It’s alive! Alive, I tell you

Netscape does not suck.

Instead of writing about how today was Netscape’s last official day on Earth (I was never going to write about that, anyway), I’m bringing you a rare bit of good  news – if you’re a diehard Netscape fan, that is (I know…highly unlikely): AOL is extending support for the Netscape browser until March 1st and one more update for it is on the way. I’m not sure why this is good news, since I happen to like the Netscape browser – and since it will still die (as in forever) in 30 more days. I take it as bad news topped with a tiny sprinkle of “better-than-nothing-I-suppose” – but fans of this browser seem to think this is “great news“, so I won’t argue.

Not to mention I’m completely confused; no one’s explained yet why AOL is extending the life of this browser, which leaves the answer up to some of our least reliable (but most entertaining) sources: wild gossip and loose speculation. Let’s see: is AOL willing to extend the life of this sucker forever  if “enough” people download it within the next month? Maybe…but maybe not. Maybe they just got tired of all the complaints from diehard ‘Scapeheads (yes, all twelve of you) in the vein of, “How dare you kill my favorite browser all of a sudden like this!” (you guys do  know that Firefox exists – mmmmm?). Maybe AOL is going to kill the browser for good, come hell or high water, but I’d like to know what the last-minute stay of execution is for, regardless.

In all seriousness, I would like to see the Netscape browser live to die another day (I know – I’m borrowing from a lot of movies just to write this post). I have a soft spot for it, since it’s almost identical to Firefox and you can use all of Firefox’s plugins with it, too (oh, wait, you didn’t know that?). So, does anyone want to petition  AOL to keep the Netscape browser alive, at least for another year? If there were only a way…

Update 1-31-08: Guess there’s no way, after all. Just caught this post from the NY Times, which says the only reason for the extension is the one given in Netscape’s blog: to migrate people to either Firefox or Flock. It would’ve been nice if they had thought of migrating people in the first place, wouldn’t it? Most of the major news outlets have headlines today along the lines of, “Netscape Finally Laid to Rest”…it seems like only the Times, C|Net, and a handful of blogs and tech sites are carrying the real story, while everyone else is still using content written weeks ago for today. Funny how none of those big-name outlets check for updates first – they just publish pre-written material unrevised and as-is…

Netscape will use a special, as-yet unknown “migration tool” to move everyone off to another browser. That tool will be included with their final update, which isn’t an update at all – it just gives you the tool to move away from Netscape with. In the meantime, if you want to manually import your Netscape settings into a new installation of Firefox, here’s how to do it.

Interesting post in the comments – once this is all over with and AOL lets Netscape die simply because they’re too selfish to sell the Netscape brand off for a nice chunk and too lazy to revive it themselves, perhaps what little bit of the Netscape team is left will be laid off (4-8-08 note: page no longer exists)…anyone else? Confirmation?