With Netscape 6, Netscape Communications has released the most significant version of its Internet software since Netscape Communicator 4.5, though not without some difficulties. Netscape 6 features a customizable interface using downloadable skins; a collapsable field in the Web browser, called My Sidebar, for accessing search engines, AOL buddy lists, news, and other information; and several quick links to areas of Netscape’s Web site, such as shopping, travel information, etc. More significant is the new Netscape Gecko rendering engine, which promises improved support for Cascading Style Sheets, HTML 4, XML, and more. Unfortunately, Netscape 6’s release has proved shaky; we’ve seen reports of, and experienced ourselves, problems with Netscape 6’s installer, or crashes on launch after installation. On the upside, unlike recent releases of Netscape Communicator 4.x, this new package seems to include up-to-date versions of accompanying software such as AOL Instant Messenger. The Netscape 6 installer is a free 265K download, which then downloads the components you choose; a bare-bones installation averages around 10 MB, and a full installation is 29 MB.
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