Does "Goodbye Netscape 4.x" mean "Goodbye Netscape"?

From: Adam Rifkin (
Date: Fri Feb 16 2001 - 23:49:43 PST

Say, anyone seen any decent press releases lately? :)

The topic of the Netscape 4.x users continuing to make the rest of us
miserable was discussed by Evan Williams today

---> "According to this week's stats, here is the evhead(TM) reader
browser breakdown:

Browser Hits Percentage
IE 5.x 294039 82.01%
Navigator 4.x 37045 10.33%
IE 4.x 9533 2.66%
Other 7006 1.95%
Navigator 3.x 4326 1.21%
Navigator 6.x 2649 0.74%
Navigator 5.x 2606 0.73%
Opera 1259 0.35%
IE 3.x 70 0.02%
Navigator 2.x 18 0.01%
Lynx 4 0.00%
NCSA Mosaic 0 0.00%
IE 2.x 0 0.00%

A surprising number of IE5.x users. (Maybe I shouldn't visit my own site
so much? ;) The 10% Netscape 4 users is the main contingent I'd be
shooing away if I implemented WaSP's Browser Upgrade campaign. I really
despise designing for Netscape 4, so I'd be glad to do my small part to
obsolete it from the hard drives of this planet (while still loving the
people who come to visit with it! :). Of course, Evhead is pretty
insignificant and reaches a mostly tech-savvy crowd. I could do a lot
more good on Blogger, but part of the beauty of Blogger is that you can
update your site from someone else's machine or an Internet cafe. Kinda
hard to require a browser upgrade first.

I like what WaSP is proposing. (If you haven't read it yet, it's to deny
access to your site from non-standards-compliant browsers -- basically
everything 4.x or older -- and encourage them to upgrade.) It's time to
bite the bullet. It's the kind of bullet you always hope the other guy
will bite first -- at least when it comes to currently functioning
sites. But when it comes to building new things, as people are going
through the hell that is implementing sites for new and old browsers,
this campaign may give people the justification they need to say, "Screw
it!" With a line of JavaScript they can end the misery Netscape 4 is
causing them and not feel nearly as badly about it as they otherwise
would have." <-----

Wow. Ban the Netscape 4.x users? Is this the end of Netscape as we
know it? Stay tuned, sports fans...

> 16 FEBRUARY, 2001: The Web Standards Project (WaSP), a grassroots
> coalition fighting for standards on the Web, today announced a Browser
> Upgrade initiative aimed at encouraging developers to use W3C standards
> even if the resulting sites fail in old, non-standards-compliant web browsers.
> "We're hurling a hammer at the glass screen and hastening the arrival of
> a standards-compliant Web," said WaSP co-founder and current group
> leader Jeffrey Zeldman. "For six years, we've been taught to be good
> little web designers and build sites that work in every browser, however
> poor (or non-existent) its support for W3C and other web standards.
> Every site we build this way fractures the Web, retards its progress,
> and alienates users of non-traditional browsers that require
> structural markup to function correctly."
> While designers and developers have built browser-specific sites
> employing code hacks and workarounds, they have simultaneously agitated
> browser makers to offer better support for standards, Zeldman noted. And
> in the year 2000, the browser makers came through:
> "To greater or lesser degrees, Internet Explorer 5, Netscape 6, and
> Opera 5 now support HTML 4, CSS-1, ECMAScript, and the DOM. Yet we
> continue to write incompatible Netscape-4-specific and IE-4-specific
> code because millions of our visitors are using those old browsers. It's
> time for developers to repay the browser makers for giving us standards
> last year. We can only do that by using standards this year, even if the
> resulting sites fail in some older browsers."
> "The notion that you can create accessible, standards-compliant sites
> that are also backward-compatible assumes that older software supported
> older versions of the same standards. And of course that isn't so," said
> Todd Fahrner, a member of the WaSP steering committee.
> Faced with the irreconcilable design goals of standards compliance and
> backward compatibility, web builders currently deliver sites that are
> neither standards-compliant nor fully backward-compatible: a lose-lose
> proposition. The WaSP hopes to change that by educating developers and
> hastening the typically slow rate at which users upgrade their browsers.
> "If the web page is valid and you can't view it in your browser, the
> problem is your browser," said WaSP steering committee member Dori
> Smith. "Our goal is not to promote one browser maker's product over
> another; we are urging users to upgrade to any browser that does a
> better job of supporting standards than the one they're using now."
> The WaSP has created a Browser Upgrades page to help web users easily upgrade
> to a standards-compliant browser <>.
> The site also offers tips for developers who wish to participate in the
> WaSP's initiative.
> "We're offering browser detection that can sniff out old browsers and
> direct them to the upgrades page," said WaSP steering committee member
> B.K. DeLong, "as well as other techniques that don't rely on
> JavaScript." When developers create sites using valid HTML, CSS, and
> other web standards, the WaSP's toolset can send users of sub-par
> browsers to the upgrades page.
> "This is radical," said Zeldman, "and not every site can participate.
> Yahoo and Amazon, for instance, can't afford to risk alienating a
> single visitor. We recognize that many sites are in that position. Our
> hope is that if enough sites are willing to take the plunge, the
> typical 18-month user upgrade cycle will be drastically shortened, and
> a Web that works for all will no longer be something we just talk
> about: it will be every web user's experience."
> More information is available at


In my fantasies, money comes easily, sex has no cat-food smell, murder is legal, I never get sleepy, and even my enemies find me charming. But real life serves up something decidedly different. --

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