Netscape Communicator

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Netscape Communicator

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Basic data

developer Netscape Corp.
Publishing year 1997
Current  version
(February 21, 2008)
operating system GNU / Linux , Mac OS 9 , Windows
category Program collection from browser , e-mail program, etc.
License Proprietary
German speaking Yes

The Netscape Communicator , first available to the public as a beta in 1996, was the successor to Netscape Navigator 3.x, one of the first program packages to include a web browser , WYSIWYG - HTML editor (in the gold version), and e-mail - and News client included. After the so-called browser war , Netscape attempted a fresh start with the Netscape Communicator 4.5 in October 1998, which was called into question when the company was bought by AOL in November 1998. After the source code of the Netscape Communicator was released in 1998 by Netscape Communications , the Mozilla Application Suite , version 0.6 of which appeared on November 14, 2000 , was developed on its basis . With the last stable version 1.7.13 of the Mozilla Suite in April 2006, the Mozilla Foundation stopped official development in favor of the Firefox web browser and the Thunderbird email program . The project of this internet suite is being continued by an independent programming group under the name SeaMonkey .


A renaming became necessary in 1996 because Netscape Communications Corporation wanted to differentiate the new version from the old one, to express that the navigator, the browser part, should only be part of this new all-in-one Internet suite. The version sequence, "4.x", should in turn express continuity, because Netscape Communicator was also based on the old Navigator previous versions (the name "Navigator", by the way, remained for the so-called "standalone" browser) a version that was only delivered with the browser part).

In June 1997, Netscape Communicator appeared in its final version. Netscape had high hopes for its suite, but at the same time it was a bit behind the times. Internet Explorer, published by Microsoft, had already incorporated the more promising web technologies at this point in time. Netscape Communicator brought z. B. improved CSS support, but was far removed from the possibilities already available back then.

In version 4.0 teething problems quickly became apparent, so that Netscape had to keep improving. Version 4.08 was reached by October 1998.

In January 1998, Netscape Corp. announced that all future versions of their browser software would be free. At the same time, an open source project was announced that was given the old internal code name Netscapes: Mozilla . This project should take care of the release of a new Netscape Communicator 5.0.

In October 1998, with the appearance of the last 4.0x version of Netscape Communicators, Netscape released a slightly expanded version of the Internet suite. These were mainly surface improvements, e.g. B. the mail / news section has been revised. Technical improvements to the browser navigator were not made. Nevertheless, a version jump to 4.5 was carried out: The Netscape Communicator 4.5 suite took over the properties of the old 4.0x versions, only 4.08 remained up-to-date as a standalone browser - because in principle version 4.5 was a slightly expanded version of 4.08; the browser part were identical anyway. Only for Unix and Unix-like operating systems were also 4.5x newer standalone versions made available.

Only one month after the release of Netscape Communicator 4.5, ie in November 1998, work on Netscape Communicator 5.0 was stopped. The old code of the 3.x and 4.x versions had turned out to be too big a problem. They wanted to create a completely new product that would also use a new rendering engine ( Gecko ). In the same month, Netscape Corp. bought up by AOL.

Development of the market shares of the most important browsers since 1996: Internet Explorer (blue) prevailed against Netscape (green).

Parallel to this new browser development, which was to be looked after by an open source community under the auspices of Netscapes (which provided the majority of the programmers working on it), so-called "maintenance" releases (to plug security gaps) of the Netscape Communicator were maintained: Im August 2002, two months after the release of version 1.0 of the Mozilla browser, the last version of Netscape Communicator appeared with version number 4.8. The last German version of the suite was 4.78. Up until this point, Netscape had continuously lost to Microsoft's Internet Explorer in the browser market.

A new suite was released under AOL / Netscape in 2000: Netscape 6.0, which was based on Mozilla 0.6 and which was not granted a great success. This new suite was deliberately not called Netscape Communicator 6.0, but simply “Netscape 6.0”, because the 4.x versions were still used until 2002. In addition, one wanted to say goodbye to the old Communicator name. The name “Navigator” was still used for the browser in order to maintain continuity here. But the "Communicator" died with version 4.8 and has not been continued until today.

Since then, new Netscape versions have been released successively, based on Mozilla, which Netscape provides for download with AOL add-ons (such as Realplayer, Flash, Java). However, they have met with very little success.

In general, "Netscape 6.2", based on Mozilla 0.9.4, is the first usable version of this new Netscape suite.

At the end of August 2002, parallel to the last old Netscape Communicator 4.x, as it were, Netscape 7.0 was released, now based on Mozilla 1.0.1. This could have made Netscape an alternative in the browser market again, but most of the former users immediately used Mozilla and not a Netscape version based on it. Above all, Netscape had made no friends when it decided to deactivate the pop-up blocker known from Mozilla (which could be reactivated, but the work involved alienated many potential users) for Netscape 7.0.

Since Netscape 6, user-specific versions such as B. Netscape 7 Compact appeared on the basis of the original Netscape or Mozilla source code. These are adjusted with the help of the Client Customization Kit, which is freely accessible via Netscape. It remains to be seen whether such developments, which show the potential of Netscape as an open source browser , will fit permanently into the concept of AOL , the owner of the Netscape brand.

On July 15, 2003, AOL closed Netscape Headquarters in Mountain View , California . The remaining programmers who worked there on Mozilla and Netscape were laid off. Since then, Netscape has only existed as a brand name.

Nevertheless, new versions of the Netscape7 rail appeared up to 2004, but they always lagged a little behind Mozilla's development. Netscape 7.2 in the summer of 2004 is the last Netscape version, based on the complete Mozilla suite (i.e. consisting of a browser, HTML editor and mail / news program). Fatally, Netscape 7.2 is based on Mozilla 1.7.2, and this version was not recommended due to a security problem. Therefore the use of Netscape 7.2 is also not recommended.

Netscape 7.2 was the last version of a suite so far; H. a complete software package. If you want to continue to use a Netscapes-style Internet suite, you can switch to SeaMonkey , the current successor to the Mozilla Suite, which has also been discontinued. While Netscape 7.2 could still be seen in the tradition of the old suites such as Netscape Navigator 3 and Netscape Communicator 4, this was turned on its head with the appearance of version 8.0: In May 2005, the first version of "Netscape Browser 8.0", the Also identified by name as a pure browser, e-mail / news and HTML editor completely missing. It is no longer directly related to Netscape Communicator; the old name "Navigator" was also given up: The program is now only called "Netscape Browser". Netscape Browser is based on Mozilla Firefox (also a standalone browser) and is compiled by a third party on behalf of AOL. The specialty of the Netscape browser is the possibility of using the Internet Explorer rendering engine.

In January 2007, Netscape announced version 9 of the browser. This should be a stand-alone browser, without mail, Usenet or editor functions, which should not only run on Windows, but also on Mac OS X and Linux. In principle it should be a Mozilla Firefox with Netscape-specific extensions.

The following list of Netscape software is not exhaustive and includes versions that do not belong to the Communicator family or can be described as a suite .


version publication comment
9.0 RC1 October 10, 2007 Netscape Navigator , based on Gecko / 20070928 Mozilla Firefox
9.0 b3 August 15, 2007 Netscape Navigator, based on Gecko / 20070815 Mozilla Firefox
9.0 b2 July 12, 2007
9.0 b1 June 5, 2007 Netscape Navigator, based on Gecko / 20070604 Mozilla Firefox
8.1.3 April 2, 2007 Netscape Browser , based on Mozilla Firefox
8.0.1 May 19, 2005 Netscape Browser, based on Mozilla Firefox 1.0.4
8.0 May 19, 2005 Netscape Browser, based on Mozilla Firefox 1.0.3
7.2 August 17, 2004 based on Mozilla 1.7.2
7.1 June 20, 2003 based on Mozilla 1.4
7.0.2 February 18, 2003 based on Mozilla 1.0.2
7.0.1 December 10, 2002 based on Mozilla 1.0.2
7.0 August 29, 2002 based on Mozilla 1.0.1
6.2.3 May 2002
6.2.2 March 2002
6.2.1 November 2001
6.2 October 31, 2001 based on Mozilla 0.9.4
6.1 August 8, 2001 based on Mozilla
6.0.1 February 7, 2001
6.0 November 14, 2000 first version based on Mozilla 0.6 (M18)
5.0 old code was discarded - never appeared
4.8 August 22, 2002
4.79 October 17, 2001
4.78 August 16, 2001
4.77 April 16, 2001
4.76 August 24, 2000
4.75 August 18, 2000
4.74 July 22, 2000
4.73 May 5, 2000
4.72 February 21, 2000
4.7 September 30, 1999
4.61 June 16, 1999
4.6 May 18, 1999
4.51 March 8, 1999
4.5 October 19, 1998
4.08 November 9, 1998 last version of the navigator as a single application
4.07 October 5, 1998
4.06 August 17, 1998
4.05 April 2, 1998
4.04 November 11, 1997
4.03 September 14, 1997
4.02 August 18, 1997
4.01a July 19, 1997
4.01 June 19, 1997
4.0 June 11, 1997 first version under the name Communicator
3.04 4th October 1997
3.0 August 19, 1996
2.0 March 1996
1.0 December 15, 1994


The export of programs from the USA that have secure encryption mechanisms was forbidden for a long time because of the CoCom list . At the beginning of 2000 these regulations were relaxed. As a result, Australian programmers developed the “Fortify for Netscape” program. In a one-time action, this reactivates strong encryption in an already installed Netscape browser up to 4.72 by modifying approx. 50 bytes in the program file Netscape.Exe.

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Netscape 7 Compact ( Memento of the original from October 10, 2004 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. Client Customization Kit
  3. Announcing Netscape 9 ( Memento of the original from June 28, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. on The Netscape Unofficial FAQ @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. New sign of life from the Netscape browser at