File Under: Browsers

Browse the Web as it Looked in 1993


Github user Alan Dipert has posted the source code for NCSA Mosaic 2.7 on the code-hosting website.

You can download it and run it on any modern Linux installation. It seems to run on Ubuntu just fine, though PNG support is a little wonky. The good news is that the folks on Github are actively submitting patches.

Mosaic was the first graphical web browser. It was born in the early ’90s, created by a small team headed by Marc Andreessen. The same crew would go on to found Netscape Communications and build the Netscape browser, which would eventually lead to the Mozilla browser, and finally to Firefox. So, running Mosaic is basically taking the browsing experience all the way back to its roots.

Dipert acknowledges the work of two other coders who ported the old code to run on the modern Linux: Sean MacLennan and Alan Wylie. As MacLennan says on his site, “If you are going to run a 10-year old protocol (HTML), you might as well use a 10-year old browser.”

I first started using Mosaic at the beginning, in 1993. We had it running at my college radio station, and we DJs would use it to download the news wires we’d read on air at the top of every hour. I also used it to browse Wired’s gopher server and read the magazine articles on my computer in my dorm room. About two years later, HotWired arrived on the web proper, and I used Mosaic to browse it.

OK, I’m getting misty. Somebody cue up some Pearl Jam.

Screenshot and hat tip from Tomayko.