October 13, 2014

The Web became a little more accessible and commercial on October 13, 1994 when the Netscape Navigator browser was released by the Mosaic (later Netscape) Corporation. Before Microsoft’s Internet Explorer became the dominant browser, Netscape Navigator was the most popular way to connect to the Web.

The source code history of Netscape Navigator began with the NCSA Mosaic browser and continues today with Mozilla Firefox.

Institut für Gestaltungs- und Wirkungsforschung Image

Institut für Gestaltungs- und Wirkungsforschung Image

Here is an excerpt from the original news release:

Mosaic Communications Corporation today announced that it is offering its newly introduced Netscape network navigator free to users via the Internet. The new Internet navigator, developed by the six-month-old Silicon Valley company led by Silicon Graphics founder Jim Clark and NCSA Mosaic creator Marc Andreessen, is available immediately for free downloading by individual, academic and research users.

…. ‘Netscape is the first Internet tool that lets the average user with a 14.4 kb modem work with the Internet interactively,’ said Todd Haedrich, principal of Point of Presence Company in Seattle. ‘It’s fast, simple and elegant. The resources that Mosaic Communications provides for its novice users in Netscape, such as the Internet directories, rival any other site on the net for their quality and depth. Netscape will help bring more people on the Internet than any program since the original NCSA Mosaic.’”

Mosaic Communications Corporation Image, 1994

Mosaic Communications Corporation Image, 1994

The following comes from the 2007 TechCrunch article, “A Sad Milestone: AOL To Discontinue Netscape Browser Development.”

“Please observe a moment of silence for the Netscape browser. Netscape Navigator, the browser that launched the commercial Internet in October 1994, will die on February 1, 2008. AOL, which acquired Netscape in November 1998 for $4.2 billion, will announce today that they will discontinue development of the browser, currently on version 9.

….In an email exchange yesterday with Tom Drapeau, Director of AOL/Netscape development, he said that only a handful of AOL engineers are still tasked with keeping the browser updated. Most of their efforts have been aimed at creating a Netscape-skinned version of Firefox with the Netscape look and feel.

….AOL is also setting up a Netscape Archive where users will be able to download old versions of Netscape, without any support.

I sadly place the first browser I ever used into the TechCrunch DeadPool.”

And finally, a look back at the early days of the Mosaic and Netscape browsers.

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