Technical jargon has always fascinated me; I love the words and phrases and quite happily blather on for ages using language whose meaning I have little or no understanding of.
I’m sure that this all started at school, when I could witter on for ages about 6502’s, Z80’s and RS 232’s without really knowing what they were for. Back then of course computing was a much smaller field and there was only so much jargon to go round and so we had to make the most of it.
Today the amount of jargon available to the technical specialist has increased almost exponentially, allowing a competent wordsmith to completely bamboozle a member of middle management.
I find myself puzzled by new words on an almost daily basis, and I’m beginning to suspect that my ingenious charade of nodding with pretend understanding might have been rumbled.
Take Mozilla for instance. I’ve seen this word in articles and popping up on screens for years without knowing what it means. First of all I tried to puzzle it out as it seemed like a made up word, probably a compound. My first guess, that it was a cross between Mozzarella and Godzilla, the soft cheese that eats buildings, seemed sadly unlikely.
Of course, there are many places on the web where you can get your curiosity instantly satisfied; Whatis.com and Wikipedia to name but two. Mozilla is of course a trademark of the Mozilla Foundation, who today produces the Firefox browser and the Thunderbird email client, your open source alternatives to Internet Explorer and Outlook.
Mozilla as a word can be traced back to one of the most iconic of all of the pioneering companies that helped establish the web as we know it today, Netscape.
Mozilla was originally the internal codename for Netscape Navigator, the name deriving from Mosaic killer (Mosaic at that time being the leading browser) and chosen, as you probably guessed, due to the fact that it sounded like Godzilla.
After Netscape became part of AOL, the Mozilla foundation was established as a not-for-profit organisation, keeping the pioneering flame alive. So there you go, that’s one less word you have to worry about.