Netscape Communicator

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(Redirected from Netscape 4)
Netscape Communicator
Developer(s)Netscape Communications Corporation
Initial releaseJune 1997; 26 years ago (1997-06)
Final release
4.8[1][2][3] Edit this on Wikidata / 22 August 2002
SuccessorNetscape 6
TypeInternet suite at the Wayback Machine (archived June 21, 2011)

Netscape Communicator (or Netscape 4) is a discontinued Internet suite produced by Netscape Communications Corporation, and was the fourth major release in the Netscape line of browsers. It was first in beta in 1996 and was released in June 1997.[4][5] Netscape Communicator addressed the problem of Netscape Navigator 3.x being used as both the name of the suite and the browser contained within it by renaming the suite to Netscape Communicator.[6] It included more groupware features intended to appeal to enterprises.

In February 1998, Netscape announced that would co-ordinate the development of Netscape Communicator 5 as "a dedicated team within Netscape with an associated Web site that will promote, foster and guide open dialog and development of Netscape's client source code."[7] However, the aging Communicator code proved to be difficult to work with, so it was abandoned. The whole source code of Communicator was re-written by Mozilla, who were then testing it as Mozilla Application Suite. Netscape, now owned by AOL, finally released Communicator's successor Netscape 6 in November 2000, based on Mozilla Application Suite with changes and additions. Minor updates to Communicator continued to be issued, culminating in the release of Netscape Communicator 4.8 in August 2002.


Netscape Communicator was available in various editions, such as "Professional" and "Complete". The following components were included in Netscape Communicator (different editions had different components and some components were dropped in later editions):



In October 1998, a major update to the program was released as Netscape 4.5.[9] This included many improvements, mostly to the Messenger e-mail client, which now also took on the features of Collabra. However, some of the less popular components, such as Netcaster, were dropped. A feature called "Roaming Profiles" was added in version 4.5 that synchronized a user's bookmarks, address book and preferences with a remote server, so that a user's home and work browsers could have the same bookmarks.[10] By the time version 4.5 was released, Netscape had started the Mozilla open source project and had ceased charging for Communicator.

The term "Navigator" referred to the browser component alone, while "Communicator" referred to the suite as a whole, as established in version 4.0. However, due to user confusion, the names were often used interchangeably. Also, because none of the applications besides Navigator were popular on their own, and because Netscape never produced any other desktop software that approached the popularity of Navigator, people would often refer to both the Communicator suite and the Navigator browser as simply "Netscape".

The Mozilla Foundation continued to develop the Netscape code base, providing the Mozilla Application Suite as a continuation of Netscape Communicator. The Mozilla Foundation decided in 2006 to discontinue development of the Application Suite. A community-maintained version called SeaMonkey has come to replace the Application Suite[11] - maintaining such things as browser, integrated POP/IMAP/SMTP style E-mail client, IRC, and other similar features.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Netscape Browser Archive - Communicator - SillyDog701". Archived from the original on 28 June 2023.
  2. ^ "Netscape Lifecycle (EOL)".
  3. ^ "Communicator 4.8 Release Notes". 22 August 2002. Archived from the original on 4 October 2002. Retrieved 12 October 2023.
  4. ^ "Netscape Ships its Most Advanced Client Software Suite for Macintosh: Netscape Communicator 4.01 for the Mac Now Available for Download". 1997-06-27. Archived from the original on October 22, 1997. Retrieved 2016-01-19.
  5. ^ "Netscape Announces Availability of Netscape SuiteSpot 3.0 and Netscape Communicator: First Delivery for Enterprise Developers at Netscape's Internet DevCon; Product Available Online to Millions of Users Worldwide". Tokyo and Mountain View. 1997-06-04. Archived from the original on October 22, 1997. Retrieved 2016-01-19.
  6. ^ "Netscape Communicator 4.0 Available". Information Technology services. The University of Hong Kong. Archived from the original on 2015-03-18. Retrieved 2014-09-04.
  7. ^ "Netscape Announces, a Dedicated Team and Web Site Supporting Development of Free Client Source Code". 1998-02-23. Archived from the original on July 6, 1998.
  8. ^ "What happened to Netscape Calendar?". SillyDog701.
  9. ^ "Netscape Communicator 4.5 Ships Today, Making Internet Navigation Easier for Millions of Consumers". Mountain View. 1998-10-19. Archived from the original on 2000-08-15.
  10. ^ "Netscape Roaming Profiles - What is it?". Colorado State University (via
  11. ^ "Two discontinued browsers". 21 December 2005. Retrieved 19 August 2012.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Netscape Navigator (1-4.08)
Netscape Communicator (4) Succeeded by
Netscape 5
(developing suspended)