Netscape is shooting for a June beta of "Constellation," the company's next-generation Web client. Constellation is a desktop replacement for Windows that provides an interface called HomePort, a personal workspace. HomePort is "location independent" meaning that a user could log-on to his or her workspace from any machine and get the same desktop interface, complete with bookmarks, shortcuts, and their choice of live feeds.

The live feed feature is called LiveSites, and it provides "push" content similar to PointCast. Other features of Constellation include Realtime Notification (desktop to desktop communications for Constellation users), InfoStream (tickertape info running in a toolbar), and the Castanet tuner from Marimba.

Netscape will bundle Constellation with a version of Communicator, their next-generation suite of Internet/intranet applications. The Communicator/ Constellation bundle is very similar to Microsoft's Internet Explorer 4.0 software, which also combines a new Web browser with an active desktop feature. The key difference, according to Tom Tsao, a Constellation product manager at Netscape, is that Netscape's offering will run on 17 different platforms, while Internet Explorer 4.0 will only run on Windows 95 and NT. This, of course, is a slight exaggeration: most of the "17" platforms that Tsao mentions are variants of UNIX that combined make up a tiny percentage of the OS marketshare