Five Years Ago: Netscape Announces Intention to Release Source Code

Wednesday January 22nd, 2003

On this day in 1998, Netscape Communications Corporation announced that it was planning to release the Netscape Communicator 5.0 source code to the public. Heralding the move as "bold" and "aggressive", Netscape described how it intended to "create a special Web site service where all interested parties can download the source code, post their enhancements, take part in newsgroup discussions, and obtain and share Communicator-related information with others in the Internet community." You'll know this site as

#36 Re: and what makes you think...

by vcs2600 <>

Thursday January 23rd, 2003 11:50 PM

You are replying to this message

Here's what makes me think that:

The only thing thing that was fundementally wrong with the old codebase was the lack of maintenance. What do you expect when all the devs spent the last 3 years writing a new version from scratch? You can't honestly believe that a product with 90% markshare was "so broken" that absolutely nothing was salvagable

The Netscape 5 code release was had huge holes due to the removal of 3rd party code. It wasn't even close to buildable. It was universally panned by the "open source" community as unusable. None of that code ever made it into any open sourse applications.

And this was a major factor in 'starting from scratch' -- Sure noboby _wanted_ to maintain old hacked up code, but the #1 argument for Mozilla was building a pure open source code base.

There's nothing about Netscape 5 that would have stopped Mozilla. However, Mozilla and open source killed Netscape 5 and by extention killed Netscape Communication Corp. You got got your code, Microosft got your users.