Netscape boasts its new browser with a line that sounds something like this: Netscape 8 - Compatibility of Internet Explorer, Security of Firefox (for those of you who are not familiar with the revolution going on in the browser world, do a google search with "Firefox"). There's about 17 things wrong with that very statement. But we will come to this soon. First, why do I say that Netscape 8.0 is
Internet Explorer? Well, to some it up, because it is. According to Netscape's own tour of Netscape 8.0, the browser which combines the IE and Gecko engines (Gecko is the browser engine used by Mozilla, Firefox, and Netscape 7.0 - and 8.0 when it's not using IE) uses IE as the default engine if it thinks that the site being loaded is trusted or safe. This determination is either made by a constantly updated list that Netscape automatically downlaods or by user intervention specifically saying "This site is safe." Yes, you can change the default engine on a per-site basis on even trusted sites, but "trusted" sites will default to loading with the IE engine.
Now, back to the about 17 things that are wrong with the statement "Compatibility of Internet Explorer, Security of Firefox." First of all, Internet Explorer, if anything is less
compatible with web standards than Firefox. Yes, there are some IE specific codes, but that's it, they are IE specific.
They are not meant to be compatible with any browser other than IE. Firefox has made significant strides in that direction however - both in allowing nonstandard (but NOT counterstandard) code, and persuading webmasters to support a web of standards, not of specifics. There are even sites that are written in compliance with standards and which work perfectly in Firefox, but look like crap in IE. Firefox is in fact more
compatible with web standards, not less so. Now comes the question of security. Somebody please
tell Netscape that you cannot provide Firefox security if the site is loading using the IE engine. It's NOT possible. Basically, you have to rely on Netscape to tell you which sites are "trusted" and therefore can pass along to your machine with less security. They operate on the very basis that if they or you designate a site "trusted", then you believe that as far as loading those sites are concerned, to hell with safe browsing. And to add to the fun, they will use the Firefox/Gecko engine only if a site's trustworthyness cannot be certain or if it is not trustworthy. Ergo, your best browsing experience will be on sites you supposedly don't trust.
So that's the ill. And like every ill, there is a cure. Here is how to make Netscape always use the Firefox engine unless you on a per-site basis ask it to use IE. Here are the steps:
- Go to Tools - Options
- Click on Site Controls on the left
- Under 'Master Settings' choose 'I trust this site' and set your Rendering Engine to Firefox (this one is set to default to IE).
- Now, click through the other options and make sure the Rendering Engine for each of these options are set to Firefox (as is the default).
- Under My Settings, choose each specific site and make sure they are set to display with the Firefox engine, with the exception of the WindowsUpdate site.
OR, you can choose to completely ignore Netscape's preferences altogether. Here's how:
- Under 'Site Controls', choose the 'Trust Preferences' tab.
- Choose the radio button, "Do Not Use Netscape trust ratings" and set to "I'm not sure" as the setting to use under there.
- Of course, make sure under the site list tab that "I'm not sure" setting uses Firefox as the default Rendering Engine.
Of course, if you are going through all this to test Netscape 8, fine. But if you use it instead of Firefox the actual browser, you are missing a whole lot. The extensions won't work with Netscape, you can't add search engines, and the only thing you will get good is it's got a nice skin. It also loads a toolbar that shows you weather info etc, that you may not want. If you do want it, you can install an extention in Firefox. Basically, Firefox = Netscape +++ and Netscape = (Firefox ---) + IE's pain in the ass. You get the idea. So yeah, check out Netscape, be impressed with its slick design, become unimpressed because it handicaps you (no extensions!), and come back to Firefox
for safer, brighter and nicer days of browsing!