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The Browser Wars

Browsers740 words4 minutes to read

I was discussing the history of the Browser Wars with a friend last night. Afterwords, I went home, and as I put my daughter to bed, I made up a “Once upon a time” story for her so that she would go to sleep.

I know it must’ve been a strange comination of the two events, coupled with the sandwich I ate just before I went to bed. I had the strangest dream. It was kinda like when Cliff Huxtable had wierd dreams after eating sandwiches on the Cosby Show.

Anyways, when I woke up this morning, I sat down and wrote this. Wierd.

Once Upon A Time…

A long time ago, in a land far, far away, there lived a king by the name of Netscape. The king had rule over a very happy kingdom. Life was good, better and better crops were being produced, and the future looked very bright.

But alas, this king was not perfect. Sometimes he made poor choices, even when his intent was very good. Instead of following in the footsteps of his father, Mosaic, and following the laws that were made before him, he decided to do things his own way. Although those ways seemed righteous and good, the end result was not a positive one.

The king’s half-brother, Explorer — who was also a son of Mosaic, began to grow bitter and envious of his brother’s good fortune at the expense of his own. Although Explorer was not as good, strong, or talented as his older brother Netscape, he vowed to overthrow his brother, the king, and rule the kingdom as he saw fit.

A war broke out. Explorer was outright challenging his half-brother’s right to the throne. Alliances were formed, and shady deals were struck. Explorer was ruthless and intolerant of anyone who was dissident, so at knife-point, he forced nearly all of his allies to either pay tribute to him, or die. Those who would not, had their lives cut short.

Netscape, struggling to keep his kingdom in-tact, also made alliances. Unlike his brother, these alliances were created more out of comradery and respect, rather than Explorer’s that were created out of fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

New weapons were created in this war. Explorer’s research team developed a weapon called “DOM”, while Netscape’s team developed a technology called “Layers”. Even though Netscape’s Layers were intended to be used as a weapon against Explorer, they usually had horrible side-effects that did nothing but harm the people of the kingdom instead. In time, the loyalty of the people was swayed, and homage ended up at the feet of Explorer.

In only three short years, Explorer and his allies had decimated King Netscape’s armies. Explorer was victorious at the end of the “Browser Wars”, and was crowned King of the Web.

Instead of killing Netscape outright, Explorer backed off just enough for another growing empire, AOL, to take the weakened Netscape captive. It was during this time that Netscape had a son of his own. He named his son “Mozilla”.

In time, Explorer’s rule became absolute. The king’s subjects would occasionally talk about “Once upon a time, when Netscape was king,” but for the most part, the people simply forgot all about the ancient days of King Netscape.

Netscape’s role had been reduced to that of an unwanted slave in AOL’s empire. Although Netscape, and his son Mozilla, had much potential and great promise, AOL’s emporer was ignorant and simply disregarded them all-together.

King Explorer and the Emporer of AOL, although previously harsh enemies, decided to call a truce and combine their resources to the goal of world domination. Not long after the truce was called, Netscape was taken out to the gallows and beheaded. Newspaper headlines read “Netscape is dead. There’s nothing to see here.”

After former king Netscape was unceremoniously executed, AOL released Mozilla from captivity believing that he was of no use, and was no threat. AOL couldn’t have been more wrong.

Believing that the only remaining threat had been eliminated, King Explorer was content to simply rest on his laurels. As Mozilla and his two new friends, Opera and Safari, grew stronger, Explorer grew stagnant. He stopped improving, stopped growing, and stopped becoming better.

It is believed that it will only be a matter of time before a grown-up Mozilla meets King Explorer head-on and says:

“Hello. My name is Inigo Mozilla. You killed my father. Prepare to die…”

Ryan Parman

is an engineering manager with over 20 years of experience across software development, site reliability engineering, and security. He is the creator of SimplePie and AWS SDK for PHP, patented multifactor-authentication-as-a-service at WePay, defined much of the CI/CD and SRE disciplines at McGraw-Hill Education, and came up with the idea of “serverless, event-driven, responsive functions in the cloud” while at Amazon Web Services in 2010. Ryan's aptly-named blog, , is where he writes about ideas longer than . Ambivert. Curious. Not a coffee drinker.