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

#6 90% marketshare

by vcs2600 <>

Wednesday January 22nd, 2003 5:55 PM

You are replying to this message

If Netscape knew then that it would take 4+ years to get a decent replacement out the door, they most likely would have NOT released Netscape 5.0 as open source. It took a while (1 year?) to disentangle the source code, and then they pretty much gave up and started over.

Instead, they could have finished Communicator 5, held onto some marketshare and started as the next gen open source browser. Odds are Mozilla wouldn't have taken much longer and would have a much larger userbase today.