Why not Netscape?

Netscape is a very nice browser, and I use it daily. Still, whenever possible I try to avoid netscape-dependencies in my pages for the following reasons:

Proprietary technology

Netscape is incorporating more and more proprietary technology in its browser as well as its servers. This ranges from security features to support for Adobe Acrobat. This, combined with the market share of netscape leads to a virtual monopoly.

Adhering to standards

Netscape appears to go its own way more and more, ignoring the HTML standardization process and inventing incompatible ways to do things. Again, their market share leads towards monopoly. Also, but this is a bit philosophic, HTML is a content-oriented standard and netscape HTML tends to be more and more of a presentation-oriented standard. For a much better coverage of this check the MIT "Why not code for Netscape" page.


My main objection, as can be glanced from the previous points, is that Netscape is moving towards a monopoly. This is a bad thing, in my opinion, both from a social and a technical point. Social, because it will force people to do business with Netscape; technical, because the lack of competition will stiffle progress. Just look at MS-DOS: because of its market share it has succeeded in virtually blocking any progress in operating systems and user interfaces for more than 10 years.


Another problem with pages designed for Netscape is that they are often impossible to interpret with other browsers. This is a problem because there are still lots of people out there who cannot use Netscape even if they wanted to. Netscape is not available on all platforms, and some people simply have machines that lack the graphics capabilities or bandwidth to use it.
So, that is the reason you will not see any frames, Java code or flashing headers (brrr:-). Still, it should not matter, really, as I feel that it is the content that counts.... ---------------------
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Jack Jansen, Spunk Press, 10-Sep-96