Mozilla – History of Free Web Browser Foundation

The launch of the open source Netscape Communicator, which came at the height of economic growth late 1990s, was praised by the community with a mixture of acclaim and skepticism. In some circles, the release of sources on the part of Netscape was seen as a victory for the free software movement and an opportunity for Netscape to harness the power of open source development. This view was particularly popular among Linux users and other free software. Other observers – including many in the community of traders, not open source – have interpreted the move as a surrender of Netspace front of the increasing rise of legally criticized Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser.

Despite public opinion, development on the former base of the Communicator code proved more complicated than expected.

* The old base was large and complex.
* She had to be developed simultaneously in many operating systems and thus to deal with the different libraries and idiosyncrasies of these systems.
* She had the marks of many rapid cycles of development closed code in the “Internet Time” . These short cycles of development meant that programmers to sacrifice modularity and elegance to get more options to implement the program in the limited time they had.
* Various parts of the Communicator code was never released as open source because of licensing agreements made with third parties.

As a result, the first open source version of Communicator or even compiling right, and simply did not run. This turned into a huge challenge for the core developers of Mozilla (many of whom were still on the payroll of Netscape), and an even greater challenge for independent developers wanting to contribute to the implementation by themselves.

Finally, the main developers of the Mozilla concluded that the old code base could not be saved. They decided to ignore it and rewrite the entire system from scratch, a decision that took a leader of the development of Netscape, Jamie Zawinski, to resign. [1] The resulting plan included, among other things, the creation of a multiplatform GUI library and a new completely new rendering engine for HTML.

Few observers could predict the outcome. On December 7, 1998 – less than two months after the announcement of 26 October 1998 stating that the old code base would be discarded Communicator – Netscape released a version of “demonstration” home based on the new rendering engine called Gecko . The Gecko was already under development for some time within the Netscape under the internal name NGLayout (“Next Generation Layout), and was noticeably faster and smaller than its predecessor. One of its most publicized in its first version was that it fit on a single 1.44 MB floppy disk, a size 10 times smaller than its contemporaries.

The rapid release of the first version of Gecko led many to believe that a browser would not be far from complete. However, the first version of the rendering engine was far from stable, and even farther from being ready to be implemented in a browser. In addition, produce a browser with all the necessary features required much more than just a source rendering engine: the Mozilla developers immediately envisioned a much more ambitious project than a simple browser. The new Mozilla will be a platform for Internet applications, with a graphical user interface and a fully programmable modular architecture. This would work with both Mozilla hospederio to an e-mail clients, instant messaging, NNTP clients, or any other similar application.

Because of the effort required by this massive rescriva, the project quickly distanced itself from its projected goals. In the years that followed, skepticism has grown about Mozilla, and many doubted that a browser would see the finished daylight. However, the project continued, and continued uninterrupted even in the face of its acquisition of Netscape by AOL and end the excessive and unsustainable economic growth fueled by the Internet in the 1990s.

By June 2002, the Mozilla project had produced a useful browser is conformant with web standards, which operated in multiple operating systems including Linux, Mac OS, Windows and Solaris. Version 1.0 of Mozilla, released on June 5, 2002 was praised for introducing features that even its rival, Internet Explorer, owned, including better support for user privacy preferences and some improvements in the UI. Additionally, the browser has become the de facto reference implementation of the various standards of the World Wide Web Consortium, due to its strong support to them. Current versions of Mozilla are highly customizable and includes advanced features such as managing cookies, popups, passwords and files, and also the famous tabbed browsing. ”

On July 5, 2003, AOL announced it would close its browser division, which in essence was Mozilla. Far from being the end of platafoma, this was the beginning of the Mozilla Foundation, formed by former veterans of Netscape / Mozilla have taken upon themselves the responsibility of developing the project. As consolation, AOL promised to invest $ 2 million of the newly formed foundation.

Many people were expecting it to happen when AOL reached an agreement with its competitor, Microsoft, in a deal that allowed AOL to embed Internet Explorer in its products over the next seven years. Netscape has always been seen as a bargaining chip for AOL to Microsoft.

AOL dismissed the largest share of employees and developers from Netscape, some of which were transferred to other divisions. The symbols of Netscape were removed from the buildings they occupied it, confirming what many took as the end of the division. AOL will continue to keep the brand in its Netscape portal, but the company would pay no more developers to work on the project’s code base. Future versions of Netscape would just renamed versions of Mozilla, starting with version 7.2 (based tentatively on version 1.7) of Mozilla.

Mozilla, a product that originally was intended for developers rather than end users, now faces the challenge of marketing to the masses.


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