Today 9th July marks the 42nd birthday of Marc Andreessen, co-author of the Mosaic browser. Born in Cedar Falls, Iowa in 1971, Marc received a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Illinois in December 1993, effectively kick starting his career in the world of computer coding and the WWW!
Marc is well known for being a co-author of several business ventures, including Mosaic, Ning, Netscape Communications Corp and Andreessen Horowitz. He was working at the National Centre for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) where he met Eric Bina, and together they created the idea of a user-friendly web browser that worked on a wide range of computers. Mosaic was a highly credited web browser first introduced in January 23rd 1993, which changed the World Wide Web to what we know it as today.
Mosaic was the web browser of the moment – very reliable, and the first browser to display images in line with text without opening a separate window to display them, it has been credited as responsible for populating the www. Best of all, it was free for all to download and use at their leisure.
Another plus point to Mosaic was that it also had support for Microsoft Windows operating systems. This further contributed to its popularity, and with many people finding the internet easier to use, Mosiac was one of the contributing factors to the Internet boom of the 1990s.
The web browsers of today such as Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari and Mozilla Firefox are used by millions all around the world and even 20 years down the line from the first release of the Mosaic web browser, these present day browsers still use many of the same characteristics of the Mosaic Graphical User Interface (GUI). Netscape Navigator (co-founded by Marc) was another web browser developed a year later (1994), but shared no coding from Mosaic but was developed by the same team, but proved to have a lot of potential as Netscape Navigator is the descendant of today’s Mozilla Firefox which is a hugely successful web browser and is up there as one of the best.
Marc is one of only 6 people to be inducted to the World Wide Web Hall of Fame, alongside:
- Tim Berners-Lee (“father of the Internet”)
- Eric Bina – Marc’s co-founder of Mosaic and Netscape
- Kevin Hughes – pioneer of the WW in the US; developed the “imagemap”
- Rob Hartil – Welsh computer programmer and web designer, worked on the formulation of the IMDB and the Apache web server
- Lou Montulli – Programmer, well known for his work on producing web browsers, including co-authoring Lynx.