February 22, 2019

Netscape 6 for Linux: Flashy Looks, Little Substance - page 3

A Premature Release?

  • November 14, 2000
  • By Brian Proffitt

Something that worked really well in My Sidebar was the Buddy List, which launched the IM tool without delay. This component, clearly a product from Netscape's purchase by AOL, ran smartly and had me chatting in less than a minute.

The Composer tool worked pretty well, and is still a handy tool to create quick and dirty Web pages. This has never been a strong HTML tool, but it will certainly do in a pinch.

The themes in Netscape are a nice aesthetic feature, thought there are not too many to choose from. Downloading and installation is easy, though you must have Java support installed and enabled to do so. One major hiccup occurred when I installed the Sky Pilot theme: when I later opened the Preferences dialog box, only the right side of the box was visible, thus cutting my off from every configuration page but the first one. This is not the sort of thing that should get out the door of a major commercial application.

Messenger in a Bottle

This component runs pretty well, though the window divides in an odd way when it first appears. The two Messenger panes appear on the top of the My Sidebar and Navigator windows, creating a four-pane effect that's a bit crowded. Once a message is selected in the folder contents pane, the Navigator pane displays the message contents.

Setting up a new mail account is pretty simple, but I should warn you: don't look for account settings in the Preference dialog box. Netscape as pulled account settings into a separate tool, accessible on the Edit menu.

Once in the Account Settings dialog, creating and managing accounts was very simple, and certainly something beginners can handle. I liked the improvements made in this area.

Folder management is a snap in Messenger, and filter settings are not too hard to make either. There were a lot of steps involved in creating filters, though, and this process could use some streamlining in future releases.

I also liked the Address Book, which is more robust and easy to use. Getting new addresses in the database was not complicated, which is an excellent perk when it comes to glorified data entry.


There are a lot of new tools in Netscape 6, and a lot of old tools as well. Taken as a whole, Netscape 6 has some new things to offer in the way of browser innovation, particularly the addition of the IM client, should you want it.

But too many bugs and not enough speed plague the Linux version of this release. With browsers like Konqueror and even Netscape 4.7x out there for Linux right now, you may want to hold off until Netscape gets the numerous kinks worked out of this latest offering.

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