On the "About" page of Communicator 4.04, there is a blank space where the Java "steaming cup" logo used to be. The logo signifies that the software is compatible with Java technology. The source code of the page contains this message: "Temporary until we are back in compliance."
Netscape is overdue in providing full support for the Java Development Kit (JDK) 1.1, and the company said it decided to remove the Java logo to make sure there are no misunderstandings among developers and users.
"We are fully compliant with JDK 1.0.2," said Netscape spokesman Chris Hoover. "But to keep the logo is misleading because developers are moving toward 1.1. It looks to me like we're just being cautious."
The removal of the logo was not required under the terms of Netscape's Java license, according to Hoover.
However, Netscape has technically broken its Java contract with Sun by not shipping full support for JDK 1.1 in a timely manner. The software kit has been available since February.
"There is a contractual obligation to ship support for 1.1 in a certain time frame after we ship it, and that time has passed," said Lisa Poulson, a spokeswoman for Sun's JavaSoft division.
But Netscape's promises of full 1.1 compliance have so far been enough to reassure Sun, Poulson said. Microsoft has pointed to Sun's forgiveness of Netscape as a double standard. Sun is suing Microsoft for using the Java logo despite not adhering fully to the Java compatibility requirements. (See related story)
It seems that Netscape could fix the problem by amending the logo to specify 1.0.2 compatibility, but Sun does not issue logos with specific version numbers.
"It's an issue that's come up many times, and it's something we're evaluating," said Poulson.
Netscape's support for Java in Navigator won't be completely up to Sun's spec until the company releases Communicator 5.0 some time in the first half of 1998. The company also will release a pure-Java version of Navigator, dubbed "Javagator," in the first quarter of 1998, but has not announced if that version will be beta or final.