Netscape, 20 Years Later

Chris Wilson: I still remember the very first time I got HTML content pulled over the network through Libwww and I was displaying it on my debugging monitor in my office at NCSA with Jon Mittelhauser sitting over my shoulder looking at it, and thinking that was amazing. I knew that it was going to be an amazing thing and the social aspect of everyone can publish on this platform was going to be amazing. But the idea that it would become this powerful and interoperable, I can’t take any credit for thinking that up front.

Rob McCool: I remember when I was driving somewhere in 1994, I was driving from Illinois to here [California] and I saw a URL on a billboard and I was like, “Oh my god! What is that doing there?” Now it’s taken for granted, but back then it was like, “Wow! What is that? Why is that there?”

Jon Mittelhauser: I can’t even begin to think it’s 20 years. But then I look back and I realize I’m significantly older than the guys I thought were the old guys who were managing us. The guys who had come out of SGI. Now I’m in the role, or senior to the role that they were in at that point. Aleks Totic: This is the stuff I’m thinking about these days: For me, I’m not used to being in the winning position. I come from a long tradition of geeks. Where you’re just not a winner. It’s really weird to see that the vision we had has just won over completely. That revolution is still being played out. As Marc said, software eats the world.

An oral history of Netscape on its 20th anniversary, from the perspective of its creators. Read more oral histories.