Navigator, Explorer, Konqueror, Safari

The recent beta release of Apple's Safari browser for Windows made me reminisce of the history of browsers and recall a funny fact in the naming of them.

Did you ever realise, that all the major browsers follow a historical path in their naming tradition? First came the Netscape Navigator. (Well, skipping Mosaic, of course.) Then of course the navigators were followed by explorers, exploring the new continents as they were discovered. When the KDE developers decided to start creating their own browser, they set this tradition in stone by naming their browser Konqueror, with the explicit explanation that historically that's what usually followed the explorers. (Of course the fact that it's a word that could be miss-spelled with a capital K in the name was probably a factor too. You think?)

Before today I had not realised that Safari is a perfect name for a browser to follow these three great ones. I had just associated the naming with the versions of Mac OS: Tiger, Panther, Leopard - animals you could see on a safari. But after all, once the new continents had been conquered and colonised, followed the tourists who went on Safari's looking at the new continents. Clever! And I do like the association of Mac users as upper class tourists :-)

The logo of Netscape Navigator was aptly a ships steering wheel. I remember how exciting it was to surf the graphical web for the first time. You could view people's home pages around the world. Collections of jokes, recipes, peoples life stories... It was literally as exciting as traveling for real! Then the US president was quite quick to open up his own homepages, it was amazing to be able to visit from Europe. It was such a distant and exotic place. (And the US president wasn't regarded in Europe the same way as the current one.)

I had the same excited feeling with IRC by the way. The main ruse was just to be able to chat with people from so many different places around the world.

All this seems weird now, to be excited about such mundane things. And it was just a little more than 10 years ago! But it was a different world then. Finland was Finland, with Finnish newspapers and Finnish TV channels. Ok, so there were satellite channels, but not many bothered to pay for those, why would you be interested in TV programs in a foreign language in a far away country? The internet has changed all this. Today I take for granted I know what some nerds in the US are doing and I can use Flickr and YouTube to see people from around the world.

Well, it seems I made this post a piece of nostalgia. As they say: Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.

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