Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Nagging questions on Netscape's demise

There are in the Linux life some nagging questions that bother me. Then one nagging question generates another. Well, this concerns Netscape, the web browser of choice for many years. After a long courageous battle with Microsoft, Netscape is finally giving up the ghost. Why should I care? You know, in college while learning about HTML (hypertext markup language), we also talked about internet standards. One of the first things a web page designer needs to consider is that there is more than one web browser in the world and to design web pages with that in view. My complaint stems from the fact that web designers, especially for government info sites (local, state, and federal) have ignored this wisdom and embraced Microsoft web tools almost exclusively. It has been proved time and time again that MS Internet Explorer is not the most secure browser and definitely not the only browser in popular use. I can not recall ever having problems using Netscape to web surf and gov info sites all seemed to function just fine. Microsoft is always adding stuff to it's Internet Explorer, not just to make it better, but to make it indispensable. Netscape was keeping up, but somehow they lost. They spun off a little project that became Firefox. Firefox is wonderful but, does not work well with those web pages optimized for MS Internet Explorer viewing. This raises the question, what is it that was in Netscape that is not in Firefox to be able to work with those web pages? And, why the government doesn't support open access to information a little better? The last Netscape browser will probably become a vintage wine, graciously remembered while fading into obscurity. I am hoping Firefox and other browsers find the secret sauce that opens any web page.
There are other questions and I will ask them when they bother me enough.
You'll hear more about this.

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