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Culture

This picture of Nav 4.0 ain't worth a 1,000 words

Now that there's an armistice in the browser battles, my PC has never been more stable. While Netscape and Microsoft busily prepare their 4.0 products behind the scenes, I'm enjoying the relative calm of final 3.0 browsers.

    Now that there's an armistice in the browser battles, my PC has never been more stable. While Netscape and Microsoft busily prepare their 4.0 products behind the scenes, I'm enjoying the relative calm of final 3.0 browsers.

    At the same time, there's something vaguely unsettling about not having the latest beta on my system. Twice, my son Vermel has caught me loitering around Microsoft and Netscape FTP servers scouting hopefully for some wayward point release or a telling read-me file. "Pop, get a life," Vermel tells me. "You need help."

    There is no help for me. Only an early alpha version of Navigator 4.0 has put in an appearance on the Web. Staring at the screen shot that showed up this week on BrowserWatch, I'm reminded of those fishy-looking photos of the Loch Ness monster that make you ask: Is it an aging brontosaurus or slimy palm frond?

    In the case of the "Navigator 4.0" screen shot, my informants say this ain't the real Mona Lisa. Netscape will give 4.0--code-named Galileo--a major face lift, not just apply a little cheek rouge and mascara. The artist who came up with this mug of Galileo must have studied sketching at the police academy.

    You can see Internet Explorer 4.0's mug on the Net now, but you won't get your hands on the software this month. The Redmondians had been working overtime to get a beta of Nashville out the door by October, but now it looks as though the date will slip until November. The Nashville code may finally land in the users hands at the Microsoft Professional Developer Conference in early November.

    There may not be any new browsers to play with, but Linux users are still tapping their toes. Late last month, Linux users received a long-awaited binary code license from Sun to the Java Development Kit. For weeks, Linux users had been griping that Sun was dilly-dallying on the license. Now, all seems blissful in Linux Land. Somewhere, Linus Torvalds must be smiling. Oddly, I'll be smiling as soon as I get my mitts on a new buggy beta browser and a rumor from you.