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Chapter 1. Getting Started > A Brief History of Firefox

A Brief History of Firefox

Firefox is the result of many different efforts that grew together. Many of these were the outgrowth of innovative efforts to develop software in new ways and using open source communities of volunteers in the development and promotion of the software. In many ways, Firefox is a response to years of development of browsing software and reflects a passion to improve the software most often used by millions of people each day.

The Start of Mozilla

Firefox is a direct outgrowth of the Mozilla project, started in 1998 by Netscape to engage a volunteer engineering development community that could help Netscape with continued development of the Netscape browser and associated Internet software technology. As part of this effort, Netscape released the source for the Netscape browser under a combination of open source licenses. Later that year, efforts began to rewrite much of the Netscape code to make it easier to understand and to facilitate future development. (This was the result of substantial pressure put on Netscape by the new community that sprang up around Mozilla.) A key element was the rewrite of the Netscape browser layout engine and the creation of a cross-platform application development platform that would allow developers to create a single application for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux.


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