Ten years ago, following an astonishing announcement on early January, Netscape opened the source code of Communicator 5, Netscape’s suite of Internet applications, effectively starting the Mozilla Project.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (March 31, 1998) — Netscape Communications Corporation (NASDAQ:NSCP) today announced that the first developer release of its Communicator 5.0 source code is available for download from the mozilla.org Web site. Targeted at the developer community, this unprecedented release of the client source code promotes acceleration of the evolution of Communicator 5.0 development by allowing the company to harness the creative power of thousands of programmers on the Internet, incorporating their best enhancements into future versions of Netscape’s software. This strategy is designed to accelerate development and distribution of future high-quality versions of Netscape Communicator to business customers and individuals, further seeding the market for Netscape’s enterprise solutions and Netcenter business.
Over the next years, much of the code would be completely rewritten, and Netscape, the product would eventually die; but Mozilla, the community of developers, testers and users, was already founded and it wouldn’t go away. The original suite still lives in SeaMonkey and more than 100 products based on Mozilla technologies are around.
To all who in some little or big way keep this project alive and healthy, Thanks & Cheers!
Update: On Mitchell Baker’s take on the 10th anniversary, she comments on the future:
The next ten years have challenges and opportunities equal to those of our first decade.Â The Internet is now interwoven into modern life, and it will certainly grow to beÂ more powerful.Â Thereâ€™s no guarantee that it will remain open or or enjoyable or safe.Â Thereâ€™s no guarantee that individuals will be able to participate in creating or (for the general non-technical consumer) effectively managing their experience.Â Thereâ€™s no guarantee that there is an effective voice for individualsÂ benefiting from the increased power of the Internet.
Mozilla can and should fulfill this role.Â But not as a guarantor.Â Â Mozilla is an opportunity for people to make this vision happen.Â Â Â Mozilla is about opportunity and participation.