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!

Remembering Netscape and The Birth of the Web

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the back-in-the-day dept.

Netscape 280

bigdaddyhale writes "Picture a world without Google, without eBay or Amazon or broadband, where few people have even heard of IPOs. That was reality just a decade ago. The company that changed it--bringing us into the Internet age--was a brilliant flash in the pan called Netscape. For the tenth anniversary of its IPO, FORTUNE recruited dozens of players to tell the story of Netscape in their own words."

cancel ×

280 comments

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

First Post! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13062670)

Suck it!!!

DMZ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13062672)

Picture a world without Google, without eBay or Amazon or broadband, where few people have even heard of IPOs.

Welcome to the demilitarized zone!

Re:DMZ (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13062775)

you mean that mythical internet that had nothing but information that was solid and believeable and had a signal to noise ratio that was so low that many usually did not question a post on usenet?

Gopher was my friend, email was useable, usenet was great and IRC was the new kid on the block.

gimmie!

I did not know Netscape invented the internet.. (1, Funny)

chrispix (624431) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062674)

I thought it was Al Gore that invented the internet

Re:I did not know Netscape invented the internet.. (4, Insightful)

Raistlin77 (754120) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062703)

Nobody said Netscape invented the internet. However, one could argue that Netscape invented public interest in the internet.

Re:I did not know Netscape invented the internet.. (3, Funny)

jamesbuko (840871) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062706)

All the while i thought it was Bill Gates....

Same tired knee-jerk comment... (5, Informative)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062796)

1) The article isn't about the invention of the Internet, it is about the invention of the World Wide Web.

2) How many times do we have to hear the joke about Al Gore claiming to invent the Internet? It's a myth [snopes.com] that Al Gore ever claimed to have anything to do with the technical design of the Internet. He did indeed, however, have a large role [msn.com] in providing the environment in which it became the "Information Superhighway" that it is today.

Re:Same tired knee-jerk comment... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13062897)

I'm pretty sure the author made it as a cliche'd joke, like "I, for one, would like to welcome our ant overlords," even though I doubt Kent Brockman really believed it.

On the other hand, your ideas are intriguing to me, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

Correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13063062)

' It's a myth that Al Gore ever claimed to have anything to do with the technical design of the Internet. '

The CNN record of Gore's actual interview is more enlightening. He said he "took the initiative in creating" the Internet while he was in Congress.

How'd it change day to day work? (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062685)

Sam Jadallah: There was definitely a buzz at Microsoft about the Internet--we were trying to understand why everybody was getting all hyped up. Certainly for us up in the Northwest, we didn't know what to make of it. It seemed pretty cool, pretty exciting, but really what were you going to do with it? How was it going to change your day-to-day work?

By doing this [suntimes.com] . :)

MS not very insightful (4, Insightful)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062803)

How was it going to change your day-to-day work?

That's what MS has never gotten. Make it part of a person's lifestyle first, then they'll make it part of their work.

Re:MS not very insightful (1)

SillyNickName4me (760022) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062887)

That's what MS has never gotten. Make it part of a person's lifestyle first, then they'll make it part of their work.

Hmm.. seems to me they get it quite well, but have an all improved version of it..

Let others put the efford into making something a part of a person's lifestyle, and then have the 'right' product available once that happened..

Re:How'd it change day to day work? (2, Interesting)

sgant (178166) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062833)

I was using the Internet way before the commercialization of it...back in the days when "The Internet" consisted mainly of Usenet, IRC and FTP.

Gopher was a new thing also, but not very big and when Mosaic came out with their World Wide Web I said over and over again how it wasn't ever going to catch on, that it was just a fad.

Meh...I never said I was a visionary.

Remember Lynx and Mosaic? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13062689)

Remembr Lynx and mosaic, anyone? I still use Lynx under Windows and linux, though.

Re:Remember Lynx and Mosaic? (2, Informative)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062804)

While Lynx is cool and all I think it was because of the graphic capacity of the web that made it grow and killed of gopher.

Re:Remember Lynx and Mosaic? (2, Interesting)

N3Roaster (888781) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062997)

No, gopher died because it was archaic and difficult to use. The Web, with or without graphics was much easier to use, especially once the early portals and search engines started popping up. It's the links from one site to another to another to another that killed gopher, not graphics.

Granted, without graphics, the Web wouldn't have caught on nearly as well, particularly among corporations, but gopher would still have become one of those things that people don't notice on the Internet.

Re:Remember Lynx and Mosaic? (5, Insightful)

shokk (187512) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062835)

I remember Mosaic being the revolutionary web app, not Netscape! What's this crap? Selective memory, or purposeful revisionism to get AOL sponsorship $$$ for OSTG?

Re:Remember Lynx and Mosaic? (1)

dextroz (808012) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062971)

Mod Mod Mod this guy up!!! He is very correct! NCSA Mosaic was the bright flash that started everything!

I knew all those "free" AOL-Netscape CDs was upto no good!

Re:Remember Lynx and Mosaic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13063022)

Lemme guess, you were, like 7 when Mosaic became popular, right?

Re:Remember Lynx and Mosaic? (1)

eowaraldur (857436) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062846)

Please don't tell me I'm the only one who still uses Mosaic.

Mosaic (2, Funny)

cheezemonkhai (638797) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062964)

No far from it, MS half inched Mosaic and turned it into IE.

Anybody who uses IE probably still has some of the original Mosic bugs in the code they use :)

Re:Remember Lynx and Mosaic? (1)

rubberbando (784342) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062870)

I remember lynx. :-)

Surfing via dialup was/is sooo much faster going text only.

Actually, now and then I switch to that mode in the latest version of Opera just for a little nostalga.

Re:Remember Lynx and Mosaic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13062890)

they didnt mean much in the scheme of things.

netscape brought it to critical mass...lynx didnt

Re:Remember Lynx and Mosaic? (2, Interesting)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 9 years ago | (#13063001)

I remember reading so many Usenet articles by people seeking help to run Mosaic on various kinds of computers. Naturally I was curious, and once I saw and ran it for myself, and later Netscape (aka Netscrape), I thought Wow! For me, a physics grad at the time, being able to get text and data plots easily and quickly was revolutionary. Prior to the rise of easy to use graphical web browsers, you had to be privy to the sacred order of the preprint to get the latest research results. Mosaic changed all of that and in a lot of ways is one of the great pillars of my career today.

Remember Gopher? (1)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 9 years ago | (#13063099)

I check Lynx every once in a while. It's not that good anymore when you get pages full of Java and script crap. Checking Lynx also can show you how unnecessary a lot of this Java and script crap is.

Remember Gopher? If not for the Netscape browser revolution, we might be still using Gopher to this day (and Google would be the top-of-the-line Archie site). Somewhere along the way, someone would have found a way to crap up Gopher with popups and scripts, no doubt.

What did happen to Constellation? (3, Interesting)

Saiyine (689367) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062692)

Do you remember when it was announced that in Netscape were developing their very own OS?

Re:What did happen to Constellation? (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062750)

Do you remember when it was announced that in Netscape were developing their very own OS?

I don't remember anything of the sort. What I do remember was that Netscape was seen as a cross-OS platform of APIs upon which applications could be built. Looking at how things panned out for Netscape, that seems a little odd these days, but its successor Mozilla (not to be confused with the original Netscape codename) has succeeded where Netscape failed. Even using just the standards compliant HTML/CSS/JavaScript environment, very powerful applications can be based on Mozilla. If you take a leap, XUL and other supporting Mozilla technologies can be leveraged for an even more powerful experience.

Cern (5, Informative)

Nissyen (101509) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062693)

How about Cern and Tim Berners-Lee? The initial Netscape release was basically the same as NCSA Mosaic which came before it.

Re:Cern (1)

jmp_nyc (895404) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062756)

Of course, and they were building on the idea of distributed information browsed via hypertext which wowed us all in Gopher. Remember back in the early 90's when Gopher seemed like the coolest thing ever? Of course, it took a GUI (thanks to Mosaic) for hypertext to catch on...
-JMP

Re:Cern (1)

Nissyen (101509) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062889)

I loved gopher... some university, I think San Diego, had a bunch of 80s music stored as 8kHz au files. I remember listening to The Safety Dance alot. Wait a minute... that explains what made me the way I am today! Damn you Men Without Hats!!!!

The web was always GUI (2, Interesting)

DragonHawk (21256) | more than 9 years ago | (#13063073)

"Of course, it took a GUI (thanks to Mosaic) for hypertext to catch on..."

Um, the original web browser, called "WorldWideWeb", was GUI. On NextSTEP, even, which is known to be very GUI. The big thing that Mosaic introduced, I believe, was the ability to display graphics (GIFs and JPGs) and text together. It turned the web into multimedia.

Another interesting bit is that WorldWideWeb allowed interactive, real-time editing from early on. To edit a page, you just clicked in and started typing. Wiki is old news.

(DISCLAIMER: I've never actually used WorldWideWeb, only read about it. I could be even more wrong then usual.)

Re:Cern (1)

cbv (221379) | more than 9 years ago | (#13063050)

The original browser (already including a built-in editor), written by Tim on a NeXT, had a real stupid name: WorldWideWeb.app ;-)

It was later renamed to Nexus.app [w3.org] .

the history of the web from CERN: (3, Informative)

piters (604305) | more than 9 years ago | (#13063055)

You may have a look at this:
http://public.web.cern.ch/public/Content/Chapters/ AboutCERN/Achievements/WorldWideWeb/WWW-en.html [web.cern.ch]
among others, includes the link to the proposal of the WWW made at CERN by Tim in 1989:
http://www.w3.org/History/1989/proposal.html [w3.org]
and refined by Robert Cailliau in 1990:
http://www.w3.org/Proposal.html [w3.org]

BTW, noone seems to remember about Robert Cailliau, the co-author of the thing...

Quiet Article (2, Funny)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062694)

Andreessen: I lined up interviews and took a programming job at a company in Palo Alto. I liked the idea of moving someplace that wasn't so cold. The Valley was kind of dormant then. Apple Computer was the walking dead.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. :-)

Ahem... Mosaic (2, Informative)

rueger (210566) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062702)

Let's not forget Mosaic [evolt.org] , upon which Netscape was built.

Still, I havea great fondness for the big, pulsing, waiting for 56K dial up N that was Netscape in the early days.

Re:Ahem... Mosaic (1)

Bluesy21 (840772) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062736)

Dude they didn't have 56K back then. Heck, I remeber going from 14.4 to 28.8 and almost crapping in my pants over it. Anything 56K or higher was like a wet dream for geeks back then. Ahh the good ol' days.

Re:Ahem... Mosaic (1)

SillyNickName4me (760022) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062980)

Heh, I got a 128k (2 channel) isdn connection when 14k4 modems where still the thing...

The throughput and latency of it were just mindboggling at the time..

Now that I think of it, there are probably quite a few places on the planet where that would still qualify as broadband.

Seems isdn was rather expensive in many places back then.. here it was about twice as expensive as a normal analog line, and my isp back then was just starting experimental support for it, and did not charge anything on top of a normal subscription for it. It was however about 8 times as fast as the fastest analog dialup connection, not to mention the latency decrease due to eliminating modems and their buffering (was very relevant for me as a big time telnet user... muds and such ruled :)

Re:Ahem... Mosaic (2, Informative)

bedroll (806612) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062754)

Let's not forget Mosaic, upon which Netscape was built.

As was IE. The humor of it is that, as I recall, most of the programmers responsible for Mosaic were the ones to originally create Netscape. So, if IE was started by building off of Mosaic's roots then those programmers helped Microsoft destroy Netscape.

Then there was Mosaic 2.0, which was just a little less horrible than IE 2.0.. but that's another story.

Re:Ahem... Mosaic (1)

AviLazar (741826) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062781)

56k? Thats lightning fast man, i am still using my 2400 baud modem with 9600 fax capabilities.

On a real note, who gets 56k dialup? I have never experienced true 56k dialup no matter where i lived. At best I have got around 48k, mostly it was 32 or 28k. Yes I had the 56k modems but the lines were not providing me with that speed.

Re:Ahem... Mosaic (1)

going_the_2Rpi_way (818355) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062901)

As I recall, you had the option of either using a standard phone line or getting 'data' phone lines in those days at a slightly higher cost from the phone companies. Might've been a scam most places, but who knows.

Dial-up speeds (2, Informative)

DragonHawk (21256) | more than 9 years ago | (#13063097)

"On a real note, who gets 56k dialup?"

Nobody (on the US PSTN) gets 56 Kbit, as that would exceed some obscure FCC limit. You're limited to 53 Kbit. I have seen that in practice, but it's pretty rare, and I expect you have to be right next to the CO on brand new wires to get it.

Re:Ahem... Mosaic (5, Interesting)

deanj (519759) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062819)

Let's not forget Imposter Boy:

http://web.archive.org/web/20030212202753/http://w ww.chrispy.net/marca/gqarticle.html [archive.org] ....Unless you want to believe the marketing goons at Netscape.

Kinda odd that the guy that was supposed to have written Mosaic single-handedly didn't write ANY code at Netscape.

Re:Ahem... Mosaic (1)

Precipitous (586992) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062858)

waiting for 56K dial up
I remember how I'd explain the internet to peers and co-workers in the 1990's. Along with the technical instruction, I'd advise them to bring a magazine to read while waiting for pages to load.

Re:Ahem... Mosaic (1)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062976)

Let's not forget Mosaic, upon which Netscape was built.

And IE.

Still, I havea great fondness for the big, pulsing, waiting for 56K dial up N that was Netscape in the early days.

Hmm, you had 56K "in the early days" with pulsing Ns? The rest of us had much slower connections.

Re:Ahem... Mosaic (1)

asliarun (636603) | more than 9 years ago | (#13063023)

Sorry if i'm not too fond of Netscape. Back in the dotcom daze, most of us "web programmers" would typically spend half our time in developing web pages, and the other half in getting the damn thing to work in Netscape, especially fancy Javascript/DHTML and table/image alignment. Ok, Netscape did have a javascript console but that was about it. Then, there would be all the graphics designers sitting on top of our heads, asking us to reformat the entire table structure just because one lousy column was not displaying "just so" in Netscape and would spoil the gestalt of the page or some such. Then, we would change one itty-bitty column width from a number to a percentage which would, for some reason, screw up the entire goddamn page! Sigh.

I'm just an old dotcom fart rambling though, so take my rant with a pinch of salt :-)

IPO's (1)

ChrisF79 (829953) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062708)

"...where few people have even heard of IPOs." Are you kidding me? I wouldn't say "few people." That might be when you were introduced to IPO's but I think most of the world had heard of IPO's long before. Perhaps since you're a tech guy, the tech IPO's are what brought it to your attention, but I think most other business folks had heard about them long before.

Re:IPO's (1)

BoomerSooner (308737) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062993)

What about LBO's. The RJR deal is still studied in finance programs as very innovative. It lead to Malcom Glazier pissing off 1/2 the world with his Manchester United purchase. Lol, soccer nuts. I wish those people that have been paying next to nothing for their Man U tickets had to buy tickets to a college football event to see how much they were underpaying. Not to mention pro football. Jesus I couldn't afford them making over 60k/year.

Re:IPO's (1)

fa2k (881632) | more than 9 years ago | (#13063007)

Maybe i'm too young, but I had to google it ;)

Dear Slashdot (3, Funny)

dan dan the dna man (461768) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062711)

I already waste enough time at work reading your hallowed pages. Pointing me to 20 page articles is not helping my productivity one bit. Now I've commented I'll RTFA for a while, maybe comment again in 20 minutes time ;)

Amazing ... (-1, Offtopic)

cablepokerface (718716) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062715)

Picture a world without Google, without eBay or Amazon or broadband

What was Al Gore a visionary leader!

Good Ole Days (4, Funny)

teiresias (101481) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062717)

Picture a world without Google, without eBay or Amazon or broadband, where few people have even heard of IPOs. That was reality just a decade ago.


No or less newbs. Far less spam. Fewer viruses.

*sniff* The good ole days.

The company that changed it--bringing us into the Internet age--was a brilliant flash in the pan called Netscape

Bastards!

//Although in the "good ole days", there was only dial-up, extremely bad streaming video (if at all), and AOL ruled supreme. Thanks Netscape ;)

Re:Good Ole Days (1)

ajs (35943) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062857)

"No or less newbs. Far less spam. Fewer viruses.

*sniff* The good ole days.
"

And lots of rose-tinted glasses....

Do you recall:If you don't then you're either young or deluding yourself into thinking the world got ugly all of a sudden.

Re:Good Ole Days (2, Informative)

Takara (711260) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062861)

The company that changed it--bringing us into the Internet age--was a brilliant flash in the pan called Netscape

Bastards!

The "Internet age" you're thinking of happened in 1997 along with Windows 98... That's where the noobs came from.

Re:Good Ole Days (1)

cablepokerface (718716) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062910)

No or less newbs

It's "newbie" or "noob" you n00b!

Re:Good Ole Days (2, Insightful)

RetroGeek (206522) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062940)

AOL ruled supreme

No, that would be CompuServe. If you wanted to reach company information, message boards, CompuServe was the way to go. They had local MODEM numbers in every major city.

And they are still around [compuserve.com] , though on the WWW.

Ah, the internet. (1)

millennial (830897) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062718)

When I first got online, the Web didn't exist yet. I was in elementary school, and my advanced studies teacher was helping me learn about computers. I remember sending an e-mail over a 300bps modem, from the only internet-capable computer in our school. This was back in the days when I programmed in BASIC on an Apple IIgs (IIe?).

I find it unfortunate that I never got into the BBS scene - moreso, that I didn't know it existed. When I got my first modem-equipped computer, the modem sat unused until we eventually got dial-up internet service. Nowadays I enjoy telnetting into some newer BBSes, but it's just not the same...

Re:Ah, the internet. (1)

ShyGuy91284 (701108) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062824)

Ditto that. I recall years ago on the IIGS when our family had software/a modem that would access an online encyclopedia, since the internet had yet to take off. Between that and our scanner that popped into the old imagewriter that could take low-res monochrome scans, we had an unstoppable beast....

Re:Ah, the internet. (1)

dvicci (22294) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062968)

Obligatory "me too." I remember being kept awake by my father's modem in high school. It was attached to a //e (128KB RAM and an add on 10MB HD -- Woo Hoo!). Either you couldn't disable the handshaking sounds, or he didn't bother. At the time, it never occurred to me, but I could have been trading all my gamez over BBS rather than at school on 5.25" at school. Who knows what else I would have become involved in, or how my computing knowledge would have developed.

Had I only known... it wasn't until 6 years later at college that I started realizing the potential of networked computing.

What a change (2, Insightful)

mfloy (899187) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062721)

Sometimes we don't even realize what a change 10 years can make to our lives. I can't even not being able to use the internet for news, chat, shoppings, research, etc. The only unfortunate part is that Netscape has been hit by the Microsoft Monopoly and is a shell of it's former glory.

Re:What a change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13063060)

I can't even not being able to use the internet for news, chat, shoppings, research, etc.

You also forgot to type the word 'remember'. ;)

Not netscape. (4, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062739)

I wouldn't give netscape the credit for the birth of the web. I would give Netscape credit for the .COM bubble, and making the web well known. But it is more of an issue of the right place at the right time. Modems have gotten fast enough to display bitmapped graphics, at a reasionable speed. Most people had 8 bit color at 640x480 displays, and the OS's and Computers were powerful enough to run a multitasking windowed environment. I think if netscape wan't there Mosaic may have stayed the big dog for Browsers untill microsoft wanted a piece of the action. It would be fair to say the Netscape help popularized the web, not threw anything really technical, but because it gave wallstreet a look at what the internet combined with html can promice, thus giving advertising time to the internet.

Mosaic? (2, Insightful)

meckardt (113120) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062743)

The company that changed it--bringing us into the Internet age--was a brilliant flash in the pan called Netscape.

How about Mosaic? I admit that Netscape was a big step forward, but it was evolutionary, rather than revolutionary.

Revolution OS (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062873)

You're right but to understand more how Netscape's attitude and eventual martyrdom still affects us, watch Revolution OS. It's a bit slow at times and the ending has a terrible open source band playing music but it's quite informative.

And before NSCA Mosaic (1)

milosoftware (654147) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062881)

And before Mosaic, there was Gopher.

Before Google, there was Lycos. I once typed the word "Computer" and got 3000 hits.

Nothing as much fun as getting Mosaic to compile on your Apollo workstation. Took a few nights, but the results were awesome.

And it took revenge too - just click on the About menu option of IE:
Based on NCSA Mosaic. NCSA Mosaic(TM); was developed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Re:And before NSCA Mosaic (1)

hhghghghh (871641) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062945)

Before Google, there was Lycos. I once typed the word "Computer" and got 3000 hits.

I think you mean altavista. And of course webcrawler.

Re:Mosaic? (2, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062959)

Henry Ford didn't invent the automobile, either. (Nor, BTW, did he invent the assembly line.) And the Model T wasn't the first car he produced. But when he did ...

So it seems kind of like that. Before Netscape, the Web was an interesting idea, with some modest success, but basically the domain of hobbyists with a high tolerance for quirks. And the first release of the Netscape browser (the "Navigator" name didn't come until a couple years later, IIRC, but someone please tell me if I'm wrong) wasn't all that much of an improvement over Mosaic. But with a little refinement, they hit the sweet spot, in much the same way Ford did, with a product that worked for damn near everybody.

Cello... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13062748)

Cello predated a lot of what Mozilla/Netscape was doing... I remember it as 'low hassle' 16 bit Windows app.

picture a world.... (4, Funny)

Sonicboom (141577) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062751)

"Picture a world without Google, without eBay or Amazon or broadband,..."

and I remember a world where I had an email box that had NO spam in it, and a USENET with little to no spam... where porn was in alt.binaries.* and NOT in comp.*.... and posts were ON TOPIC.

OTOH - it was also a world without /.

I'd like to turn back time.

Re:picture a world.... (3, Informative)

tedgyz (515156) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062815)

Don't you remember the original spammer?

BIFF BIFF BIFF bIff Biff bIFF
BIFF
BIFF BIFF
BIFF BIFF BIFF
BIFF BIFF BIFF BIFF
BIFF BIFF BIFF BIFF BIFF
BIFF BIFF BIFF BIFF BIFF BIFF

I remember seeing his posts all over the newsgroups "back in the day". If nothing else, he was creative.

Re:picture a world.... (5, Informative)

greed (112493) | more than 9 years ago | (#13063056)

He and kibo were just spool-greppers, not spammers. Annoying, but easy enough to filter.

Most of my "stupid posting" filtering used to be done by rejecting any message which did not have a lowercase letter in Subject:. Worked great until I got a job at IBM with all those old mono-case mainframe programmers. (You can decide if I'm talking about the mainframes or the programmers being old.)

You want to remember spam, how about Green Card Lottery from Canter & Siegel?

Heck, that was back when people talked about "EMP" (excessive multi-posting) or "ECP" (excessive cross-posting) on USENET, and "UCE" (unsolicited commercial e-mail) for, uh... e-mail I suppose.

Spam originally referred to USENET postings, in honor of those Monty Python vikings who just won't shut up about it--the C&S postings were like that, everywhere you went, there was another damn green card lottery posting....

But that was after the start of Eternal September. (Now that AOL has dropped USENET, is it finally October?) And those of us who complained when Prodigy got 'net access sure looked back fondly when AOL hooked up.

Remember when the worst thing about USENET was a few kooks and badly-configured FIDO BBS doors?

Yeah, me neither, my memory's not what it used to be.

I do remember being shown this neat thing on one of those fancy Sun SPARCStations with the built-in ISDN connection where you could look at a page of text from an information service, and it would be able to have pictures and full-motion video integrated into it! Even over ISDN it took a while to load up, and the video (MPEG 1) got all blurry if there was a lot of movement, and it pretty much swamped the SPARCStation....

It was summer of 1992 and they didn't really have a name for it yet. It was like gopher, but with graphics, too.

They (Northern Telecom's research division) also had a prototype of a new wireless phone from Motorola--it would work with their wireless set-up for private branch exchanges (Meridians). But the cool thing was, it had a flip-down thing like a Star Trek communicator.

Re:picture a world.... (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062831)

where porn was in alt.binaries.*

It still is, you know. Obviously, you have to weed out all spam, but filesize is a pretty good filter.

I remember the Netscape release .. (5, Insightful)

torpor (458) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062757)

.. I'd just helped start up a (what is now very large) ISP in Los Angeles, and we were having a blast (i kid) helping people get the Trumpet Winsock Dialler and some 3rd-party TCP/IP stack installed on their Windows 3.0 and 3.1/WFW machines .. 'real TCP/IP access' was one of the major draws to us as an ISP, and for the first few weeks we had about 15 new signups a day.

Then Mosaic went "Netscape", and suddenly, literally in a matter of one week, it was like 100 signups a day... just so people could get into this new-fangled "GUI"-style info resource they'd heard about in WIRED and Mondo2000 and BoingBoing magazines ... phew. We nearly melted down, but I'm glad to say I really had a unique opportunity to see this turning point from the perspective of a major ISP .. which is still around, and has grown a lot since those humble days with 20 14.4k modems and 10 28.8k modems, sitting on a Livingston rack, hanging off a single 56k line ..

Ah, the web. What would the Internets be without you now, eh? A massive landscape of gopher piles and archie bookmarks, no doubt .. no doubt .. /pours one on the ground for the poor suckers still in the ISP business ...

I fondly remember... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13062778)

the days prior to Netscape.
13 years old, armed with Commodore 64, tape drive, 9" b&w tv, and armfuls of magazines like these computer classics [atarimagazines.com] .

Myopic vision (4, Funny)

tedgyz (515156) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062782)

I'll never forget when the Lead Engineer of our team at HP looked at Mosaic / WWW and said, "Who needs that?" This guy was supposed to be the "visionary" for management, but he definitely had his head in the sand.

If nothing else, you think he would appreciate the ease of getting pr0n. Cobbling together alt.binary... threads was state-of-the-art back then. :-)

Tim Berners-Lee (5, Insightful)

an_mo (175299) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062785)

Why do people talk about Netscape so much and forget that one person only, Tim Berners-Lee, invented the web? He code the first browser, the first web server, invented html, convinced CERN to keep it free and open. And yet, when you tell the average educated guy that there is one person that did all this, they find it hard to believe. I just can't understand why Andreesen is more popular than Berners-Lee.

Re:Tim Berners-Lee (1)

tedgyz (515156) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062862)

Because he didn't go on to form some wildly successful .com company, rape an pillage an unwitting stock market, and sellout to a dying behemoth (AOL).

People don't seem to care about you if you don't make an unreasonable amount of money doing something.

Imagine if some greedy pig like MS had "invented" the internet. We'd be paying by the bit. /. wouldn't exist because it would be too costly to read all the comments. :-)

Re:Tim Berners-Lee (1)

torpor (458) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062957)


He coded the first Graphical Browser, not 'the' first browser. Also, he didn't invent HTML .. it is a subset of the SGML work others were doing at the time, but he did prove it with his implementations under NextStep.

I just can't understand why Andreesen is more popular than Berners-Lee.

Andreesen was a narcissistic sports jock working in Sillicon Valley, Berners-Lee a humble physics geek living in Switzerland.

Which realm do you think provides for the overt promotion required to get the attention of your average non-computer-savvy person and media pimps?

Imposter Boy (5, Informative)

deanj (519759) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062786)

The world has always gotten this whole myth about how Mosaic was created from the Netscape people themselves. It's just like the myth that eBay was started because someone wanted to sell Pez containers, or any of the rest of the Silicon Valley myths. Marketing it that way makes a good story.


The only article you can find on what happened with NCSA Mosaic was in a GQ article from 1997. It's called Imposter Boy, and can be found here:

http://web.archive.org/web/20030212202753/http://w ww.chrispy.net/marca/gqarticle.html [archive.org]

Call it sour grapes, or whatever you want, but I defy you to find any other articles about what happened back in those days... you can't. It's all because of the spin that Netscape put on it.

Give Rise? (1)

ashayh (636057) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062811)

And Netscape's practice of openly sharing technology so that other programmers and their companies could build upon its ideas helped give rise to a global technology community, the open-source movement.
Perhaps Netscape did help the open source movement. But did not give rise. People like RMS, ESR, Linus and many others that I can't possibly remember did that. Maybe they mean it was first for a company to open its source ? I don't know about that. Was there no large company before 1995 to give away source?

Netscape didn't start dotcommania (1)

museumpeace (735109) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062828)

but they sure made it visible. I was working for my second internet startup [for peanuts and equity] when Netscape's IPO broke into the news. The founder had begged for a year to get enough venture money to open our doors...and the delay cost us a precious first-mover advantage.
But after Netscape, it was raining VC money, more money than good ideas.

It's not so hard to picture, really (4, Funny)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062829)

Picture a world without Google, without eBay or Amazon or broadband

Well, it'd make Jeff Bezos patent portfolio look a lot different. That's for sure.

  • Method for turning a rounded piece of metal to effect egress from a building.
  • Composition of a food like substance for the purpose of blowing rounded spheres
  • Method for using a cord like structure to hold shoes on human feet
  • Circular structure intended to make the lateral motion of a heavy load subject to less friction
  • ...

They left out. . . (4, Insightful)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062832)

Picture a world without Google, without eBay or Amazon or broadband,

Or one without billions of emails promising V14gr4! on the cheap!, where stealing someones identity involved more than point-and-click. A world where people had to, gasp!, go out and talk to other people face-to-face to buy products or knew how to use a card catalog at the library.

Yeah, those were the days oh so many eons ago. In fact, I distinctly remember my mom and dad having to round up the horses every morning to hook them to the carriage so they could go to work every morning while my brother and I washed our feet so they looked somewhat presentable after we had walked the two miles to school (uphill both ways mind you).

While it's nice to remember how things were and the progress we've made, let's also not forget the things that we don't know how to do anymore. We're so wrapped up (some of us anyway) in what's latest and greatest that we now have less overall free time to do things and spend most of our time trying to figure out how to schedule our days.

No, I'm not a luddite. I'm just one of those who don't see the point in much of what people are gaga over nowadays (a cel phone which can do 20 different things except make a decent call for example). If you're into web pages with Flash simply because Flash is the 'in thing' for web design, more power to ya. Just don't think that everyone else cares.

Re:They left out. . . (1)

dR.fuZZo (187666) | more than 9 years ago | (#13063034)

"A world where people had to, gasp!, go out and talk to other people face-to-face to buy product..."

It was called mail order back then. You would either phone or mail in an order instead of placing your order on the internet, but otherwise the idea was much the same.

Some of us have been avoiding people for a lot longer than 10 years.

dumb moves (3, Funny)

justforaday (560408) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062841)

My dad got an email from some guy named Marc Andreeson some ten or twelve years ago asking if he wanted to come work for his new company. Naturally, my father being a government employee with a decent pension plan decided to toss the email... :-/

Accelerating business cycles: Netscape v MS (3, Insightful)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062849)

Netscape's rise and fall epitomizes the acceleration of the business cycle. The fact that anyone can download anything at low cost and the fact that most people replace their computers every 2 years means a new, small company can quickly grow its customer base. And those same tools meant that MS could, just as quickly distribute its own browser and quickly take Netscape's installbase from the company.

Low distribution costs and PC turnover means that marketshare leadership is not assailable under most conditions -- its too easy for people to replace old software, especially when they get a new computer. Only companies that have an interoperability hook that ties past, present, and future generations of software and systems together have any hope of retaining marketshare.

MS has tried, and succeeded, in creating that hook with IE in that many websites "work best" with Explorer and Windows-specific web functionality (VBscript, ActiveX, MS-extensions to javascript, etc.). To the extent that MS is forced, in the future, to embrace true open standards (not embrace-and-extent forks of those standards) then the OS and app maker will become vulnerable to rapid changes in marketshare.

Self-referential (1)

LukePieStalker (746993) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062868)

The best bart was using the Netscape browser to watch the Netscape stock quote as the IPO popped.

IPO was not a new TLA (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062882)

where few people have even heard of IPOs.

Just because the dot-com boom was the first time that geeks started noticing talk about IPOs, the concept of companies going public and selling stock with Initial Public Offerings wasn't exactly new, not even to the general public. "IPO" was already part of the standard jargon of Wall Street and the countless people who invested in the stock market... more than "a few".

Netscape was great (1)

rihock (680776) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062903)

You can say what you want, but Netscape was a great company to work for. Everyone was competent and dedicated to being successful. Every company I've worked for since when compared to them, falls short. Not saying I want to go back in time, but I miss working with whip-smart techies- my current company 'thinks' they're a tech company, but they're just an 'integrator' who thinks they know what tech really is....

Picture a world (1)

geeber (520231) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062907)

Picture a world where slashdot credited the author of the article, rather than the submitter who simply cuts and pastes the blurb as their own.

Sigh, sorry to complain, but it's a pet peeve of mine.

Microsoft and Mozilla really got things going (3, Insightful)

ShatteredDream (636520) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062931)

What many people also forget is that Netscape sucked after version 3. I was one of those rabidly anti-Microsoft people who defended Netscape (wrongly) because of Microsoft's monopoly. Firefox and Mozilla proved that Microsoft can be beaten in time without the government.

Let's also not forget that AJAX' XMLHttpRequest object, which powers many of Google's new services, was invented by Microsoft with IE 5. I remember Netscape 4 sucking so bad that when IE 4 was about to go gold that there were people lining up in the chat room that I was in on Westwood Studios' chat service for C&C players to get as they ranted about Communicator.

And my God was it a POS. The thing was horribly bloated, ugly, not standards compliant and a spectacular mess to maintain, hence the mozilla guys practically starting over from scratch. Let's not forget something here, which Google has not. Netscape lost not because IE went free, but because Netscape 4 was such a bloat POS that it was agonizing to use it compared to IE 4. Netscape lost because when Microsoft got their act together, Netscape went from the elite of browser design to rank amateurs at best.

Let's Not Forget Netscape's Arrogance (3, Insightful)

zentec (204030) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062946)

The common mode for many Silicon Valley companies of the time like Netscape and SGI was simply pure arrogance. Ever try dealing with these people?

Netscape was unbelieveable. While they might have been the first to come up with an ISP agreement, wanting a percentage of the ISP's revenue for a package they GAVE AWAY online was asking way too much. Their other products, like their Collabra server, were WinNT ports of open source products like INN. And they worked like magic; it took a lot of hocus pokus to keep it running more than twelve hours. And forget actually interfacing it to Usenet, it simply couldn't handle the load.

If you called and complained, you were basically told "it is what it is, but the new version fixes it so send us more money". And that was just one software product.

Marc Andressen was not the golden boy he likes to make himself out to be. He was in the right place at the right time, and fortunately for him, made out pretty well. But he's a one trick pony.

Netscape didn't die because of Microsoft, Netscape died because of their own arrogance and they believed their own marketing. Good riddance. At least what was left was turned into something decent.

The two other things that made it possible (1)

mc6809e (214243) | more than 9 years ago | (#13062953)


A text-only web is perfectly usable at 2400bps, but uninteresting to most of the general public.

The 14.4kbps modem and jpeg image compression made it possible for the average person to say "pretty pictures from 3000 miles away. Neat!"

In my judgement, these technologies were more more difficult to develop and more important than adding graphics to the web browser.

Good ol' days... (3, Funny)

MirrororriM (801308) | more than 9 years ago | (#13063009)

Picture a world without Google, without eBay or Amazon or broadband, where few people have even heard of IPOs.

Why, when I was a young programmer we had to write the code in the snow with our pee, and a compiler was just a word for the pilot of the hovering dirigible that read the instructions and passed them to the ALU, which was another fellow with an abacus. They would wrap the results around a rock, and drop it on my house when the program would exit. We had to walk uphill...

I love these good ol' days stories :)

Even IE still pays homage to Mosaic (1)

NoRefill (92509) | more than 9 years ago | (#13063029)

Look in the Help->About Internet Explorer and you'll find IE's humble beginnings as well:

"Based on NCSA Mosaic. NCSA Mosaic(TM); was developed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign."

Screw the web! (3, Funny)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | more than 9 years ago | (#13063058)

I'm still hoping my investments in Gopherspace will pay off!

Topic Marathons (2, Funny)

rgf71 (448062) | more than 9 years ago | (#13063064)

Yesterday was DIY Marathon Day. Is today going to be Nostalgia Marathon Day?

What about tomorrow?

You Got to Be Innovative (1)

Evil W1zard (832703) | more than 9 years ago | (#13063067)

The article doesn't matter because MS says that they are the only ones who have been innovative in the last 452 years. In fact if Al Gore says he invented the idea of the Internet then MS will say that they invented Al Gore (it could happen you know!)

Birth of the term IPO? (1)

hagrin (896731) | more than 9 years ago | (#13063089)

Obviously, Netscape also built Wall Street.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>