Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Retro Browser War: IE6 Vs. Netscape In 2011

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the gotta-wonder-why dept.

The Internet 211

jbrodkin writes "What if you took the raw, pre-patched, 10-year-old versions of Internet Explorer 6 and Netscape 6.1 and tried to surf the modern Web? What would happen? You might think firing up IE6 or Netscape would lead to an immediate onslaught of viruses, but just for fun, I decided to spend some time using these two ancient browsers. It turns out IE6 is still capable of surfing much of the modern Internet, and can play Flash and Java content, but Netscape's troubles show it probably died a justified death."

cancel ×

211 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Or possibly... (5, Insightful)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302392)

Possibly, the fact that large numbers of corporate desktops still have IE 6 means that a non-trivial number of Web programmers code to where IE6 will still work, whereas no one is using old Netscape, even for fun, except for this dude.

Re:Or possibly... (4, Interesting)

xSauronx (608805) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302478)

Really. I work at corporate for a medical system with a few hospitals and clinics...only late last year was IE7 approved for deployment because (finally) a couple of key software vendors supported it. Deployment is still optional at this point in time, but theres talking of making it automatic soon.

Re:Or possibly... (2)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302786)

Same field. We're still trying to get certain software to play nice with IE7 and IE8. Therefore, IE6 is still deployed to all computers.

Re:Or possibly... (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302980)

I work in the same, and IE 9 is in pilot right now. Everyone else still has IE6.

Re:Or possibly... (2)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302988)

Typo - I mean IE8 is in pilot. (why the hell can't you edit posts here?)

Re:Or possibly... (2, Informative)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#35303432)

Because then you can retract your statements and game modding up for nefarious reasons. Slashdot has permaposting for a good reason.

There's a reason why it's preview then post button.

Re:Or possibly... (1, Interesting)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 3 years ago | (#35303506)

Because then you can retract your statements and game modding up for nefarious reasons. Slashdot has permaposting for a good reason.

???

Surely the solution to this is just to remove any mod points if a post is edited? Or allow editing for 15 minutes, and in those 15 minutes, no moderation is allowed.

Re:Or possibly... (3, Funny)

sodul (833177) | more than 3 years ago | (#35303588)

allow editing for 15 minutes, and in those 15 minutes, no moderation is allowed.

And we should call it 'Preview', what a great concept ... oh wait

Re:Or possibly... (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#35303630)

Fuck if I know, but Slashdot has never allowed editing nor removal of posts for any reason (except for a few very notable cases).

Works a bit like posting an email or on Usenet: it's already posted, you can't take it back.

Re:Or possibly... (2, Insightful)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35303566)

Really this is an apples versus oranges comparison: IE 6 was last updated in 2008. Netscape 6.x in 2002. It's like comparing a Mac G3 versus a modern QuadCore PC. Of COURSE the older technology will not work as well as the new one

If they wanted to do a real comparison, try:
- IE 6 (2008) versus Netscape 9 (also 2008)
- IE 5 (last update: 2000) versus Netscape 4.5 (2001) - both will be about equally broken.

Re:Or possibly... (4, Informative)

w_dragon (1802458) | more than 3 years ago | (#35303638)

They thought of that. He went to great lengths to get a version of IE6 that was released in 2001, no patches allowed. It's in the first page of the article. I know, I must be new here.

Re:Or possibly... (2)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#35303886)

True, but even so, the fact that IE6 was updated 6 years more recently indicates that more people are using it, and even the old unpatched version is more likely to be compatible with current stuff (because a lot of current stuff gets retrofitted to support it, and IE6 has not undergone a major structural change,so writing support for the 2008 version means you're most likely also writing support for the 2001 version).

A lot of web developers still write code to support IE6's peculiarities. That's because a lot of people still use it. There's a correlation between that and the fact the Microsoft kept updating IE6 until 2008.

Netscape was abandoned. There's a correlation between the fact that the company writing it died out and people stopped using it and the fact that no web developers write back-support code for it.

IE6 has remained useful because of hordes of web developers who, to this day, write "if useragent = IE6 do something different" code all across their web pages. And those web developers do that because, surprise surprise, it's still in common use.

Re:Or possibly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35303756)

He said prepatched versions....

Re:Or possibly... (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35303766)

P.S.

Also Netscape didn't die (as in no longer being used by people). They split in half to form Netscape and the Mozilla Foundation. Netscape 5 was developed and renamed as Mozilla Communicator, which then split into SeaMonkey Communicator and Firefox Browser.

Re:Or possibly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35303814)

RTFA :)
It's okay to hate microsoft, and sound smart - just do so without shooting yourself in the foot.

Re:Or possibly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35303826)

FTFA: "In order to get the oldest, most awful version of IE6, I had to locate an original, 2001 copy of Windows XP that lacked any patches and service pack updates."

He did compare equal versions.

Re:Or possibly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35302816)

Indeed, we just got IE7 a few months ago.

Re:Or possibly... (2)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302866)

large numbers of corporate desktops still have IE 6

Hah! We don't use that old shit where I work, buddy. We upgraded to IE 6.5 years ago...

Re:Or possibly... (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#35303068)

We just recently stopped supporting IE6 in our products. A lot of the IE6 compatibility features are still there, we are just not checking new features in our products with IE6 (and a lot of them will still work with IE6 just not confirmed). Last year IE6 testing was limited to making sure the product functionally worked however the niceties such as UI effects were not supported. We test with IE9 Beta. And leaving IE7-8 to be functional, due to its crappy support of CSS.

Re:Or possibly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35303570)

well, yeah. One or two years ago Yahoo began blocking access to their site because I was using 6 year old Mozilla 1.7, but happy to serve up content for my ten year old IE6. Obviously they were continuing to support "some"older browsers but not all, or willing to write a page that would gracefully degrade to some earlier browser standard.

Duh (5, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302404)

Up until relatively recently you absolutely had to include whatever hacks were necessary to get IE6 running on your site because it was the default browser on Windows and had a huge market share. Netscape hasn't had that sort of status in a really long time. So of course IE6 probably looks pretty good in comparison.

Now, look at more recent sites that don't include that kludge and see if it still looks OK.

Re:Duh (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302562)

Only recently, many corps especially in the US still us it. :-(

Re:Duh (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35303542)

No you didn't. Lazy people where just that, lazy and didn't create website that can handle both.
It's not hard, and it gives a direct upgrade. But no, webmasters whined and stewed in their ignorance instead of actual work.

And yes, I have done just that, many times.

Re:Duh (1)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 3 years ago | (#35303622)

Up until relatively recently you absolutely had to include whatever hacks were necessary to get IE6 running on your site

It's still true, to some extent. The webapp I'm working on was originally supposed to support IE6 because that's what the customer was using.

Unfortunately, infosec has declared that IE6 is a security risk and that having it installed on any machine that can connect to any network is forbidden.

So we tried to convince the customer to upgrade to version 7 while talking with infosec about allowing us to install IE6 on a virtual machine which has limited net access. (No, we can't just install the web app on the VM and use no network access.)

Since then, infosec has moved everyone to IE8, with the same "not on machines connected to any network" rule applying to IE7.

Our customer, on the other hand, is still using IE6...

I always knew those Mordac, the Preventer of Information Services cartoons from Dilbert where based in reality, but, yeesh. And I do understand why infosec forbids IE6, but sometimes, we really do need some wiggle room to work with customers.

First (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35302424)

First

Re:First (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35302464)

You misspelt 'Third'

Re:First (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35302876)

You misspelled misspelled :P

Re:First (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35302992)

You misspelled ..

Obvious (2)

Even on Slashdot FOE (1870208) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302430)

The reason IE6 still works is because it HAD to work. People made web apps that only work in IE6 and then Microsoft broke the compatibility in every version after. I admit that if companies were more willing to update their apps IE6 would not still be required by some companies, but you tell them they have to spend their money porting apps.

Didn't work, did it?

Re:Obvious (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302660)

Simple solution: Use IE6 for the internal apps, and another browser for the Internet. As added bonus, if you manage to technically enforce that policy (e.g through proxies which detect the used browser), you are safe from XSS attacks against your internal apps coming from the internet.

Re:Obvious (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302830)

Not as simple as you'd like to think. You're asking to budget time (=money) and resources to maintaining different browsers in a corporate environment. I've never really tried, but is it possible to use both IE6 and IE7 / IE8 on the same computer without the underlying OS components losing its stomach?

Re:Obvious (1)

KingMotley (944240) | more than 3 years ago | (#35303224)

Firefox with IE Tab works well for that.

Re:Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35303298)

I think it's possible, though not easy. Failing that, you could always run Chrome or Firefox.

Re:Obvious (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 3 years ago | (#35303398)

One of the complaints I've heard about Firefox is that there is no way to do an installation similar to how msi files are setup. I don't know if Chrome suffers from the same issue.

If I were running a business, I would have Linux desktops on all the machines. It seems to me that user security is tighter in that situation and people aren't so familiar with it so they will be less likely to screw something up. (I have heard / seen that Windows 7 is more granular with its permissions than Linux is.) If I couldn't have Linux, I would mandate Firefox on all computers with ad-block and no-script installed. To me, that seems a better security measure than running IE7+.

Re:Obvious (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35303658)

If I were running a business, I would have Linux desktops on all the machines.

This is why you are not running a business.

Re:Obvious (1, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#35303558)

I would say this is one time we should all be damned happy that MSFT didn't stick with its famous backwards compatibility. Why? One word: ActiveX.

At the time ActiveX sounded like a good idea, an easy way to write code for intranets that could be easily deployed and updated from the corporate office but sadly whomever was in charge of security at MSFT was playing hooky that week and it turned out to be a malware writers wet dream. Thanks to how deeply ActiveX was allowed to hook into the underlying OS simply viewing a web page could give a well written piece of ActiveX malware complete control of the system, while even a shitty piece of ActiveX malware could hook into the browser and do all kinds of nasty things.

So we should all be glad that someone at MSFT got the memo and realized that ActiveX was a seriously BAD idea and killed it deader than Dixie. Oh and for all the complaints of web developers about IE 6 and the shitty code you had to write for it? Remember this thing came out nearly a decade ago and those "web standards" you fellas like so much really didn't exist as anything more than proposals at the time, most of which were completely changed after IE 6 had already been released.

Yes MSFT deserves every single bit of hatred for walking away from IE after they won the battle against Netscape, hell they probably should have been hit with a class action for the risk they put every XP user through by not upkeeping their browser while still leaving it installed and default. But let us not forget that "web standards" were more like web suggestions at that time and BOTH sides played seriously fast and loose, remember the "blink" tag in NS?

Frankly both sides sucked the big wet titty and I'm just glad that today we have a wealth (some might even say a glut) of choices, from Firefox/Seamonkey/Kmeleon to Chrome/Chromium/Dragon/Safari to Opera all by its lonesome. Now users have so many well running choices that it is more a personal preference than anything else, and IE is increasingly becoming a footnote of history just like Netscape. Thankfully the bad old days of two shitty browsers is behind us and we can surf the web OUR way, not spend all our time dealing with the "quirks" of one of the big two.

Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35302432)

Could this be due to the large market share that IE6 still holds? I realize this is a much older version of the software, but many websites are still made with IE6 use in mind, are they not? I'm probably wrong, so feel free to insult me ^_^

Re:Hmm... (2)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | more than 3 years ago | (#35303186)

That's the way it's been in the past, but assuming these [w3schools.com] statistics are correct, it will hopefully be left to die soon.

Re:Hmm... (1)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | more than 3 years ago | (#35303210)

I apologize, I just scrolled down further on the page where there's a not stating those statistics are only relevant to those accessing W3Schools.com. Obviously, those interested in web development seem to prefer non-IE browsers.

Considering IE6 is still in use today... (1)

Craig Maloney (1104) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302434)

Considering IE6 has had an unduly long life in today's software world, it's no surprise. There are still businesses out there that rely with almost thumb-sucking adherence to keeping their sites IE6 compatible.

I'm firmly in the camp of letting IE6 have the browser wars, and letting it graze peacefully into the great software pasture in the sky, but alas, we're nowhere near that area yet.

IE6 still works? No shocker there. (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302444)

Considering how much life IE6 still has in it on the internet, and how much of the web was deliberately broken to be "best viewed in internet explorer" and the length of IE6's dominance, I'm not surprised people are creating pages that are mostly compatible with it.

Netscape, however, was pushed out by loads of incompatible web pages and a failure to keep up. So yeah, IE6 is going to still work while Netscape is going to be broken. Thankfully, we have a much more diverse base of browsers that basically drive home the need to be standards compliant on both ends.

Re:IE6 still works? No shocker there. (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302854)

But you have to admit, it was kind of cool that he tried and reported on it.

Re:IE6 still works? No shocker there. (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#35303112)

Definitely cool. Actually, he piques my curiosity. I'm almost tempted to find a copyt of IE5 - or was it 5.5 - with the security updates. When that came out, I was all happy, thinking that the security updates would help to keep the wife out of trouble. And, it seemed to help. Soon after that, IE6 came out, and we upgraded - so I didn't spend much time on 5 or 5.5, whichever it was. Netscape? I never learned to like it. Somehow, I associated it with AOL, and I positively HATED AOL. Unfair, I know, but I just never learned to like Netscape. Only when I read about Firefox at around milestone .5 or so did I begin to get interested in the Mozilla stuff. Soon after, I banished IE from all of my desktops!

Re:IE6 still works? No shocker there. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35303578)

About two years ago I built a VM with Windows 3.11 to try and see if I could use it productively at my place of work. Software that would run on 3.11 was insanely difficult to find, but I did get IE 5.5 and some version of Netscape running. IE actually displayed Wikipedia more or less normally, but couldn't test much because I could only view one or two pages before it crashed. Netscape was more stable but didn't appear to support any CSS so while I was able to view web pages they didn't look anywhere near what they were designed to. And then it crashed too.

Ultimately my quest failed due to lack of an SSH client and extreme instability. Apparently my brain had blocked out how terrible Windows was before XP.

No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35302458)

IE6 support is being kept alive due to a statistics flaw.

If you look at your visitor stats there will be no NS6 users at all. There will be a few (but not many, I hope for you) IE6 users. Most if not all of these are actually spammers.
Management doesn't know that distiction and decides, we'll need to keep supporting IE6. Or worse, they think that using it isn't that ancient after all and force you to use it.

So, next time you want to know how many people *actually* use IE6 to determine resource spending, try filtering out the unwanted ones first. The same holds for those stats counters.

Re:No. (1)

freedumb2000 (966222) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302682)

This is a plausible theory, but I am curious are there any references for this?

Re:No. (1)

omfgnosis (963606) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302894)

Whut. The standard theory is that most IE 6 traffic is from corporate deployments, as corporations have the most invested in web applications targeting IE 6 as a platform, and as the traffic tends to die off pretty significantly off business hours. Does this correlation hold for spammers? What exactly do you mean by spammers?

That said, it's still a statistic that can be molded to different policies if a web outfit chooses. There are a lot of reasons why a site may neglect its corporate users, not the least of which being that they don't necessarily generate revenues significant enough to justify the development efforts. But more than that, with good progressive enhancement techniques, it's quite reasonable to provide a working implementation to IE 6 without all the bells and whistles. And since, in my experience, a lot of IE 7 fixes trickle down to IE 6, it's not such a crazy investment in effort.

HERE's a new switch on correlation/causation... (1)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302470)

IE6 in all its horror is supported by most frameworks BECAUSE corporate desktops and mindless consumers stayed on it for so very long.

Re:HERE's a new switch on correlation/causation... (1)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302490)

Ah, I see that mine is not a minority opinion.

IE6 was mostly corporate, not consumer (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35303368)

"Mindless consumers" upgraded, either because they bought new PCs that came with IE7 or IE8, or because Windows Update would update their browser for them, or because they'd get a dialog box offering to upgrade their browser, click Yes, install some piece of malware toolbarness and have to uninstall IE entirely and upgrade to a new version to kill it off.

Corporate desktops, yeah, because the corporations were using applications developed for IE6 (using toolsets that were specifically incompatible with Mozilla so you had to keep IE6) which didn't work any more under IE7 or IE8, and the IT department didn't want to go through the pain of replacing them, while the corporate security standards bureaucrats didn't trust IE7 (they didn't trust IE6 either, but they were stuck with it.) I finally got to upgrade to IE7 last summer, though of course I use Firefox and Chrome for anything that doesn't insist on running IE.

IE6?!?!? Amateurs (2)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302476)

This week I had to do a Win 98 install to test some software. My install came with IE4 and I had some fun trying various sites to see what would and wouldn't work. It was interesting to see how well (and not well) sites degraded to an utter crap view.

Re:IE6?!?!? Amateurs (1)

CortoMaltese (828267) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302738)

This week I had to do a Win 98 install to test some software. My install came with IE4 and I had some fun trying various sites to see what would and wouldn't work. It was interesting to see how well (and not well) sites degraded to an utter crap view.

IE4? That's nothing. In my time... [illinois.edu]

Re:IE6?!?!? Amateurs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35303280)

Good grief. Who's bright idea was it to post a screenshot as an upscaled 30mb TIF?

Not very surprising results (2)

wompa (656355) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302506)

As the article mentions, IE6 is still used by millions of users. Website designers still try to retrofit at least some of their functionality to work w/ this ancient scourge. You don't hear anybody trying to make sure their website will work with Netscape.

Re:Not very surprising results (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35303266)

lulz http://marketshare.hitslink.com/browser-market-share.aspx?qprid=2

Netscape 6.0 0.81%
Opera 10.x 0.63%

The horse is long dead. (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302510)

Really? People still have emotions about Netscape Vs. IE? Get a life! ;)

Re:The horse is long dead. (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302820)

You would too, if you'd spent miserable years of your life being forced to code for IE6, the broken mistake that should have been retired years before.

Re:The horse is long dead. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#35303006)

Well if Netscape won... You would still be writting non-standard stuff... Remember Layers vs. IE Css.

Just got done surfing with IE6 :) (5, Funny)

bl8n8r (649187) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302524)

No viri or malware here!  I was.... uh,popup... *click* ..I was just say... what the?..*click*...*click*... I was just going to sa... *click*..*click*... +++ ath0

Re:Just got done surfing with IE6 :) (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302938)

I think I can see the actual web page. Its just there underneath the 15 toolbars which magically came out of nowhere.

Re:Just got done surfing with IE6 :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35303402)

To be fair, I have been using IE6 until Chrome came out, and it is possible to make it block popups (and was better at it than Chrome even) and ActiveX controls like Flash - I didn't realise how much I hated Flash until I switched to Chrome, which does display Flash by default (you can change that).

Re:Just got done surfing with IE6 :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35303672)

No men there? What does that have to do with browsers?

not surprising given (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35302536)

1) IE was the de facto standard of the Web from 1998 to 2009, give or take a year or two on each end. That's what developers used as their main reference client.

2) Netscape ran out of cash to fund the massive development cycles it needed to compete with Microsoft at the time, around 1998 or so. Then they released the browser code as open source. Soon afterwards, AOL bought the whole company; AOL is not a company noted for software development. Then Microsoft seemed to lose interest in anything more than minimal browser development.

3) Netscape's source code was apparently ragged, developed as it was under "Netscape Time" (their term). After their source code was released as "Mozilla", it took several years before anything came out of that project, and progress apparently began after the original source code base was set aside.

Re:not surprising given (1)

omfgnosis (963606) | more than 3 years ago | (#35303000)

Your #1 end year is way, way off. This really ended around the time the Mozilla project started releasing stable builds. The current web standards movement really gained steam around this time, and the web development culture overall had been undergoing a transformation toward what it reflects almost across the board today: standards, semantics, and progressive enhancement are of utmost importance. Interoperability comes from the latter, and IE 6 was treated as a legacy product with special needs.

It *looked* like the de facto standard for much longer because it continued to receive grudging support in recognition of usage statistics. As we've seen its usage share plummeting, so too we've seen this support decline. But you'd scarcely hear a developer refer to IE 6 as a reference client for the better part of a decade.

Standards. (1)

PieterBr (1013955) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302616)

And still after 22 years of web, webdevelopers don't give anything about standards and have to rely on javascript and flash to even be able to visit websites. I wonder what the results would have been for standard compliant web-sites.

Re:Standards. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35302782)

I understand flash, as you need to have a plugin to view it, but why is javascript not considered standards-compliant?

Re:Standards. (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302906)

Even with standard compliant web-sites, the way the different browsers render those standards can be different. Take a look at html5 and how all browsers don't include the tags or handle the tags differently.

Long live Netscape (4, Insightful)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302680)

Posted from SeaMonkey [seamonkey-project.org] . Personally I still like having an HTML editor, browser and email client all in one package.

Modern browser on retro OS? (2)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302686)

If you had a Win98 machine that you'd like to access the web from occasionally, what would be the best browser to do so? Firefox 2.0? Are there any projects still targeting OSs this old? What about something really crazy, like Mac OS 7? Or Amiga OS?

Re:Modern browser on retro OS? (1)

bedouin (248624) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302982)

If you're in Mac OS 9 Classilla [floodgap.com] is a relatively up to date port of Mozilla. I've used it a few times and it's quite nice.

Until a couple years ago iCab was still supported on 68k Macs.

Timberwolf [amigabounty.net] appears to be Firefox for Amigas, granted you probably won't get it running on your 500.

Lynx still runs on pretty much anything if you're willing to compile it, and one can argue it's kept up to date.

Re:Modern browser on retro OS? (2)

armanox (826486) | more than 3 years ago | (#35303084)

Opera 10 is probably the most recent browser for Win 98 support.

Opera Rocks, even though it got bloated (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35303454)

The original Opera was wonderful - the install image only used half a floppy disk, and it was really fast! It took me a while to accept tabbed browsing (Opera's original tabbed-only was annoying, but being able to have tabs and windows both is great.)

Netscape 6.1's rendering engine (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302700)

So, Netscape 6.1 used the Mozilla 0.9.2.1 rendering engine.

For reference, Firefox (nee Phoenix) 0.1 used the Mozilla 1.1 rendering engine. Firefox 3.6.13 uses the Mozilla 1.9.2.13 rendering engine.

Needless to say, the commonly used version of Mozilla's rendering engine has been constantly updated, while IE6 still has market-share to this day.

So, not surprisingly, web site authors don't make sites for ancient Mozilla versions, while they do for ancient IE versions.

Post Fail (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35302712)

Did OP forget that vast numbers of developers still code to IE6 standards?

Re:Post Fail (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35302778)

What are these IE6 "standards" of which you speak?

Re:Post Fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35303246)

That's easy. "If it don't fit, hammer it. If it still don't fit, chop it to pieces. If there are to many pieces to fit, just throw some away. Whatever hodgepodge mess you end up with, is STANDARD!"

Faulty Testing (1)

Metabolife (961249) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302726)

He's comparing a Javascript benchmark in a virtual machine to one on his Windows 7 native install.

Netscape 6 not so dead... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35302756)

It's probably worth noting that Netscape 6 was just the Mozilla Suite (aka SeaMonkey) rebadged... Hard to say it really 'died' since those days. By Netscape 8 they switched to using FireFox as the base.

IE 6 (2)

dlowder (522948) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302780)

I just re-installed XP sp 2 last night on an old laptop which comes with IE 6. I didn't really think of it as old. It worked fine until I was able to update,restart,update,restart,update,restart,update,restart,update,restart and then update to IE 8.

O.o (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35302858)

That's a strange way of having fun.

Netscape 6+ (3, Informative)

Dracos (107777) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302940)

After AOL bought Netscape, they decided to keep the Netscape browser on life support (but strangle it anyway) by releasing versions 6.0 and later, which were cut from the maturing Mozilla 5 codebase:

  • Netscape 6.0 = Mozilla .5
  • Netscape 6.1 = Mozilla .9
  • Netscape 6.2 = Mozilla .9
  • Netscape 7.0 = Mozilla 1.1
  • Netscape 7.1 = Mozilla 1.4
  • Netscape 7.2 = Mozilla 1.7
  • Netscape 8.0 = Mozilla 1.7

At this point (May 2005) Netscape was irrelevant, as Firefox had taken over among the tech savvy, and word was spreading beyond us. Also, AOL had seen fit to saddle Netscape with ugly, ad-infested themes.

The 6x and 7x lines were premature at best, almost as if they were designed to nail the brand's coffin shut, which they did.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Browser_timeline [wikipedia.org] , and my own memory of the time.

Re:Netscape 6+ (1)

eln (21727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35303244)

Right, which makes this a rather pointless exercise. By version 6, Netscape was not Netscape in any meaningful sense, and its market share was so small that developers barely even knew it existed.

A much more interesting exercise would be to see how Netscape 4 and IE4 fare on today's web, since NS4 is probably the last Netscape browser to have any kind of significant market share.

Re:Netscape 6+ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35303462)

I'm of the opinion that AOL kept Netscape alive long enough squeeze Microsoft for $750 million and force a sweet, royalty-free, long-term deal on IE licensing. It never cared about the browser itself.

if IE6 doesn't support it (0)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#35302978)

If IE6 doesn't support it, then it's probably not a useful feature for the WWW, being either eye candy or stupid "web app" crap. Fuck off with your need to make fancy drop-down menus and pixel-perfect positioning - the whole point is that you give me marked-up information and I render it how I please.

(Of course, IE6 has some irritating crap in it too - but not even ActiveX is as annoying as HTML 5 in terms of fucking up a decent idea.)

Re:if IE6 doesn't support it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35303170)

If IE6 doesn't support it, then it's probably not a useful feature for the WWW, being either eye candy or stupid "web app" crap. Fuck off with your need to make fancy drop-down menus and pixel-perfect positioning - the whole point is that you give me marked-up information and I render it how I please.

(Of course, IE6 has some irritating crap in it too - but not even ActiveX is as annoying as HTML 5 in terms of fucking up a decent idea.)

HTML jumped the shark with frames. It's all been downhill since then.

Re:if IE6 doesn't support it (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35303492)

"... but not even ActiveX is as annoying as HTML 5 in terms of fucking up a decent idea."

you are an idiot, enjoy your cave.

Re:if IE6 doesn't support it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35303522)

If IE6 doesn't support it, then it's probably not a useful feature for the WWW, being either eye candy or stupid "web app" crap. Fuck off with your need to make fancy drop-down menus and pixel-perfect positioning - the whole point is that you give me marked-up information and I render it how I please.

(Of course, IE6 has some irritating crap in it too - but not even ActiveX is as annoying as HTML 5 in terms of fucking up a decent idea.)

2001 called - they want their antiquated thoughts back.

Re:if IE6 doesn't support it (1)

rgviza (1303161) | more than 3 years ago | (#35303616)

In theory you are correct. In reality, IE6 doesn't implement HTML, CSS or javascript properly/well. It also doesn't always handle HTTP headers according to spec.

It's a piece of dogshit. You have to code one site for IE and one for the rest of the browsers which adhere to w3 specs more closely.

In the real world people expect more out of html than simple text. They expect interactive applications with instant gratification. As a developer, if you want to get paid and stay employed, you do what the boss tells you to do, no matter how ridiculous you think it is.

The collective cost of this world wide has been billions in wasted hours coding around IE6 faults. You could feed a continent with the money we've (programmers worldwide) collectively wasted on IE6 workarounds. See the w3 spec tells you exactly how to program all things www. However a significant percentage of it doesn't work in IE because Microsoft decided to do shit their own way. Then to make it work, you need to search the internet high and low for people that have run into the same problem you did, and what they did to work around it. Very little documentation on how to workaround IE issues is available. You either code for IE using Microsoft's textbook, or you code using w3 specs, or worse, in the case of a public site, you need to do both. After 10-15 years of doing this, it gets REALLY old.

I've spent up to a week in the past trying to figure out how to work around a single issue in IE. It can be ridiculous if you find a new problem that no one has documented yet.

I am utterly excited about the IE9 release.

Internally in my company we decided to say fuck IE a long time ago and let our users choose whatever browser they wanted as long as it's not IE. We code to HTTP/w3 spec for our internal applications. All browsers work fine except IE6,7,8.

I was pretty excited when I downloaded IE 9 beta and all of our stuff works.

Some of it fails in IE8.

Glad we did what we did instead of coding for a hopelessly broken browser. We basically cut our internal development costs in half by doing so. We also got our projects done a lot faster. Had we bothered, we'd have completely wasted our time with IE6 workarounds especially now that they finally seem to have fixed their software.

The ONLY reason this happened is that people started using other browsers because they simply work better. That's why, they are more standards compliant. Microsoft apparently has realized that to keep their browser from being completely irrelevant, they need to fix it.

They should have done this in 1993 and stuck with it. Then developers wouldn't hate microsoft, or hate everyone else. We'd also be a lot further along with regard to technique because of all the time wasted on workarounds instead of finding better ways to code sites.

Because IE6 wouldn't die! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35303066)

Er... the fact that IE6 fairs well is ENTIRELY because we web developers have had to make sure the "modern" web worked in that ancient browser for the entirety of its existence. Nearly every site you look at will have special-case code to handle IE6 specifically. Only in this last year has my shop dropped automatic support for it, and we still have requests to fix issues that appear only in IE6.

Almost by definition, the web isn't actually all that modern BECAUSE it has to work in IE6.

That said, progressive enhancement is one of those ideas that everyone should be implementing but, in practice, almost never actually works the way it should. A truly well-crafted modern site should be able to have fancy HTML5 features but still render in a readable (if not necessarily pleasing) fashion in Mosaic.

what a shock... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35303336)

as a full-time web designer, we are pretty much forced to make sure our sites are usable in IE6. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten phone calls from clients that go just like this:

client: MY SITE ISN'T WORKING!!!!!!
me: looks fine on my end. what's wrong?
client: transparent images have a solid background, and elements are all over the place, I can't see the drop down menus, and the entire thing looks like crap!
me: what browser are you using?
client: what's a browser?
me: what version of windows are you using?
client: XP I think?
me: have you ever once, considered running the updates?
client: I'm a traditionalist! Of course not!

Of course, they are running IE6. I spend probably 1/5 of my time a day working making sure that sites are compatible in IE6. It's a nightmare. If I could get that extra time back each day, I could get so many more useful project done instead of trying to force the modern web to work with a legacy POS browser that shouldn't still exist in 2011.

NCSA Mosaic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35303414)

How about trying NCSA Mosaic?

Gives me an idea for Top Gear (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35303418)

Similarly, Top Gear should do an episode where they try to see how practical early-1900s cars are in today's world. Think of all the manual crank-starting, rear-only belt-braking, 1WD fun to be had at speeds of up to 30mph.

Maybe they've already done something like this and I just don't know about it.

Re:Gives me an idea for Top Gear (1)

fridaynightsmoke (1589903) | more than 3 years ago | (#35303640)

Similarly, Top Gear should do an episode where they try to see how practical early-1900s cars are in today's world. Think of all the manual crank-starting, rear-only belt-braking, 1WD fun to be had at speeds of up to 30mph.

Maybe they've already done something like this and I just don't know about it.

They've already done something like this and you just don't know about it :P

They did a feature a while ago about "the first car to use 'modern' controls" involving lots of failing to brake and difficulty starting some very early cars. Clip here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/topgear/videos/index.shtml?cat=mucking_about&id=86 [bbc.co.uk]

Netscape 6 = Mozilla, and I still code for IE6! (1)

AC-x (735297) | more than 3 years ago | (#35303422)

The Netscape name has died a death but its engine, Mozilla, is approaching 30% usage now.

There's a very good reason you can still surf with IE6, and that's because most web devs like myself still have to bloody support it. It hung around for so long that even now I'm still having to put specific IE6 fixes into everything I do. I'm willing to bet if you took away all the IE6 specific javascript and css from every website then the results would be completely reversed. I can't remember what the Moz 0.9 engine was like to dev for but I'm pretty sure even then it was more standards compliant than IE.

Now, if you looked at IE 5 vs Netscape 4 I'd say IE was the better browser at that time, but by around Moz 1.0 it had become the better engine (even if the Netscape interface they put on it was bloated). I reckon if you did the same test again in 10 years time once IE6 is no-longer supported (fingers crossed!) and all the IE6 fixes had slowly filtered out of use then the old Moz engine would do a better job of rendering pages.

It shows (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35303476)

no such thing.
At most it shows the most 'web master' are complete idiots.

Netscape 6? The AOL version? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#35303514)

At least use IE4 and Netscape 4 Gold. Netscape post 4 was the AOL crappified Netscape.

All fish swim, I swim, therefore I am a fish ! (1)

AftanGustur (7715) | more than 3 years ago | (#35303706)

It turns out IE6 is still capable of surfing much of the modern Internet, and can play Flash and Java content, but Netscape's troubles show it probably died a justified death."

Well, if IE6 had died instead of Netscape, then the "Netscape standard" might be able to surf the modern web, did you think about that ?

And we would all be talking about "the time when Microsoft tried to pervertise the Internet browser market."

Very funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35303722)

Tee hee. This is very funny. IE6 is still a modern browser for millions of people. I get it, you're saying that IE6 is like Netscape or something. Oh, that is funny.

Now go out and shovel the sidewalk.

Hardly a fair comparison... (1)

mcnazar (1231382) | more than 3 years ago | (#35303798)

... for the simple and painful reason that much of the web, even to this day, is built to account for IE6....

Netscape death justified? Not the whole story. (1)

dn15 (735502) | more than 3 years ago | (#35303872)

All this means is that an unmodified version of Netscape 6 didn't stand the test of time as well. Netscape 6 (and up) was based on the same underlying software as Mozillla/SeaMonkey and Firefox. Were Netscape still being updated today, it would be running a newer version of Gecko, making it a very capable browser.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?