Finally, Mozilla 1.0 is ready. The much-anticipated open-source browser has left the long road of beta testing and is finally ready for regular use, providing not only an easy-to-use and powerful browser but also a highly extensible Web platform.
In eWeek Labs tests of Mozilla 1.0, which was released last week and is available free at www.mozilla.org, we were impressed with almost all aspects of the browser, from its user configuration options to its usability features to its excellent mail client. We also appreciated the absence of the AOL product and link overhead that weigh down current Netscape browsers. Short of users who love IM (instant messaging) integration, we cant think of any reason to recommend Netscape over Mozilla.
The most impressive thing about the browser is its code, which makes fantastic use of XML and other standard technologies to create the most extensible browser weve seen.
Both technologies are major factors in the easy portability of Mozilla and in why it runs identically on all platforms (Mozilla runs on Windows, Mac OS, Linux, OS/2 and many Unix variants).
Most of Mozillas features are the same as those in Netscape 7.0 Preview Release. (For eWeek Labs May 22 review of Netscape 7.0 Preview Release 1, go to www.eweek.com/links.) The tabbed interface, improved search, Quick Launch and improved mail client are all there. And, of course, Mozilla has excellent support for Web standards.
Mozilla has none of the integrated IM features that Netscape 7.0 Preview Release 1 has; we could choose not to have any IM client. We could opt to install the Chatzilla Internet Relay Chat client during installation, and those looking for more can try the beta of the Jabberzilla universal IM client available at www.mozdev.org.
In many areas of the preference menus, features were disabled that were turned on in Netscape. It was easy enough to activate any features we wanted, and we appreciated the opt-in model of Mozilla, which obviates having to turn off unwanted features.
When we installed the browser, it was easy to tell that Mozilla is geared toward developers. Most options in the custom installation are debuggers and script testers, rather than the plug-ins and media players that are available during the Netscape installation. However, the start page that launches after installation directs users to a page on www.mozdev.org that provides links to standard browser plug-ins.
East Coast Technical Director Jim Rapoza can be reached at [email protected]