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April 23, 2010 02:00 AM PST

nscp.png On March 31, 1998, Netscape Communications released the source code to their web browser client, hoping that they could leverage the community of open source developers to fight off Microsoft in the browser wars.

This video is an excellent documentary of that time.

In the end, Netscape disappeared after an intense battle with Microsoft, and a series of bad decisions (such as a Java based browser, the Collabra acquisition). After a few years, that source code became the basis for the Firefox browser.

If Netscape Navigator was Ben Kenobi to Internet Explorer's Darth Vader, then Firefox, Chrome and the mobile WebKit browsers are the rag-tag bunch that blew up the Death Star.

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