Macintosh: 68K, Power Mac
PC: Win95, 3.X, NT [Intel and Alpha], OS/2
Unix: AIX, BSDI, HP-UX, IRIX, Linux, OSF, Sparc Solaris, SunOS
VMS: VAX, Alpha
|In mid-1994, Silicon Graphics founder Jim
Clark collaborated with Marc Andreessen to found Mosaic Communications (later
renamed to Netscape Communications.) Andreessen had just graduated from the
University of Illinois, where he had been the leader of a certain software
project known as "Mosaic". By this time, the Mosaic browser was starting to
make splashes outside of the academic circles where it had begun, and both
men saw the great potential for web browsing software. Within a brief
half-year period, many of the original folk from the NCSA Mosaic project
were working for Netscape, and a browser was released to the public.
Netscape quickly became a success, and the overwhelming market share it soon
had was due to many factors, not the least of which was its break-neck pace
of software releases (a new term was soon coined - "internet time" - which
described the incredible pace at which browsers and the web were moving.) It also
created and innovated at an incredible pace. New HTML capabilities in the form
of "extensions" to the language were introduced. Since these capabilities
were often flashier than what other run-of-the-mill browsers could produce,
Netscape's browser helped cement their own dominance. By the summer of 1995,
it was a good bet that if you were browsing the Internet, you were doing so
with a Netscape browser - by some accounts Netscape had as much as an 80%+
With the launch of Windows 95 and a web browser of its own (Internet Explorer)
in August 1995, Microsoft began an effort to challenge Netscape. For quite a
while, Internet Explorer played catch-up to Netscape's continual pushing of the
browsing technological envelope, but with one major advantage: unlike Netscape,
Internet Explorer was free of charge. Netscape version 2.0 introduced a bevy of
helped distance it from the pack, even *with* its attendant price tag. Mid-1995
to late-1996 was a very busy time for both browsers; it seemed like every week one
company or the other was releasing a new beta or final version to the public,
each seemingly trying to one-up the other.
But slowly, Internet Explorer gained market share ground. By the fourth
generations of both browsers, Internet Explorer had caught up technologically
with Netscape's browser. As time went on, Netscape's market share diminished from
its once-towering percentages.
In January 1998, Netscape made an announcement that their browser would thereafter
be free, and also that the development of the browser would move to an open-source
process. This came as wonderful news to many on the Internet. In the period since this
announcement though, an official browser from this "Mozilla" process has yet to
see general public release. The process has taken much longer than originally
anticipated, what with the Netscape/AOL merger and the late-hour decision to
integrate an entirely new next-generation HTML rendering engine.
Even with the tantalizing promise for authors of finally having a wide-distribution
browser that completely adheres to the official language standards for HTML, CSS,
DOM and ECMAScript, the market-share that Netscape once held has significantly
eroded (by some accounts its market share is now down to around 30%.) It has been
almost 3 years since Netscape delivered a major new version of its browser.
It shall be interesting to see how the public takes to Netscape version 6.0.
Early in 1999, AOL bought Netscape, and a year later America Online and Time Warner announced plans in January of
2000 to merge in an all-stock deal the companies value at $350
billion. The new company, called AOL Time Warner Inc., will have combined revenue of over $30 billion.
|| The First Beta of version 1. The original release of the
browser supports all basic HTML 2 elements and some limited HTML 3
||Final Release of version 1.0
||The first Beta of version 1.1 added table support as well
as many of its own new HTML elements and attributes.
||Final Release of version 1.1
||First Beta of version 1.2 which updated the user interface
for Windows 95 and added no new HTML support.
||Final Release of version 1.2
||First Beta of the Navigator release added several HTML 3
elements, Frames and the ability to handle Java.
||Final Release of version 2.0
||First Beta which was originally titled Atlas, this release
added many new plug-ins, and support for background colors in tables.
||This version adds support for underlining, frame border
control and Font FACE styles. It also adds new elements to allow for
column layout (<Multicol>) and spacing control (<Spacer>)
||The only new HTML feature in this version appears to be the
ARCHIVE attribute to the APPLET element.
|Final Release of version 3. Point releases beyond this add no new
||Preview release of 4.0 (Netscape Communicator.) This adds
the new LAYER element that allows precise positioning control in documents.
||Second preview release of 4.0 (Netscape Communicator.) This adds
||Third preview release of 4.0 (Netscape Communicator.) Improves upon
the very rudimentary style sheet support in Beta 2 (PR2.)
||Fourth and fifth beta of 4.0. Beta 4 was a PC-only release with
minor HTML improvements, while Beta 5 is cross-platform and adds the
Netcaster push technology.
|Final Release of Communicator. Final tally adds more CSS support
(much but not all of the CSS1 spec and the CSS positioning draft are implemented),
minimal dynamic font and OBJECT element support. Point releases beyond this
add no new HTML support, just address security bugs.
||Netscape announces its browser will be free.
Also announced: Browser source code will be made available for free on the Internet.
||Various functionality improvements, but no new HTML or CSS support.
|4.5 final release. Point releases beyond this add no
new HTML support, just address bugs.
||Netscape decides to integrate its
new NGLayout rendering engine into Mozilla (v.6.0)
AOL Buys Netscape.
||Mozilla project hits Milestone 13 (M13) -
considered to be first "alpha" quality release of the project.
||Netscape/AOL releases 6.0 PR1 - its first all new
beta browser in several years. This release integrates the Mozilla code
approximately from the Milestone 14 (M14) work.
||Netscape/AOL releases 6.0 PR2. This release
integrates the Mozilla work from ~ the Milestone 17 (M17) timeframe.
||Netscape/AOL releases 6.0 PR3. This release
integrates the Mozilla work from ~ the Milestone 18 (M18) timeframe.
||Final release of version 6.0.