The Netcaster-Communicator incompatibility stemmed from the company's "smart update" feature, which only allowed users of earlier Communicator 4.0 versions to download the Netcaster beta. The smart update mechanism downloads only the part of the software that needs to be fixed or added, sparing users the need to download the entire Communicator suite each time a new fix is posted.
Netscape is battling Microsoft to win mainstream Net users by turning the Web browser into an automatic receiver of Web pages. Microsoft's Internet Explorer 4.0 entered its first public beta last week, and a final version is due later this year.
Written entirely in Java, Netcaster was due to ship as part of the Communicator suite in June, but the launch was delayed for extra beta testing. The PR3 beta release adds a couple of new features:
The final version of Netcaster is due in August. Users who already have Communicator will be able to download Netcaster from the Netscape "smart update" site. It will also be integrated into the Communicator suite on CD-ROM, according to director of client product marketing Mike Po.