This is a post I’ve been meaning to make for several years now, and I just now got around to doing it. Netscape is one of the few browsers out there that’s old enough to pre-date most of the security people who hack on browsers. It’s got a long trying history, with lots of problems and lots of successes and in a lot of ways it was one of the most influential browsers out there. I owe a lot to my understanding of the web to Netscape in the early days. There’s a lot to be said for the history. But we aren’t living in the past. Let’s talk about now.
Netscape’s new model is not as the role of a browser company, but more as a wrapper around IE and Firefox. Using versions of Firefox and IE, Netscape wraps them in certain ways depending on the user, to give the maximum browsing experience. Netscape has come a long way in terms of installers too, and their bookmarklets are very cool. However, there is a fundamental flaw in their design - they aren’t current.
Because they do not update as quickly as the other browser manufacturers that they wrap they are always behind the times in terms of vulnerabilities. That means any user who uses Netscape is vulnerable to old Firefox vulnerabilities for months longer than they would be if they used Mozilla. I haven’t seen a shift in that mentality in the nearly four years I’ve been meaning to write this and I don’t see it changing any time soon. If you are using Netscape you are wildly behind the security patching process. I’d love to see Netscape fix this and start updating in near-real-time along side their rivals who they wrap. I don’t see them as a serious competitor to Mozilla or IE, but still. I’d rather them not disappear completely from the planet - if only for nostalgia.