Netscape Bugs

Here are a few bugs I've seen in various versions of Netscape.

I used to report bugs to Netscape, but no longer do so. As far as I could tell, Netscape ignored my messages (some by their report form, some by e-mail). Some of these bugs have not been fixed, depsite having been around for some time. If Netscape were unable to reproduce my problems, then they could have contacted me. I have heard nothing from them. It can take some time to pin down the exact circumstances the error occurs in. I no longer want to bother if this information is ignored.

Pages Incorrectly Displayed Empty

This is a problem in the HTML interpretation which first appeared in Netscape 2.0beta2. As far as I can tell, it does not appear in previous versions, nor in other browsers (eg. Mosaic), which leads me to conclude that it is a real bug, rather than some strange interpretation of the HTML standard.

An HTML page containing no preamble tags, such as <BODY>, but starting with an unrecognised tag (eg. <CRAPTAG>) is not displayed. "View -> Document Source" shows that the HTML has been loaded correctly; it just isn't displayed formatted.

Note that the HTML standard requires that unrecognised tags should be ignored. Netscape seems to ignore the rest of the file as well!

Bug reported 30th November 1995 (Netscape 2.0beta2); still not fixed in Netscape 3.0beta4

Stupid Popup messages from Java

When HP-UX Netscape is run with neither stdout nor stderr, eg.

ksh> netscape >&- 2>&- &

Java Applets produce stupid popup boxes (claimed to be from stdout/stderr) containing just one or more y-umlaut (ÿ) characters (that was in 2.0beta; it changed to u-accute (ú) in Netscape 2.0). These keep appearing as the Applet runs.

OK, this is only a cosmetic problem (and can be cured by routing stdout to a file, which remains empty), but until one knows how to solve it, these continual popups make Java practically unusable.

On an Alpha running DEC/Unix (OSF/1), Netscape pops up a message, saying that it can't open stderr. This is more reasonable.

Bug reported 13th December 1995 (Netscape 2.0beta)

Superscript/Subscript Problems

There seems to be a bug in Netscape's handling of superscripts (<SUP>) and subscripts (<SUB>). The text is sometimes displayed incorrectly if the display width is such that line break occurs just before a word containing a superscript: the part of the word before the superscript is also superscripted.

Bug reported 18th January 1996; seems to be fixed in Netscape 3.0beta

Images with Transparent Backgrounds

Displaying a page containing an image with a transparent background causes the X-server to grind to a halt (any operation, even switching between windows, takes many minutes). The X-client machine (which runs netscape) seems fine.

Unless one is very patient and allows the whole image to be displayed (>20 minutes in which one can't do anything, even in another window), the only way out of this is to reboot the X-terminal, or find another terminal and use kill -9 on the X-client machine.

I have tried this with two different types of X-server (eXcursion under Windows NT; and VAXstation) and two different Unix systems (HP/UX and Alpha/OSF) with the same results. The problem doesn't occur with Netscape 2.02.

Example pages containing such images:-

Bug reported 31st May 1996 (appeared with Netscape 3.0beta4). The serious bug is still not fixed in Unix/Netscape Communicator 4.0b3.

JavaScript Crash

This page will crash Netscape 3.0 when unloaded (eg. after loading the page, use the Back button) as long as JavaScript is enabled. Digital/Unix 3.01 core dumps. VMS/Netscape 3.0b7 gives an access violation in FE_ChangeInputE line 77030.

This page was based on L'éditeur HTML WebExpert download page (select Télécharger from the index page), so may be related to the various crashes seen with VMS Netscape 3.0b5 (11 Mar 1997) on that index page (these no longer occur, probably due to some subsequent change to those pages).

X-Server Warning

The Navigator 3.0 Introduction, has been known to give an error
NETSCAPE_ALPHA: X Error of failed request:  BadValue (integer parameter out of range for operation)
  Major opcode of failed request:  12 (X_ConfigureWindow)
  Minor opcode of failed request:  0
  Resource id in failed request:  0x0
  Serial number of failed request:  72706
  Current serial number in output stream:  72804
though it seems to work otherwise.

Incidentally for the above page, Unix/Netscape 3.01 complains about a missing audio/midi plugin, but VMS/Netscape 3.0b3 doesn't mention this.

Seen with VMS/Netscape 3.0b3 and Unix/Netscape 3.01. I haven't seen this recently (same version of Unix/Netscape), so perhaps the page has been modified.

Image load completion not signalled to Javascript 1.2 [new]

As shown in this example (taken from the Netscape JavaScript Guide), Netscape Navigator 4.03 (and, I believe, prior 4.* versions) doesn't signal the completion of a load for images created with the new operator. The complete property remains false and the onload event isn't invoked. Images defined in the HTML document (with <IMG SRC=url>) are correctly signalled.

Netscape 3.01 works correctly. Bug seen in Netscape 4.03 [en] (HP-UX) on 8th September 1997.

Tim Adye