The Mosiac Browser

In 1993, at the University of Illinois' National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NSCA) the first web browser to achieve popularity (This Day in Tech: Mosiac Web Browser among the general public was released. Because this browser sported color and in-page graphics, this began the growth of the Web to what we know it as today. The only browser really available at that time was the ViolaWWW, which came out of CERN. This browser would allow you to open pictures with a seperate viewer, but did not allow the viewing of pictures as we are used to them alongside the text.
Marc Andreesen was a student at the University of Illinois at this time, and was instrumental in developing the browser. In early 1993, the browser was posted for download on NSCA's website. By December of that same year, Mosiac's growth was so dramatic it made the front page of the New York Times business sectiion.
Andreesen left the University, partnered with Jim Clark, and they founded a company called Mosiac Communications Corp. The team's goal was to create a browser that surpassed Mosiac. Of course, because the University and NSCA owned Mosiac, this meant they had to start from scratch. Ibiblio: Internet Pioneers: Marc Andreesen.
In October of 1994, Mosiac Netscape was made available for download. A legal issue with the University and NSCA forced them to change the name to simply Netscape, and the company names to Netscape Communications. 1995 saw the first browser war, between Netscape and Internet Explorer. By 1996, 75% of Web users were using Netscape. As I recall it was far superior at the time to Internet Explorer. Howver, the management at Netscape could never quite keep a consistent pricing plan despite most people obtaining a shareware (trial) copy that Netscape never forced paid registration on. As time passed, by the time the 1990s were coming to an end, Netscape's quality lagged behind that of Internet Explorer, which was, and always has been, free.
In 1998, Netscape released its code as Open Source, in the hopes that it might become a viable free and open source project.Mozilla project is founded for this purpose, but the existing code is too difficult to work with. They begin working from scratch. By 2002, Internet Explorer is the dominant browser. However, 2004 brought us Firefox 1.0, and the second browser browser war ensues. In 2006, Internet Explorer finally released IE 7, five years after the release of IE 6. Users find Firefox-inspired features in the new edition such as tabbed browsing and anti-phishing protection. History of Web Browsers
2008 gave us Google Chrome, an Open-Source browser like Firefox. More so than Safari by Apple (released the first time in 2003) and the Opera browser (released for the first time in 1996), the appearance of Chrome and its Linux-counterpart, Chromium, have intensified the browser wars that continue to this day.
I'm not a fan of Internet Explorer. Our own OU blackboard warns us to use either IE or Firefox. Firefox would not be here today if Mosiac had not paved the way. Indeed, many people believe that the Internet would not be the vast information highway it is today without the teasing colors and graphics of Mosiac. Instant Shift: History of Web Browsers
The slide show below provides screen shots of browsers from the ViolaWWW up to the current Firefox 6.0 and Internet Explorer 9:
Browser Slideshow
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Slideshow script adapted from
The JavaScript Source

Click on Auto/Stop to toggle between autoplay and manually advancing the images.

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Content, unless otherwise noted, (c) Christine A. Smith 2011