Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Broken Fact: The Number of Mosaic Downloads

The Original Story:
On Page 105 of Bend, Not Break, Fu Ping stated the success of Mosaic browser as:
In total, two million users downloaded versions of the software during its first year.
The Debunking:
Two million users is an astonishingly large number, considering that the Internet has not yet been popularized in 1993. Only relatively few technically savvy users could discover this tool through the  then-primitive online forums. Indeed, NCSA, where the browser was born, was far more modest in its her own account:
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.
5,000 per month makes 60,000 a year. A really remarkable number at the time, but a far cry from the "two million" in Fu Ping's fantasy.

Is this a mistake similar to her part-time earnings in San Diego?

1 comment:

  1. First time Ping Fu's name was mentioned in connection with NCSA's Mosaic is in this 1997 news article, after the Web browser became popular with the general public. Even if you assume that the 1997 article was true, the claim that Ping Fu "initiated" and "managed" the Mosaic project at NCSA appears to be far-fetched.


    Profit Without Honor
    By Paul Andrews
    Seattle Times Staff Reporter