NCSA's Mosaic wasn't the first Web browser. But it was the first to make a major splash. In November 1993, Mosaic v 1.0 broke away from the small pack of existing browsers by including features—like icons, bookmarks, a more attractive interface, and pictures—that made the software easy to use and appealing to "non-geeks."
NCSA offered Mosaic free from its website, and soon more than 5,000 copies were being downloaded each month; the center was receiving hundreds of thousands of email inquiries a week, and Internet traffic was dramatically rising. NCSA Mosaic won multiple technology awards, including being named 1993 Product of the Year by InfoWorld magazine and 1994 Technology of the Year by IndustryWeek magazine.
The technology was quickly transferred to the private sector, with Marc Andreessen and several other Mosaic developers launching Netscape and more than 100 companies, including Microsoft, licensing the software through start-up Spyglass, Inc. NCSA discontinued support for Mosaic in 1997, shifting its focus to other research and development projects.
The availability of Mosaic and its offspring transformed communication and commerce. Today, calculations put global Web use at over 2 billion individuals, with use growing by more than 500 percent in the past eleven years. In the United States, online sales now generate more than $200 billion in revenue a year.
In 2003, NCSA celebrated Mosaic's tenth birthday by bringing together a panel of computer science luminaries to discuss the impact of Mosaic and its progeny on science, business, and society and what the future might hold for computing, networking, and technology.
The proceedings of the Mosaic and the Web International Conference '94 are available for download (20 MB .zip file).