back to article Mosaic turns 20: Let's fire up the old girl, show her the web today

NCSA Mosaic - marking its 20th anniversary this week - was not the first web browser, but it was the first to be widely used. Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the web, describes its early days in his book Weaving the Web. Berners-Lee states that the first browser - WorldWideWeb - was text-based, and he had an early version …

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  1. Idocrase

    That sounds like a complicated way of getting it to work, I always just use http://www.dejavu.org/emulator.htm when I want to muck about with antique browsers...

    1. LinkOfHyrule
      Thumb Up

      That's quite cool and it loads up el Reg too!

      Well the home page at least, trying to read this article gave me an Error 500 whatever that means!

      1. Annihilator
        Happy

        "Error 500 whatever that means!"

        Internal server error from memory. Probably a really old or deprecated GET method that the server balks at.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          500 error -> "Internal server error from memory. Probably a really old or deprecated GET method that the server balks at."

          Usually, "500 Internal Server Error" means that someone boo-booed in their programming, permissions, or user-side server configuration. It is rare for the webserver to actually get memory problems.

    2. Cipher
      Joke

      antique browsers...

      @ Idocrase

      ***************************************

      All your browsers are belong to us...

      ***************************************

      Thanks for the link, nice...

  2. Amonynous

    I remember when this was all fields...

    ..text fields that is.

  3. andyb 2
    Happy

    Trumpet Winsock

    ....bottom left corner...............that takes me back :)

    1. goldcd

      Well I hope you paid for it (as I never did)

      http://thanksfortrumpetwinsock.com/

    2. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Trumpet Winsock

      that takes me back :)

      Was just thinking the same - fond memories of university days and hacking around the split install of Win3.11 that was used (part local, part on server) to run both Win32s and WinSock.dll properly.

      Also being a fairly regular user of Lynx, and then seeing Mosaic for the first time and quite how nice the graphical web could look when all you'd had before was text and ascii art.

      And my kids still don't believe me when I say that when I was their age (30-odd years ago) we had neither mobile phones, satellite TV nor the internet/www/text messaging/Facebook/Twitter (at least in common use by Joe Public for the first and last).

      A sure-fire way to really make me feel old ;)

      1. John Ruddy

        Re: Trumpet Winsock

        Indeed! This is bringing back all sorts of memories! Trumpet Winsock! Lynx (before it was a de-oderant). I'm almost getting nostlagic for Cix as well....

      2. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: Trumpet Winsock

        "And my kids still don't believe me when I say that when I was their age (30-odd years ago) we had neither mobile phones, satellite TV nor the internet/www/text messaging/Facebook/Twitter (at least in common use by Joe Public for the first and last)."

        LUXURY! etc etc etc.

    3. Khaptain Silver badge

      Re: Trumpet Winsock

      And not to forget the delicious sound of your modem beeping, screeching, wailing and then "connection".

      1. Tim Jenkins

        Re: Trumpet Winsock

        "the delicious sound of your modem beeping, screeching, wailing"

        As I recall, the wailing was mostly that of the user when someone picked up another phone somewhere in the house, usually many minutes into the download of a whole megabyte...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Trumpet Winsock

      Yes, Trumpet Winsock, NCSA Mosaic, Trumpet Mail & News Reader, and some GIF image viewer supplied on a 3½" floppy disk, and a ring-bound A4 book about 10mm thick with instructions on how to install it on Windows 3.1 and configure it for our ISP of the day, along with instructions for Macintosh and Windows 95.

      I've got the booklet still somewhere here, probably still have the floppy too. We were with that ISP from about 1996 on dialup until 2002 when we moved to 512/128kbps ADSL on a static IP, and stayed on that service until late last year when the said ISP decided they were going to move us to a dynamic IP for force us onto a business plan which shaped peer-to-peer traffic to 64kbps.

      So we were customers of that ISP from 1996 to 2012. Still, that screenshot does take me back... and yes, I remember the modem handshake too — in fact, I still do use dial-up modems from time to time, as some of the customers I support at my work use good ol'e 33.6kbps dial-up for remote site access.

  4. RyokuMas Silver badge
    Coat

    Ah yes, the browser wars

    Still remember trying to load up various sites in Netscape on the old DEC-Alpha's at university, only to see an entirely black screen apart from the message "This site has been Netscape-crippled" - because of the while standards thing.

    Because of this, I find it ironic that Spyglass then went on to evolve into IE...

  5. Adam Trickett

    Have you got the right date?

    I had the same date in a calendar file but the NCSA web site gives a different date for the 1.0 version of Mosaic for Windows. I'm not sure what the correct date of Mosaic's birth is or if it has a strict birth date given the different dates for each platform...

    http://www.ncsa.illinois.edu/Projects/mosaic.html

    &

    ftp://ftp.ncsa.uiuc.edu/Mosaic/Windows/Archive/MosaicHistory.html

    1. Tim Anderson

      Re: Have you got the right date?

      The date was for the Unix version but I couldn't find that one easily, so made do with Windows.

      Tim

      1. Peter Simpson 1
        Thumb Up

        Re: Have you got the right date?

        "The date was for the Unix version but I couldn't find that one easily..."

        Funny you should mention that. I went through this same experiment about a year ago, when I found and resurrected an SGI Indigo here at work. It had Netscape Navigator, and my results were pretty much the same as yours: very few sites opened, many caused the browser to go down in (virtual) flames.

        Old UNIX systems are cool...this one was being used as a footrest until I spent close to $200 on adapters to allow use of PS2 keyboard and mouse, VGA display and twisted pair Ethernet. The payoff was a classic /etc/passwd file with usernames of people long gone from the company (but who I knew, either personally, or by reputation) and lovely graphics demos. Loads of un for the idle mind.

  6. welshie

    http/1.0

    The reason why many modern web sites don't work too well on ancient web browsers is http/1.1.

    The original NCSA Mosaic did http 1.0, from a day when there were enough IPv4 addresses to go around to give each web site its own IPv4 address. Forward just a few more years and it was obvious that wasn't going to be sustainable use of a finite resource, so along game http/1.1 which allowed virtual web servers to run on a single network address. Everyone jumped on the bandwagon, for it was a good idea.

    However, there was a time when Windows NT 4.0 came with a version of Internet Explorer that only did http/1.0 yet Microsoft.com didn't have a default web site on their web server IP address (which would make it available to older web browsers), so you couldn't access their web server with their web browser to be able to download updates.

  7. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    FAIL

    And yet...

    <blink>Blink</blink>

    1. Magnus Ramage

      Re: And yet...

      What? Marc Andreessen is a weeping angel?

      (Point taken though. The blink tag was a truly awful creation, and led to some abominable web design for a while.)

  8. Steve the Cynic

    For real (?) fun...

    Back in about 2000 I installed a copy of Win95 OSR2 on a machine for purposes that remain obscure, probably invalid, and definitely irrelevant here. This was the build that included IE3.

    So off I went to www.microsoft.com to look for a more recent build of IE. The server wouldn't let me in, because IE3 requested HTTP/0.9...

  9. MacroRodent Silver badge
    Windows

    NOW I feel old...

    Mosaic was the first browser I ever used, on a Solaris workstation, which was my main work platform at the time. Actually I kept using it for several years and was annoyed by all those new web-sites that did not work right in it, because of the damn Netscape-specific extentions. Tables? Who needs them? (some of the last Mosaic versions did implement tables, but they never worked very well, IIRC).

    (There should be an icon for old (in Internet time, not necessarily in real time) codgers - oh well, this comes closest)

    1. Crisp Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: NOW I feel old...

      I still get flashbacks when I hear the sound of a modem handshaking.

      1. Khoos
        Coat

        Re: NOW I feel old...

        .. and PTSD from busy signals?

      2. MacroRodent Silver badge

        Re: NOW I feel old...

        > I still get flashbacks when I hear the sound of a modem handshaking.

        Just yesterday I heard that when visiting a pharmacy in Helsinki (and had a flashback...). I have no idea why they use modems any more, good and affordable ADSL service is available from several operators, not to mention the 3G dongles + data packages you practically get as freebies in cereal packets. Perhaps their payment processor insists on landline modems for security reasons.

        1. Michael Habel Silver badge
          Childcatcher

          Re: NOW I feel old...

          "Just yesterday I heard that when visiting a pharmacy in Helsinki (and had a flashback...). I have no idea why they use modems any more, good and affordable ADSL service is available from several operators, not to mention the 3G dongles + data packages you practically get as freebies in cereal packets. Perhaps their payment processor insists on landline modems for security reason."

          Ya know it could've just been something as simple as a Fax Machine.

        2. Alan W. Rateliff, II
          Paris Hilton

          Re: NOW I feel old...

          It could have been a fail-over. Various payment systems around here fail-over to dial-up for cashless transactions in the even the Internet goes down... though we all know nothing on the Internet EVER goes down. Also, ISTR there are some compliance differences when using dial-up versus Internet. As well, some insurance carriers will only accept transmittals via direct dial-up. Amazingly enough, in 2013 with e-mail and Internet availability abound, so many business will only send or receive documents via fax.

          Paris, paradoxically ON the Internet...

    2. Kubla Cant Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: NOW I feel old...

      A previous post referred to "old DEC Alphas". I can remember working on Vaxes when the Alpha was a new thing. Actually, I think I can remember working on PDP/11s when the Vax was new.

  10. Dunstan Vavasour
    Thumb Up

    Heady Days

    Mosaic *was* the killer app for the WWW. Running on SunOS with X and a colour monitor, all the ingredients for the modern browser were there:

    - Text and Images displayed together for a page

    - Coloured highlighting of hyperlinks

    - Forward and backward buttons, for a good sesh browsing the web

    - Rendered presentation of other protocols (ftp, gopher and IIRC news)

    Lynx allowed you to read from the web, but Mosaic allowed you to browse.

    Its accompanying page "What's new with NCSA Mosaic" was the de facto chronicle of the expansion of the WWW over its first few years. Heady times, and the importance of NCSA in building on Cern's work was pivotal: Mosaic on the client side, NCSA server, and "What's New" in disseminating information.

  11. Thomas Gray

    IE and licence fees?

    I remember a few years back the story being that IE was a free product (back when Microsoft never gave anything away) in order to avoid paying anything to NCSA, since the licence fee was negotiated on a "percentage of profit" basis. Can anyone confirm/deny this?

    1. Sam Liddicott

      Re: IE and licence fees?

      I also recall that rumour

    2. 404 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: IE and licence fees?

      I was happy to pay Netscape for their browser until Internet Explorer 3 came out. Figured why should I pay for something Microsoft was giving away free? I still have my 'Midnight Madness' MS t-shirt for getting IE3 downloaded over a 28.8 USRobotics external serial modem in record time (<24hrs).

      Of course this was Microsoft's .plan all along to drive Netscape into the dirt - had I known back in those exciting days what was happening, I never would have helped them.

      I still miss Netscape.

      sent via Firefox 20.0.1.... facepalm is for me.

    3. rhdunn

      Re: IE and licence fees?

      It was Spyglass -- see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spyglass,_Inc. and the associated references.

    4. NightFox

      Re: IE and licence fees?

      My memory is signing up (by post!) to ISP Demon Internet, then when I got my account details making my very first connection to the Internet via Windows 95 - and then realizing I didn't have a clue what to do when the prompt said "connected". It was only after calling Demon support that I was snottily told I needed to start my web browser. What web browser? So then it was off to Escom to buy IE3 for £50 in the guise of Microsoft Plus, though whether the browser was free and I was actually paying £50 for some themes and Space Cadet Pinball is debatable I guess.

  12. Mage Silver badge

    Trumpet?

    I remember hearing that. But I came late to the Web, though had used Prestel then various services via X.25 via 300 baud dialup PAD.

    So though my first Browser was a Mosaic version, it used MS 32bit TCP/IP for WFWG 3.11. Dial up modem on the PC.

    October 1995 we trashed our NT Server installing MS beta proxy (Catapult?) and after fixing it installed Wingate 1.0 to share the phone line Modem on demand to five PCs with WFWG3.11. We put Win95 on only 1 machine (for kids to game) and gradually added NT4.0 Workstations with Netscape in 1996 onward. A couple of Win98 PCs in 1999 for the kids to play games on.

    Today an 11 year old Laptop with XP and Firefox connecting to Internet using my own design of Linux based Router & WiFi (108Mbps WiFi on Laptop) , cable modem to outdoor 10GHz 14km Microwave link (8Mbps/1Mbps speed). 2 x 1 Gbps switches for the rest of the Network. No MS Server, Linux Server, though we did have a Microsoft Server for nearly 18 years.

  13. big_Jim
    Happy

    The World Wide What

    the hell is the internet is for? Happy Days.

  14. Stacy
    Happy

    Takes me back

    I first used the internet when I started at Uni in 1994...

    Lots of Sun think clients thought the tallest building (I forget the name, but I think they have pulled it down now) at DeMontfort (using those wonderful paternosters to get up and down!). Lowly IT students were had to use the older monochrome machines (software engineering got the colour ones). But the monitors were absolutely crisp and clear even so. Loved those machines (not the shared CPU and internet connection which were woefully under specified!)...

    And of course all had Mosaic on them. A couple of years before I was connected at home using IE...

    Thanks for bringing the memories back to the surface :)

  15. dave 158

    Still works fine for me

    MicroVMS 4.6, CMU IP stack, MicroVAX II in a BA123 cab - now we're cooking.

    There appears to be no nostalgia icon, there used to be one, only cost two bob and you still had money left over for an beer and a mars bar......

  16. deshepherd

    Must be almost 20 years since I started using the Web then! I was working using a system which had 3 or 4 large ring binders of documentation on all the commands when one day a message on the users email list (remember the days of email list and digests!) came from someone in a US university to say that he'd found this new program called Mosaic and he'd converted all the documentation into HTML so that by going to a web page on a server he'd set up at his university you could type in a command name and it would display the documentation for that command ... it seemed amazing that it was quicker to get info from a computer in Idaho than it was to pull a ring binder off the shelf above my desk!

    Also, back in those days to help you navigate around the "web" the NCSA web site helpfully included a "new websites of the month" page ... later that became "new websites of the week" before disappearing. And true to rule on the development of new technologies one of the early sites list was from a Dutch University CS dept which among other contents proudly advertised that it considered it had the largest online collection of pr0n in Europe!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      *sigh*

      The good old days, when every web site could be listed on a single page and everybody played xpilot in their "spare" time.

  17. Winkypop Silver badge
    Happy

    A friend first showed me the Internet years ago

    bOObs

    That was the first thing I saw online.

    Not much has changed.

  18. PhilipN Silver badge

    Mozilla

    Seem to remember the first release of Netscape had something like "Yes, this is the Mozilla" emblazoned across the top. Always thought this was a scrunched version of "Mosaic Killer".

    Anyone know if Mozilla (the name) came from something else? Who do we blame for attaching "-zilla" to everything?

    1. TeeCee Gold badge
      Coat

      Re: Mozilla

      Who do we blame for attaching "-zilla" to everything?

      God. As in; "Godzilla".....

    2. Mittelhauser

      Re: Mozilla

      Yes, Mozilla came from "Mosaic Killer"

      -Jon

  19. jason 7 Silver badge

    Spring 2014 will be my 20th Anniversary of web use.

    Started with Bulletin Boards then got a 'Internet/email account with Direct Connection (first company that looked vaguely professional in the back of Computer Shopper magazine IIRC).

    My own static IP connection and email (no one else I knew had it so not much use) and then I upgraded my modem (an Amstrad 2400baud from Game) to a MultiTech 19200 and also plugged in a 16550 serial port into Dad's 486 Win3.1 PC (jumper pin IRQ config thanks very much for asking), downloaded and configured Trumpet Winsock, then Netscape V1.0 and my first grey webpage appeared.

    It was good fun back then. People used to visit me to see this new amazing thing I even lectured my bosses on how the Internet worked for their emerging web strategy (the first thing I told them was "no large images!" so what did they do? Stuck a huge image on the homepage that took two minutes to load. I gave up at that point).

    Then Dixons/Freeserve came along and kind of ruined it all.

  20. David Given
    Go

    Build it yourself

    Mosaic's been 'ported' to modern Unix machines (the original source is too primitive to build using our futuristic compilers). It's an easy build, and even works on 64-bit machines:

    https://github.com/alandipert/ncsa-mosaic

    It's scarily small.

    Still totally unusable, of course.

  21. Seanmon
    Thumb Up

    Only 20?

    Cool. I'm clearly not as old as I sometimes fear, when I first came to t'web, Netscape was ubiquitous and I never even saw Mosaic in live use. (mid 90's, BT, and you had to get written permission to "surf the net")

    Pleased to note that that first ever website I looked at is still alive too: http://www.doggiesnot.com

  22. JeffinLondon
    Happy

    I remember my first browser as the IBM WebExplorer running on OS/2 3 Warp (1994?) and connecting to the net via the IBM Network.

    Lord it was an awful experience, but the package came with (I kid you not) a huge, paper map of the globe annotated with web sites around the world. An early sight was an english language newspaper hosted in Moscow. I was awed that sitting in a house in upstate New York I could access a server in Russia with a few taps on my keyboard.

    Crude, but I was hooked.

  23. Anthony Hulse

    Takes me back

    Back to the Comp Sci lab at uni, running Mosaic off an HP-UX machine from a Mac LC. I seem to recall the Web was just university pages and Star Trek fans sites back then.

    Happy days :-)

  24. roger 8

    I remember using Arachne on Dos many years ago I like its email programe very much

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arachne_%28web_browser%29

  25. Snar
    Pint

    Ahh...those were the days.... Sportster 14k4 modem, Compaq luggable DX2/66, Windows 3.1, Trumpet Winsock, NCSA Mosaic 1.0 and Demon Internet :)

  26. Nifty
    Windows

    The days when Internet Cafes did not server coffee

    It was 1995 when I first tried a web search, not having access to any Uni facilities it was by visiting an 'Internet Cafe' in Liverpool on the main high street drag. It was full of terminals and no coffee to be seen.

    After this it was a matter of months before I bought a Win 3.1 PC secondhand and was connected via modem.

    Then I drummed up a simple site (with photos via a handheld 'roll over' scanner) to send guests to my Aunt's B&B. in those early days web competition was so thin that it did rather well, majority of customer seemed to be from the US which was several years (maybe 5?) ahead of the UK in home connectivity and general web access.

    Anyone else remember upgrading their modem every 4 months?

    The £30/month phone bills that could be run up to the ISP were oddly similar to what I pay now for broadband.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The days when Internet Cafes did not server coffee

      > It was 1995 when I first tried a web search, not having access to any Uni facilities it was by visiting an 'Internet Cafe' in Liverpool on the main high street drag.

      I remember setting that up!!! It was only there for a few days and used HP712 workstations for browsing and an HP735 as a proxy. The internet connection was via an ISDN card in the 735.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The days when Internet Cafes did not server coffee

      But back then, £30 was real money!

  27. big col
    Happy

    Mosaic changed my life

    In 1994 my daughter was born, she was diagnosed with a very rare genetic condition called Costello syndrome. She was the 23rd person in the world known to have the condition and little was known about her future or outcomes.

    I used gopher to try and find information with little success, and then saw mosaic, it was amazing. Suddenly users had a way of finding information in a way that was simpler to use then the previous tools. My thoughts at the time were that my daughter is the 23rd person with this condition then I will set about finding somebody else. Working in IT at a university I had access to an early Novell web-server, so I built a small website, archived references to all the medical publications I could find, an hoped that somebody else would find us. Amazingly someone did and our support group was born.

    In 1996 when my daughter was diagnosed with cancer the articles referenced on that early website helped to save her life, New scientist included the story in an article 04 October 1997 called Surfer, heal thyself.

    Our support group was one of the first, or maybe the first rare disorder support groups just on the web. Even today it is estimated that the numbers of people with my daughters condition is less then 500 world wide, yet our support group has members from all corners of the globe. Mosaic gave me the reason to learn HTML. learn how to make a website and change not only my life but the health of others.

    Our current website is http://costellokids.com

    1. Graham Hawkins
      Happy

      Re: Mosaic changed my life

      Oops - costellokids.com seems to be down.

      Too many curious Reg readers!

    2. big col

      Re: Mosaic changed my life

      sorry if you visited the above link the site was in maintenance mode, a Drupal update messed up the database, all fixed now.

      selfless promotion - visit

      http://costellokids.com

      An interesting side note, since those early days the web has assisted many researchers scientists and families around the world to understand genetic conditions better, families noticed connection's between a number of unique syndromes. And now a group of 9 different syndromes are known to be related making the RASopathies the largest group of genetic disorders known.

      I doubt that the level of collaboration that is happening now would ever of happened without those forst steps through the mosaic browser and a few people who could see how it could be used as a tool to bring groups together.

  28. Richard 120
    Happy

    Marc Andreessen

    I'd never heard of the guy until this week, and this is the second time this week I've read about him from two different news sites on two different topics, the other was about google glass.

    The only thing I can say about him with any great certainty is -

    He has the most egg-like head I've ever seen, it's almost like he's out of coneheads.

    It may not lways have been the case, I think at one point he had hair, but now his head is marvellously ovaliform.

  29. Alistair Silver badge

    I recall beating the TCP stack into my Commodore 286, spending the better part of an evening getting my 24k modem configured and working and dialing into a series of BBS. One of which had an 'internet' pipe.

    Bluewave anyone? Fidonet?

    Good old days.

    (and DRDOS + GEM thanks, even then I wasn't an MS fan.)

  30. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Menus and Toolbars :)

      Yes, until you went to a page with lots (meaning a few hundred K) of images and Windows 3.11 ran out of memory and forgot how to repaint the screen then crashed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Trollface

        Re: Menus and Toolbars :)

        Mmmm, and not too long back, viewing a page with an extremely large iframe in the Windows version of Safari used to make modern Windows variants do something similar.

        How things have changed... Oh wait!

  31. Dire Criti¢

    Cello

    Having tried Mosaic v1.0 I have to admit to preferring Cello (circa '92), its default pale lemon background was much easier on the eye than the grey of Mosaic.

  32. Boothy
    Pint

    AMosaic

    Back in the early 90's I only had access to an Amiga 500 (and a Spectrum 128K ;-)

    So my first use of Mosaic was the Amiga port, AMosaic, in 1993.

    Just getting a TCP/IP stack onto the Amiga was a challenge, I'd only accessed bulletin boards with my 14.4 modem up till then, and those didn't need a network stack.

    I'd had so much trouble getting the TCP/IP stack and dialer to run properly, (lack of available support information at the time) that I decided to create a web page dedicated to getting an Amiga online, installing the stack, getting a dialer to work, and specific settings for various ISPs such a Demon. Was a popular site for a while, even getting mentioned in a few Amiga print mags back in the day.

    I was a regular on newgroup demon.ip.support.amiga, and IRC chat channel #DISA, helping people out, and just general chat

    Happy days....

    I also used an Amiga port of Linx, just because it was fast, especially over dial-up.

    Beer: Well it is the start of the weekend :-)

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lets not forget that there were still a lot of people using Amigas, STs and Acorn machines back then. The rise of the Windows PC at home had started but it wasn't until the late 90s that the Internet and Windows machines at home really took off.

    I remember using AMosaic in 1995 and how crashy it was. The web was the next big thing after Gopher failed to catch on.

    1. Al Jones

      I think it would be fairer to say that the web overtook Gopher - Gopher hadn't failed, it was still growing when the Web turned up and left Gopher in the dust.

      Gopher had point and click clients before we had graphical web browsers, but it was much more about content and organization, rather than presentation. HTML gave more control over presentation.

      Form over function - some things never change....

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah, the memories

    Win32s, my first foray into truly insane software. Working on one in a line of boxes I put together myself sporting an AMD 386DX-40 with a paper white monitor and Windows 3.1 with Win32s. The hours I spent debugging random race conditions! The later released Windows for Workgroups (which had 32-bit support built-in) would be much more stable, and after all that switching to NT 3.51 as my personal desktop O/S would be a no-brainer. Netscape's browsers were much better than what Spyglass, and later Microsoft, released, but at least here in the U.S. the momentum was behind the "free" browser from Microsoft. Regrettably I happen to have been the guy at my company who figured out how to successfully deploy IE using the then newly released IEAK. My guilt over that is something I've learned to accept over time.

  35. roger 8

    My first steps in to computers was the old zx81 then i found out about girls it was not untill I started wiht ham radios and a programe called FBB a radio linked BBS and using baycom boards. then venturing onto the net Demon was my isp. but some of the good stuff still out there seems to be forgotton or not know by users today like IRC and Newsgroups. Even had one kid say to me a few months back about a new program called Mirc and recon its going to wipe messenger off the web.

    1. Steven Roper
      Thumb Up

      Ha ha ha, my first computer was also a ZX81, given to me for my 16th birthday in 1982. Except that in my case, in the struggle of computers vs. girls, computers won...!

  36. Steve Graham
    Black Helicopters

    The Olden Days

    I worked for BT from the 1980s and had access to "fast" connectivity via the X.25 network. My first internet activity was via a BIX account (Byte magazine) which was a bulletin board, as was common at the time, but they had a gateway onto the actual internet (I forget the details).

    I do remember dealing with Microsoft in the mid-nineties. They wanted us to build them a dial-up bulletin board network to compete with Compuserve, even though it was obvious to anyone who had a clue that the concept was a dead duck and the internet was the coming thing.

  37. ecofeco Silver badge
    Happy

    It was my first

    You never forget your first.

    I honestly didn't see what the fuss was about until browsers (and servers) started handling pictures. Right then it had BBS beat all to hell.

    Then came tables and that's when I built my 2nd website. (websites without some kind of layout frame structure look like, well, see the picture. A list.)

    1. Cipher
      Thumb Up

      Re: It was my first

      1994 ?, used a SLIP connection from an .edu account to the "World Wide Web" with Mosaic.

      I thought I was Christopher Freakin' Columbus!

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ha ha ha

    My site displays just fine. See, I knew there was a reason for sticking to W3C standards?!?

  39. Mittelhauser

    A few minor corrections...

    I'm not really sure why the comments about the history are attributed to TBL who was on the other side of the world and wouldn't really have any knowledge.

    This statement: "According to Berners-Lee, a manager there wanted a project for students to “show off their programming skills, ”and having tried out ViolaWWW, got the idea of making a new web browser" is pretty much just 100% inaccurate.

    There was no manager who suggested the project. It was taken up by Marc and Eric on the side after Marc came across TBLs work. I don't think it's fair to say that Eric did most of the programming either. Although I do think Eric did more of the complicated pieces (Marc would be the first to admit that Eric was the better programmer) and Marc did more of the vision.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sulking Firefox?

    For the first time I can remember - Firefox 20.0.1 just crashed on me while doing an "upvote" in this article.

  41. WaveSynthBeep

    May I just point out...

    Facebook works in Lynx. Or the mobile version does anyway. Surprisingly well in fact - I actually use it for real that way sometimes.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lynx was my first experience of the web, some time after I'd become accustomed to IRC, FTP, usenet, and - yes - Gopher.

    There were no portals of which I was aware, and no search engines. I went to the site foe the University my mom was working at, and quickly ran out of links to anything interesting.

    "This 'web' thing," I thought, in a moment of profound opacity, "is going nowhere."

  43. crediblywitless

    JumpStation

    If anyone's interested, on 21st Dec 2013, it'll be 20 years since the first web-search engine first became available. We didn't think it was first---we thought everyone had one. Sigh. Hi, Jon!

  44. Suricou Raven

    Of course they don't work.

    I'm surprised sites today run on modern browsers half the time. No-one hand-codes sites any more, and even the most basic sites seem to demand an ugly wad of code to handle interactive menus and dynamic content.

    What happened to simple design, centered around the content being presented?

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