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5. Netscape Navigator/Communicator

5.1 Different versions and options.

Netscape Navigator is the King of WWW browsers. Netscape Navigator can do almost everything. But on the other hand, it is one of the most memory hungry and resource eating program I've ever seen.

There are 3 different versions of the program:

Netscape Navigator includes the web browser, netcaster (push client) and a basic mail program.

Netscape Communicator includes the web browser, a web editor, an advanced mail program, a news reader, netcaster (push client), and a group conference utility.

Netscape Communicator Pro includes everything Communicator has plus a group calendar, IBM terminal emulation, and remote administration features (administrators can update thousands of copies of Netscape from their desk).

In addition to the three versions there are two other options you must pick.

The first is full install or base install. The full install includes everything. The base install includes enough to get you started. You can download the additional components as you need them (such as multimedia support and netcaster). These components can be installed by the Netscape smart update utility (after installing goto help->software updates). At this time the full install is not available for Linux.

The second option is import or export. If you are from the US are Canada you have the option of selecting the import version. This gives you the stronger 128 bit encryption for secure transactions (SSL). The export version only has 40 bit encryption, and is the only version allowed outside the US and Canada.

The latest version of the Netscape Navigator/Communicator/Communicator Pro is 4.6.1. There are two different versions for Linux. One is for the old 1.2 series kernels and one for the new 2.x kernels. If you don't have at least a 2.0 kernel I suggest you upgrade; there are many improvements in the new kernel.

Beta versions are also available. If you try a beta version, they usually expire in a month or so!

You can also try the 5.0 alpha at the Mozilla project located at I suggest this highly, the new Netscape 5 is the best browser I have seen in a long time. It is extremely flexible and mostly stable even for an Alpha release.

5.2 Where to get

The best way to get Netscape software is to go through their web site at They have menu's to guide you through the selection. When it ask for the Linux version, it is referring to the kernel (most people should be using 2.0 by now). If your not sure which version kernel you have run 'cat /proc/version'. Going through the web site is the only way to get the import versions.

If you want an export version you can download them directly from the Netscape FTP servers. The FTP servers are also more up to date. For example when I first wrote this the web interface did not have the non-beta 4.03 for Linux yet, but it was on the FTP site. Here are the links to the export Linux 2.0 and 2.2 versions:

Netscape Navigator 4.6.1 is at

Netscape Communicator 4.6.1 for Linux 2.0 (kernel) is at

These url's will change as new versions come out. If these links break you can find them by fishing around at the FTP site

These servers are heavily loaded at times. Its best to wait for off peak hours or select a mirror site. Be prepared to wait, these archives are large. Navigator is almost 8megs, and Communicator base install is 10megs.

5.3 Installing

This section explains how to install version 4 of Netscape Navigator, Communicator, and Communicator Pro.

First unpack the archive to a temporary directory. Then run the ns-install script (type ./ns-install). Then make a symbolic link from the /usr/local/netscape/netscape binary to /usr/local/bin/netscape (type ln -s /usr/local/netscape/netscape /usr/local/bin/netscape). Finally set the system wide environment variable $MOZILLA_HOME to /usr/local/netscape so Netscape can find its files. If you are using bash for your shell edit your /etc/profile and add the lines:


After you have it installed the software can automatically update itself with smart update. Just run Netscape as root and goto help->software updates. If you only got the base install, you can also install the Netscape components from there.

Note: This will not remove any old versions of Netscape, you must manually remove them by deleting the Netscape binary and Java class file (for version 3).

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