Simon Willison’s Weblog


Netscape R.I.P.

15th July 2003

Chances are you’ve heard this already, but Netscape is no more. MozillaZine are reporting that AOL has cut or will cut the remaining team working on Mozilla in a mass firing and are dismantling what was left of Netscape (they’ve even pulled the logos off the buildings). Today is a truly sad day.

Thankfully the Mozilla project will continue under the wings of the Mozilla Foundation, a new non-profit organisation headed up by the leaders of the current Mozilla project. The press release has the details: AOL have pledged $2,000,000 over the next two years, Mitch Kapor (of the OSAF) has donated $300,000 and Red Hat and Sun Microsystems are planning to follow suit. The foundation have a new site, which is mirrored on (and surprisingly still uses a layout table).

Now more than ever, the web standards movement needs to make itself heard. With Netscape dead, less enlightened web developers may be tempted to drop all pretences at cross browser compatibility and go back to targeting Internet Explorer. This would be a folly: even without Netscape, the browser ecosystem is thriving now more than any time before in the history of the web. The browser wars are dead and gone, and with due attention to standards they need never come back. Let’s hope this truth is not lost in the media barrage we can expect over the next few weeks.

This is Netscape R.I.P. by Simon Willison, posted on 15th July 2003.

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