When jwz and Terry Weissman were still working on Netscape 2.1, they implemented S/MIME with Lisa Repka (my friend from MicroUnity). At the same time, pmarca et al. miscalculated on the Collabra startup they bought and gave keys to the Netscape client kingdom. This led to Netscape 2.1 becoming 3, and Netscape 3 becoming 4 -- and at first running only on Windows -- and not well, against IE4.

Scott Furman (friend from MicroUnity & Netscape) and I went to MS's IE4 open house at Gordon Biersch in +

San Jose in 1997, and we enjoyed Scott Isaacs of MS showing us VML (vector graphics markup in IE) and other stunts which we had both discussed at Netsacpe,without having the means to implement -- for want of Netscape blowing its IPO mad money on mediocre "enterprise" startups such as Collabra -- and Scott Furman and I both said to each other "we're fucked!"

From there on, it was downhill all the way. First floor Netscape people, fried to a crisp by the 1.0 and 1.1 releases, left or checked out.

Much of 1997, I focused on standardizing JS as "ES1", ECMA-262 (see ecma-international.org/). In June I drove in a rented "Turbo Diesel Minibus" from Paris to Nice with my marketing counterpart, Ang Ng, and her boyfriend Jason. Good times, not quite "Ronin" (the film) but close enough -- we even went to Eze, the perched village, above Nice and Cap Ferrat.

(I did not RPG an opposing car, as De Niro did in "Ronin".)

After standardizing JS, I joined the incipient mozilla.org team in late 1997. +

I knew at that time, per my cube-mate Jeff Weinstein's query to me, that JS would either die fast or live for 20 years and go big. I wanted to help jwz, Lloyd Tabb, paquin, mtoy, and others to get mozilla.org off the ground. Even then, as MS was killing Netscape by taking the price of a browser to $0 and filling in the server side, those of us on side with mozilla.org could foresee a time when server side code was also 0-cost. We reckoned that client code built at cost of ~$1B would be valuable.

And we were right! Firefox.

Ok, after we did Firefox and partnered with Google on search, we knew Sergey (& Larry) would do their own browser. My last meeting with both Gogole founders was in 2005. Sergey was late because Steve Jobs had called him to scream about "don't you fucking poach David Hyatt!"

This was the "Tech-topus" case, where Google, Adobe, Intel, and Apple were said to have agreed (in restraint of trade) to avoid recruiting one another's talent, with higher pay per poach. Oops. +

Hyatt never left Apple, so his name is redacted in Techtopus case materials.

At that last (for me) meeting in 2005, Larry Page said both he and Sergey had both just been to Esther Dyson's "Space Camp" where her uncle Freeman Dyson had given a talk on Project Orion. If you don't know what this is, read Niven & Pournelle's "Footfall". Freeman talked about the chemical explosive-fueled prototype, and the future.

In front of me, Larry Page said "Everythhing today is lame!" and pounded the table. +

Larry said regarding Project Orion (nuclear bomb impulse-fueled rockets: very big shock absorber with springs and steampunk tech to absorb the shock) "We should do that!".

I cannot disagree, although I demur from atmospheric launch, even if only over northen China.)

It was clear that (a) Sergey and Larry wanted to do something big; (b) they wanted to do a browserl hence my suggestion they do their own on WebKit, as Larry favored to me at the time.

At this point the Google Chrome die was cast.

At this point, I think Mozilla was doomed - just on first principles and induction.

Anyway, it's interesting that the billionaires of the new aeon are dedicated to physically realistic space travel. I admire that. More recently I heard Larry is into Tri-Alpha Energy (proton-boron fusion) which may yet prove viable. Let's hope so!

Meanwhile, JS lumbers along its evolutionary path, advantaged by being "on first" in 1995 and for two years while I worked to standardize it. Here's to 22 years more!


@BrendanEich big thanks for the reminisce, a fun and interesting read

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