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Mozilla Mascot.svg

Mozilla was the mascot of the now disbanded Netscape Communications Corporation.

Mozilla takes the form of a green and purple cartoon lizard. Programmer Jamie Zawinski came up with the name during a meeting while working at the company. Mozilla was designed by Dave Titus in 1994.

The name "Mozilla" was already in use at Netscape as the codename for Netscape Navigator 1.0. The term came from a combination of "Mosaic killer" (as Netscape wanted to displace NCSA Mosaic as the world's number one web browser) and Godzilla. Initially, the mascot took various forms, including that of a helmeted astronaut or 'spaceman', but the eventual choice of a Godzilla-like lizard was no doubt thought to go well with the Godzilla-like name.

Mozilla featured prominently on Netscape's web site in the company's early years. However, the need to project a more 'professional' image (especially towards corporate clients) led to his being removed. Mozilla continued to be used inside Netscape, though, often featuring on T-shirts given to staff or on artwork adorning the walls of the Netscape campus in Mountain View.

Early version of the Mozilla mascot on the install window of Netscape Navigator 1.1 for Macintosh

The name "Mozilla" later became more prominent when it was used for the open source browser of the same name. With the launch of the web site in 1998, the mascot was redesigned as a larger, fiercer red Tyrannosaurus rex. The new design was by Shepard Fairey of "Obey Giant" fame.

When Netscape acquired the website directory NewHoo in 1998, they rebranded it the Open Directory Project with the nickname "dmoz" (Directory of Mozilla) due to its similarility to the Mozilla project. An image of Mozilla was placed on every page of the site, which remains the case today, despite Netscape's disbanding after its acquisition by AOL.

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