You would have been forgiven for thinking that Firefox was the only rival browser left, but the other two rivals to Microsoft IE, Opera and Netscape, released patches to their browsers, both standing on version 8.

Netscape prevented Internet Explorer from displaying XML code properly, in a rare case of someone else's software affecting something from Microsoft. The Redmond Giant issued a warning about the conflict and the war of words can be left to continue over which information was wrongly supplied between which company. Users need not care. For the moment the new version, v8.0.2, can be downloaded from the Netscape homepage as always.

Over at Opera, the fixes, to v.8.01 were largely designed to close off several security loopholes including the ability to spoof websites, exploit cross-site scripting bugs and allow hackers to perform phishing, much like the faults which affected the seemingly unstoppable Firefox at the end of Winter 2004. The Mac version fixes were delivered at the end of last week.

Some people may view the other three browsers are unnecessary if IE was “just there” and you have the hassle of needing to keep it up to date along with the rest of your Operating System, but when Spyware, trojan or virus stops you using IE to its fullest and you haven't time to run 15 tools to get it back on its feet, there's nowhere else to go but your backup browser. Also, the advertising bar in the free version of Opera 8 is the thinnest ever, but its presence may keep some people on Firefox or its Gecko-powered older brother Netscape, on principle, even with Opera's new features.