Netscape plans end of month deluge

Netscape plans to advance on a broad front by covering a huge variety of desktop on its Communicator Web client software. That even includes the feted - and unavailable - Be operating system which was coveted by Apple until it bought Next.

Netscape plans to advance on a broad front by covering a huge variety of desktop on its Communicator Web client software. That even includes the feted - and unavailable - Be operating system which was coveted by Apple until it bought Next.

Fresh from completing a huge deal with the Swedish postal service that will see all citizens of the country equipped with Sun NCs with Netscape clients, Netscape is going into the final lap of its Communicator beta and is on target for an end of month gold code target. In total, 17 versions of Communicator are slated for availability, including the Be OS. Also due end of month is version 3.0 of the SuiteSpot server family.

UK product PR manager Sam Sethi said all Windows Communicator versions will go gold at the end of month, to be followed by Macintosh and Unix versions within two weeks. Sethi said the round of releases heralded an attempt to break the reputation of Netscape as purely a browser maker. "We're trying to reposition the way the market thinks," Sethi said. "Until now it's been thought that the browser and server are separate."

In particular, Sethi sees the new e-mail client in Communicator as putting some distance between Netscape and Microsoft Internet Explorer: "The e-mail client is a killer app. If you see a really cool Web site you don't have to send it as an attachment; you can just embed it." The mail client also includes spell checking, rich text formatting, delivery notification, rules-based messaging, drag-and-drop linking and the ability and searching across directories.

Other goodies in Communicator will include Netcaster push technology, channels, and automatic completion of frequently typed URLs.