Monday, March 31st, 2008

Happy 10 Year Birthday Mozilla

Category: Browsers, Firefox

Mozilla turns 10

Ten years ago today, the code dropped from Netscape to the Mozilla project. Mitchell Baker has written up her thoughts as she looks back the last 10 years, and tries to look at the future.

People are celebrating too. Air Mozilla will have a live show with host Asa Dotzler, and guests Mitchell Baker, Brendan Eich, Mike Shaver, and Chris Hofmann.

And then we have jwz. Now the original Internet Web Site of the Mosaic Communications Corporation, is now back online, and he has fun stories of what he had to do to get it working with the old browsers.

In order to make these web sites work in the old browsers, it was necessary to host them specially. In this modern world, a single server will typically host multiple web sites from a single IP address. This works because modern web browsers send a “Host” header saying which site they’re actually looking for. Old web browsers didn’t do that: if you wanted to host a dozen sites on a single server, that server had to have a dozen IP addresses, one for each site. So these sites have dedicated addresses!

The web server also had to be configured to not send a “charset” parameter on the “Content-Type” header, because the old browsers didn’t know what to make of that.

Do you remember why through exist? through exist because the early browsers did client-side load-balancing: the browser itself had a special case where if it was loading “” it would actually pick a random number from 1 to 32 and instead load “”! Those were physically different servers in the Netscape data center.

Do you remember the behavioral difference the browsers exhibited when they were talking to a Netscape web server?

When loading pages from a Netscape server, the caption next to the URL field in the browser would change from “Location” to “Netsite”.

Congrats to all of the open source hackers who have made “Mozilla” successful.

Posted by Dion Almaer at 12:41 pm
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That’s really cool. I like jwz’s blurb about politics. It’s so typical.

Comment by Tim Cooijmans — April 3, 2008

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