ten years?

Apparently today it is exactly ten years after the first public beta of Mosaic Netscape was released to the world. How did it get to be ten years already? I only realized that it had been this long when a reporter mailed me asking for a comment the day before yesterday...
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60 Responses:

  1. icis_machine says:

    and behold! many people checked out the weather and tarot card reading for the day.

  2. yeah, thanks for destroying my bbs.

    • jwz says:

      I used to have a copy of Boardwatch Magazine whose cover story was "World Wide Web: The Internet's New BBS!" I wish I could still find it...

      • I tried to compete, it was no use. During its last legs, I even offered ridiculous e-mail addresses through Fidonet like jay.barnes%wackyland@cjbbs.com

        I can't imagine why that didn't work out.

        I miss BBSes for their limitations. There were a finite number of people in your calling area (provided everything was on the up and up...) and you were stuck with those losers no matter what. On the internet it's too damn easy to run away.

    • fantasygoat says:

      My BBS held out until 1997 - by that time I was getting one call every couple of days and I couldn't pretend it mattered anymore.

      In the end, though, I'm glad the intarweeb came along because otherwise I'd have had to get a real job.

      • Eh, I don't know. Maybe the intarweb was inevitable, but I kind of miss the days when you were a big dork for using a computer and every extended family member didn't think of you as walking tech support.

        Once they incorporated e-mail in a storyline for Beverly Hills 90210 and I knew the good times were over.

  3. nugget says:

    Will this work with Trumpet Winsock? I have Spry's Internet in a Box.

  4. tjcrowley says:

    And that was responsible for me losing my first real job in the Internet 'industry' -- the company I worked for was called "Spry" and they were selling shrinkwrap versions of Mosaic in software stores around the country in a neat little package called "Internet in a Box". They sold themselves to Compuserve three months later in an effort to not go tits-up, and we all got laid off.

    My career was to be an infinite repeat of this for the next 8 years. I sure am glad I'm a schoolteacher now.

    • jkonrath says:

      I mean, I worked at Spry too. I don't remember you, but I've sniffed a lot of glue since then.

      I got hired in 95, signed a lease to an apartment just up the hill from Pioneer Square so I could walk to work, and the next day, they announced we'd be moving to Factoria.

      I survived the first round of layoffs, but that just meant I had to deal with when they decided to throw out their browser and use IE instead. I left mid-96, and was the last techwriter out, which means I was the one that got the call from some stupid PM a few months later asking where everything was.

      • cadmus says:

        Unlike him, I do remember you.

        I did Tech Support from October, 1994 until the end of 1995 or so. Then I moved up to engineering and worked as a webmaster until I said "fuck it" and went to Microsoft in mid-1996. To tie this into JWZ, I then worked on Internet Explorer 4.0, 5.0, 5.01, did something else for a while and then came back for the work on IE for XPSP2, where I still am.

        It's been web browsers for ten years now, one way or the other.

    • cadmus says:

      Funny, I worked for Spry from 1994 (just after Internet in a Box launched) through mid-1996 and I don't remember you...

      • tjcrowley says:

        I was the harried systems admin guy that Dave Pool was always yelling at.

        The only people I really got to know well were Dave, Chris Bucci (?), Craig (the CFO), and the marketing folks. The customer service people got hired so fast and furiously they are all a blur, and the engineering staff were all overshadowed in my mind by a giant Scotsman.

  5. monkey says:


    that long. I remember that download. via a slow modem. :-)

  6. ghewgill says:
    -rwxr-xr-x  1 greg  wheel  703540 Dec 15  1994 NS16_096.EXE

    Download it here.

    I know this file exists elsewhere in archives of old browsers and stuff, but this was the one I downloaded. :)

  7. dzm6 says:

    I don't remember a NSCP themed Doom. Crap.

    I think the ST:TNG cube walls are a nice touch. That makes it more NSCP themed than marca's head(s).

  8. g_na says:

    Dood, that MCOM website is sooooo 1994.

  9. fantasygoat says:

    That means I've been reading your rants for 10 years.

    Great, now I feel old.

    Wait until the people coming into your club were born after Mosaic Netscape came out.

    • jwz says:

      I'm still reeling at the fact that a lot of our customers were born in 1983. This is only going to get creepier, isn't it?

      • drreagan says:

        Its even worse in places where the drinking age is 18. The punters here are often born in 1986.

      • fantasygoat says:

        I was talking videogames with some people at work and I mentioned that I still had a Robotron machine. None of the people had heard of it so while describing it I said it was from 1982, and one of the guys said, "Dude, I was born in 1982."

        That's okay though, the last girl I dated was born in 1986 -the year I started high school.

        It can only get freakier.

      • fzou says:

        I, for one, hope that the first person served in the club next year on NYD is a guy named Winston Smith.

        (I'm an '83er, but I refuse to believe that anyone born after 1990 is capable of wearing anything other than diapers)

  10. supersat says:

    I have fond memories of Netscape 0.9...

  11. naturalborn says:

    Ten years, and Brendan Eich is still in charge and still fucking everything up.

    Ah, back in the day, when interlaced images actually mattered, and people would send hate mail to anyone who dared use <p> as a spacer. Fortunately the powers that be got over that idiocy, and didn't do anything crazy like add in a whole other language hidden within html to preserve html's purity as a semantics-only language.

    Multiple connections introduced in 1994, and it only took eight years for them to figure out pipelining.

    • fo0bar says:

      <p>Holy hell, you mean there are other people out there who know how this tag is supposed to be used?</p>

      fo0bar's friend: Hey, you should check out this new program called Netscape. It's like NCSA Mosaic, but better!
      fo0bar: No way, Mosaic rocks!
      -- Actual conversation, circa December 1994

      • fo0bar says:

        I also thought that new Apache thing would never get popular, and Rob McCool was a dork. After all, we had NCSA httpd!

        I wasn't an NCSA fanboy or anything, I'm just REALLY bad at guessing emerging technologies.

        Then again, maybe I am a NCSA fanboy. Blame me for the fact that you can do "emerge ncsa-httpd" on a gentoo box.

  12. evan says:

    did you know waldemar? he's at google now -- definitely a, um, character.

  13. nzchrisb says:

    I loved this. Especially:
    "Netscape is the first Internet tool that lets the average user with a 14.4 kb modem work with the Internet interactively,"

  14. Yeah, I read that.

    Powerful stuff.


  15. hatter says:

    Poor, poor NCSA Mosaic, with its lack of propriatory tags, tables, frames or scripting. Netscape was that evil baddie, my website was jpeg-free for a long time.

    Think I'm over that now (especially since the gif patent issue)

    the hatter

  16. funjon says:

    "That's it," Zawinski said of his vocation as a club owner. "I just sell beer."

    They say it like it isn't one of the most important jobs on earth. Bastards.

  17. nzchrisb says:

    So I clicked on all the links as I felt bad. What the hell 0.93beta is only 740k it works well on a 14.4k modem and I have crippled ADSL. So sool here's a retro brower, the default home page no longer exists so we'll type in http://www.netscape.com. Whoops lots of html in the browser window and then bang a GP fault. Oh well progress happens.

  18. romulusnr says:

    Zawinski, whose title at Netscape was "hacker" before it became "hacker emeritus" and finally "loose cannon," is now the proprietor of the DNA Lounge in San Francisco.

    Somehow I'm reminded of the liner notes to Monty Python's Final Rip Off.... "Eric Idle, now a nightclub owner in Sheffield..."

  19. googoobaby says:

    Is there any of jwz's code left in Firefox? Or was it all abandoned?

    • jwz says:

      I don't know about Firefox, but I grepped through the Mozilla 1.7 source I had lying around, and I suspect that there's not much of my work left in there, though I didn't look too closely. Things I spotted that are still largely my code (though it's all been hacked on and needlessly converted to C++) were:

      • nsMsgKeySet.cpp: the .newsrc file parser
      • nsParseMailbox.cpp: the bsd mbox file parser
      • mailnews/mime/src/: the whole MIME message engine. Though I'm actually not sure if that directory is even used any more; if that's still in use, it's the single biggest surviving piece.

      All of the above code first appeared in Netscape 2.0 (actually, the newsrc parser might have been in 1.0.)