Microsoft: Netscape 8 Breaks IE

America Online confirms that a bug in Netscape 8 corrupts certain XML configurations in the Internet Explorer browser. Microsoft suggests users uninstall Netscape.

America Online on Thursday confirmed that a bug in its new Netscape 8 Web browser was breaking certain XML configurations in Microsofts IE.

The issue first surfaced on Microsoft Corp.s Internet Explorer Weblog, where chief IE developer Dave Massy recommended that users completely uninstall Netscape as a possible workaround.

AOL spokesman Andrew Weinstein insists the bug only affects "a very small percentage of [IE] users" who visit pages using XML technology.

"We are actively working on a fix, and we hope to deploy an automatic patch to users that will address it next week," Weinstein told Ziff Davis Internet News.

"Pending that resolution, users do not need to uninstall their browser or take any other action," he added.

According to Microsofts Massy, Netscape 8 corrupts the XML rendering capabilities of Internet Explorer, meaning that an IE user navigating to an XML file, such as an RSS feed, is greeted with a blank page.

His recommendation is to uninstall Netscape 8 and delete certain registry files. "Unfortunately, if Netscape 8 remains installed, then the registry key is continually rewritten, so this is an essential step if you are to be able to view XML content in IE," Massy said.

On message boards and newsgroups, users flocked to complain.

"This is a pretty major bug and should be fixed ASAP," read one post on the Netscape Browser Review forum.

A Netscape administrator on the forum apologized to users and stressed that the registry key was not intentionally changed. "The development team is hard at work on a patch."

The latest hiccup follows the embarrassing release of Netscape 8 with several publicly known security vulnerabilities.

Just hours after the security-centric browser shipped, AOL was forced to rush out a patched version to correct the gaffe.

AOL said it was misinformed by an external security vendor that the security flaws did not affect the Netscape code.


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