2nd Mozilla Throbber Contest

Wednesday May 12th, 1999

That's right, the second Mozilla "Throbber" contest is now underway. What's a "throbber", you ask? The throbber is the animation on the toolbar that cycles when the browser is actively retrieving data. Recently, we have heard numerous complaints regarding the English phrases in the winning animation from the last contest. We decided that the easiest way to address these complaints would be to hold a second contest. This new contest is open to everyone (except MozillaZine staff), but determining the winner is going to be a little different this time around. All submissions will first go through an "elimination" phase. We at MozillaZine will pick our 20 favorite entries, and we will present them to all mozillaZine members for a vote. The vote will occur via a new "wishlist" functionality (which we will be publicly testing before the true contest vote).

The winner and runner-up will each receive a gift certificate (store and prize amount yet to be determined), and the 20 finalists will all receive T-Shirts from Click here to see the image on the T-Shirts.

First, some disclaimers. There are no guarantees that the throbber will be used in perpetuity. There is always the possibility that a spec will change, or's needs will change, or another factor will weigh in to require a change to a new animation (as occurred with the previous winning entry). Essentially, we cannot make any guarantees about how long the winning entry will be in the mozilla code as the default. Also note that this contest applies to the Mozilla code only, not to any Mozilla-derived Netscape product. (And or course, if we choose something offensive or illegal, mozilla may not be able to use it at all.)

Please send your entries to Do not post links to them in the talkback forum of this article. Attach your entry in GIF format, your name, and include in your message your full name and a physical address to which we could send a prize. Also include your T-Shirt size, in case you are a finalist. We will send a brief verification of receipt to all entrants, so please have a valid Reply-To. If you do not want your email address made public, please be sure to make a note of that in your submission. If you do not receive a verification of receipt from us within a few days, please feel free to follow up.

Here are the rules for the contest:

  • The animation must be 32x32 in size. 2 animations are required for apprunner, one 32x32, and one 16x16 (for text only navbars). For this contest, we will only judge the 32x32 animation, and the winner will then have to create a 16x16 animation in a similar style (you can do this in advance if you want, but the 32x32 image will be the only one judged in the contest).
  • For this contest, the animation must be 30 frames long, and the first frame will be used as the "resting" frame, for when the browser is not actively retrieving data.
  • the speed of the animation can run anywhere between 3 and 8 frames per second (since this particular aspect of the spec hasn't been ironed out, the final result may be slower or faster than your animation, but you can use this rule as a way to gauge the fluidity of your animation).
  • The animation should preferably be in the web-safe palette, although you have some palette flexibility with the new cross-platform interface. Try to use non-websafe colors sparingly if you do.
  • There should be no text in the animation. Mozilla will be used on many platforms and localized to many languages, so your animation should be as culture-neutral as possible. However, use of the word "Mozilla" or the letter "m" is allowed.
  • The animation should be Mozilla-related. You don't have to use the little green mascot or the big red Mozilla, but it should be a good representative of Mozilla in some way.
  • If you submit multiple entries, each should be drastically different than your other entries. Please do not submit 100 color variations (or even 2) of the same animation. If you do send variations on a theme, only the first will be judged.
  • The contest ends June 10 at 12:00pm EST. No preference is given to entries that arrive early, so take your time to make it perfect. Soon after the June 10th deadline, the 20 finalists will be put online for the final vote.
  • MozillaZine makes no guarantees regarding copyright protection for your work. If your work is stolen, you agree to not hold MozillaZine or responsible. If you are concerned about copyright protection for your submission to the contest, you may want to reconsider submitting an entry, because anything can happen to your work once it becomes publicly available on the Internet.
  • By submitting an entry, you give the right to use your entry in their Mozilla browser.
  • MozillaZine administration reserves the right to archive all entries for display on

#1 Re:2nd Mozilla Throbber Contest

by SomeSmartAss

Wednesday May 12th, 1999 10:01 AM

"if we choose something offensive or illegal,"

If you CHOOSE? Are you expecting a lot of Pot-Smokin-Lizard-Porn based throbbers, or is that what the first contest mostly constisted of?

Sorry, lost im my deranged little world for a second. Is there any "Mozilla-Pic" site we can link to, for insperation?

#2 Re:2nd Mozilla Throbber Contest

by mozineAdmin

Wednesday May 12th, 1999 10:35 AM

no, "we" meaning mozillaZine members, who will choose the winner from the 20 finalists. You're right though, I can't imagine any offensive or illegal images getting past the first round amongst the admin of mz. In fact, I can't imagine that we'd even *get* anything approaching offensive or illegal.

#3 Re:2nd Mozilla Throbber Contest

by arielb

Wednesday May 12th, 1999 11:10 AM

I remember the first throbber contest but the site is gone. Anyway, check this out

#4 Re:2nd Mozilla Throbber Contest

by Chris Weber

Wednesday May 12th, 1999 11:47 AM

Wouldn't they best way to vote on them be to put a new poll up for it. That way the poll could actually be useful.

#5 Excuse my stupidity

by -=Yusuf=-

Wednesday May 12th, 1999 12:02 PM

Web-safe palette? i.e. 256 colors or less? Am I right? What constitutes a web-safe palette, 16 colors?

IIRC the original Netscape logo (the "N" on the planet with the night sky as background) had about 256 colors in it...

All flames will be gleefully deleted.


#6 Re:2nd Mozilla Throbber Contest

by mozineAdmin

Wednesday May 12th, 1999 12:08 PM

The websafe palette contains 216 colors. Like I said, some leeway will be accepted, but we'd prefer that people try to stick to it as much as possible.

And to Chris Weber:

The wishlist is very similar to the poll, but you rate each item instead of selecting only one, and you must be a member of MozillaZine to participate. We can't completely cut out ballot-box stuffing, but it's a bit more of a hassle if you have to re-register as a different member to vote again.

#7 Re:2nd Mozilla Throbber Contest

by SomeSmartAss

Wednesday May 12th, 1999 12:15 PM

web-safe colors are, in the RGB hex-code format, only made up of sets of "00" "33" "66" "99" "cc" or "ff" values for any of either the Red, Green, or Blue byte references. that works out to 0, 51, 102, 153, 204, or 255 in decimal. As an example the green color that MozAdmin uses all over this site is #669933 and the yellow behind each alternating talkback response is #ffffcc.

#8 Re:2nd Mozilla Throbber Contest

by SomeSmartAss

Wednesday May 12th, 1999 12:18 PM

err, the yellow behind the talkback headers, that is...

#9 Re:2nd Mozilla Throbber Contest

by Matty T

Wednesday May 12th, 1999 5:14 PM

Does anyone know why we can't use the old Mozilla throbber? You know, the one you used to get under Unix when you went to about:mozilla? For those who don't know, it was an animation of Mozilla appearing and breathing fire. It was really awesome.

Has it not been released by Netscape? It would be really great if it was, it would have to win hands down.

#10 Re:2nd Mozilla Throbber Contest

by jedbro

Wednesday May 12th, 1999 6:09 PM

Are you talking about this one?

(this is the button, not the throbber)

It's my favorite too!!

#11 Re:2nd Mozilla Throbber Contest

by jedbro

Wednesday May 12th, 1999 6:10 PM

Here's the link. sorry!

#12 Why not give us a choice?

by Jason Eager

Wednesday May 12th, 1999 7:31 PM

Why not set up a website that lets us download different throbbers? I could then script something into the browser to change throbbers on the fly.

#13 jmz tribute

by spacecow

Wednesday May 12th, 1999 9:01 PM

I think that someone needs to submit jmz's spinning compass as a mozilla tribute to jmz. He was a great coder, despite what he's said recently. This animation can be found at his website, where ever it went (it's not at people.netscape anymore). Baring that, what about the semi-old flipping glass panes that used to be on NS for Windows 3.11? Eh. I'm just retro.

#14 Re: 2nd Mozilla Throbber Contest

by stephan

Wednesday May 12th, 1999 10:10 PM

Or perhaps: ?

#15 Software ... Inspiration ... Guidelines

by mpt

Wednesday May 12th, 1999 11:13 PM

Can anyone give the names/addresses of some good (FREE :-) tools for creating animated GIFs, for (a) Win32, (b) MacOS, and (c) Linux? That would encourage contributions (from me, for starters) ...

In a similar vein, those seeking inspiration from the original Mozilla lizard should try the Mozilla Museum:

Meanwhile, here's some criteria I've thought of for a good throbber ...

* Even though only the 32*32 version is being judged, when translated to 16*16 it should still be easily recognizable

* The transition from any given frame back to the first (stopped) frame must not be too jarring -- the animation could stop at any time.

* Should (probably) not be version-specific (a `5' anywhere is probably not a good idea).

-- mpt

PS: Geez, MozAdmin should really come up with a better way of doing hyperlinks than `(LINK)' -- why not use the URI as the link text?

#16 Re:2nd Mozilla Throbber Contest

by sspitzer

Wednesday May 12th, 1999 11:30 PM

try gifsicle on linux to make animated gifs.

I've collected some of the throbbers from past netscape release on my home page.

#17 rule you forgot

by arielb

Thursday May 13th, 1999 1:51 AM

the throbber can't have anything to do with the Netscape logo (such as the N)

#18 Re:2nd Mozilla Throbber Contest

by zontar

Thursday May 13th, 1999 5:09 AM

I think spacecow meant "jwz" -- his site is now at -- and, seeing how he bailed out just when things started getting good, I'm not so sure a tribute is exactly in order.

Arielb makes a good point about the "N" -- a suitably funky "M", however, might be pretty appriopriate, don't you think? ;-)

#19 Re:2nd Mozilla Throbber Contest

by bhn

Thursday May 13th, 1999 6:50 AM

why not have a contest to search the source code and eliminate all bugs which cause the throbber to never stop looping? :)

#20 Re:2nd Mozilla Throbber Contest

by Adam Sj√łgren

Friday May 14th, 1999 7:04 AM

Why the websafe palette-thing?

While I think that all programs should be functional at all bit-depths and resolutions (I'm on a 1-bit screen right now), I think it's okay to have suboptimal snazzy design on suboptimal (<24 bit colour) screens?!

Are there that many <24 bit screens outthere? (and more importantly: will there be more in the future? Oh, and PDA's don't count - you expect less snazzy graphics from such display :-))?

#21 Re:Why the websafe palette-thing?

by SomeSmartAss

Friday May 14th, 1999 7:32 AM

first there's size. The more colours available in a pallate (whether they are used or not) the bigger the image file.

second, Yes, there are quite a few people with <24 bit screens. There are still a boatload of people using Win 3.1 in fact, and probably a lot of linux people using low-color resolutions to save memory usage.

Third. the "well, if MOST of the users can see it, then its ok." mentality is one of the reasons why people are so annoyed with M$.

#22 Re:2nd Mozilla Throbber Contest

by arielb

Friday May 14th, 1999 8:07 AM

yeah but where's the win 3.1 porting effort? One would think a 3rd party would be interested. Anyway you can have your own throbber with 7 zillion colors if you want so it's not a big deal if you don't like the winner

#23 Prize idea

by arielb

Friday May 14th, 1999 8:15 AM

here's one: Get a free baby mozilla! I'm still trying to find where I first found this pic

#24 re: prize idea

by arielb

Friday May 14th, 1999 8:25 AM

I guess this will have to do

#25 Re: websafe palette

by Colin Viebrock

Friday May 14th, 1999 8:37 AM

To the person who said that bigger palette depths means larger images sizes:

Generally, yes. However, a 256 colour GIF image (with whatever colours you want) is going to use an 8-bit palette ... just like a 216-colour websafe image is.

So, as long as you're using GIFs, you can't make it any bigger really.

#26 Throbber previews

by bored

Friday May 14th, 1999 1:06 PM

Is there a lineup yet? Or would that be spoiling the competition?

#27 Re:2nd Mozilla Throbber Contest

by arielb

Friday May 14th, 1999 4:46 PM

ah geez my link to baby mozilla was screwed. I guess because it's an external link. Scroll down Mozilla's Dominion at

#28 Re:2nd Mozilla Throbber Contest

by Kevin

Saturday May 15th, 1999 7:02 PM

To Colin,

You're right, and I think that some flexibility can come with the full pallete. Websafe colors are ok, but i clean up logos at work and websafe can be too constraining sometimes.

Maybe if we had multiple versions .. We're already having a 16x16 and 32x32. I'd say have a websafe vs. nonwebsafe version too. So it might be 4 files, i don't care. When i'm viewing things at 16bit color, I like to see more colorful palletes, not necessarily websafe.

Gradients suck with websafe, and any kind of shading can be difficult or cheesy depending on what colors you choose :P

#29 Re:2nd Mozilla Throbber Contest

by KlausM

Sunday May 16th, 1999 7:17 AM

My experience with gifs in general is, that for acceptable image quality on 256 color systems only larger areas with constant color (e.g. background) should have one color out of the 216. The palette itself does not need to be exactly the 216. It can be optimized for the image, so the image looks also good on 16/24 bit systems. Netscape 1-4 and other browsers always re-dither the image against the 216 color palette. (it is like the gif is at first converted into 24 bit and then back to 8 bit using the 216 color palette).

#30 Re:2nd Mozilla Throbber Contest

by Reinout van Schouwen

Monday May 17th, 1999 3:33 AM

I say we incorporate the one thing IBM's late WebExplorer for OS/2 browser donated to the web community: the "<ANIMATE>" tag! You can define a custom animation with it. Check for examples.

#31 Re:2nd Mozilla Throbber Contest

by Chris Siegler

Wednesday May 19th, 1999 1:05 AM

<p>I hope we see better submissions than last time. Owing to the high gamma of my monitor, I could hardly even decipher most of the entries. And of the ones I could make out, most were unoriginal or uninspired. I did like the winner though, and the one with a lizard profile that moved back and forth. <p>Question about the T-shirt logo: what is with the communist slant? I've never grasped the significance of that mozilla theme. And if there is one thing that could kill the Open Source spirit, it's being labeled a communist. Not that <b>I</b> take is that seriously. But still...

#32 Re:2nd Mozilla Throbber Contest

by Adam Sj√łgren

Wednesday May 19th, 1999 6:34 AM

> Third. the "well, if MOST of the users can see it, then its ok." mentality is one > of the reasons why people are so annoyed with M$.

I'm on a 1 bit screen here - I think it is okay for designers of pretty things to ignore me - as long as the page is still _functional_.

The page still being functional is the direct opposite of "MOST users can see it" (which implies that it doesn't work for everybody); and I will silently ignore your sleazy attempt to put a "Microsoft camp"-label on me.

People with sub-24 bit displays will experience suboptimal graphics anyway - why give most people (if not now, and I think so, then certainly in the future) the prettiest, and the few the not so pretty (that still _works_)?

I'm not trying to make anyone change anything, I'm just trying to understand the motivations for the choices made.

Best wishes, Adam.

#33 Re:2nd Mozilla Throbber Contest

by thelem

Sunday June 20th, 1999 11:08 AM

When is voting going to start, or am I just being stupid. There was also meant to be a public trial which I have missed (or it hasn't happened).


#34 Re:2nd Mozilla Throbber Contest

by KlausM

Monday June 21st, 1999 1:08 AM

No, you ar'nt stupid. The vote hasn't take place until now. Since I submitted two animations, I am anxiously waiting for it...