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January 11, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: Netscape 8 on Mac OS X

NetscapeAdam Christianson points out:

If you try to download a new version of Netscape 8 for the Mac, the site tells you that a Mac version is not available. However, on the Netscape site, it states:

"For now, Mac users can download the Windows XP Version."

That is interesting, since last time I checked, OS X could not run a Windows application.



It's 'cause they just want you to download it. Who cares if you can't use it?

Posted by: Jello B. at January 11, 2006 12:26 AM

I think they would know better, but maybe they think it will run on the new intel macs. It's more likely just an automated response, it is possible that if you tried to download, say a linux version, it might just do the same thing and tell you to download the Windows XP one.

Posted by: john russell at January 11, 2006 01:24 AM

It is obviously for Virtual PC.

And anyway, programs shouldn't be classified as broken if they are not for mac. Mac users don't have to use them, it is purely up to them...

Posted by: Kip HT at January 11, 2006 04:02 AM

"It is obviously for Virtual PC."

Not being a Mac owner, please forgive my naïvité...

Does Virtual PC ship with the OS, or is it something you have to buy separately?

"And anyway, programs shouldn't be classified as broken if they are not for mac. Mac users don't have to use them, it is purely up to them..."

It's not that the program is broken because it isn't for mac. It is that the site is broken for suggesting incompatible software.

Posted by: Glenn Lasher at January 11, 2006 06:43 AM

Here's what's broken: as of 9:15 EST this morning, the typing in in Safari or IE gets you an '403 Forbidden' error page! The site, on a Mac, is only accessible via Netscape or Firefox, both Mozilla browsers.

If you want people to switch from Safari to Netscape, you might want to make your site accessible to users on Safari.

Posted by: Michael McWatters at January 11, 2006 09:22 AM

"And anyway, programs shouldn't be classified as broken if they are not for mac. Mac users don't have to use them, it is purely up to them..."

The thing is broken is not that Mac users cannot use it. It states that Mac users can use the WIndows XP version, which they can't.

Posted by: Andrew Hoffman at January 11, 2006 09:31 AM

eww netscape.... download firefox from

Posted by: RogerG at January 11, 2006 10:05 AM

Andrew and Glenn said it.. so I'll say it too!

Everyone together now- "It's the experience that's broken." -I'll keep saying it as long as we all keep missing it.

I admit though- this experience is not nearly as broken as others we've seen-it clearly tells you there is no software but gives other alternatives you might have... maybe really want to try netscape AND have a PC right next to you? It also suggests the older mac version (I would have listed that BEFORE the windows version.. but fact, I would have listed the windows option LAST in the above list)

But even with all that, suggesting that the user should use a version of software that does not run on their machine is what's wrong here.

Posted by: Eddie at January 11, 2006 10:26 AM

totally broken experience, agreed, but all experiences generated by the PC are broken. PCs are lame, l...a...m...e!

Posted by: smartypants at January 11, 2006 11:37 AM

Also a broken experience: simply trying to find where on Netscape's amazingly cluttered homepage one can download the browser. I finally found after a good minute of searching, "browser" in the left nav (which I somehow missed despite seeing the My Netscape and Netscape Video links above - I think it's a function of too many undifferentiated links, and links not grouped into a logical grouping).

Since a significant portion of users coming to this page would be looking for the browser, and not a portal, it seems the priorities in page design are way off here.

Posted by: Steve J at January 11, 2006 12:20 PM

No one's said it yet, so...

NOT BROKEN. I actually have a reason on this one.

Underneath, it says you can download 7.2. Since 8 isn't available, you can use 7.2. Also, it doesn't say anything about USING the XP version, just downloading it.

Posted by: Fuzzy at January 11, 2006 02:33 PM

I totally agree with Steve J above. I had the same problem.

I'd take it one step further. In usability, I often here users say they don't really know what a browser is. Some think Google is a browser (you'd be surprised how many), while others think of it simply in product terms (Internet Explorer, AOL, Safari, Firefox).

In addition to raising the prominence of the link to download the NS browser, they should also consider relabeling the link something more telegraphic, such as "Download Netscape" or "Download the Netscape Browser."

Posted by: Michael McWatters at January 11, 2006 02:33 PM

Dear Fuzzy,

If you are going to fail to think before you post, it would benefit both you and this board for you to abstain from posting all together.

Posted by: beckett at January 11, 2006 06:09 PM

Whats broken is people still using Netscape..use the latest mozilla instead.... and guess what? it has a mac version.. or use camino... which is mozilla's attempt to make 1 just for mac..or Firefox Mac version which will get you everything netscape has and a more up to date version since netscape is based on firefox 1.07 and firefox is up to 1.5

Posted by: infinity at January 11, 2006 08:44 PM

The whole idea of Netscape is kind of broken. Netscape has no market that mozilla doesn't cover, they need to specialize it for something.

Posted by: Reed at January 12, 2006 12:05 PM

Fuzzy is right. It doesn't say Netscape 8 will run on a Mac. They tell you that 7.2 will run. They suggest using the Windows version as an alternative. Obviously you would do that on a Windows PC. Everyone's got a couple, no?

Posted by: Chad R. Larson at January 12, 2006 01:13 PM

Fuzzy is not right- why would they provide a link you're not suppose to use it?

Although- if you read my earlier comments, I will agree that someone still might be interested in downloading it for PC. They should just break that option out. It clearly says... "For now MAC users can..." (emphasis mine on Mac) implying that the XP version may just run on a Mac. No one will fall for that (likely), but it's still not a good idea. It's a *EVERYBODY NOW* "Bad User Experience" in that it's not broken, but it doesn't exactly help the user when it clearly could...

I would suggest they have the existing:

"For now Mac users can..." with options for Mac, but follow that with another "block" (visually seperate from the mac options) that says...

"Or if you'd like to use this on Windows/PC instead..." and list the windows options.

While I'm hear again- I also agree that with other commenters that few people will go to to view the portal. Make the download browser the key point.

And one more- what's wrong with having a choice in browsers? Nothing is wrong with wanting to use netscape over FF. Competition is a good thing- it fosters innovation and niche experiences.

Posted by: Eddie at January 12, 2006 01:25 PM

Beckett: If you are just going to insult people and post nothing meaningful, why post?

Eddie: Well, why not have the Windows link there? It doesn't hurt. Also, it's useful to have a link to the previous version, so that you can download it instead.

Posted by: Fuzzy at January 12, 2006 03:48 PM

Although I half get the feeling your trolling- I'll bite again. Please actually read beyond the first line of my second post. I realize my first post is not very clearly written, but it too essentially agrees with what you said in your response to me. In fact both of my posting say exactly what you are saying. I just have issues with the way they presented the options.

Your right, it doesn't "Hurt" the user to have the win version there, but it certainly doesn't help the user. It clearly says "for now, mac users can..." followed with "download the windows xp version" Why would a mac user want to do that? A windows user may very well want to.. so why not have an option like I laid out in my last post?

If you've read either of my posts.. you'd see I also like having the link to the older version.. so if you're not trolling, please take the time to actually read my responses before you fire back.

...and I ask again Fuzzy- to your original post: why would you want to download something you can't use?

Posted by: Eddie at January 12, 2006 04:32 PM

Chad, Fuzzy and the rest,

I sent this in several weeks before it was posted here. In that time Netscape changed the page, so the part that was "broken" isn't any more. At the time I sent it in the page did not say anything about downloading 7.2 for the Mac

Posted by: Adam Christianson at January 12, 2006 06:43 PM

Netscape doesnt compete with firefox.. firefox/mozilla is pretty much the continuation of netscape since aol merged with time warner.. what a don't understand is why netscape is still made...

it's not just based on firefox 1.07 it's basically the exact same thing just rebranded. Mozilla started as an open-source version of netscape done by some of their programmers but aol kept on laying off netscape employees till there were basically none..

read the history timeline

Posted by: infinity at January 12, 2006 09:32 PM

Strange. Also Adam, I love your podcast!

Posted by: cfsporn at January 15, 2006 04:31 PM

Glenn Lasher asked:

Does Virtual PC ship with the OS, or is it something you have to buy separately?

You have to buy it separately from Micro$oft.

Posted by: D.F. Manno at January 15, 2006 05:44 PM

At 6:44 PM EST, they have taken that option off.

Posted by: Poop at January 15, 2006 06:45 PM

infinity's comment is broken! the hyperlink doesn't work.


Posted by: plonked at January 16, 2006 03:37 PM

What's broken is using a Mac

*gets shot down in flames*

Posted by: foo at January 21, 2006 05:19 PM

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