Originally created 12/18/00

Netscape 6 leaves much to be desired



Attention Netscape users! Netscape 6 is ready for you to download. But, if you really love your Web browser, you'll leave it alone.

This version is definitely not ready for prime time. In fact, it makes we wonder why the folks at AOLNetscape rushed this to the market. In fact, if you're anxious to try something newer than Netscape 4.5, you may want to try Internet Explorer 5.5 (downloadable from HYPERLINK, http:/www.microsoft.com), Opera 5 (downloadable from HYPERLINK, http://www.opera.com) or Neoplanet 5.1 (downloadable from HYPERLINK, http://www.neoplanet.com).

All of these browsers are more capable of handling all the features of the Web than the new version of Netscape.

Being a dedicated user, this was not an easy choice for me to make. But, after several Web misadventures, I finally bit the bullet and sought solace somewhere else. It has taken me awhile to recover from the experience, but now I'm ready to relate it to you.

The first thing I noticed was a lack of plug-ins, especially for video. One of the great things about Netscape has always been its ability to seek out plug-ins that are missing and install them when you need them. Unfortunately, I kept getting a message saying they were "unavailable." Plus, if I knew the location of the plug-in I needed, it wouldn't install, claiming that Netscape wasn't installed on my machine. Frustrating, isn't it?

But this was only the beginning.

I shop online. And, a lot of times this means you have to fill out various order forms (written in a language known as CGI) or need to access a "wallet" that holds all of your personal information. Well, apparently the developers neglected to check out the software with these sites. When I tried to access these forms I was told that they were not yet compatible with Netscape 6.

It also has a problem recognizing files you're trying to download from the Net. It sees all of them in "mime" format and asks you how you want to handle them. The other browsers don't have this problem.

Now, I'm assuming a lot of these problems - all of them major - showed up during beta testing of the software, which makes me wonder why its developers didn't wait until they were resolved to release it.

I know that as dedicated computer users we've become a bit jaded when it comes to software bugs, expecting them whenever a new version of software is released. But these are usually minor annoyances rather than major incompatibility problems.

Sorry, folks, but if this is an example of what we can expect from the AOL/Sun/ Netscape alliance, I'll seek satisfaction somewhere else.