May 23, 2001

Can Netscape Get Anything Right?
   by stacy <>

Last week, I ranted about how Netscape 4.77 sucks. This week, I'll rant about Netscape Messaging server, version 4.15. Maybe many of you are unaware that Netscape produces server software. Oh yes, it does. Rather, it did. Now there is some nebulous venture between AOL (which owns Netscape these days) and Sun Microsystems to produce this lousy server software. The brand name it's published under is called iPlanet, so if you ever get yoked into using -- or worse, administrating -- this tripe, I am truly sorry.

The reason Netscape Messaging server, and its little friend Netscape Directory Server, suck is because of Java. Surely you know about Java, the prevailing fad in computer programming which has been around about 5 years too long. I'm told that writing object-oriented code (another fad that's been around about 5 years too long) is much easier in Java than other, more reasonable languages like C++, so that's what companies encourage their programmers to use. Since so many programmers are, well, complete idiots, I guess they have to do everything they can to protect the bottom line from their own hiring inefficiencies. Netscape servers, version 4, use Java for their user interface. If I want to create a new user account or modify a mailing list, I have to use Java to do it. That means it's slow, often stops working for minutes at a time, and has to be frequently restarted. Sounds a lot like Netscape, huh?

This is probably Sun's fault most of all. They invented Java, so they think it can do no wrong. Then they went into this thing with AOL to make servers and said, "Hey, let's use Java!" to which AOL replied, "Is it your money financing this?" and Sun said, "Sure!" so AOL answered, "Alrighty then!" And just to make this all poetically justifying, the iPlanet servers (the version 5 series of Netscape servers) are total crap and hardly anyone is buying them. We totally ditched the calendar server because the iPlanet server actually lost features from the version 4 server, which had been licensed from another company, so we went to that company and bought the software straight. No Java interface, and I'm very happy about it.

Published: May 23, 2001
Editor: stacy

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