Hi, I'm Jamie Zawinski. I'm the proprietor of
DNA Lounge, a world famous and
all ages dance club and live music venue in San Francisco, and of
DNA Pizza, our attached cafe
Prior to that, I worked as a programmer. I was one of the
founders of Netscape and
Mozilla.org, and have been
involved in the free software and open source community since the
mid-80s. I was the primary developer of Lucid Emacs (now
XEmacs), and probably wrote most
I have a blog. It's pretty popular.
To contact me, send me mail.
Chapter One: I Am Born
- While I was still in high school, I wheedled my way into a
part-time programming job at
Scott Fahlman on the
Spice Lisp project.
- After high school, I went to work for a small startup called
Expert Technologies, writing a Lisp Machine-based expert system to do
pagination and layout.
- I left the Blighted East to work at
UC Berkeley for
Robert Wilensky and
Peter Norvig in the
doing more Lisp Machine-based AI work on natural language processing.
Chapter Two: I Am Nailed to the Hull
- I began working at
Lucid Common Lisp
to new machines.
- I was the primary developer of
Lucid Emacs, the first variant
of GNU Emacs with a real
GUI and modern desktop integration. It eventually became
- I released XScreenSaver on an
- I was one of the initial employees of
Corporation, later known as
Netscape. I was responsible
for the Unix versions of
Netscape Navigator through release 1.1. I came up with
"Mozilla". I also started "blogging" that year, though
that word hadn't been invented yet.
- I designed, and Terry Weissman
and I implemented, the Netscape Mail and News clients, versions 2.0
through 3.0. HTML email is
probably my fault.
- I worked with
Lisa Repka on
S/MIME in an attempt to keep everyone's email encrypted
and secure from the prying eyes of the government and other
snoops. That didn't really work out.
Will Scullin and
I re-wrote Netscape Mail in Java, as
That didn't really work out either.
- I was the accidental impetus for Netscape's decision to release
the browser source code, and I was one of the creators and curators
of the Mozilla Organization
during the first year of its life. We coordinated the
open source development
of the browser, which eventually became Firefox.
- I've written a lot of other software, too. You can find it all
on my hacks page. I've also done a bit of
writing about software, which is on doc.
Chapter Three: I Am Eaten by Sharks
- I purchased the DNA Lounge
nightclub in San Francisco, which had first opened in
The City of San Francisco was determined to shut the club down permanently
rather than allow me to revitalize it, and so many legal battles ensued,
followed by a year-long remodeling project.
All of this is documented in excruciating detail in my
DNA Lounge blog.
- DNA Lounge re-opened on Friday the 13th, July 2001.
And there was much rejoicing.
- After another multi-year legal battle, I managed to convert
DNA Lounge from a 21+ venue to an
- In honor of DNA Lounge's 25th anniversary, The San Francisco Board
of Supervisors and Mayor Gavin Newsom declared
November 22nd to be DNA Lounge Day.
- I purchased the restaurant next door to DNA Lounge and
converted it to a 24-hour cafe and pizza restaurant,
- I opened a new nightclub,
Codeword, plus a second
location of DNA Pizza at
917 Folsom Street (the former Covered Wagon Saloon).
That lasted through 2017.
- DNA Lounge began a
membership program on Patreon.
- The San Francisco Board of Supervisors classified DNA Lounge as a
Legacy Business, a program to support long-term small businesses that
contribute to the city's unique culture in the face of massive and growing
gentrification and economic disparity.
Appendix A: Media Appearances
I have quite a bit of screen time in
David Winton's 1998 documentary chronicling the final days of Netscape.
I am featured extensively in Joshua Quittner's 1998 book
Speeding the Net: The Inside Story of Netscape and How It
Challenged Microsoft. It's the closest thing to a biography
of my career in the 90s that there is.
I was interviewed in
California Dreamin': The Gold Rush,
documentary for German public television.
I was interviewed for Glyn Moody's 2001 book,
Rebel Code: Linux and the Open Source Revolution.
There is a chapter on me in Peter Seibel's 2009 book,
Coders at Work:
Reflections on the Craft of Programming, wherein I
talk a lot about my pre-Netscape programming career.
I appear in a few video installations in the
Computer History Museum's
The First 2000 Years of Computing.
Some of my work appeared in
Sleep Mode: The Art of the Screensaver,
an exhibition curated by Rafaël Rozendaal at Rotterdam's
Het Nieuwe Instituut. I was also
Appendix B: Other Press
- This is an incomplete list, as I haven't been very good at keeping
track of these over the years.
DNA Lounge has
its own page of awards and press clips.
Tech Republic: Mozilla stops accepting cryptocurrency, Wikipedia may be next: Are dominos falling?
Fortune: Can companies mix crypto and climate change pledges?
The Verge: Mozilla pauses accepting crypto donations following backlash
The Register: Mozilla founder blasts browser maker for accepting 'planet incinerating' cryptocurrency donations
Broke-Ass Stuart: How DNA Lounge is Keeping SF Weird During the Pandemic
SF Examiner: Keeping DNA Lounge on Life Support
SF Examiner: Proprietors get creative with money-raising efforts during pandemic
Slate: The Lines of Code That Changed Everything
Sam Lefebvre: In 2018, Corporate Monotony Seized San Francisco Music Venues
Joe Kukura: Anti-LGBT Music Monopoly Moves Closer to Home
Stefanie Doucette: Is San Francisco Losing Its DNA?
Laurie Penny: A tale of two cities: how San Francisco's tech boom is widening the gap between rich and poor
Arrington: Startups Are Hard So Work More Cry Less And Quit All The Whining
(and my retort)
Bay Area Reporter: Club ends legal battle with ABC
Pirate Cat Radio: ABC Threatens to Shut Down Bottom of the Hill.
I was interviewed on the air on this show:
Joel on Software: The Duct Tape Programmer
my response, then
Valleywag: Mozilla's 10th Anniversary Made Valleywag Feel Old
Valleywag: Browser coder Jamie Zawinski is no longer Internet famous
Frank Hecker: JWZ Considered Disruptive
CNET: Where are Netscape's pioneers today?
Apple Snub Stings Mozilla
SF Chronicle: The Beat Goes On: SF's dance scene survived the blows
SF Bay Guardian: Cult of Jamie
SF Weekly: Revenge is Sweet: DNA Reopens
Wired: From Netscape to Nightclub
CNET: Microsoft-free clubbing
Frank Hecker interview about the origin of mozilla.org
SF Chronicle: DNA Lounge set to reopen tomorrow;
New owner brings top technology
Stating the Obvious: Hacking the City
Salon: Free the night life
Salon: The Net on AOL's Time-Warner Deal
Forbes: Beyond the Browser Wars
Time: Rise and Fall of the Original Web Start-Up
Time: Netscape's Hail Mary
Wired 6.07: Electric Word: Mozilla.organizer
Wired: Microsoft Subpoenas Bad Attitude
Fast Company: You've got a Bad Attitude
Fast Company: Can You Work in Netscape Time?
END OF LINE