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  1. Technology
April 9, 1996


By CBR Staff Writer

Microsoft Corp released Internet Explorer 3.0 to early beta testing at its San Francisco Professional Developer’s Conference and could make it the last Windows family browser ever released, as Internet access becomes an operating system function rather than a separate product. As expected, it supports Sun Microsystems Inc’s Java, style sheets and JavaScript. It also supports frames, a notable omission from Explorer 2.0 and has extensions for some new ActiveX technologies such as streaming audio and video. By the time Explorer 3.0 reaches users in June it will have the America Online button and will include a personal audio server from Progressive Networks Inc that enables users to send their own real-time audio stream. Explorer 3.0 should be ready for final release this summer, then pretty much go away as a separate piece of code by the end of the year when its functions are subsumed by the Nashville update to Windows NT and Windows95. Nashville, Microsoft’s recycled name for the project to turn Windows NT Workstation and Windows95 into Internet operating systems, is based on Explorer 3.0 browser technology that will become the new graphical user interface for everything the operating systems do. The objects out of which it is built will replace the code inside Windows that now defines what appears on the screen. Nashville uses what Bill Gates calls extended HTML to convert everything that appears on the screen into a HyperText Mark-up Language page that’s then read by Explorer. For instance, a directory of files on a local drive appears as a list of hyperlinked icons. Files are accessed as if they were somewhere on the Internet rather than on the drive. The file list can also include listings of files on other systems. It will have a built-in parental control module that will effectively enable parents to black out sites they don’t like. Kids will have to get their parents’ secret password if they want to browse sites that don’t pass muster. Alternately, Microsoft vice-president Paul Maritz says, We’re going to spawn a whole new generation of teenage code-crackers.

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