The Book of Mozilla is a prophetic and apocryphal text of unknown origin. It seems to have never been published in its entirety. The selections that are known have been discovered in various releases of Netscape Navigator, Mozilla, and Mozilla Firefox when those browsers are used to view about:mozilla. It would seem that these quotations have great traditional significance to the programming team of those browsers.
Releases of Netscape Navigator v1.1 to Netscape Communicator v4.8 displayed this text from The Book of Mozilla, chapter 12, verse 10.1 It has been interpreted as referring to the launch of Netscape Navigator and the expectation that it would become the leading method of browsing the WWW. In the first release, its superior image-handling capabilities made it preferred over Mosaic. Through these first four releases, it drove the development of the HTML language and it was the browser of choice for most users of the WWW in the mid-1990s.
And the beast shall come forth surrounded by a roiling cloud of vengeance.
The house of the unbelievers shall be razed and they shall be scorched to the earth.
Their tags shall blink until the end of days.
Netscape browser releases after mid-1998 reveal a new prophecy, from The Book of Mozilla, the "Red Letter Edition", chapter 3, verse 31.2 This text is interpreted as representing the announcement that the code would become open source software developed by many volunteers, and compete with the millions of dollars Microsoft had spent developing and marketing Internet Explorer.
And the beast shall be made legion.
Its numbers shall be increased a thousand thousand fold.
The din of a million keyboards like unto a great storm shall cover the earth,
and the followers of Mammon shall tremble.
For another five years, this was all that was known of The Book of Mozilla, until the establishment of the Mozilla Foundation, a non-profit separate from Netscape/AOL. Their subsequent release of the Phoenix/Firebird/Firefox browser, was discovered to have been presaged by the prophecies of chapter 7, verse 15.3
And so at last the beast fell and the unbelievers rejoiced. But all was not lost, for from the ash rose a great bird. The bird gazed down upon the unbelievers and cast fire and thunder upon them. For the beast had been reborn with its strength renewed, and the followers of Mammon cowered in horror.4
A later extension for the browser called "Firesomething" added this quotation from The Book of Mozilla, chapter 8, verse 10, of the "Extended Edition",6 which recounts this alternate story of the beast's further transformation.
Lo, the bird of fire was magnificent! But a roiling storm was brewing to the south, and dark clouds loomed on the horizon. The bird knew a grim conflict was close at hand and that it could not triumph in its current form. It sat very still, contemplating the situation. Suddenly, in a flash of light and flame, the bird took the form of a great fox the likes of which had never been seen in this land. The dark clouds were scattered to the wind. And all who witnessed this spectacle were awed by its power.
Translations of a substantial passage from The Book of Mozilla chapter 27 (verses 14-22) of the "King Kong Authorized Edition" seem to force the previously established metaphors and relies more upon the historic style rather than the prophetic. This passage is the single occurrence of references to "the Beast" as "the Lizard", and the only passage that employs a false archaic English. It seems likely that it is the work of a forger.
14 And the Lizard spake, saying, Windows shall I support, and Macintosh, and the divers flavours of Unix; yea, even unto the latest effluvium from the Gates of Hell shall I spread my seed: this it pleaseth me to do.
15 But OS/2 shall I ignore, for in sooth nobody useth it.
16 Then was the land filled with the sound of much wailing and gnashing of teeth, for millions of people used OS/2 and knew that it was good. Yet the Lizard did harden his heart against them, and said, Nay, there is no demand for it.
17 And the Blue One did create an Explorer of the Web, yet updated it slowly, and documented it poorly, and it was filled with a plague of locusts.
18 And those that followed the Lizard became enamoured of Frames, and wrote pages which could not be read by the Lizard's brethren, for the lemmings were lazy, saying only: Verily, thy browser doth suck. Thou may'st obtain the Lizard's hence.
19 Then it came to pass that the Blue One made a pact with the Lizard, that the Lizard should work its artifice for the sake of the Ancient Sorcerer. And a reference to the Lizard's wares was placed atop the Sorcerer's desk, that he might obtain it whenever he desired.
20 But the number of the work the Lizard gave unto the Sorcerer was Two, and the Greek sigil Beta was affixed to the number, yet all the rest of the Lizard's minions were given the number Three.
21 And lo, the Lizard's work was itself filled with locusts, and verily did it consume the Sorcerer's disk space whenever it was used, and it did mightily crash his system full oft.
22 And the Lizard named several of the locusts, and regarding one the Lizard said, The blink tag worketh not. Whereupon the users hearing this were sore amazed, and said they one unto another, Verily, that is no bug, but a feature to be highly praised while it lasteth.
In a posting to the bugzilla tracking board on November 1, 2001, developer Mike Young quoted from chapter 7, verse 24.5 As it contains references to the beast as an evil that was vanquished, and it seems out of order considering the previous excerpts from chatper 7, we conclude that it is spurious. In fact, when read in the context of the discussion of bug_id=20847, it seems like a stylized token of recognition from the developer in question, aping the style of The Book of Mozilla.
An enormous sigh of relief resounds throughout all of Mozillaland. Sounds of rejoicing are heard from all corners of the Earth. "They have conquered the beast!" the voices cry.
And the dimensions remain constant 'till the end of days.
At this point, it should be clear that the idea of The Book of Mozilla has obtained some currency in the Mozilla development community and has grown from an amusing parenthetical comment to a cultural issue the subject of quotation and imitation. Some of the more stylistically accurate quotations have grown out of the "Firesomething" extension, (one given above) including this one, which gives an extended metaphor for the open source software model of development, and is attributed to chapter 8, verse 12 of the "Extended Edition".7
And there was a great commotion among the believers and nonbelievers alike, for they saw a great fox of fire and knew not its true nature. But just then a faithful believer extended his hand, and offered a gift to the fiery fox. And the fox was enabled to show its true nature as an ever-changing being, and it turned into a great oyster of power. And the oyster opened its shell, revealing a dazzling pearl to all who would look upon it.
1. The chapter and verse numbers seem to refer to the date that Netscape Navigator was planned to be released, December 10, 1994. It may have been announced late by 5 days. For further information, see the excellent WUs by fondue and AT in Netscape Navigator.
2. Here, the chapter and verse numbers would refer to the release of the source code for the Netscape Navigator 5.0 code, March 31, 1998. For interesting information regarding the Netscape's reliance on open source, see clampe's excellent open source software.
3. The press announcement of the establishment of the Mozilla Foundation and grants it had received was made on July 15, 2003. <www.mozilla.org/press/mozilla-foundation.html> The quotation itself is attributed to Neil Deakin.
4. Various editions of that same verse are alleged to have been discovered. None of them match the sense of prophecy or even content that the widely known one displays. This one is thought to be the work of Stephen Donner,
And they watched as the beast cast off its chains, and with a terrible roar burst forth and slew those who had bound it. And for days the rivers ran red with their lifeblood.
5. See the thread in bugzilla, <bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=20847#c81>
6. Have the browser open <about:firefox>. Extention available from <www.cosmicat.com/extensions/firesomething/>
7. Have your browser open <about:firesomething>. Ibid.
The initial research for this WU was done on E2 and Wikipedia.