Netscape fans can exhale; a beta release of Netscape 6 premieres next Tuesday at Internet World in Los Angeles.
Netscape's parent, America Online, will do the launch honours for the first time. Steve Case, AOL's chair and chief executive officer, will unveil the browser in a keynote address Tuesday morning.
Rooted in Gecko, Netscape's standards-based browser technology, Netscape 6 replaces the current Navigator 4x line that is struggling against Microsoft Internet Explorer.
Beyond real-time messaging and other Netcenter support, Netscape offers few details about Netscape 6 features. Nor is AOL saying whether this version will replace its browser. But Netscape is chattering about Gecko.
Gecko is the first product from Netscape based on contributions from Mozilla, the organization managing Netscape's open source initiative. The Gecko engine renders graphics and text, and promises faster surfing. Its smaller size means browsers like Netscape 6 will download quickly.
Netscape 6 will be a 5.5MB download, says Eric Krock, senior product manager. Netscape 4 is a 15MB download, and IE 5.5 is a 29.4MB download for the full installation.
Gecko retrieves and lays out content quickly, thanks to support for client-side scripting and data manipulation. It supports Extensible Markup Language and HTML 4, and operates across platforms and devices.
Because Gecko supports Web standards, people can develop Web applications that run on any device that embeds Gecko, such as a handheld unit or Web phone, Krock says.
And AOL plans to use Gecko across its product line, Krock says. AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ, and AOL TV will add Gecko support.