Netscape 6 uses open source to battle MS

Netscape has released version six of its browser, developed in conjunction with open source developers, which it hopes will help...

Netscape has released version six of its browser, developed in conjunction with open source developers, which it hopes will help its continuing battle against the dominance of Microsoft Internet Explorer, writes Daniel Thomas.

Netscape Navigator 6.0 - the first browser developed by Netscape since it was bought by AOL - was released simultaneously in the UK, US, France, Germany and Japan.

The browser is based on Netscape Gecko, the company's new standards-compliant layout and rendering engine, and features an interface that works with Windows, Macintosh, Unix and Linux operating systems.

This release marks the browser's first full support for the XML programming environment, which helps developers and users create applications and Web-based components that can be used across platforms, as well as migrate data between applications. Netscape says the browser will simplify the task of developing content by allowing them to adhere to a standardised set of rules, rather than learning a myriad of proprietary tags and implementations.

Netscape says Navigator allows users to access multiple e-mail accounts, send and receive instant messages and synchronise their address books with a Netcenter account and other programs.

The search facilities have been improved, with the main toolbar URL field doubling up as a search field. This means users can make "one-click" searches without having to wait for a search page to load up.

Netscape hopes this latest browser and the substantial AOL user base will help it reclaim some of the market share it has lost to Microsoft over the past few years, although with beta versions of Internet Explorer 6.0 already released, retaliation will not be far away.

This was first published in November 2000



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