once the great hope against Microsoft. once they opened their big mouths, the 800 pound gorilla woke up and mobilized their army to destroy them... now a pathetic shadow of their formal selves under America On-Line/Time Warner.
Netscape Communications Corporation is a former company, currently owned by Time Warner, and was the publisher of the Netscape Navigator web browser.
The company was founded as Mosaic Communications Corporation on April 4, 1994 by Marc Andreessen and Jim Clark. It released a web browser called "Mosaic Netscape 0.9" on October 13, 1994. This browser subsequently was renamed Netscape Navigator, which became part of the Netscape Communicator suite.
The company had a successful IPO on August 9, 1995. In January 1998, facing strong competition from Microsoft's Internet Explorer, it started the open source Mozilla project.
In October 1998, Netscape acquired Newhoo for the sum of $1 million, renamed it the Open Directory Project, and released its database under an open content license.
America Online on November 24, 1998 announced it would acquire Netscape Communications in a stock-for-stock transaction worth US$4.2 billion. Netscape was acquired by AOL and subsequently became part of Time Warner Inc.
On 15 July 2003, Time Warner disbanded Netscape. Most of the programmers were fired, and the Netscape logo was removed from the building. Netscape's sole existence is now as a brand name. In particular, AOL plans to release a low cost ISP under the Netscape brand.
Netscape Navigator is a web browser that once dominated the market but is now hardly more than a niche product.
Netscape began as the flagship product of the Netscape Communications Corporation and was loosely based on NCSA's Mosaic In fact, Marc Andreessen, who worked on the development of the Mosaic web browser, left NCSA with Jim Clark to form Mosaic Communications, but due to NCSA threatening legal action for using the Mosaic name, they renamed themselves Netscape. When the consumer Internet revolution arrived in the mid to late 1990s, Netscape was well positioned to take advantage of it. With a good mix of features and an attractive licensing scheme that allowed free use for non-commercial purposes, the Netscape browser soon became the de facto-standard, particularly on the Windows platform. Internet service providers and computer magazine publishers helped make Navigator readily available.
During development the Netscape browser was known by the code name Mozilla. This name came about after the company changed its name from Mosaic Communications to Netscape, and was a shortened version of its perceived role as the Mosaic Killer. After release the Mozilla name continued to be used as the User-Agent in the HTTP request, and is still used today by Microsoft Internet Explorer as well as others to claim compatibility to the supposed "standards" that Netscape started. Mozilla is now the name of the Open source successor to the browser.
The Browser Wars
In the marketplace, however, these concerns had little effect; Netscape Navigator remained the unchallenged leader with approximately 90% market share. Industry observers confidently forecast the dawn of a new era of connected computing. The underlying operating software, it was believed, would become an unimportant consideration; most applications would simply run on a web browser—which itself, of course, could run on virtually any platform from mainframe to thin client.
This was seen by Netscape as a clear opportunity to entrench Navigator at the heart of the next generation of computing, and thus provide Netscape with the opportunity to expand into all manner of other software and service markets. Conversely, Microsoft saw it as a clear threat to the previously unchallenged near-monopoly status of the Windows operating system. The two companies began concerted campaigns to maintain (or establish, in Microsoft's case) control over the browser market. Browser market share, it was reasoned, leads to control over internet standards, and that in turn would provide the opportunity to sell software and services.
Netscape had the advantage of near-90% market share and a good deal of public goodwill, but as a relatively small company deriving the great bulk of its income from what was essentially a single product (Navigator and various derivitives), was financially vulnerable.
Microsoft, on the other hand, had massive financial resources but tiny market share and a product that was, in the early days, markedly inferior. With the stated intention of "cutting off Netscape's air supply", Microsoft released their own Internet Explorer, and soon made it a free (and in fact compulsory) part of Windows 95.
The early versions of Internet Explorer (IE) were clearly inferior to Navigator, but a massive development effort led to rapid improvement. IE version 3.0 (1996) was a usable substitute, and IE 5.0 (1998) was very large and bloated by the standards of the day but superior in almost all respects. Neither browser, though, adhered to the W3C's HTML and CSS standards, causing compatability problems which still have an impact today.
Meanwhile, Netscape's own browser development stagnated. Distracted by commercial considerations, Netscape's coders made only minor changes to Navigator, and worked away on the Netscape Communicator project - a major re-write of Navigator that added email and HTML composition modules.
Although it was being starved of revenue, the Netscape company was eventually able to sell itself to giant media conglomerate AOL. The purchase price was AOL stock valued at $4.2 billion at the deal announcement in November 1998.
When Communicator was eventually released, the new features were largely ignored by users, but the size increase and speed reduction were noted. More and more people switched to IE - which was no smaller but was at least more stable in 5.0 form, and faster in two different senses: much of the program load time was disguised by having Windows pre-load Explorer code at system boot time; and IE's page rendering engine was better at drawing complex pages (especially those composed of nested HTML tables).
By the end of the decade, Navigator had unquestionably lost its former dominance on the Windows platform. Even on other platforms it was threatened, both by the gradual rise of open source browsers and by the August 1997 agreement that resulted in an investment of $150,000,000 by Microsoft in Apple, which included a requirement that Apple switch their default browser from Netscape to Explorer. (An earlier, and perhaps more severe blow had been AOL's switch into the Microsoft camp - this was before AOL bought Netscape.) Underlying all of this, though, was the massive and ultimately successful campaign to get ISPs to distribute Explorer instead of Netscape, and web developers to incorporate proprietary, Microsoft-only code in web pages.
The elderly Navigator 4.x code just couldn't keep up. Typical web pages had become graphics-heavy, often Java-intensive, and were constructed with masses of extraordinarily complex HTML code that used constructs designed for specific narrow purposes and redeployed them as global layout tools - in particular this applied to HTML tables, which Navigator struggled to render. Netscape, once regarded as a reasonably solid product, came to be seen as crash-prone and buggy.
The open source revolution
In 1998, Netscape bowed to the inevitable and abandoned the effort to make the browser a paying commercial product. Instead, Netscape split off most of the Navigator code and put it under an open source license as Mozilla. In the short-term, this achieved nothing. After the code was branched, work was started on Netscape 5.0, but it was decided to abandon the attempt to continue to develop the elderly Netscape Communicator code and the Mozilla team took on the massive task of completely rewriting the browser code from scratch, and Netscape 5.0 was never finished or released. The decision was criticized by some observers on the grounds that it allowed Microsoft to win the browser war on the Windows platform. Others believed that the war was already lost in any case, and that it was better to create a new and more capable product before returning to the fray.
With much fanfare, Netscape's new owners AOL released Netscape 6 on November 14, 2000, based on early Mozilla code. The product was a massive disappointment: it was huge, slow, unstable, and (in the eyes of most) visually unappealing. This was not surprising as the Mozilla core itself was nowhere near release-ready and itself unstable.
Netscape 6.1 and Netscape 6.2, released in 2001, addressed the stability problems, but were still large and slow and could not overcome Netscape 6's bad reputation. They were generally ignored by the market.
In 2002, AOL released Netscape 7. It was based on a very stable and notably faster Mozilla 1.0 core and bundled with extras like integrated AOL Instant Messenger, integrated ICQ and Radio@Netscape. In the main, the market responded to what was essentially a repackaged version of Mozilla, swollen with integrated tools to access proprietary services owned by AOL, by ignoring it. Competition from the now-mature and competent non-Microsoft alternatives in Opera and the regular Mozilla distribution was presumably a major factor. A further release of Netscape 7.1 (based on Mozilla 1.4) was similarly ignored.
On the Windows platform, Netscape Navigator is a minor player. There is some use of recent versions, but most remaining Netscape use under Windows is by people who steadfastly refuse to switch from the elderly 4.x (the newer browsers generally require more powerful machines for a decent performance). On other platforms, particularly ones like Linux which do not have Internet Explorer bundled, Netscape remained the dominant browser for much longer. Only in the last year or two has the rise of alternatives like Mozilla and Konqueror given it strong competition.
AOL announced on July 15th, 2003 that it had or intended to fire all its remaining paid programmers responsible for the Netscape browser rebranding of Mozilla. Combined with AOL's agreement with Microsoft to use Internet Explorer in future versions of the AOL software, Netscape as a browser will likely become a historical footnote. However, the Netscape brand will live on as the name of AOL's low-cost internet service.
* Mosaic Netscape 0.9 - October 13, 1994
* Netscape Navigator 1.0 - December 15, 1994
* Netscape Navigator 2.0 - September 18, 1995
* Netscape Navigator 3.0 - August 19, 1996
* Netscape Navigator 3.04 - October 4, 1997
* Netscape Navigator 4.0 - June 1997
* Netscape Navigator 4.06 - August 17, 1998
* Netscape Navigator 4.08 - November 9, 1998 (Last stand-alone Navigator; Last Netscape release for 16-bit Windows and 68k Macs)
* Netscape Communicator 4.5 - October 19, 1998
* Netscape Communicator 4.61 - June 14, 1999
* Netscape Communicator 4.7 - September 30, 1999
* Netscape Communicator 4.79 - 2001
* Netscape Communicator 4.8 - August 22, 2002
* Netscape 6.0, 6.01 - November 14, 2000 (Based on Mozilla M18; First to use Mozilla code)
* Netscape 6.1 - August 8, 2001 (Based on Mozilla 0.9.2.1)
* Netscape 6.2, 6.2.1, 6.2.2, 6.2.3 (Based on Mozilla 0.9.4.1)
* Netscape 7.0 - August 29, 2002 (Based on Mozilla 1.0.1)
* Netscape 7.01 - December 10, 2002 (Based on Mozilla 1.0.2)
* Netscape 7.02 - February 18, 2003 (Based on Mozilla 1.0.2)
* Netscape 7.1 - June 30, 2003 (Based on Mozilla 1.4)
The development of the Netscape browser and the company was described in the book _Netscape Time_ by Jim Clark and Owen Edwards (Hardcover ISBN 0312199341; Paperback ISBN 0312263619).
Netscape Communicator was the proper brand name of an Internet software applications suite originally produced by Netscape Communications Corporation in the late 1990s. This suite included the Netscape Navigator web browser (its most prominent component) along with applications for email, Usenet news, and other miscellany.
Because none of the applications besides Navigator were popular on their own, and because Netscape never produced any other desktop software that approached the popularity of Navigator, people would often refer to both the Communicator suite and Navigator as simply "Netscape".
From: Marc Andreessen (email@example.com)
Subject: NCSA Mosaic for X 0.10 available.
Newsgroups: comp.infosystems.gopher, comp.infosystems.wais, comp.infosystems, alt.hypertext, comp.windows.x
Date: 1993-03-14 21:11:16 PST
Beta version 0.10 of Mosaic, NCSA's X/Motif-based networked information systems browser, including full source code and binaries (for SunOS 4.x, SGI IRIX 4.x, AIX 3.2, and DEC Ultrix), is now at ftp.ncsa.uiuc.edu in /Web/xmosaic:
NCSA Mosaic provides a consistent and easy-to-use hypermedia-based interface into a wide variety of information sources, including Gopher, WAIS, World Wide Web, NNTP/Usenet news, Techinfo, TeXinfo, FTP, local filesystems, Archie, telnet, tn3270, and others. A list of changes made since version 0.9 follows this canonical features list:
o Support for accessing documents and data
through Gopher, WAIS, World Wide Web, FTP, NNTP/Usenet news, Techinfo,
TeXinfo, Telnet, tn3270, Archie, NCSA DMF, local files, and other sources.
o Friendly X/Motif user interface.
o Color and monochrome default X resource settings.
o Multiple independent toplevel windows.
o History list per window (both 'where you've been' and 'where you can go').
o Global history with previously visited locations visually distinct; global history is persistent across sessions.
o Hotlist/bookmark capability -- keep list of interesting documents, add/remove items, list is persistent across sessions.
o Personal annotations with GUI annotation entry dialog; annotations can later be edited or deleted, and hyperlinks to existing annotations are inlined into subsequent accesses of an annotated document. (Note: any document from any server via any access method can be annotated.)
o Audio (voice) annotations with GUI for controlling recording process (SGI and Sun only).
o Support for recognizing and handling GIF, JPEG, TIFF, audio, AIFF, DVI, MPEG, MIME, XWD, RGB, PostScript documents and forking off appropriate viewers.
o Transparent and automatic uncompression of compressed (.Z) and gzip'd (.z) files.
o Inlined images in formatted (HTML) text: X bitmaps and GIF images can be included anywhere inside a document, and can act as hyperlink anchors. Image files themselves can be located anywhere on the network.
o Binary transfer mode, for pulling down arbitrary binary files and saving them to local disk without viewing them.
o In-document search capability.
o Fully 8-bit clean for formatted and plain text.
o Options for new window per document (aka TurboGopher interface) -- always, or via middle mouse button.
o On-the-fly font and hyperlink style selection.
o Many common document and data source choices accessible via menubar.
o Keyword search capability (for WAIS, Gopher, Archie, etc.).
o Cut and paste formatted text into other X windows.
o Smart handling of documents too big for single X window -- virtual document pages via inlined hypertext.
o Save/mail/print documents in several formats.
o Online hypertext help and FAQ list.
o No config or resource file installation required; self-contained executable.
o Extremely customizable.
o Integrated with NCSA Collage and NCSA DTM to broadcast documents into real-time networked workgroup collaboration sessions.
A list of changes made from version 0.9 to version 0.10 follows:
o Support for <IMG> tag: inlined images
in HTML documents.
o Handles X bitmap and GIF formats so far.
o New resource, colorsPerInlinedImage, can be used to restrict color use of inlined images -- default is 50.
o Image files can be located anywhere on the net (pointed to by URL); image data is cached in memory for fast display and reuse.
o Example of inlined bitmap:
o Example of inlined image serving as anchor:
<IMG SRC="file://foobar.com/blagh.gif"> </A>
o Better support for acting as binary file retrieval client.
o Each window can either be in binary transfer mode or not; resource binaryTransferMode controls startup value (default is 'False', and you probably don't want to change this). A toggle button in the Options menu allows changing on the fly.
o If a window is not in binary trasfer mode, data files with unrecognized types will be displayed in the window as either plain text or HTML (depending on the server type), as before.
o If a window is in binary transfer mode, data files with unrecognized types will be dumped to a local file after being transferred over as binary data.
o Regardless of whether a window is in binary transfer mode or not, files with recognizes types (images, sound, etc.) will be handled as usual, and uncompression will be transparent as usual.
o The whole point of all this is to allow the user to select on the fly how a given file of an unrecognized type is to be handled.
o Because files are currently typed by filename extension, binary transfer mode should generally be kept off, otherwise it will screw up things like WAIS searches pretty badly. Also, since Gopher does things differently from everyone else, things are different there too.
o Setting one of the multimedia resources to the text string "dump" will cause files of that type to be dumped to local disk as though in binary transfer mode.
o See http://hoohoo.ncsa.uiuc.edu:80/mosaic-docs/file-typing-issues.html for a more thorough discussion of these issues.
o Audio annotations for Sun's with /usr/demo/SOUND/record (or something similar) are now enabled. Resources recordCommandLocation and recordCommand are used to specify the command used to record sound; theoretically, this approach can be used on any platform with appropriate hardware and software, although SGI Indigo & Sun Sparcstation are the only two that I know of.
o Search capability within documents: enter search term, scrollbar jumps to match and match is highlighted; repeat as desired.
o Enhanced support for various Gopher types, including binary files and CSO phonebooks (sorry, phonebooks aren't supported yet, but at least now an error message shows up).
o Spaces converted to +'s in keyword queries now.
o Scrollbar arrows now increment a reasonable amount when viewing large documents.
o Anonymous FTP password is now always firstname.lastname@example.org, enabling access to every strange FTP server out there that I know of.
o Pattern-matching to determine file type based on file name now uses caseless string compare.
o Better default visited anchor color for non-SGI color displays.
o Messages from libwww now show up in pop-up dialogs like they should.
o Telnet never gets asked to use unrecognized -l flag.
o Tar files are now always retrieved to local disk (and not displayed).
o Replacement (and better) Archie interface.
o Mail Developers window is cleared on each use.
o New resource trackVisitedAnchors; can be used to turn off tracking of visited anchors altogether.
o Better transparent uncompression support:
o Gzipped (.z) files are now recognized and uncompressed on
the fly (as well as .Z files, as before).
o New resources uncompressCommand (default 'uncompress')
and gunzipCommand (default 'gunzip').
o As usual, little bugfixes and cleanups.
Finally, thanks *again* to everyone who's been contributing comments and bug reports -- keep 'em coming!
Software Development Group
National Center for Supercomputing Applications
From: Marc Andreessen (email@example.com)
Subject: Here it is, world!
Newsgroups: comp.infosystems.www.users, comp.infosystems.www.providers, comp.infosystems.www.misc, comp.infosystems
Date: 1994-10-13 06:51:10 PST
Mosaic Communications Corporation is a making a
public version of Mosaic Netscape 0.9 Beta available for anonymous FTP.
Mosaic Netscape is a
built-from-scratch Internet navigator featuring performance optimized for 14.4 modems, native JPEG support, and more.
You can FTP Mosaic Netscape 0.9 Beta from the following locations:
ftp.mcom.com in /netscape
gatekeeper.dec.com in /pub/net/infosys/Mosaic-Comm
lark.cc.ukans.edu in /Netscape
ftp.meer.net in /Netscape
doc.ic.ac.uk in /packages/Netscape
archie.au in /pub/misc/netscape
ftp.cica.indiana.edu in /pub/pc/win3/winsock/nscape09.zip (PC only)
mac.archive.umich.edu in /mac (Mac only)
Please make sure to read the README and LICENSE files.
An up-to-date listing of mirror sites can be obtained at any time by sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subject to the timing and results of this beta cycle, Mosaic Communications will release Mosaic Netscape 1.0, also available free for personal use via the Internet. It will be subject to license terms; please review them when and if you obtain Mosaic Netscape 1.0.
A commercial version of Mosaic Netscape 1.0, including technical support from Mosaic Communications, will be available upon completion of the beta cycle. Contact us at email@example.com for more information.
Marc and the gang