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On Being a Citizen of the Web

  • December 20, 2000
  • By Dennis E. Powell

There are people who I respect very much who have a lot of good things to say about recent builds of Mozilla, the open-source fork of Netscape. Some of them, I think, look upon it as more a political statement than a Web browser. I wish them and it well, but now that there are exciting new approaches to the tasks to which a browser is put and to the ways of carrying out those tasks, Mozilla seems kind of tired and old to me.

No, my new default browser won't be Netscape or based thereon. The question now is features--who implements them, how they implement them, and when. Barring the arrival of something entirely unexpected, I'll probably soon be wishing for right mouse button menu items that in Opera say "Open link in Konqueror" and in Konqueror say "Open link in Opera." Each has strengths. Both render HTML better than Netscape does. For viewing Web pages, Opera has an edge, because that's what it's designed to do. For anything that involves file transfer, Konqueror conquers. To the extent that Java and plugins matter to me, the one that gets there first will obviously get that business, at least until the other catches up (and probably afterwards--habits can be hard to break).

Either way, there is such a thing as the Web without Netscape. Soon, there will be a Web with all its features without Netscape.

Having given it a try for a little while now, I can say that it's a different experience. If you explore some of the alternatives, I think you'll agree.

Merry Christmas.

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