Andreessen salutes Firefox as Time honors browser warriors

Tech Culture

Time's list of the 100 most influential people on the planet (The Time 100) this year includes some of the usual suspects, as earlier today: Steve Jobs, Meg Whitman, the "Google guys."

It also featured the generals still waging the browser war after all these years: Microsoft's Bill Gates and the Mozilla Foundation's Mitchell Baker.

Baker's profile--actually a brief history of Mozilla and its Firefox browser--was penned by none other than Mosaic co-author and Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen, now chairman of Opsware.

"It's sweet success for Baker, who is in her late 40s, and her crew, particularly given the long, rocky journey of the Mozilla project that brought Firefox to life," Andreessen wrote of Mozilla's recent spike in popularity. "Firefox is chipping away at Internet Explorer's stranglehold, but more important, it is showing that a loose collective of volunteer contributors from around the world can deliver software that can compete with any commercial effort. Much of the credit for that goes to the chief lizard wrangler."

"Chief lizard wrangler" is a holdover from Mozilla's early, more chaotic days when people ran around the open-source group and the Internet at large with goofy titles. At Mozilla, some of these included: "technical bigshot," "international incident," "lizard vivisectionist," "arborist," and "stunt double." Ask her flacks what Baker's title is these more buttoned-down days and they'll tell you "president, Mozilla Foundation."

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