Ten Years Ago Today: Netscape Announces Free Communicator Source Code Release

Tuesday January 22nd, 2008

Today marks ten years since Netscape Communications Corporation announced its intention to release the source code of the then in-development Netscape Communicator 5.0, heralding the beginning of what would become the Mozilla project. At the same time, Netscape stopped charging for Netscape Navigator 4.0 and Netscape Communicator Standard Edition 4.0.

On Monday 23rd February 1998, was launched to coordinate development of the open-source code. The actual release of the Netscape Communicator 5.0 source code took place on Tuesday 31st March 1998.

Mitchell Baker, who has been involved with the Mozilla project from the outset, is asking for ideas of how to celebrate Mozilla's tenth anniversary year.

#1 Party!

by SomeGuy

Wednesday January 23rd, 2008 3:43 AM

MozillaZine itself is getting close to 10 years now. Although news here is sometimes sparse I am very glad MozillaZine is still around!

With Firefox, it is always time to party!

#45 Re: Party!

by Nitin

Thursday February 14th, 2008 12:02 AM


#2 Comparison

by Racer

Wednesday January 23rd, 2008 2:54 PM

I've always wondered if (after releasing the source) AOL had made the same browser decisions that were made by the Mozilla Foundation, could it have had the success that Firefox does now? In other words, could we have something like "Netscape Firefox", run by AOL, with a >= 15% world market share? Or was it the allure of an independent, totally nonprofit ownership that gave Firefox much of its luster? Alternatively, is it impossible for AOL to even have made similar browser decisions due to its corporate culture and for-profit nature?

#3 Re: Comparison

by roseman

Wednesday January 23rd, 2008 3:45 PM

For my own experience, I used to use Netscape 7.0x when it came out, because i had LOVED the (Mosaic, then) 2.x, 3.x and 4.x series. Netscape 7 had TABS! Themes! (i miss Toy Factory *sniff*).

Then i found when there was a memory bug affecting W98SE users like me... It got fixed in Mozilla (the "suite") LONG before Netscape released a patched version of Netscape 7. *GRUMBLE*

I finally "went to the source" and started using Mozilla suite instead of netscape proper, and found it was faster (less "bloat") and was FIXED SOONER whenever there was a problem that surfaced.

Never went back.

Not sure how it would have played out if AOL had released an FF-like browser-only, but my guess is i would have followed a similar path as i did, and for the same reasons. I can only speak for what i myself would have done, and even that is just an educated guess.

Predicting alternate timelines is such a tricky business :)

#4 Re: Re: Comparison

by Sailfish

Wednesday January 23rd, 2008 10:58 PM

"(i miss Toy Factory *sniff*)"

Toy Factory is alive and well, living at:


#7 Re: Re: Comparison

by zooplah

Wednesday January 30th, 2008 7:38 AM

I was using Mozilla back when it was still using milestones instead of versions. Mind you, Internet Explorer was still my main browser until they produced the piece-of-junk IE6, but I liked Mozilla from an early stage and always had nightly builds around and was fully prepared to switch over (at Mozilla 0.9.3) when it became clear than Microsoft wasn't the least bit interested in keeping up with the competition. I never liked Firefox, though; I liked the idea of separating the components (something I, at the early stages of trying Mozilla, thought would be a good idea, because of Mozilla's general instability at that point), but I didn't like what they did to the browser component itself. So, I used Mozilla from 2001 until the SeaMonkey project took over, and I'm now using that.

I tried Netscape 6 and didn't like it. It was behind Mozilla and had all that AOL junk spread around. I know, Mozilla was only meant for testing purposes, but it suit my needs perfectly.

#16 Re: Re: Re: Comparison

by rwc

Thursday January 31st, 2008 5:39 PM

I'm still using M7.

#5 AOL couldn't do it

by greenknight

Thursday January 24th, 2008 3:18 AM

Anything from AOL is guaranteed to be a bloated piece of garbage that treats it's users like children, no way they could have produces Firefox.

#6 Re: AOL couldn't do it

by greenknight

Thursday January 24th, 2008 3:21 AM

I mean, produced Firefox. Hate typos...:-(

#42 A tribute Video memory

by javaman67

Wednesday February 6th, 2008 12:38 PM

I bought this movie (Code Rush about the team that released the open source code of Netscape to the Mozilla project. It's been a favorite movie to watch over the years. Get PBS to play it again as a 10 year celebration.

#43 Re: A tribute Video memory

by roseman

Wednesday February 6th, 2008 1:18 PM

Maybe they could feature it on the History-Channel Series entitled "Modern Marvels".