"In the beginning there was one Web browser. It was called
Mosaic, and if you didn't like it you could go back to watching
Murphy Brown, or whatever it was we did before we had the Web. Then
Microsoft started giving away Internet Explorer, Mosaic turned into
Netscape, and suddenly life was complicated. It was like Coke vs.
Pepsi, or Mets vs. Yankees: everybody had to choose. When Microsoft
won the browser wars, by hook or by crook (the jury is still out on
that), life got simple again.
"Brace yourself. A nonprofit group loosely affiliated with
Netscape is about to release a new browser called Mozilla. It's
fast, it's flexible, and it has the backing of AOL (which owns
Netscape, not to mention Time) and its 35 million users. Life is
about to get complicated.
"What makes Mozilla so special is the highly unorthodox process
that produced it. As they worked, Mozilla's engineers released
rough drafts onto the Internet, so hackers everywhere could try
them out, suggest ideas, fix bugs and generally stress-test the
bejeezus out of Mozilla. This is a technique called "open source";
big corporations rarely use it because it involves giving other
people free access to the innards--or source code--of your
software. But given AOL's chilly relationship with Microsoft, that
seemed a small price to pay for an alternative to Internet