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From your description, it seems you've read http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.4/install-solaris.html#plugin . This also states that the supported Netscape builds go up to 4.77 before moving on to Netscape 6.x. And in this case it appears that this isn't just because the documentation hasn't kept up with recent activity from Netscape. Netscape 4.79 appears to treat the plugin differently, and/or still expect the old Activator code to be in place to use it.
I'm using the 1.4.0 JRE with no trouble at all with Netscape 7.0PR1. If anything this - and the Mozilla 1.0RC2 build that it's based on - are far more stable than any of the NS4.x releases. The only reason I can see for staying with 4.x is that it'd little more lax with the HTML it reads, and displays some bad pages that NS6/7 refuses to display.
Recent Solaris releases come with Netscape 6 as well, and it's easily downloadable. I'm sorry I can't be more help than this.
Sun Developer Technical Support.