Monday, September 15, 2008

15 Years Since the Release of WinMosaic Beta

This September 28th marks the 15th anniversary since the first beta release of the NCSA WinMosaic web browser. 

Development of Mosaic began in December 1992 by Marc Andreessen and Eric Bina with the original application designed and was originally programmed for Unix's X-Window System. Funding came from the High-Performance Computing and Communications Initiative, a program created by the High Performance Computing and Communication Act of 1991, authored by then Senator Al Gore.

The first public beta release (Version 0.6b) occurred on September 28, 1993 with Version 1.0 being released on November 11, 1993.

I remember having to download WinMosaic either from an anonymous FTP site or a Gopher server. I remember having to install (and learning to hate) and configure Trumpet Winsock to make it work. In fact, you can go old school and download it now. (now, make sure to LOADHIGH and include HIMEM.SYS and EMM386.EXE !)

A cottage industry began with companies such as Spry releasing their versions of Mosaic buddled with Internet services.  

I got my copy of Mosaic in a Box at the 1995 Spring Internet World conference in San Jose.  It came on a 3-1/2 inch floppy which required "a 386PC or higher, 4MB of RAM, a mouse, a modem, and standard phone line, and Windows 3.1 or later.

Who knew that at the same time a few miles away at Stanford Larry Page and Sergey Brin were disagreeing with each other over everything and would up with this idea.

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