Re: Why Mosaic

Mike Meyer (
Sat, 25 Mar 1995 21:09:32 +0500

>I saw one of my "netscape-enhanced" www-pages on a Mosaic-browser today and
>got horrified! It didn't show my work as it was intended.

You got what you asked for. If really want people to use a specific
application to view your work, you should use an application that
requires that application, and not one that happens to be
interoperable with others.

>My question is: Why does people use Mosaic when Netscape is better and
>can be obtained free all over the net?

Because NetScape isn't available for all platforms. Mosaic comes with
source, and can be compiled on pretty much any Unix platform without
killing yourself. I like 68K Unix boxes; NetScape doesn't run on any
of them, Mosaic runs on most of them.

Because NetScape is a pig - I quit running on it on my Linux box,
because it seemed to single-handled disable multitasking. Mosaic
doesn't (among other browsers) doesn't have that problem.

Because NetScape wasn't designed to be configurable, so lots of things
that are easy to change on other browsers are hard or impossible to
change on NetScape (Do you really trust layout elements from someone
who would put black text on a dark grey background :-).

Because NetScape doesn't integrate will with other tools. It tries
hard to be an all-purpose tool, which might be part of the problem.

Because NetScape does ugly page layout. It's about average for a
graphical browser, but it's still pretty ugly.

Because NetScape doesn't support enough of HTML3 for the puproses at

And finally, again, because NetScape isn't available for all
platforms. I've got clients using Charlotte & Albert. We're trying to
arrange things so they can get to lynx, as that would be an
improvement. Getting them to NetScape is a multi-million dollar
project, and not liable to happen in the near future.

>Do you think that I should limit my layout so that mosaic-users can enjoy
>my pages as well? This would be a major setback for me because I really
>enjoy the new features in recent versions of HTML.

I suspect that the features you're using that are causing problems
aren't "new features in recent versions of HTML", they are netscape
extensions that aren't HTML but only look like it. I suspect this
because, for the most part, the new features in HTML3 don't generate
the kinds of problems you described.

The answer depends on what you're trying to do. If you want to write
pages for the WWW, you should try arrange your pages so they are
presentable in most browsers. You can still put in NetScape
enhancements; it just takes some care and thought (one of my gripes
about NetScape the company is their lack of guidance in this area). If
you want to do things for a single application that's only available
on a few dozen platforms, you can do that as well. I'd really
recommend going to an application that lets you do good page design,
and providing a few web pages with instructions on how to obtain
viewers & configre browsers to start them. That way, you know that
everyone who looks at your pages will see what you intended, and not
be doing silly things like pumping them through a speech synth or to a
braille terminal.