Mosaic (web browser)

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Mosaic is the web browser credited with popularizing the World Wide Web. It was also a client for earlier protocols such as FTP, NNTP, and gopher. Its clean, easily understood user interface, reliability, Windows port and simple installation all contributed to making it the application that opened up the Web to the general public.[2] Mosaic was also the first browser to display images inline with text instead of displaying images in a separate window.[3] While often described as the first graphical web browser, Mosaic was preceded by the lesser-known Erwise[4] and ViolaWWW.

Mosaic was developed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA)[3] at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign beginning in late 1992. NCSA released the browser in 1993,[5] and officially discontinued development and support on January 7, 1997.[6] However, it can still be downloaded from NCSA.[7]

Fifteen years after Mosaic's introduction, the most popular contemporary browsers, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, retain many of the characteristics of the original Mosaic graphical user interface (GUI) and interactive experience.

Netscape Navigator was later developed by James H. Clark and many of the original Mosaic authors; however, it intentionally shared no code with Mosaic. Netscape Navigator's code descendant is Mozilla.[8]



David Thompson tested ViolaWWW and showed the application to Marc Andreessen.[9] Andreessen and Eric Bina originally designed and programmed NCSA Mosaic for Unix's X Window System called xmosaic[3][5][9][10] Funding for the development of Mosaic came from the High-Performance Computing and Communications Initiative, a program created by the High Performance Computing and Communication Act of 1991.[11]

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