests that Netscape 6.2 could be even buggier than Netscape 6.1. That of course depends somewhat on just how many and which bugs the Netscape people pulled out of the Mozilla 0.9.4 code.
The Mozilla developers turned over a very buggy branch to the Netscape developers. So, it took the Netscape product development team nearly eight weeks from the time Netscape got the Mozilla 0.9.4 branch to get Netscape 6.2 ready for release on 30 October 2001. During that nearly eight-week period, the Netscape developers were getting the most important-to-Netscape bugs out of the Mozilla code, adding Netscape features not included in Mozilla, tweaking everything, and so forth.
Netscape 6.2 Code Is Not Exactly Mozilla 0.9.4.1 Code
While on the one hand the Mozilla browser-suite is Open Source Software (OSS), the Netscape browser-suite, which is based upon Mozilla, is closed/proprietary software. It is quite likely that the Mozilla 0.9.4.1 open source code is pretty much the same as the Netscape 6.2 closed source code. However, it also is likely that there are some differences in the Netscape 6.2 code.
Here is how that works. Simply put, the Netscape Division grabs the Mozilla, cross-platform (XP), open source code, adds its own and third party products such as Net2Phone and AIM, and then puts its own Netscape branding on the added-too and customized Mozilla-base. The Netscape Division also adds its portal and bookmark items to the Mozilla-base while customizing the underlying Mozilla browser suite. Stir all that together and voila, that's the Netscape 6.x browser suite.
That means that you can get very close to the closed, basic Netscape browser-suite code by using the corresponding Mozilla open source code. The trick is to figure out which Mozilla source code is the code used by AOL-Time-Warner's Netscape division to build a Netscape release's binaries. Likely the Netscape division is not going to give you that information.
Here, however, we believe that the Mozilla 0.9.4.1 Milestone source is very close to the Netscape 6.2 code. Also, the Mozilla Organization has stated that to be the case too. So, if you like to compile, or want to build your own version of Netscape 6.2 just the way you like it, download the Mozilla 0.9.4.1 source and go for it. (Download links below.)
All told, the Mozilla browser suite upon which Netscape 6.2 is based is a nice browser. And it has come a long way since early February, which is when Netscape 6.01 was released. However, it does not appear to be all that dramatically different from the previous, Netscape 6.1 release.
Incidentally, you can make substantial modifications to the Mozilla/Netscape UI (user interface) without modifying and compiling the source code. Our Mozilla-skinning series shows you how to do that. Also, you can use PatchMaker to hack the Mozilla UI without needing to compile the source code.
According to the Netscape 6.2 Release Notes here is what's new in NS 6.2:
Download the Mozilla 0.9.4.1 Source Code
Information about pulling Mozilla 0.9.4.1 from the CVS tree.
For more information about the lates Mozilla browser-suite and downloading the binaries, please see our recent article Mozilla Milestone 0.9.5 Browser-Suite Released. For updated Mozilla bug counts, please see the right sidebar on the MozillaQuest Magazine front page (mozillaquest.com).
To learn more about how many bugs there are in the Netscape 6.2 and Mozilla Web browser suites, and to learn how the Mozilla and Netscape developers are sweeping bugs under the carpet, please see Mozilla 0.9.3 Branched Behind Schedule & Buggy.
For more information about Netscape 6.2, please see our article Netscape 6.2 Browser-Suite Released .
To download and install the Netscape 6.2 browser suite binaries, please see: How To Download, Install, & Configure Netscape 6.0 -- Safely!. However, when you get to page 5 there, here are the updates for version Netscape 6.2 downloading: (Or just click on the Linux, Windows, or Macintosh links to get started right away.)
netscape-i686-pc-linux-gnu-sea-tar.gz 26.2 MB 10/24/01 9:54 AM Unix Tape Archive
MacNS6FullInstaller.sea.bin 17.7 MB 10/24/01 9:56 AM Binary Executable
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