Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

The Finns Who Invented the Graphical Browser

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the something-in-the-water dept.

Software 148

waderoush writes "If you thought Mosaic was the first graphical Web browser, think again. In their first major interview, three of the four Finnish software engineers behind Erwise — a point-and-click graphical Web browser for the X Window system — describe the creation of their program in 1991-1992, a full year before Marc Andreessen's Mosaic (which, of course, evolved into Netscape). Kim Nyberg, Kari Sydänmaanlakka, and Teemu Rantanen, with their fellow Helsinki University of Technology student Kati Borgers (nee Suominen), gave Erwise features such as text searching and the ability to load multiple Web pages that wouldn't be seen in other browsers until much later. The three engineers, who today work for the architectural software firm Tekla, say they never commercialized the project because there was no financing — Finland was in a deep recession at the time and lacked a strong venture capital or angel investing market. Otherwise, the Web revolution might have begun a year earlier."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

?tsop tsrif (-1, Offtopic)

M8e (1008767) | more than 5 years ago | (#27054829)

?tsop tsrif

Re:?tsop tsrif (3, Funny)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055019)

?täsoopiyauo tsauyriifäää

I'm sorry, this is a story about Finns. Corrected that for you.

Re:?tsop tsrif (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27055131)

Sup dawg, I herd you didn't liek forming babby, but I accidentally in your base.

Re:?tsop tsrif (0, Offtopic)

Jonah Bomber (535788) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055413)

What is it with the Finns inventing ubiquitous computer software?

I Invented (-1, Offtopic)

UncleWilly (1128141) | more than 5 years ago | (#27054831)

First Post

Re:I Invented (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 5 years ago | (#27054861)

(citation needed)

Re:I Invented (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27055271)

ni!

Re:I Invented (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#27056417)

How dare you, saying NI to an old woman?

Correction. (5, Informative)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27054849)

The first web browser of all was WorldWideWeb.app [w3.org] , and it was a NeXTSTEP program. It was graphical [w3.org] from the beginning.

-jcr

Re:Correction. (1)

mzemina (1382935) | more than 5 years ago | (#27054919)

I agree with jcr - I used NeXT computers in the early 90's. The proof is what Tim Berner-Lee had to say on the first link that jcr supplied.

ha ha (2, Funny)

LurkingOnSlashdot (1378465) | more than 5 years ago | (#27054945)

If you thought Erwise was the first graphical Web browser, think again.

It was the first COMPLETE web browser.. (1)

raehl (609729) | more than 5 years ago | (#27057167)

The moment they started working on it they were Finnish...ed.

I'll be here all week.

Re:Correction. (4, Informative)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#27054951)

This page [browsersheritage.com] seems to supply the key point that's missing from the linked article:

Erwise was a popular web browser in the early days of the World Wide Web. At the time of its release in April 1992, one month prior to ViolaWWW, it was the world's first web browser with a graphical user interface for non-NeXT computers.

Re:Correction. (4, Insightful)

lastchance_000 (847415) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055099)

So, you're saying that it was the first browser, except for the first one. Got it.

Re:Correction. (0, Offtopic)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055243)

Good post.

What do you call other Hypertext/clickable graphics interfaces like Q-Link (1985) and ANSI (circa 1987)? Is the only key difference between them and a web browser that they were limited to Phoneline connections & not internet connections?

Aside -

What to see what BBSing in the late 80s/early 90s was like? Then click here for a demo - the only difference is that our speeds were about one-tenth as fast (1k or 2k modem) - http://www.flashterm.com/ [flashterm.com]

The Slashdot story is misleading... (4, Insightful)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055505)

Thank you for saying that. The Slashdot story is misleading, as often happens. The story says "... a full year before Marc Andreessen's Mosaic...". But there were huge discussions of Hypertext long before that. It was clear that Hypertext would be implemented anywhere it could be used. What those who wrote the first internet browsers did was implement an old idea for the internet.

Flashterm makes me laugh.

Re:The Slashdot story is misleading... (1, Troll)

Anthony_Cargile (1336739) | more than 5 years ago | (#27056263)

Hypertext even goes back to the sixties, where I've seen machines from that era utilize a primitive form of hypertext, even going so far as using a lightpen in conjunction with hypertext on a screen for somewhat graphically highlighting text, before the personal computer was even thought of. So yes, hypertext goes waaay back.

Re:Correction. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27055523)

the only difference is that our speeds were about one-tenth as fast (1k or 2k modem)

Since you refer to modem speeds as "1k or 2k" then I suspect you weren't really part of that era.

Re:Correction. (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055675)

110 baud - skipped that one
300 baud - acoustic coupler, for phones they don't make anymore.
2400 - no more phone cups!
9600 - almost too fast to read (still 80x25 char screens)
14.4K, maybe 28.8K... I forget. Went to cable around then and never looked back.

Re:Correction. (1, Insightful)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055957)

I had a 300bps non-acoustic coupler modem. It plugged into the cartridge slot of my C=64. There was a 1200bps, but we couldn't afford it. 2400bps was the stuff of legend and I think (?) the absolute limit of the C=64 serial port was 9600. How could it be so fast?! ;-)

Re:Correction. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27056311)

Hey C64 geek, stop tying up the phone lines! What if there's an emergency or something!? I don't care if it's 300 baud, type your A-Team fan fiction faster!!!!

Re:Correction. (1)

nametaken (610866) | more than 5 years ago | (#27057141)

Hayes Pocket 2400 baud inline modem, FTW!

Re:Correction. (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27057691)

>>>9600 - almost too fast to read (still 80x25 char screens)

Wow you read fast! At the time most magazines referred to 300 bit/s modems as "reading speed". I could read slightly faster than that, but not as fast as 1200 which zipped across at about one line per 2 seconds. I couldn't keep up.

Re:Correction. (2)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27057635)

>>>Since you refer to modem speeds as "1k or 2k" then I suspect you weren't really part of that era.

Dear AC: It's called rounding. I chose to round to 1k and 2k instead of saying 1.2k and 2.4k to keep my post easy to understand for readers. Clear? Good. Also if you still have doubts I was part of the era, look at my name. (Hint- Commodore=64 was an 80s computer which used 300, 1200, and 2400 baud modems. Yes I was there.)

Re:Correction. (1)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055257)

Interesting; but how is babby formmed? With HTML 5 <babby form>stupid content here</babby form> tags?

=Smidge=

Was written in Finnish (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27055483)

Berners-Lee couldn't continue their work either, as all the code was written in Finnish.

I didn't know you could write code in a human language instead of, say, a programming language.

Re:Correction. (4, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055563)

WorldWideWeb.app was the first written for NeXt (and first one, period). Erwise was was the first one written for Unix. And Cello (or Mosaic?) was the first one written for Windows. You can try and parse it all you like, but you'll still have to give an American at least some of the credit. Sorry to spoil the pissing contest.

Explains... (1)

tulcod (1056476) | more than 5 years ago | (#27054991)

Explains why the guys didn't start any lawsuits yet.

Re:Correction. (1)

pergamon (4359) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055011)

Indeed.

Maybe they'd have the record for the second one, though.

Re:Correction. (1)

Cruxus (657818) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055015)

Yes, this much is well known. It looks like in the About... box for Erwise they even call it "WorldWideWeb / browser / for the X Window System". They obviously modeled after WorldWideWeb/Nexus for the NeXTStep.

Depends on what you mean by "Graphical" (3, Interesting)

ThrowAwaySociety (1351793) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055275)

WorldWideWeb 1.0 had a windowed, point-and-click UI, so it would be "graphical" compared to, say, Lynx.

The real title of "first graphical browser" goes to whichever application first displayed inline graphics on a page. I'm not sure exactly which one this was...NCSA Mosaic often gets credit for this, but the feature was also added to later versions of ViolaWWW and WorldWideWeb.

Inline graphics were a major factor in the success of the Web over existing internet hypertext systems like Gopher.

Re:Depends on what you mean by "Graphical" (1, Informative)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 5 years ago | (#27056201)

Gopher RULED!

Re:Depends on what you mean by "Graphical" (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27057817)

The real title of "first graphical browser" goes to whichever application first displayed inline graphics on a page.

That would be the browser that invented the <img> tag [w3.org] .

Mosaic.

Re:Correction. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27055339)

Not only that, the headline is inflammatory. These Finns didn't invent the web browser. GUI or otherwise.

Ideas worth a cent a docen. (0, Offtopic)

Tei (520358) | more than 5 years ago | (#27054901)

Ideas = shit.

You can have a good idea. Who cares? everyone have good ideas. Worth nothing. If you can implement something, that is something, but still not enough. It takes much more to win.

Re:Ideas worth a cent a docen. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27055207)

Exactly right. The ones who capitalize and profit are hardly ever the same ones that originally come up with the ideas that drive the industry. In fact, the visionaries who come up with truly revolutionary ideas often have to sacrifice wealth in order to see their ideas succeed. In financial terms, ideas are liabilities.

Re:Ideas worth a cent a docen. (1, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055465)

No the problem is that there is a difference between a problem-solver and a visionary.

A problem-solver comes up with a solution to a specific problem. The genesis of Cello [wikipedia.org] , for example, was one guy saying to himself "I need a windows-based program that can access legal sites in html" and then solving the problem.

But it takes a visionary to realize when a solution has a much great potential. It was Marc Andreessen (and guys like him) who came along and said "You know, a Windows based browser could have a general appeal beyond just some specialized applications. We could actually sell this thing and start a revolution."

Re:Ideas worth a cent a docen. (5, Interesting)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055551)

A problem-solver comes up with a solution to a specific problem. The genesis of Cello, for example, was one guy saying to himself "I need a windows-based program that can access legal sites in html" and then solving the problem.

Which is not to say Tom Bruce, author of Cello, wasn't ALSO a visionary; the Legal Information Institute [cornell.edu] he founded in the early days of the web (thus creating the need for his web browser for lawyers' Win3.1 PCs in the first place) is perhaps the foremost reference site on the Constitution of the United States and related issues, and it didn't come to be that way by chance.

Andreesen's vision happened to involve making a pile of money; Bruce's did not.

Yup, the money bias. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27056591)

And the thing is, Andreesen's vision wasn't particularly novel or innovative; everything he thought up was already out there, read the other posts in this thread. The world without him would be almost exactly the same; Andreesen might as well not have existed at all. The only difference between him and your next door neighbour is that he took something and had good enough PR to tie his nametag to it. And his case isn't unique. The more I learn from history the more I see that most of the names you come by belong to persons who played a part, often forced by the circumstances, that might as well have been played by someone else. It smacks of hero worship and I don't care much for it.

Re:Ideas worth a cent a docen. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27055873)

What about Microsoft Internet Explorer, the browser that currently dominates by a large margin? What great visionary gift did its creator bring to the table?

Re:Ideas worth a cent a docen. (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27056879)

The vision to become the dominant OS maker many years earlier, of course.

Re:Ideas worth a cent a docen. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27055481)

Having ideas. It's like pissing in an ocean of piss.

Ninne Labs was first! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27054953)

Ninnle Labs was involved with Tim Berners-Lee at CERN back in the day. The idea of a browser that could do Gopher and later WWW was floated around 1987 or so. This was obviously well before Ninnle Linux and the idea was to make it work on various flavours of UNIX as well as Mac and Amiga. Even the hyperlinked Windows Help came from this idea, although Gates appropriated it. Everything has evolved from that original idea since then.

Re:Ninne Labs was first! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27055801)

Unfortunately, the stock for Ninnle labs tanked after it was found that everyone who ever supported it was a douchebag, and liked to spam forums about their products. Shortly thereafter, the company folded, leaving only a bunch of fanboys to talk about the good ol days.

Re:Ninnle Labs was first! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27056571)

Oh no! You're sadly mistaken!

Ninnle Labs is still very much a going concern. Haven't you tried the new Ninnle Office yet?

Hypercard (1, Informative)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 5 years ago | (#27054965)

Why not just say Hypercard was the first graphical browser?

Re:Hypercard (3, Informative)

Calsar (1166209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055265)

Because it wasn't. The first hypertext system was the Hypertext Editing System created in 1967. The first graphical browser with point and click interface was the NLS system which was part of the Augment project created in 1968 by Doug Engelbart. There weren't any point and click inteface before then because he also created the mouse as part of that project.

Re:Hypercard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27055855)

Oh what about Sketchpad? Or SAGE?

Re:Hypercard (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055715)

Because the article specifically says WEB browser?

Hypercard has got to be one of the first ever implementations of the "hypertext" concept, though. Not applicable to this article, alas.

Re:Hypercard (4, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#27056047)

Hypercard has got to be one of the first ever implementations of the "hypertext" concept, though.

Not even close. HyperCard was originally released with System Software 6 in 1987. Douglas Engelbart demonstrated a working hypertext system [google.com] almost twenty years earlier, in 1968.

About the same time as Amiga Guide (1)

McNihil (612243) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055027)

Common... a graphical "gopher" was just a natural step. Hardly news worthy.

Ah, the lack of history. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27055045)

Well, first of all, Douglas Engelbart, for one, demonstrated a live audio video system over a network, and it had a graphical interface--this was in the 1960s, that is, long before this silly, narrow application of ideas anyway.

End this silly credit hogging nation wanking, like if we're making new religions. Let's not make it into one. Move on. There was never anything to see anyway..

Nothing at CERN? (1)

olddotter (638430) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055085)

Since HTTP was thought up at CERN, did they not have a browser? Or was it just text based?

Re:Nothing at CERN? (2, Informative)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055163)

They used WorldWideWeb.app which is for NeXT.

Whoa! Andressen != MOSAIC (2, Informative)

GPLDAN (732269) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055091)

Eric Bina wrote just as much code as Andressen. And Andressen later had help from several other UI students.

Also, nobody thinks Mosaic was the first. If anything, the card these Finns trump is Tim Bruce, who wrote Cello.

This is worse than Bill Gates inventing the personal computer, when all he did was steal CP/M. Let's do a little better at getting history correct.

Re:Whoa! Andressen != MOSAIC (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055249)

Beaten hollow by first browser written by Tim Berners-Lee
    It was the First Browser
    the First Graphical Browser
    the first HTML Editor
    the First Multi window Browser

The only claim I can see here is Non-NeXT or maybe tabbed .... (NeXT did windows not tabs)

Re:Whoa! Andressen != MOSAIC (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055313)

Cue some European chiming in about how a European programmer did it earlier and better than Thomas Bruce too, in...3...2...1...

Re:Whoa! Andressen != MOSAIC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27056053)

[quote]Cue some European chiming in about how a European programmer did it earlier and better than Thomas Bruce too, in...3...2...1...[/quote]

Don't worry they didn't. RIP was first. RIP scripts were an extension to the PC BBS system at that time that let you use a special RIP graphics terminal. This let bbs have actual graphics menus and games *with* mouse support. It supported an icon system and everything.

Re:Whoa! Andressen != MOSAIC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27056197)

The sun rises in the East so us Europeans were before you and the , oh wait! Alaska. Could Sarah Palin have invented the Web Browser?

Re:Whoa! Andressen != MOSAIC (2, Informative)

deKernel (65640) | more than 5 years ago | (#27057641)

This is worse than Bill Gates inventing the personal computer, when all he did was steal CP/M. Let's do a little better at getting history correct.

No offense, but Bill Gates did not steal CP/M. He had the smarts and vision to purchase a product called 86-DOS [windowsreinstall.com] when other people thought that home computers would be nothing but toys.

Now I say this as someone who is typically critical of shear number of flaws in Windows and the BILLIONS of dollars spent to develop that ship-wreck. You might not like his products, but you can't argue with his early business savvy.

Opera Was First! (5, Funny)

vjmurphy (190266) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055149)

Despite the company and browser not existing at the time, I can confidently say that Opera had all these features before Erwise. There will be naysayers, of course.

Re:Opera Was First! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27055819)

But the sort-of-parent-company was founded in 1855.

Interesting... (1)

motang (1266566) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055187)

Wow and we all though it was Mosaic!

When an American is credited with an invention (0, Troll)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055189)

Why is it that, everytime someone credits an American with something, some European must immediately chime in with "Oh no, Ludwig Von Whogivesashit did it first!" Even my black nationalist friend (who insists that the black man invented almost everything), cuts us evil white Americans SOME slack.

Re:When an American is credited with an invention (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27055425)

What bugs me to some extent on this note, even though you were modded down (Which a good 50% of the time here is a pack of pricks just causing trouble)?

Is that folks from other nations may "hate on us", but, they fail to realize something: THIS NATION IS COMPOSED OF THEIR NATIONALS WHO MIGRATED HERE, thus, i.e.? We ARE they also.

Now - I can understand disliking the U.S.A. in some of its governmental policies (especially the BUSH administration, thank God they are gone now), but, not its people as a whole.

I've been called all kinds of racial slurs in my time, because of my bloodline, & realize it's crap: There are GOOD people of all types, and BAD people of all types, & good & bad? Just points of view.

APK

Re:When an American is credited with an invention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27055639)

I haven't been abroad very much, but in my few travels I have never experienced any of this "hate". I'm starting to suspect that it does not exist. Just as we supposedly hate the French ("Freedom Fries" anyone?) the anti-American sentiment may be the product of media and government posturing.

Re:When an American is credited with an invention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27055871)

I've been abroad plenty, and the only place I have experienced the "hate" is on discussion boards. It's sort of similar to the way I almost never hear anyone shouting "First!" during a normal day.

Re:When an American is credited with an invention (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 5 years ago | (#27056203)

It's rare, but exists. My theory is that 99% of people in most groups are nice, but the 1% give that group a bad reputation. Rather than paint a whole group with a reputation, I've just decide that 1% of people are jerks no matter where you go.

In a decade of traveling internationally, the only 2 examples of hated towards Americans I can recall:

1) Nearly got my ass kicked by some old drunk guy for saying hi to a girl in a pub in Sydney (not hitting on her, saying hi). From his foul mouthed commentary, he didn't seem to like Americans and decided it was time to take one out. Eventually he chilled out and everyone else in Australia I ever met was cool.

2) Despite smooth flying, the pilot never turned of the seatbelt sign on a flight from Paris to Atlanta on Air France. After being stuck in our seats for almost 4 hours, the girl next to me was having some serious bladder issues. In serious pain and begging the flight attendant to let her go to the bathroom. After listening to a short commentary from the attendant on how despicable Americans are, he finally let her go.

So my 1% is rounded up.

Re:When an American is credited with an invention (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 5 years ago | (#27057183)

It's not really about individuals.

It's more what people think about your country as a whole in comparison to what they were thinking 10 of 15 years ago - back then you were the model everybody loved and aspired to, with a lot of power throughout the world but putting that power in a good use.

Now, often, you're just an overwight bully.

Re:When an American is credited with an invention (1)

egomaniac (105476) | more than 5 years ago | (#27056507)

I was in Russia recently, and while the vast majority of Russians were extremely nice to me, some random guy on the subway cussed me the fuck out.

I was just standing there minding my own business and idly chatting with a coworker when this guy just starts laying into me. I don't speak Russian so I have no idea what he was actually saying, but it's not hard to tell when somebody is saying something extremely unpleasant to you even if you don't speak the language. Plus there were liberal sprinklings of "Americano" and mock spitting. I was half expecting him to throw a punch.

So yes, most people most places are pretty nice, but I've run into more than one asshole who hates me for no other reason than my nationality.

Re:When an American is credited with an invention (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 5 years ago | (#27057265)

Russia is a special case though...not only they never forgot their aspirations for beeing the most powerfull superpower, don't forget that even for a second.

But also...it was largery you, Americans, who beat them at that aspiration. Not only that, you also caused a major setback. And that's just on a "national pride" level...also don't forget for a second that many Russians think they were better of during USSR era (and in many cases that's quite correct, nevermind typical nostalgia for the times when one was young)

Re:When an American is credited with an invention (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 5 years ago | (#27056893)

Oh, but not anymore/there were often differences between the population that stayed and the one that emigrated (nevermind an argument "the mix is more than sum of its parts", it's hard to quantify it in any way...).

Actually, often those very differences were the reason for migration.

Which in some cases ended up quite good for the US, for example immigration of people that on one hand were excluded from success (because in the past more than now success didn't depend on you, much more on the social role in which you were placed), which didn't neccesarilly change after migrating...but on the other they were quite motivated/etc. (even now changing continents is quite a big deal...). Heck, one of the reasons Poland is now so messed up is that intellectuals who weren't forcibly moved to Syberia in XIX/beginning of XX century or simply later killed by Soviets & Nazis...emigrated, also to US.

Though...there's still some fallout you have from those differences/reasons for migration...most notably, I think, because large part of it was religiously motivated. Now, granted, in many cases we would brand those who emmigrated as closer to us on moral/etc. terms, but the truth is...basically EVERY religious group from back then could be described today as religious nutjobs. For some reason (easier isolation of such groups from external influence?) "nutjob" views largery survived in the US, while Europe, thankfully, menaged to get rid of them, largery... (though not completely; using previous example - they're still, unfortunatelly, prevailing in Poland; but it's worth to note that they're much less extreme and out of touch with reality than those among immigrant Poles in US - when interacting with them, I have the impression I'm talking to my grandparents, in regards to moral views/politics/etc.)

whatever... (3, Interesting)

The Mayor (6048) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055193)

To tell you the truth, I had never heard of Erwise until today. A have a few questions about Erwise:
- Did it support graphics other that XBM?
- Did it render HTML, or some other markup language?

I did some consulting for a company called HyperMedia Corporation in 1991-92. As part of that work, I watched closely the development of HTML, NCSA Mosaic, and the lot. HMC's markup language was proprietary and binary. The first thing that struck me about HTML was the ease of editing--you didn't need a dedicated editor. Then, I remember seeing early builds of NCSA's browser (to become Mosaic) when they first added, IIRC, gif support. I remember being absolutely floored with the ability to create attractive content in only a few minutes. My first thought after seeing it was, "I need to find a new job!" Sure enough, within a few months HMC was out of business.

The end result is that there were many factors that led to the success of NCSA Mosaic and Netscape. First, Mosaic ran on platforms other than the X Window System, so it was more accessible. Second, it was among the first to support usable graphics (i.e. not XBM), at least on an accessible platform (Emacs' browser & WorldWideWeb.app had early image support, too, but both were on platforms that had very narrow distribution possibilities). Third, it used standard HTML.

Erwise might have had all of these, with the one caveat that it supported only Unix/X Window System. Hard to say from this article. However, I think it's a little simplistic to say that funding was the only thing holding these guys back from Netscape-like success.

Re:whatever... (1)

The Mayor (6048) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055307)

OK, just realized the article has 3 pages :-). Looks like it did render HTML. The rest still holds.

Mosaic -- Netscape? (1)

elecmahm (1194167) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055205)

I'm pretty sure NCSA's Mosaic "evolved" into "Internet Explorer". Netscape's rendering engine was developed separately, wasn't it?

Re:Mosaic -- Netscape? (3, Interesting)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055571)

I'm pretty sure NCSA's Mosaic "evolved" into "Internet Explorer".

Not really, at least not directly. Check this: [wikipedia.org]

Spyglass licensed the technology and trademarks from NCSA for producing their own web browser but never used any of the NCSA Mosaic source code. Microsoft licensed Spyglass Mosaic in 1995 for US$2 million, modified it, and renamed it Internet Explorer. After a later auditing dispute, Microsoft paid Spyglass $8 million. The 1995 user guide The HTML Sourcebook: The Complete Guide to HTML, specifically states in a section called Coming Attractions, that Explorer "will be based on the Mosaic program" (p. 331). Versions of Internet Explorer before version 7 stated "Based on NCSA Mosaic" in the About box. Internet Explorer 7 was audited by Microsoft to ensure that it contained no Mosaic code, and thus no longer credits Spyglass or Mosaic.

I've seen "auditing" before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27057767)

I'd put no more credibility in Microsoft's audit of IE than in SCO's audit of Linux.

Real men use gopher... (2, Funny)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055221)

Re:Real men use gopher... (2, Funny)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055659)

And WAIS. Real Men use Gopher and WAIS. And Archie. Real Men use Gopher and WAIS and Archie. And the Spanish Inquisition.

Re:Real men use gopher... (1)

cheros (223479) | more than 5 years ago | (#27056059)

and 'talk'.., and in general shell accounts.

IMHO, XWindows was only invented to get more command lines on one screen...

So... (5, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055235)

Who are they suing?

+1, Sad (1)

XanC (644172) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055507)

n/t

Graphical BBS Terminal Client (1)

monk (1958) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055285)

Does anyone else remember Roboterm [bbsdocumentary.com] ? It was a graphical BBS terminal client (which would show downloaded graphics when talking to a roboterm board). Neat but proprietary:

Re:Graphical BBS Terminal Client (1)

Black Rabbit (236299) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055537)

I still have an installable copy of RoboFX.

Re:Graphical BBS Terminal Client (1)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 5 years ago | (#27055547)

Yes, I ran a Roboterm BBS for a few years, it was miles ahead of regular text/ANSI graphics based BBS software, although it did require a proprietary client (that you could download for free of course) and that turned some people off.

Its funny that I hadn't ever thought of Roboterm as a precursor to HTML in any way. It was a very clever system and really easily configured etc.

Sadly, when the WWW emerged, the BBS died a slow death, but something was lost then as well. BBSes created a sense of community that is missing in a web environment.

Re:Graphical BBS Terminal Client (1)

silent_artichoke (973182) | more than 5 years ago | (#27056015)

I know what you mean. There used to be different areas where people could discuss a certain topic. They even had the ability to use creative user names instead of their real names! I wish we still had that...

Re:Graphical BBS Terminal Client (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27056447)

I think his "community" included the physical realm. BBS users often lived near each other and met each other in real life. Online fora today don't often offer this unless they're very large, because the user base is typically spread out over a large geographical area. Small, geographically concentrated online communities were the main province of the BBS.

Re:Graphical BBS Terminal Client (1)

silent_artichoke (973182) | more than 5 years ago | (#27057123)

I know, I was just being an ass. I used to live in a small town between a couple larger towns. It was a local call for them to call me, but long distance for them to call each other. I ran a pretty active WWIV board for a few years there. The location made it perfect for bringing users in those towns together.

Re:Graphical BBS Terminal Client (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27056007)

So why is this software not presented in a VM for the WWW user to experience? That would be cool . . .

And yet (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27055321)

in 1986 i farted in my sleep and gave birth to the internet

YES NO ONE SAW THIS COMING (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27055617)

Never mind that way back when a farmer named Filo Farnsworth, the real inventor of television envisioned the use of a glass screen for viewing content.

Then like some bolt of inspiration from the sky the need to have some sort of graphical interface was "invented" out of sheer genius since no one EVER foresaw the need to view any content within this glass bubble and on the screen in any other way that the way ALL content is viewed today be it TV or PC or Cell etc.

      I mean it wasn't obvious at all

Lemmke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27055629)

"Whoever was the conduit, Berners-Leeâ(TM)s request attracted the attention of the Finnsâ(TM) instructor, Ari Lemmke, who suggested the group start to work on it or âoesomething Linux-related.â They chose the browser."

Article fails to mention that their instructor, Ari Lemmke named Linux

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ari_Lemmke

Info files and man pages (3, Insightful)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 5 years ago | (#27056367)

The venerable Unix info files and even man pages also do the same thing. Web browsers was a logical improvement of existing ideas. It was not evolutionary, not revolutionary.

Simple Reason (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#27056385)

They didn't get credit because they never Finnished it.

-1 Slur

Prior art to rip down current copywrong (2, Insightful)

n0tWorthy (796556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27056621)

Can any of this prior art be used to tear apart the existing thousands of software copyrights that have been issued to MS, Sun, IBM, ...? It may not have been commercialized or even copyrighted but if it existed before the Copyright trolls got to it then maybe some of this mess can be undone.

WWW might have begun a year earlier? (2, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27056739)

Or if they tried to profit off it, might have never happened at all.

The openness of the early days is why we have it today.

My First Graphical User Interface (1)

tlinget (1447991) | more than 5 years ago | (#27057149)

I created one back in May of 1967. I used Crayola Crayons (tm) and several sheets of paper. My mom published them up on the fridge.

IE: Alfa and Omega (1)

dblackshell (1450807) | more than 5 years ago | (#27057479)

to be noted that the "true" history of graphical web browsers started (and will end) with IE...

"Internet Explorer: what page do you want to rape today?"

Lost opportunity (1)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 5 years ago | (#27057791)

> Otherwise, the Web revolution might have begun a year earlier.

OMG! You mean I could have been using myspace a year earlier and I'd have twice as many friends by now?! We could have had lolcats twelve months earlier and my application in the lolcat programming language would already be finished?! It's like a year of my life has been stolen. Who do I sue?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?