CompuServe Gains New Life

By Jim Rapoza  |  Posted 2002-05-13 Print this article Print

CompuServe 7.0, released last month, might be the first salvo in a renewed browser war.

For many of us, CompuServe will always hold a special place as a haven for excellent technical information in the late 80s and early 90s and as the first way we surfed the Web from home.

However, the service faded in the late 90s and was acquired by AOL in 1998. Since then, it has become a subsidiary service of AOL.

But CompuServe 7.0, released last month, might be the first salvo in a renewed browser war. With Version 7.0, the CompuServe client no longer uses Internet Explorer but is now based on the Gecko browser engine—the one behind the Netscape and Mozilla Web browsers.

Many see this as AOLs trial run for a release of AOL based on Gecko, a move that could seriously cut into IEs browser share.

Based on my tests, CompuServe users should see little change. Besides Web browsing, most other features are based on separate clients or are Web-based. Most of the settings dialogs differ from the standard Mozilla ones, although features such as advanced cookie control are available.

The browser worked well in tests, but any site that doesnt display well in Netscape wont display well in CompuServe.

The CompuServe service is priced at $19.95 per month, and the new client can be downloaded at

Jim Rapoza, Chief Technology Analyst, eWEEK.For nearly fifteen years, Jim Rapoza has evaluated products and technologies in almost every technology category for eWEEK. Mr Rapoza's current technology focus is on all categories of emerging information technology though he continues to focus on core technology areas that include: content management systems, portal applications, Web publishing tools and security. Mr. Rapoza has coordinated several evaluations at enterprise organizations, including USA Today and The Prudential, to measure the capability of products and services under real-world conditions and against real-world criteria. Jim Rapoza's award-winning weekly column, Tech Directions, delves into all areas of technologies and the challenges of managing and deploying technology today.

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