Browser Archive

I know the group has existed for about 3 minutes, but I am writing this now before I get distracted by … ooh shiny!

Anyway, I also don’t know if this group will have its conversations here (like the Responsive Image community group) or via email (like the Web Education community group), so I am dropping this here.

Many years ago (15+) I created a browser archive which resides at In itself it is full of chunks of web history and I suspect might interest this group even if the group tends toward other bits of web history.

12 Responses to Browser Archive

  1. Shane Hudson says:

    I have tweeted this gorup to Eric Meyer, I know he is very interested in recording web history. As am I.

    I suggest we create a wiki of some kind, since there is just so much that it is more about recording history than discussing it.

    • Max Froumentin says:

      Well, it so happens that this group has a wiki:
      It’s very simple and could never look like a museum’s website (which is precisely not the point of this group, anyway) but since it’s hosted here at W3C, it’s as good as anything in terms of reliability and storage.

  2. I am game for whatever. How the collaboration happens isn’t my call.

  3. Shane Hudson says:

    Your browsers archive is very good, many on there I have not heard of!

  4. Thanks, for years I think it was the gold standard (ego boost), but as my time to maintain it went away and browser makers started pushing direct updates instead of discrete downloads, it became hard to maintain its timeliness.

  5. Eric Meyer says:

    I’d still call it the gold standard, Adrian. And yes, there is a LOT there that this CG can use—maybe not in terms of the bits of software itself so much as in serving as a reference set for things to track down.

    Like, what’s the “offbyone” browser? What can we find out about it? Are the original docs still online or in the Wayback Machine? And so on. Just from initial release dates, we could construct a pretty interesting timeline of browser launches.

  6. Shane Hudson says:

    I really like the idea of archiving the software (especially open source) but defintely agree with Eric that it would be great to also archive information about it. Would be fantastic if we could interview implementors and decision makers (might be worth getting people like Hixie involved?).

  7. Eric Meyer says:

    That’s right in line with the project I’m gearing up to do, Shane—sort of a podcast of audio interviews with various historical figures in web design and development. It’s still in the womb, so to speak, but I’m slowly getting there.

  8. Sadly, when I started archiving browsers I was just interested in using them for testing. I did not have the forethought to grab documentation or even the web sites where they were hosted.

    Looking forward to seeing the browser archive get some historic context.

  9. Max Froumentin says:

    Here’s a start:

  10. Dan Brickley says:

    I’m a big fan of … the fat binary of TimBL’s old browser is very handy :)

    Would it be useful to get a redundant mirror of the basic files up on or somehow? (Maybe would be more forgiving of any licensing vagueness re redistributing such code…).

  11. Dan,

    I would love to see the browser archive get a new home. Partly because the hosting and file transfer costs are such a drain on the tiny reserves has (had).

    I suspect that the vendors of the defunct browsers might not care (they’ve had well over a decade to object), and vendors of current browsers (who have also been silent) can be approached for more formal sign-off for a more traditional organization to host.

    However, I suspect the browser archive is outside of the scope of the W3C and I can’t speak to’s interest. If anyone here has a contact or other ideas of more permanent homes, that would be swell.

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