Netscape Navigator

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Netscape Navigator
Netscape Browser

Netscape icon.svg
Netscape 4
Version of the browser on Windows 95 , displaying the Wikipedia main page
Basic data

developer Netscape Corp.
Publishing year October 13, 1994
Current  version
(February 21, 2008)
operating system Windows , Mac OS Classic , Mac OS X , Linux etc. v. a.
category Web browser (up to v7.2 also program collection from browser , e-mail program etc.)
License proprietary
German speaking Yes

Netscape Navigator is a web browser developed by Netscape Communications . The current owner and owner of the "Netscape" brand is AOL . On March 1, 2008, further development and support for Netscape were discontinued.



The Netscape Browser was developed in the early 1990s by Marc Andreessen , co-founder of Netscape Communications (founded as Mosaic Communications Corporation ) and former developer of NCSA Mosaic .

The code name for the development was " Mozilla ", a trunk word for "Mosaic Killer" and "Godzilla". Netscape Navigator partially licensed code of the Mosaic graphical browser. The publication took place in October 1994 under the name Mosaic Netscape 0.9 .

The main innovation of the Netscape browser included support for HTML frames . Until about 1996 Netscape Navigator was the leading web browser for the 16-bit operating systems from Microsoft (up to Windows 95) and Mac OS from Apple Computer.

Browser war

Netscape lost more and more market shares to Internet Explorer in the so-called browser war , as it was supplied with the Microsoft Windows operating system. This allowed its user share to increase significantly and Netscape's market share quickly plummeted to an extremely small size. By the end of 2002, Netscape Navigator no longer had any significant market share. In addition, the further development was only continued hesitantly from the end of 1998, which contributed to the fact that the browser steadily lost market share. The processing of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) in particular often caused problems for Netscape in these versions. At that time Microsoft also relied on a self-developed runtime environment for Java applications that was not fully compatible with Sun's Java plug-in. Netscape therefore also had display difficulties with Microsoft's Java. Microsoft proceeded analogously with JavaScript , which Microsoft expanded as JScript with its own code that Netscape, unlike Internet Explorer, could not interpret. Netscape was therefore often only inadequately or practically not able to display websites optimized for Internet Explorer.

From the start of the Mozilla project to the discontinuation of Netscape

For versions after 4.x, Netscape placed the program code of its browser under an open source license in 1998 and founded the Mozilla Foundation to coordinate further development . The newer versions of the Netscape Navigator from version 6.0 are therefore based on the code of the Mozilla project and are an integral part of " Netscape Communicator ". Since then, there has also been the modified Netscape Compact variant , which allows user-specific changes to be made easily.

Distribution of the Netscape Navigator

The last German version for the Macintosh platform was Netscape 7.02 for Mac OS 9 . The last version officially available in German was Netscape 7.1, which was based on Mozilla 1.4 . Netscape 7.2 (based on Mozilla 1.7.2) could be upgraded with an unofficial language pack based on Mozilla language packs. Both Netscape 7.1 and 7.2 are deprecated; there is no longer any support for security holes; therefore, its use in general is strongly discouraged.

Version 8.0 was released on May 19, 2005. It was based on Mozilla Firefox , but could still render with the Internet Explorer Engine , and was called Netscape Browser - the Navigator part of the name was no longer used. Version 8 was also the first Netscape version that was no longer co-developed for the Macintosh platform. One day later an update to version 8.0.1 was released due to security holes. The redesigned browser came up with numerous already integrated features and gimmicks, including an integrated instant messenger and support for Mycroft plugins. When displaying websites it was possible to switch between the Gecko engine and the Trident rendering engine of Internet Explorer. Web pages that were developed exclusively for Internet Explorer were automatically displayed by the browser using the Internet Explorer rendering engine. AOL developed the new browser in collaboration with Mercurial Communications.

The last major release of Netscape Browser was version 9. The program was developed internally from Mozilla Firefox 2.x and supplemented with special plugins (some of which could be upgraded in Firefox). The collaboration with the Canadian software company Mercurial ended and the option to use the Internet Explorer rendering engine was removed. The name "Navigator" was reintroduced because Netscape Navigator 9 was a stand-alone browser, without mail, Usenet or editor functions, which could now run on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux again. At the same time, Netscape was also working on an e-mail and news program that was supposed to be called Netscape Messenger .

On December 28, 2007, AOL announced that support for all Netscape browsers would end on February 1, 2008. The reason given was that the investments for sufficient further development would not find room in AOL's corporate orientation. It was recommended that users switch to Firefox and use the extensions provided by Netscape in order to adapt Firefox to Netscape in terms of appearance and operation. Official support for Netscape products has been extended to March 1, 2008 by the AOL subsidiary.


version Release date Notes and most important changes
Older version; no longer supported: Mosaic Netscape 0.9 October 13, 1994
Older version; no longer supported: Netscape Navigator 1.0 December 15, 1994
Older version; no longer supported: Netscape Navigator 1.1 March 1995
Older version; no longer supported: Netscape Navigator 1.22 August 1995
Older version; no longer supported: Netscape Navigator 2.0 March 1996
Older version; no longer supported: Netscape Navigator 3.0 August 19, 1996
Older version; no longer supported: Netscape Navigator 3.04 4th October 1996
Older version; no longer supported: Netscape Navigator 4.0 June 1997 From here in parallel as a Netscape Communicator .
Older version; no longer supported: Netscape Navigator 4.06 August 17, 1998
Older version; no longer supported: Netscape Navigator 4.08 November 9, 1998 For a long time the last version of the standalone navigator and at the same time the last version for 16-bit Windows and 68k Macintosh .
Older version; no longer supported: Netscape Navigator February 21, 2008 Based on Mozilla Firefox 2.0.


The Netscape Navigator identifies itself on web servers with the user agent string "Mozilla / Version ( operating system )", which still reflects the code name for the original browser development. Later browsers adopted and varied the user agent string of the Netscape Navigator or one of its "variants" in order to be compatible with it. As a result, most of the browsers in use today (including Microsoft Internet Explorer , Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome ) today identify themselves as a variant of a “Mozilla browser”.

The export of programs from the USA that have secure encryption mechanisms was forbidden for a long time because of the CoCom list. Therefore, in 1997 Australian programmers developed the “Fortify for Netscape” program. This activates the strong encryption again in a one-time action in an already installed Netscape browser by modifying approx. 50 bytes in the program file Netscape.Exe. At the beginning of 2000 these regulations were relaxed, from version 4.73 Netscape could use 128-bit keys, which made Fortify unnecessary.

See also


  1. ^ Edwards, Owen .: Netscape time: the making of the billion dollar start-up that took on Microsoft . 1st ed. St. Martin's Press, New York 1999, ISBN 0-312-19934-1 (English).
  2. a b c WebAIM: Blog - History of the browser user-agent string. In: Retrieved September 5, 2011 .
  3. Netscape 9 is coming: “New sign of life from the Netscape browser” on , February 5, 2007
  4. The Netscape Add-Ons Team at
  5. "Netscape Navigator web browser is dead" on, December 28, 2007
  6. "AOL is discontinuing support for Netscape" on , December 29, 2007
  7. “Netscape support extended until March 1st” on , January 29th, 2008
  8. "A Little Netscape Story" ( Memento of the original from December 24, 2016 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., Holger Metzger. Retrieved December 23, 2016 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  9. Tim Berners-Lee And The W3C
  10. Fortify for Netscape

Web links