A New Year begins (happy New Year!), and an era draws to a close. If any of you have been surﬁng for as long as me, you’ll have good memories of the Netscape Navigator browser, which I began using at version 1·1. (I did use the original, black-and-white version 1·0 at university.) Watching the browser work on a PowerMac in colour was astonishing.
I had been developing digital magazines for a little while before that, but not strictly for the World Wide Web. But it was Netscape that showed me that there were much bigger possibilities with this online publishing “phase” which I was going through.
Sadly, after eight versions (Netscape 5 never publicly saw the light of day), AOL, the owner of Netscape, has decided to retire the browser on February 1.
This comes as no surprise: ever since the excellent 4·7 (I never upgraded to 4·8), Netscape has not come forth with a class-leading browser, overtaken by the version 5 releases by Internet Explorer.
I’ve dealt with Netscape’s post-version 4 shortcomings before, but in brief, most users agree that the version 6 Communicator suite was clumsy and version 7 did little to reverse the decline. (I still have 7·1 installed as I quite like the newsgroup browser.)
From a strictly nostalgic point of view, I am sad that an era draws to a close with Netscape Navigator’s retirement. Then again, I only use my 7·1 two or three times a year. Given that its market share was c. 90 per cent in the 1990s, and it now has a measly share of 0·6 per cent, this is no surprise. I’m better off removing even 7·1 and looking for a nice, stand-alone newsgroup browser. Posted by Jack Yan, 01:54
My fist new PC computer a Pentium I came with Mosaic but my ISP gave me a disc with Netscape, this was in March of 1996. I remember the first version of IE but preferred Netscape, which I used almost exclusively. I started using IE exclusively at the end of 2000. Someone dropped the ball in that they went from a position of dominance to obsolescence. Getting every box maker to preload IE as the default browser must have been a factor.
I never tried IE till version 3 when, I think, it was bundled with Windows 95. Even then, I stayed with Netscape. I would have switched around the same time: I had a friend who got a job at an ISP and gave me its customized IE5. Maybe it was 2001 as she only graduated in late 2000.
I simply think Microsoft got serious about the internet and made a better browser. IE5 was more efﬁcient and it displayed graphics better—by this time, Netscape 4·7 was getting less and less compliant with the technologies of the time.
I think that the release after Netscape 4.7 is when I made the switch. When I bought my third computer a Pentium III 800 MHz is when I started using IE exclusivlyPost a Comment
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