AOL announces end of support for Netscape

Netscape 1.0

AOL announced today that on February 1, 2008, it will stop providing support for any version of Netscape.

It could have meant something thirteen years ago, when it was my browser of choice, a nice competitor for Mosaic and a web technology driver. Or even ten years ago while IE was bullying it out of the game while it was struggling to develop Constellation, a so called and still vaporware “web OS”.

But for the past eight years or so it has been nothing but AOL’s living dead browser. A very sad ending for such an important piece of software responsible for introducing millions of users to this new media called the web and its father, the Internet.

So I am really happy to learn this. Let’s hope AOL drops the Netscape brand once and for all and let it die as well.

AOL recommends Netscape users, like 0.04% of Mozilla Links’ readers, to move to Firefox. Good advice.

If there’s some Netscape feature you may miss, you will be glad to know there is an equivalent extension/theme for Firefox:

  • URL correction for common addresses mistypes. (URL Fixer review)
  • Link Pad, a sidebar where you can drop links and keep them apart from your bookmarks. Somewhat similar to what starring will do for Firefox 3.
  • Sidebar Minibrowser, which in practice, allows to browser two sites at the same time side by side. (Split Browser)
  • OPML support for importing and exporting web feeds. (OPML Support review)
  • Textareas are resizable. (Resizable Textarea review)
  • New tabs inherit the history of the current tab.
  • A combined stop/reload button as part of a visual refresh to the default theme. (Netstripe for Firefox)

4 thoughts on “AOL announces end of support for Netscape”

  1. Before you go downplaying Netscape remember if it wasn’t for Netscape you wouldn’t be here. Netscape still has a lot of brand awareness by a lot of people out there and those same people of very suspect of Firefox and some “off-brand” or generic product. Beleive it or not they trust Netscape as being “real” Why don’t you buy the rights and stuff to the Netscape name from AOL. (You, or rather the Mozilla Foundation probably has the money to do it.) Remove all the AOL cruft and give the public and new reborn Netscape free from the tyranny of AOL. Call it FireFox Netscape or Netscape Firefox or Netscape X. You could be what NeXT computer was to Apple Computer that brought about OSX.

    I’d love to see the Captain’s wheel splash screen, meteor shower N throbber return but with the pureness of Firefox. I usually tell client who don’t “get” Firefox that for all practical purposes that it’s Netscape sans the AOL junk and more current and then they feel better about installing it.

  2. linkerjpatrick, Netscape was great, several years ago. It donated the original code from which Mozilla started, in 1998. From then on, as I’ve said, it’s been a slow painful death.

    As for the Netscape brand,I’m not sure if it’d be worth the price: the web user base is growing fast and every day a higher percent of users have no idea of what Netscape is or was.

    The name, I agree, is better than Firefox, as a word that communicates the idea of a web browser, but that’s pretty much it.

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