The Internet: Twenty Years in Review, 1995 – 2015 (Adoption of the 7)

This Week, “Adoption of the Internet, part 7″
 Funding in place, smart people engaged, infrastructure connected, protocols developed, applications available. At this point, it is necessary to go backwards in the chronology just a bit. The browser wars had long been raging by the time of Netscape and Microsoft in the late 90s. Consider this a detour to look at the evolution of browsers.



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  • The team at CERN later released the libwww API with an open source license





  • Pei-Yuan Wei developed ViolaWWW, a browser that supported UNIX platforms and multiple content types. This was an extension of a project that he had developed for a few years to handle graphical content within the X Windows UNIX environment. He migrated the local functionality to support network based remote content. ViolaWWW was the first universal browser, recommended by CERN, and well accepted by a still limited user community. ViolaWWW is recognized as being an early victim of technology patent trolls. Eolas Technologies attempted to patent technologies publicly known, and was suing every large technology company when a court brought Wei and Berners-Lee to testify, proving the preexistence of technology to the patent filings by Eolas. The suits were subsequently dropped.



  • Erwise was developed by four Finnish student. While built as a school project and not maintained beyond that, it introduced a few ideas known to this day. Erwise was the first browser to have underlined hyperlinks and doubleclick support to havigate to the linked URL.







  • MacWWW/SAMBA was developed by Robert Cailliau while at CERN to emulate WorldWideWeb functionality for Mac. This, the first commercial browser, lacked proper implementation of the Mac GUI, did not support the mouse, and was abandoned in favor of the NCSA browser.





  • Key innovations evolved over half a decade that would precede NCSA Mosaic, Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer.
  • Underlined links, doubleclick within a page to navigate to a new link, inline documents and more – these all started to define what was expected of a modern browser.

 . . . part 8