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Archive for Monday, November 26, 2001

Bye-bye Explorer? New Netscape browser has fewer rough edges

November 26, 2001

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As Microsoft's Internet Explorer continues its march to Internet world domination, those determined to resist are battling on bravely.

One of these is Netscape, and if you've shaken an "I'll-pick-my-own-browser!" fist toward Redmond, Wash., in the past, you might want to take a look. Not that a part of behemoth AOL-Time Warner is exactly an embattled band of partisans, but as in any war, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

A look at Netscape 6.0 about a year ago resulted in a decision to stay with Netscape 4.7 and unless your system meets the minimum requirements for Netscape 6.2, that might be your only option. Besides, 6.0 seemed too cute.

Things have gotten better.

The default installation on a recently downloaded copy did not come up with the sidebar that annoyed in 6.0, but with a plain, blank screen.

If you liked the sidebar, it's an option you can select, and if you want netscape.com to be your home page, they'll make it easy, but it's not required.

Netscape 6.2 seems speedier than 4.7. And while Windows ME occasionally whined about the latest version of Netscape 4.7 and shut it down, a week of running 6.2 produced not an incident. (Occasionally shutting down Navigator 6.2 is probably under development for the next Windows ME update.)

Bookmarks still are displayed in a single, scrolling column, instead of the multiple columns of 4.7, which is an annoyance if you have many bookmarks and are too lazy to organize them into folders.

As always, you gotta like the price a free download from netscape.com. Or, if you want it on a CD-ROM, they'll do it for $6.95 shipping and handling and throw in 12 free issues of Time or Sports Illustrated. Can you say "co-marketing?"

Here are the minimum requirements for Netscape 6.2:

l Windows, any operating system from Windows 95 through Windows XP. And at least a 233 megahertz Pentium and 64 megabytes of RAM, 26 megabytes of hard drive space.

l Linux, Red Hat Linux 6.0, 6.1, 6.2, 7.0 with X11 R6. The hardware specs are the same as for Windows. Macintosh, OS 8.6, 8.6.1, 9x, OS X. Hardware, Power PC 604e 266 megahertz, G3, g4. Have 64 megabytes of RAM and 36 megabytes of hard drive space.

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