I was not actually sad, but did feel a twinge of nostalgia on learning that the venerable web browser, Netscape, which helped me and many others in our initial navigation of the web, was officially put down yesterday.
The Wired blog summed it up, the what and the why, in Netscape: The Browser That Started it All Dies a Quiet Death.
When Netscape arrived back in 1994, the screeching wail of the dial-up modem was not yet a household sound. But the browser changed that and ignited the growth of the internet by making it easy for anyone to use.
Then came Microsoft’s party-crashing Internet Explorer browser, which, rather infamously, was bundled with Windows. That bundling marked the beginning of the end for Netscape.
In an interesting although intrinsically trivial coincidence, one of a number of books we donated yesterday to our local library was The New New Thing, by Michael Lewis. It’s a fascinating book about an extraordinary man, Jim Clark, entrepreneur, founder of Silicon Graphics, owner of huge yachts and co-founder of Netscape. The Australian Financial Review Magazine, February 2008 article on superyachts got it wrong in describing him parenthetically as “who invented Netscape”, presumably using “Netscape” in the popular sense of “the Netscape Navigator browser”, rather than in the sense of Netscape the corporation.
A Wikipedia article on the other co-founder of Netscape (the corporation) Marc Andriessen provides some background about who “invented” and who founded what, when.