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March 1995


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Wesley Alan Wright <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 14 Mar 1995 12:22:44 -0500
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Forwarded from TidBits, by way of uvmouser. Edited for content by waw. Mr.
Duncan adequately outlines my NetScape reservations alluded to at Monday's
meeting. Complete article available on request

>Revving Your Browsers
>  by Geoff Duncan <[log in to unmask]>


>**Netscape 1.1b1 **-- Netscape Communications Corporation released
>  version 1.1b1 of Netscape Navigator with a fair bit of public
>  hype, claiming that their clients account for more than 75 percent
>  of WWW traffic.
>  Netscape is pushing hard on the idea that they're committed to
>  open standards in WWW development. Though Netscape has made some
>  significant moves in that direction, several of its implementation
>  decisions continue to generate controversy, such as its custom
>  HTML tags and the decision to implement SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)
>  security in the NetScape client and server products.


>**Getting Their Feet Webbed** -- The three commonly-available Web
>  browsers have consistently shown their laundry in public by
>  releasing alpha and beta versions of their client software. In
>  part this is due to the phenomenal growth of the World-Wide Web in
>  the last two years: it's certainly better for them to have pre-
>  release browsers out there than nothing at all - if for no other
>  reason than to make sure they stay in the game. But two
>  interesting things are happening. First, the availability of
>  pre-release versions may be considerably extending the development
>  cycles of these products. NCSA Mosaic and EINet's MacWeb have each
>  been issuing alpha versions since June of 1994, but with final
>  versions still off in a deep haze. Only Netscape is adhering to
>  what might be called a typical software release cycle, for better
>  or for worse. Second, like it or not, these pre-release versions
>  increasingly define what we think of as the World-Wide Web.
>  Netscape may be the most popular browser out there right now, but
>  its HTML extensions and "non-standard" features have set a good
>  portion of the WWW community on its ear, which in turn impacts the
>  development processes of other Web clients and the processes by
>  which HTML and WWW standards are set. Users of the Web might be
>  voting with their feet, but do they understand the direction
>  they're being asked to march?
>  Netscape may be doing everything it can to use and conform to open
>  standards, but in its rush to capture a market it may be helping
>  to create a de facto standard, the ramifications of which aren't
>  entirely clear. And, let's face it folks, DOS is a standard too.