Twenty-five years ago, on April 22, 1993, University of Illinois’ National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) released Mosaic 1.0, a web browser that was somewhat mainstream was released to the public. Marc Andreessen, the Mosaic-browser project leader, would later leave to start Mosaic Communications, which would then go on to rename itself Netscape. Rest is history.
As an early adopter of the Internet, I was used to trying out new browsers, but nothing compared to Mosaic. This one could show text and images inline. For someone involved in technology journalism, this was like a starter gun into the future. And excited as it was, I would be lying to say that I thoroughly understood the long-term impact of Mosaic, but it was a great starting point for the story of our lives.
It wouldn’t be hyperbole to say, that probably it was one of the most significant pieces of software releases of modern society. I downloaded that browser on my 1200 baud modem and an aging 386 laptop. It took forever on a phone line that I shared with four other roommates when living in Long Island City.
Ironically, I heard about the browser on CompuServe, a now-forgotten online service. I can’t even remember the name of my ISP, but all I remember is that Mosaic unleashed a lot of innovation and creative activity. Since then, time and again, Open Web as a platform has provided an equal opportunity to create and innovate, even to its most significant enemies. Facebook exists because the web gave it the platform. And now it is closing the web. Sad!
I can safely say my life has not been the same since that day of Mosaic.