Fourteen years ago, as a lawyer for Netscape, Mitchell Baker created the open source license that made Netscape’s code free. It was a fateful event for both Baker and the web: Baker ended up leading a small skunkworks project called Mozilla that was eventually spun out into a standalone foundation devoted to making the web better generally, and to offering an alternative to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer specifically. With its Firefox browser, Mozilla is now bigger and more influential than ever, and Baker still serves as its chair.
Meanwhile, the open source, open-web spirit of Mozilla lives on in thousands of projects: GitHub, Android development, HTML5 apps and in Firefox itself. Now, with a healthy 25 percent browser share, Firefox is in a fast-paced browser race with Google’s own open source browser and Microsoft’s vastly improved IE9.
Not bad for a scrappy non-profit that had to fight for the hearts, minds and desktops of the world’s computer users, nearly all of whom were deeply controlled by Microsoft’s monopoly.
For her efforts fighting for user software that doesn’t suck, Baker is being inducted into the Internet Society’s Hall of Fame in its inaugural year.
In this interview with Wired, Baker looks back on Firefox’s success and what it meant — and explains why she thinks Mozilla’s new push to create a mobile operating system to rival...
Vint Cerf invented the protocol that rules them all: TCP/IP. Most people have never heard of it. But it describes the fundamental architecture of the internet, and it made possible Wi-Fi, Ethernet, LANs, the World Wide Web, e-mail, FTP, 3G/4G ― as well as all of the inventions built upon those inventions.
Cerf did that in 1973. For most of you that’s probably 20 years before you even knew what the internet was. That’s why he’s known as the father of the internet and earned himself a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Cerf didn’t stop there ― he went on to co-found the Internet Society (ISOC) and served as president of ICANN, the organization which operates the domain naming system.
So it was pretty much a given that Cerf would be inducted, as he was on Monday, into ISOC’s internet Hall of Fame in its inaugural year.
Just a few days beforehand Cerf talked with Wired about how the military brought the TCP/IP protocol into being, how he and his co-conspirators knew ― almost 40 years ago ― what they were unleashing on the world, the threats to the net today, and what he’d like to see next: a vision that includes internet packets raining down from the sky.
For those who’d like to...