although Netscape 6 does work in broad terms – and what it does well it does very well – it is so rife with bugs I can’t even think of any commercial software or shareware that I’ve ever used that is as unfinished.
Luckily few of the bugs are crashing bugs, and my machine hasn’t frozen due to any of them. But they drastically affect the usefulness of Netscape as an alternative browser. Some examples of bugs I’ve found:
- text entry boxes are flaky (text jumps around, spaces and soft wrapping is wonky);
- it uses its own interface elements, not widgets from the UI, and so is very slow at rendering certain things, and when it does, they don’t conform with the OS under which it runs;
- changes to preferences don’t always take;
- new windows are quite slow to open;
- some of the program’s other behaviour deviates both from what one would expect from the OS and from older versions of Netscape;
- and the whole thing takes at least twice as long to load (in spite of having fewer plugins in my case) than IE;
- the whole thing takes up twice the space (browser only, no email stuff included on my machine) and more memory than IE5;
- and I can’t seem to drag and drop URLs or links onto the favourites bar.
Add to that the fact that I can’t scroll with the wheel on my mouse and their own skin updating/loading procedure doesn’t seem to work and it’s a mess. The worst though? They’ve buried their release notes so you can’t even make a reasoned judgement for yourself without downloading the installer. It should be online, and prominent. [I found the release notes after posting this]