On Netscape’s End of Days

We now live in a post-Netscape world.

And thus the Creator looked upon the beast reborn and saw that it was good.
   — from The Book of Mozilla, 8:20

In late December I wrote that AOL was pulling the plug on Netscape on February 1st. A brief reprieve — one month — was given, shuffling Netscape off this mortal coil on March 1st. Yesterday.

Yesterday afternoon, I pulled out Netscape, and took it for a spin. Old time’s sake.

No, not the most recent version, 9.0.0.6. One of the older versions. Netscape 6.2.

No particular reason, except it’s the oldest version I have on my computer at the moment. I could install Netscape 4 — it’s on enough CD-ROMs I have here in the office — and revisit that garish, blocky, 1998-design chic. Except that, when I feel the particular need for that fugly interface, I can fire up SeaMonkey instead.

And the beast shall be made legion. Its numbers shall be increased a thousand thousand fold. The din of a million keyboards like unto a great storm shall cover the earth, and the followers of Mammon shall tremble.
   — from The Book of Mozilla, 3:31

But, y’know? There’s a certain curiosity playing at the back of my mind, now. To try and experience the World Wide Web in Netscape 4. A browser that doesn’t know CSS and all the fancy bells and whistles that make up the modern web. My own website would look particularly strange, with nothing formatted, as the formatting is all done via style sheets.

I can’t say I’ll exactly miss Netscape. It lives on, in some respects, in Firefox and Flock and SeaMonkey. Firefox in particular is the alternate browser of choice for millions. And Flock has some nifty features with social networking and blogging that I find quite impressive.

All of these I have. None of these I use with any regularity.

And when the Beast had taken the quarter of the Earth under its rule, a quarter hundred Birds of Sulfur flew from the Depths. The birds crossed hundreds of mountain views and found twenty four wise men who came from the stars. And then it began, the believers dared to listen. Then, they took their pens and dared to create. Finally, they dared to share their deed with the whole of mankind. Spreading words of freedom and breaking the chains, the birds brought deliverance to everyone.
   — from The Book of Mozilla, 11:1

I’m devoted to Opera, after all. Even if it doesn’t have a cool Easter Egg like “about:mozilla” to give pseudo-religious apocalyptic quotations from The Book of Mozilla. 😆

Seriously, Firefox users. Key “about:mozilla” into your address bar in your browser. Just do it. Maybe it won’t amuse you like it does me. Maybe. 🙂

For so many people I know, Netscape is where their journey into the wilds of the World Wide Web began. It was so ubiquitous at one time that I remember people looking at me funny because I dared to use Internet Explorer 3. “Internet Explorer? That’ll never catch on.” Well, it did, and there are some parts of the Internet that don’t work correctly without it.

Farewell, Netscape.

Second star on the right, and straight on ’til morning.

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