Mozilla Browser


MarcAndreessen left NCSA Mosaic (the original graphical WebBrowser) to make something better. A KillerApp. A Mosaic killer = mozilla. (Side Note: This name was created by JamieZawinski)

Mozilla was launched under the name NetScape in 1994. NetScape was wildly successful and became the first ubiquitous web browser. It fell on hard times with the rise of InternetExplorer.


TheMozillaProject started with Netscape's OpenSource release of the Netscape browser. Mozilla ( was dusted off as the name of the project. The goal of the project was to create an open-source web browser package. TheMozillaProject accepts contributions from anyone but in practice is heavily dominated by Netscape.

After the initial release of the source code, it was noted that the code is such a tangled mess that it was impossible for outsiders to understand it, let alone contribute to it. Mozilla was then redesigned from scratch as a collection of modules which are loaded automatically, and can interact with each other, through a cross-platform library (essentially, Microsoft ComponentObjectModel re-implemented in a cross-platform manner).

Netscape has repackaged the Mozilla browser for the Netscape releases. Netscape 6 was based on a pre-1.0, Netscape 7 is based on the 1.0.1 release. Since the source is open, there is nothing to prevent other companies from creating their own version of the browser. One aim of the Mozilla project is to make it easy for a wider variety of browsers to be introduced, with customizations for particular audiences or markets. GaleonBrowser, NetscapeNavigator, Chimera/Camino, MozillaFirefox, and Fizzilla are all based on the Mozilla browser code.

Some of the modules would be useful to other types of programs as well as to a browser. These include modules for handling security certificates, a general-purpose database, hash tables, platform-independent graphics primitives, and internationalization. Of course, other modules actually do browser-like things (like handle HTML layout).

In addition to the MozillaBrowser, the project has spawned other development tools, such as BugZilla and MozillaTinderbox.

Naysayers are still saying Mozilla has had limited success, but instead it just keeps getting better and better, bringing more people on board each iteration.

Related Pages

Contributors: SeanOleary, others.

General Comments

As much as I admire how "clever" they've been with the design of Mozilla they would have been done a lot faster if they applied YouArentGonnaNeedIt and DoTheSimplestThingThatCouldPossiblyWork. Can you explain this further?

-- GlenStampoultzis

Commentary on Mozilla 1.0

Mozilla 1.0 has been released. According to a CNET benchmark, page-loading and rendering times are consistently faster than Internet Explorer under Windows XP (although the differences are sub-second). Java is slower in Mozilla though. (note, longer bars mean faster in their graph).

An amusing entry in the Mozilla bug database:

Version 1.0 was released June 5, 2002. The current release as of early 2004 is 1.6. Mozilla today includes TabbedBrowsing and Bayesian SpamFiltering? in its mail component.

"I've been using Mozilla-based browsers on both Windows and MacOsx ever since the summer of 2002 and I have yet to find a webpage that doesn't render well in Mozilla. I keep InternetExploder on the harddrive, just in case, but I haven't needed it yet." -- SeanOleary

For the record, AOL is ditching IE and replacing it the AOL client with the Gecko rendering engine, which is the core of Mozilla's web browsing functionality. The Mac OS/X version of AOL already uses Gecko and the switch is well under way for other platforms. Considering the size of the AOL user base, there may soon be a noticeable dent in the IE market share. -- StevenNewton

It seems they cancelled the Gecko switch for version 7.0 and are still using IE for the Windows version as of AOL 9.0.

Two reasons to use the Mozilla web browser that can save a great deal of time If IE support at least the bottom choice, I would still use it.

Pressing Tab

Would someone please bother to add how to press "tab" in an EditText field to TipForTypingTab? By no means can I find it. (Ctrl-tab changes workspace, Alt-Tab changes application, Ctrl-Alt-Tab doesn't work and alt-0-0-9 pops up the sidebartab.) Thanks.

Yeah, well, this isn't exactly a Usenet group, but try using another application (under Windows you can use Notepad) and create a tab character there. Mark it, copy it, paste it. Crude, but effective, and what I still do all the time under Netscape 7.1.

How well does it run?

Has anyone tried Mozilla 1.7 RC3 under MS Windows? If so, any drawbacks? -- VickiKerr

[The above question originally referred to Mozilla 1.5 RC1 (with no problems reported), so I've updated it to the current equivalent.]

(Excess Spacing near PRE tags bug report moved to WikiWikiBugs, since the problem was Wiki producing invalid HTML that happens to render "right" under MS-IE, but not Mozilla.)

CategoryWebDesign CategoryWebBrowser

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