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Netscape, Mozilla and SillyDog701

The relationship between Netscape and Mozilla, and the role of SillyDog701
A quick guide, and a historical perspective


What is Netscape?

(brief version)
Netscape is the name of the browser that brought the use of the internet (also referred to as the World Wide Web (WWW), or simply the "net") to the life of everyday people, and changed the way that people would use the Internet.
(complete version)
Back in 1994, Netscape Communications released Navigator, a product for viewing (surfing) the Internet. However, most people call it Netscape. In 2000, with the release of Netscape 6.0, the company simplified the product name to what most user call it - "Netscape". For internal component naming, "Navigator" is still the name of the browser.

Who created Netscape?

Netscape was founded by Jim Clark and Marc Andreessen in April 1994. It was first called Mosaic Communications, but was quickly renamed to Netscape Communications.

What is Mozilla?

(brief version)
Mozilla used to be the codename of Netscape (Navigator), it still is. Now, Mozilla is the short name of the Mozilla Application Suite, a web browser suite released by Mozilla Organization, formally known as Mozilla Dot Org (Mozilla.Org).
(complete version)
For most computer applications, there are codenames (internal names) for each particular product. And the name Mozilla has been used since the early days. It came from the term "Mosaic Killer" (Mosaic was the first web browser that had graphic display capability).

The name "Mozilla" is also used as an identifier (UserAgent string) of most modern browsers. In 1998, Netscape decided to release the source code of its flagship product – Netscape Communicator, and make the product an open-source code. In order to encourage more people to build the new Netscape (browser), a new organization was formed, it was called Mozilla Dot Org (mozilla.org).

What are the products that the Mozilla Organization works on?

The main product released by Mozilla.org is simply called Mozilla, an application suite (codenamed Seamonkey). It contains a web browser, an email client/newsgroup reader, an IRC client, and an HTML editor.

Later as the Mozilla community expanded, the separation of the suite’s components into separate, stand-alone parts became a popular approach. The results of the separation were Mozilla Firefox (web browser) and Mozilla Thunderbird (email client/newsgroup reader).

Is Netscape = Mozilla?

As mentioned in previous sections, Netscape (browser) has been using "Mozilla" as it’s code name. Mozilla (browser) is the product from Mozilla Organization. Because for many years, AOL/Netscape (company) was the main sponsor of Mozilla Organization, AOL/Netscape took the Mozilla (browser) and repackage it to Netscape 6, and later Netscape 7.

What's the difference between Netscape 6/7 and Mozilla?

(brief version)
They are of same source code, but target different types of users.
(complete version)
Technically speaking, they are almost identical. However, Netscape 6/7 is designed as an end-user product, and Mozilla is for the developers. AOL/Netscape spent a great resource on making Mozilla more end-user friendly by adding documentation and improving the user interface, as well as adding multimedia support and integrating its instant messaging.

What is a user agent? What is UserAgent string?

The user agent (also referred to as the "UA") is a tool people use to request information from the Internet. Web pages are the most popular part of the Internet, and a web browser is a tool that most people use to get information from web servers. Therefore, the web browser is the user agent in this case.

The UserAgent string (or user agent string) is an identifier that web browsers send to web server to tell the web server what user agent it is, or indirectly what it can handle. It is important to let the web server know what the user agent can handle, so the suitable content can be sent to the users.

Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Apple's Safari UserAgent string all start with "Mozilla", why?

Netscape was the predominant browser when the Internet first became popular. There were other browsers as well, but Netscape had more than 80% of market shares back then. Netscape was the first browser to formulate the web pages, making them enjoyable, starting with the image support, plugins for multimedia, and the easy-to-write scripting language – JavaScript.
Netscape has always used "Mozilla" as the beginning of its UserAgent string as a way to identify itself to web servers. Other browsers have to use a similar string so the web servers would send a more advanced version of the web contents. Hence, "Mozilla" is also the common base identifier that indicates the modern browsers.

What is SillyDog701's relationship with Netscape/Mozilla?

SillyDog701 is an independent web site created by Antony Shen, and the most popular section - the Netscape Browser Archive – has been an excellent resource since July 1999. Since late 2001, SillyDog701’s unique Netscape Streamline soon became one of the most popular choices for those who did not want to have the full commercial package from AOL/Netscape. SillyDog701 also has a message board that provides free technical support to end users, and also acts as the focal point of the site.

Additional information

> SillyDog701's Browser Version Guide and Timeline has detailed information on each indiviaul versions of Netscape.

> About the founders of Netscape Communications
Jim Clark
- Marc Andreesen

> About SillyDog701

> Netscape: Origin of a Browser

> Mozilla: the History



In this article:

Netscape, Mozilla and SillyDog701
- a historical perspective

* what is Netscape?

* who created Netscape?

* what is Mozilla?

* mozilla.org's products?

* Netscape = Mozilla?

* difference between Netscape and Mozilla?

* what is UserAgent?

* "Mozilla" in all modern browsers?

* the role of SillyDog701

* additional information



Related Sections:

* MozInfo701 - Mozilla information and resource centre.
* Switch Guide - switch to Gecko based browsers, the easy way.
* Netscape Solutions
* Browser Version Guide
* Message Centre


See Also:

* Netscape Browser Archive
* Browser Version Guide
* Message Centre


Inside SillyDog701:

* Netscape Browser Archive
* Browser Version Guide
* Message Centre
* Netscape Knowledge Base
* SillyDog701 Sidebar


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This document is first published on 23rd June, 2004. This page was last modified on 10 March, 2007.