September 4, 2001

Netscape 6 Redux

At some point in the past, I wrote about how happy I was with Netscape 6 and how glad I was that it was available for my Sun workstation. I hereby rescind that judgment. I was pleased with the relative stability of Netscape 6 and how it crashed much less often than Netscape 4.77 on the Solaris platform. I still think it's more stable. However, it has so many deficiencies that Sun refuses to correct that I'm getting very impatient and pissed off.

The problem in particular I'm referring to is that Netscape 6.01 (the package available from, the only Netscape 6 available for Solaris) sticks stupid '?' characters in the place of accented characters from the ISO-8859 character set. Things that are very common in French websites, but which I am unable to make right now because I'm using Netscape 6!! Suffice to say, I'm referring to e acute (the second e in Renee) or c with a cedilla (the c in facade), among others. That makes reading webpages that haven't been setup with the HTML codes for these characters (é probably works here, actually, that's the HTML code for it). Most online books don't have these because the original texts don't have these, and less ignorant web browsers, like Netscape 4.77 for example, don't have any problems. For all I know, Netscape 6.1 doesn't have this problem, but Sun (and Netscape) refuse to release it for Solaris. PFFT!

There are other difficulties I've had with Netscape 6 over time. I even got so mad that I tried to install Mozilla, which is the open-source equivalent, but the package for Solaris 8 requires all sorts of stupid libraries that don't actually exist on a real person's system, and in order to compile Mozilla you need to install about a dozen library packages that each in turn requires another dozen packages. This is poor design fellows, and does not make me happy. As if they care that I'm unhappy. They damn well should care, since I have real problems with Microsoft and using IE, so I'm in that audience they should be targetting for. Sun should be releasing new Netscape 6 versions for Solaris before it's available for Windows, of all things.

Somebody today asked me when I got so cynical. It was about 9 years ago. It's this sort of thing that keeps me cynical and very distrustful of companies that say one thing and do another. PFFT to the lot of them!

Published: September 4, 2001
Editor: stacy

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