Let one hundred browsers bloom…

Let one hundred browsers bloom

Mozilla is open source browser software.  With open source, anyone can build their own browser.  Netscape 7 is a notable example.

Different strokes for different folks. The browser features you need may not be ones I want at all.  So, instead of having one ponderously bloated browser <Hi Internet Explorer!>, why not have browsers with specific feature sets aimed at specific audiences.  All built around common (and free) software.

There are many Mozilla-based browsers now, with more coming.  I’m currently using Phoenix, a stripped-down version of Mozilla built for speed.

… the several different browser development projects that are currently under way are one of the Mozilla community’s greatest assets. The simple reason for this is that one browser can’t be all things to all people. Each new browser built is filling a need that’s not being met by any other existing option and has the potential to appeal to a whole new audience, which in turn will help expand Mozilla’s adoption.

AOL to use Mozilla?

One of the most interesting possibilities for future browser development comes from AOL, the same company that owns Netscape and which is the main sponsor of the Mozilla community. Currently, the Windows version of the AOL client software uses Internet Explorer as the core of its browser, but there are indications that this may soon change. If AOL were to switch and use Mozilla in a new version of their software, tens of millions of people would be exposed to Mozilla.

Don’t forget, Mozilla ain’t Netscape! is the developer community for Mozilla developers, many of whom work for Netscape. (Ah, here’s where some folks get confused … and rightly so.) Netscape, in this instance, is the corporate entity behind the Mozilla project, providing overall direction, funding, and a sense of purpose and control. At the same time, Netscape uses and the developer community around it to leverage their development of Netscape 6, which is a commercial web browser built on top of the Mozilla codebase.

Netscape 6 can be thought of as a branded version of Mozilla with some extra functionality and software components thrown in. For instance, Netscape is a wholly owned subsidiary of AOL, so AOL has funded the development of a Mozilla-based AOL Instant Messenger client, which is included in the default installation of Netscape 6. This is an example of software that isn’t available in the default Mozilla installation, and serves as an important distinction between the two.


…the reason that IE is so fast on modern computers running Windows 98 or Windows 2000 is that IE is actually loaded into the system memory upon startup. This is an example of how Microsoft is taking advantage of their monopoly in the desktop computer market.

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