IE Head: Netscape 8 Breaks XML in IE

In a Web log posting, Internet Explorer program manager Dave Massy has called out Netscape 8 for purportedly breaking XML rendering in IE6. The news comes as the second blow to the revived Netscape browser, which initially shipped with critical security flaws. But at least one user says the XML bug does not affect everyone.

"We've just confirmed an issue that has started to be reported on newsgroups and forums that after installing Netscape 8 the XML rendering capabilities of Internet Explorer no longer work," Massy wrote. "That means that if you navigate in IE to an XML file such as an RSS feed or an XML file with an XSLT transformation applied then rather than seeing the data you are presented with a blank page."

Massy says IE users must uninstall Netscape 8, and then manually modify a registry key to resolve the problem. "We are currently continuing our investigation and are looking forward to working with Netscape to resolve this issue," he added.

According to at least response to Massy's announcement, however, the XML issue does not affect all Netscape 8 users.

"I have IE on Windows XP with SP 2 and the [XML] link works just fine for me in Avant browser or IE (which I admit to never using except for browsing the Windows update or Office update sites), Firefox 1.04, Netscape 7.2, or Netscape 8.01 using Display like Firefox or Display like Internet Explorer," wrote a user named John. "You seem to have reported a problem that does not affect everyone using Netscape 8."

Another poster took a swipe at IE for its paltry XML support, which Microsoft has pledged to improve in Internet Explorer 7. IE7 is slated for a public beta release this summer, bringing tabbed browsing and a cadre of internal enhancements.

"It is great that you are providing a way for people to restore Internet Explorer to its full state of functionality in case they are inclined to do so, but considering that Internet Explorer chokes on XML prologs and application/xhtml+xml content, does it really matter if its XML support is completely broken rather than remaining partly broken and partly obsolete?"

A Netscape representative told BetaNews it was actively working to resolve the XML bug and dismissed Massy's calls for users to uninstall the new browser.

"This issue only affects a very small number of users who visit pages that use XML technology, but we are actively working on a fix, and we hope to deploy an automatic patch to users that will address it next week. Pending that resolution, users do not need to uninstall their browser or take any other action," spokesperson Andrew Weinstein said.

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