Firefox is produced by the Mozilla Project which is a global non-profit organization dedicated to advancing web standards. Mozilla picked up the work left off by Netscape when Netscape Navigator lost the browser wars to Microsoft and Internet Explorer back in the late 1990s. Firefox can trace its roots back the Mosaic browser produced by Marc Andreessen’s group while he worked at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
While it has venerable ancestry, it has continued to advance the state of the art. It was the first browser to implement large parts of the HTML5 standard. Most notably it can play videos without plug-ins. It does not depend on Adobe Flash or Microsoft Silverlight to play video. This is quite an accomplishment which is now required on most modern hand-held devices.
Browsers are still important even though they have been around since the 1990’s. More applications run in browsers than ever before. The new programming frontier is browser based applications on smart phones.