Little Bits of History

Firefox Comes Online

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 23, 2014
Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla Firefox

September 23, 2002: The initial release of Mozilla Firefox takes place. The project was an experimental branch of the Mozilla project created by Dave Hyatt, Joe Hewitt, and Blake Ross. It was their opinion that the “feature creep” of Netscape was compromising the browser. In order to combat this, they designed Firefox as a stand-alone browser. On April 3, 2002 an announcement from the Mozilla Organization told of their change of focus from the Mozilla Suite to Firefox and Thunderbird, an email, news, and chat service. The project has undergone several name changes. Originally it was called Phoenix, then Firebird which was too close to the database software project. They added Mozilla to the front end on February 9, 2004 and the name became Mozilla Firefox or the single name, Firefox.

Firefox is a free and open-source browser. It was developed for use with Windows, Apple products, and Linux as well as a mobile version for Android. As all things technological, there have been several versions available during the last twelve years. The last stable release was on July 22, 2014 when version 31.0 was released. The last Beta release was on August 19, 2014 when 32.0 Beta began preview. The program uses a Gecko and SpiderMonkey engine and is written in a variety of computer languages. It is available in 79 languages. The size of the source code (uncompressed) is 510 MB. The size for use on Windows is 22 MB, OS X is 44 MB, Linux is 27-28 MB, while Android’s version is only 22 MB.

The first web browser was invented in 1990 by Tim Berners-Lee and was called WorldWideWeb but later named Nexus. The first graphical user interface available commonly was Erwise. Mosaic came on the scene in 1993 and made the web more accessible to the regular user. With this and the graphical options now available, the web became far more user friendly. Netscape, designed by the same person but now in his own company, came online in 1994. Microsoft responded with Internet Explorer in 1995 and the first browser war began with IE bundled with the Windows OS. IE usage peaked in 2002 when it held 95% of market share. Opera came out in 1996 and while clean and easy to use, it has never had much market acceptance. Safari by Apple released in 2003 and Chrome has came late to the party in 2008. Even so, it holds 45% of market share today.

While Firefox began life to stamp out feature creep, it is imperative that we can use our browsers effectively or we will just switch to a new, free browser. Firefox has the following features available in their latest version: tabbed browsing, spelling checking, incremental find, live bookmarking, Smart Bookmarks, a download manager, private browsing, and location-aware browsing based on a Google service. Extensions from third-party developers are also an option.

The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow. – Bill Gates

The internet could be a very positive step towards education, organization and participation in a meaningful society. – Noam Chomsky

The Internet is so big, so powerful and pointless that for some people it is a complete substitute for life. – Andrew Brown

The Internet is the most important single development in the history of human communication since the invention of call waiting. – Dave Barry

Also on this day: I Shot the Sheriff – In 1980, Bob Marley played his last concert.
No Crash – In 1999, Qantas suffered its worst incident of the century.
40-40 Club – In 1988, Jose Canseco began the 40-40 Club.
Lost at Sea – In 1641, the Merchant Royal, a British merchant ship, sunk.

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2 Responses

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  1. vanbraman said, on September 24, 2014 at 2:52 am

    I remember when Netscape and Internet Explorer came out :-). I guess I have been using the internet for awhile 🙂


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