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August 8, 2001
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Netscape 6.1 Browser-Suite Released Again?

Mike Angelo -- 8 August 2001 (c)

AOL-Time-Warner´s Netscape division placed its Netscape 6.1 (NS 6.1) browser-suite upgrade on its FTP servers today -- for the second time this week. The first time was Monday morning (EDT), August 6th.

Then AOL-Time-Warner´s Netscape division placed its Netscape 6.1 diretory tree on its FTP server and opened that tree to the public. However, a few hours later in the afternoon (EDT) the Netscape division started closing access to the NS 6.1 directories on its FTP servers.

Apparently the Monday appearance of the Netscape 6.1 directory tree and files on the Netscape FTP servers was not a 6.1 release. In an e-mail interview Monday, Netscape spokes-person Catherine Corre told MozillaQuest Magazine "We have not released Netscape 6.1, this was a routine system test."

Netscape 6.1 (NS 6.1) browser-suite is for the Linux, Macintosh, and Microsoft Windows platforms. It could be the make-or-break, do-or-die, and last gasp Netscape browser offering. (Download links and release notes information further down.)

Netscape 6.1 follows Netscape 6.1 Preview Release 1 (NS 6.1, PR 1), which was released seven weeks ago on 13 June 2001. For more information about Netscape 6.1 Preview Release 1 (NS 6.1, PR 1), please see our article, Netscape 6.1 PR 1 Browser-Suite Released.

Note: please be careful not to confuse Netscape 6.1 with the previously released Netscape 6.01. Netscape 6.01 did not add anything particularly new to Netscape 6. It primarily was a patch to clean up problems with Netscape 6.0. There is lots of new stuff for Netscape 6.1.

Starting with the first Netscape 6 preview release (Netscape 6 PR1), in April 2000 and then through the NS 6 PR 2, NS 6 PR3, Netscape 6.0 and Netscape 6.01 editions, Netscape 6.x has come under heavy criticism from the computer trade press, consumers, loyal Netscape fans, and developers.

The four dominant Linux distribution packagers, Caldera, Mandrake, Red Hat, and SuSE rejected Netscape 6.x for their most recent Linux distributions. That pretty much kicks Netscape off the Linux desktop.

Microsoft's Internet Explorer kicked Netscape off the Windows desktop some time ago. Please see our two part series, Is Netscape Losing the Browser Wars? Part I: Linux Could Be Netscape's Last Browser Battlefield and Part II: Why Are Major Linux Distributions Rejecting Netscape 6?

The pressure is on AOL-Time-Warner's Netscape division to win back all the consumers, discouraged loyal Netscape fans, and developers that it has lost since the release of Netscape 6 PR1. It also needs to convince the Linux distribution packagers that Netscape 6.1 is worthy of the Linux desktop.

That could be a difficult task. So far, the major Linux packagers seem to prefer Mozilla to Netscape 6.x. Also, the major Linux distribution packagers include the KDE desktop and its Konqueror browser. Konqueror is a very nice browser and file manager, which is well-integrated into the KDE desktop. For more information about that please see our article Caldera OpenLinux Workstation 3.1 -- A First Look.

Will Netscape 6.1 be able to meet that Herculean challenge? You be the judge. Download a copy of Netscape 6.1 and see for yourself. (Download links further down.)

The initial Netscape 6.0 browser suite was made available for public downloading on 9 November 2000, some eight months ago. Then on 8 February 2001, the Netscape Division placed its Netscape 6.01 browser-suite upgrade on its FTP servers. Netscape 6.1 Preview Release 1 was made available for public downloading on 13 June 2001. And now, Netscape 6.1 is available for your scrutiny, and hopefully your Web browsing pleasure.

According to the Netscape 6.1 Release Notes here is what's new in NS 6.1:

  • Improved performance and stability.
  • New Quick Launch feature on Windows starts Netscape faster.
  • New ways to initiate a search, such as within the auto complete URL bar.
  • Improved Bookmark Management, "File Book Mark", and drag and drop bookmarking for easier bookmarking.
  • New tabs for My Sidebar, including the new History tab for finding web pages previously visited.
  • Improved My Sidebar lets you hide tabs using a mouse right-click (or delayed click).
  • Improved History Management window now in chronological order
  • New Modern theme, improved, streamlined interface and fewer main buttons.
  • New download interface includes ability to see the path where files are downloaded.
  • Improved Autotranslation now includes translations between French and German, as well as between French and Russian.
  • New "emoticons" in Mail allow faces like smiling and frowning.
  • Improved Instant Messenger is available throughout all the components of Netscape 6.1, and includes the ability to see if the sender of a message is online and available through Instant Messenger, and supports multiple screen names.
  • New ability to launch an instant messaging session from a web page.
  • New support for bi-directional text and Hebrew.
  • New language packs let you switch your browser software to support the content and language of your choice without restarting or downloading new software.
  • New support for LDAP in Mail.
  • New Mail interface includes a startup view providing one click access to your inbox, account settings, email filters, and more.
  • New ability to read IMAP email accounts and Netscape Webmail when not connected to the Internet.
  • New feature to synchronize your personal address book with your Netscape WebMail address book.
  • New Personal Security Manager (PSM) 2.0 has been fully integrated with Netscape 6.1. For more information about PSM, see the Personal Security Manager Project Page.
  • Improved Form Manager lets you automatically fill out entire forms.
  • Improved Password Manager includes a Password Quality Meter for selecting a secure Master Password.
  • Improved installation lets you pause installation and recover from network disruptions.
  • New online help includes easier tree-based navigation, context-sensitive help, index, glossary, and search capability (through Find shortcut key).

The Netscape 6 browser suite is based upon the cross-platform (XP), open source, Mozilla browser-suite. The current Milestone Mozilla browser-suite release is Mozilla 0.9.3. It was released 1 August 2001.

To create your own Netscape 6 themes or to build your own customized Mozilla-based browser suite, please see:
Simply put, the Netscape Division grabs the Mozilla 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.

All told, the Mozilla browser suite upon which Netscape 6.1 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, there are nearly three-thousand bugs in Mozilla, using conservative bug counting techniques -- many more (14,000) if you apply less conservative bug counting techniques. That's too many bugs for a commercial product.

This morning, there are some 3 bugs targeted to Mozilla Milestone 0.9.3, 1,200 bugs targeted to 0.9.4, 126 bugs targeted to 0.9.5 and 1,669 bugs targeted to Mozilla 1.0. That's a total of 2,998 bugs targeted to these four, work-in-progress, Mozilla releases.

At the time Netscape took over the Mozilla 0.9.2 branch, there were some 1,258 bugs targeted to Milestone 0.9.3 and 1,657 bugs targeted to Mozilla 1.0. That's a total of 2,915 bugs targeted to these two, work-in-progress, Mozilla releases upon which Netscape 6.1 is based. All those 2,915 bugs were in Mozilla 0.9.2 when Netscape took over the Mozilla 0.9.2 branch. They just are not expected to be fixed until release of the specified targets.

Incidentally, there are some 4,750 bugs targeted to Future Mozilla releases. Please see the bugs list in the right-hand sidebar on the MozillaQuest Magazine front page (mozillaquest.com) for the updated Mozilla bug counts. To learn more about how many bugs there are in the Netscape 6.1 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 the Mozilla browser-suite and downloading it, please see our recent article Mozilla Milestone 0.9.3 Browser-Suite Released. For updated Mozilla bug counts, please see the right sidebar on the MozillaQuest Magazine front page (mozillaquest.com).

Download Netscape 6.1

To download and install the Netscape 6.1 browser suite, 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 6.1 downloading: (Or just click on the Linux, Windows, or Macintosh links to get started right away.)

Linux

ftp://ftp.netscape.com/pub/netscape6/english

/6.1/unix/linux22/sea/

netscape-i686-pc-linux-gnu-sea-tar.gz 26125 Kb 8/01/01 4:15 PM Unix Tape Archive

Windows

ftp://ftp.netscape.com/pub/netscape6/english

/6.1/windows/win32/sea/

N6SetupB.exe 25045 Kb 8/01/01 2:05 PM Binary Executable

Macintosh

ftp://ftp.netscape.com/pub/netscape6/english

/6.1/mac/macos8.5/sea/

MacNS6FullInstaller.sea.bin 17884 Kb 8/01/01 4:15 PM Binary Executable


The Snail Moves: Mozilla Milestone 0.9 Browser-Suite Released

More Mozilla Roadmap & Development Plan Changes: Mozilla 1.0 Pushed Back to Q3 2001

Mozilla 1.0 Release Pushed Back -- Milestone 0.8.1 Inserted into Development Roadmap Schedule


Lizard On The Move: Mozilla Milestone 0.8.1 Browser-Suite Released

The Lizard Marches On: Mozilla Milestone 0.8 Browser-Suite Released

Mozilla Milestone 0.8 Browser-Suite RPM Builds Released


Meet Bugzilla -- Mozilla's Secretary of Bug-Busting & Feature Requests Lizard

Mozilla Organization Revises Development Roadmap and Product Release Schedule

MozillaQuest the Series: Building Your Own Mozilla-Based Web Browser

For more information about the Mozilla Organization, the Mozilla applications programming framework, and the Mozilla browser, please see:

Please do not forget to report bugs, problems, or suggestions for enhancements to Bugzilla.

For more information about the Mozilla Roadmap and Milestone Plan, please see:

Mozilla Development Roadmap

Mozilla Milestone Plan

Project Sea Monkey


Copyright 2000, 2001 -- MozillaQuest -- Brodheadsville, Pa..USA -- All Rights Reserved


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