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Netscape, frequently called "Mozilla" is seen by much of the Internet community as the best, all-around Internet application. In many respects, this is not disputed. Since it has been created by the same people who created the original Mosaic applications, it has benefited from experience and improved with age.

Licensing and cost

Unlike most of the applications listed in this book, Netscape is not free. Nor is it shareware.
Netscape Communications Corporation ("Netscape") hereby grants you a non-exclusive license to use its accompanying software product ("Software") free of charge if (a) you are a student, faculty member or staff member of an educational institution (K-12, junior college or college) or an employee of a charitable non-profit organization; or (b) your use of the Software is for the purpose of evaluating whether to purchase an ongoing license to the Software.
For anybody not included in the above statement (like government institutions), Netscape costs $39.00. Reference manuals are extra and can be purchased separately.


One of first things you notice after using Netscape is the speed in which it seems to load documents. This occurs because, unlike MacMosaic and MacWeb, Netscape open up multiple, simultaneous connections to remote hosts. This is especially evident when the documents in question contains text as well as graphics. While Netscape is retrieving the text it open up another connection to the server and begins retrieving the graphics at the same time. This when this feature was first implemented many server administrators did not like it because Netscape seems to flood the servers with too many connections, but as time has gone on the server applications improved and the situation is under control. Incidentally, you can modify Netscape's behavior in this regard using the Options/Preference/Cache and Network menu option.

Hotlist management

Netscape supports hierarchal hotlists. This means you can classify your hotlist items or organize them by subjects. The dialog box allowing you to do this is a bit confusing, but with a bit of practice it is not difficult. Like MacWeb, the importing and exporting of hotlists is easy and makes sharing your hotlist with others a trivial matter.


Another unique feature of Netscape is security. Netscape Communications, the company who wrote Netscape, believes, as well as many others, than there is a huge potential for commerce to take place over the Internet. (This may the the understatement of the year.) But before any of these commercial transactions can take place, there have to be methods for confidential communications over the Internet. Thus, security is seen as a major obstacle and implementing technologies like the ones developed by RSA Data Security, Inc. into the Netscape browsers and servers is seen as one solution to this problem.

In any event, Netscape implements many different security protocols (RSA, MD2, MD5, RC4), and when Netscape communicates with a server applications that understand these protocols, then you can rest assured the data being transmitted over the Internet network is remaining confidential.

Usenet news

Netscape is a much better Usenet news reader than either MacWeb or MacMosaic. While MacWeb and MacMosaic will read and display Usenet news articles, neither one of these applications remembers which articles you have read, allows you to post new articles, or displays the articles in outline form. On the other hand, Netscape does all these thing as well as allowing you to subscribe and unsubscribe to news groups and emailing responses to the original poster of an article as well as to the group itself.


In an effort to make the World Wide Web more attractive, Netscape supports a number of "Netscapisms" or enhancements to the hypertext markup language (HTML). These enhancements allow editors of HTML to include features like centering, font sizes, tables, inline sounds, and graphic sizes and alignments into their documents. These enhancements, while not necessarily a part of the HTML standard, should not "break" browsers like MacWeb or MacMosaic, but they will cause the documents to be rendered completely differently on those platforms.

More about these enhancements to HTML (or "Netscapisms") are outline more completely in the chapter "HTML Explained".


Presently, Netscape is the premier WWW browser application for Macintosh computers. It is a solid program that works as documented with few, if any, difficulties. It does require a lot of RAM (4-8MB), and it is a rather large application. In many ways, Netscape is turning out to be much like present day word processors that try to be everything to everybody. On the other hand, it has eliminated the use of a Usenet newsreader on at least one person's desk, and it has almost eliminated the use of an FTP program as well.

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This page was first published on September 26, 1995. Feel free to send comments.