Mozilla Easter Eggs

Dan Kohn (
Fri, 31 Jan 1997 09:37:48 -0800

||| Netscape Easter eggs |||

Easter eggs are the amusing personal messages that engineers leave bur-
ied in commercial software. Often they are made visible by some compli-
cated sequence of key presses and screen events, such as "Type Control-
Shift-Meta-Cokebottle while moving your mouse over the cockroach icon
when the moon is full." See the Easter Egg Archive [24] for hundreds of
them. Historically, eggs have been platform-specific, but Netscape --
pioneer that it is -- has introduced the cross-platform egg with its
"about:" feature. Try typing "about:logo" into Navigator's Location:
box. There used to be an egg at "about:authors" but it has been removed.
Try it and Navigator tells you so, too loudly (but keep a close watch
on the status line). Type "about:foo" and Mozilla replies with a mock-
Ebonic phrase that may be the 90s equivalent of "Syntax error." Among
the many undocumented things Navigator will tell you about are these
two useful ones, turned up by Aaron Breckenridge <>:

about:cache -- lists the contents of Netscape's disk cache
about:global -- lists your global history

The global history is everything you've ever visited; it's how Naviga-
tor knows to render a link in the "visited" color. If you're a packrat,
as I am, go to Options > General Preferences > Appearance and set "Fol-
lowed Links Expire" to "Never." Your history file can grow very large
if you do this. Mine was 2.8 MB when I asked Navigator about it. The
program took a very long time to run out of memory, even after I had
granted it 50 MB to play in, and on the Mac at least it can't be inter-
rupted while doing so.

We'll give the last word to Mozilla, the mythical Godzilla-like creature
who is Netscape's totem. (I've always assumed that the name derives from
"Mosaic gorilla," 900-pound variety, but I have no proof of this.)


> 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. -- The Book of Mozilla, 12:10

There are two kinds of people on the Net: those who don't see anything
wrong with blinking text and animated .GIFs and those can't abide them.
It's a religious issue. The divide that cleaves the two camps is their
answer to the following question:

When you ply the Net, is the experience you're looking for
like watching TV, or is it like reading?

Thanks to Keith Bostic <> for the eggfest.

[24] <>