Netscape VP Mark Andreessen addressed the Massachusetts Software Council on Friday and said that Linux would bring the UNIX market together and threaten Microsoft's Windows NT. Linux is a free clone of UNIX that runs on a variety of hardware platforms; it is distributed over the Internet. Andreessen said that Linux is the fastest-growing non-Microsoft operating system available.

"Linux is going to consolidate the Unix market around itself," Andreessen said.

Netscape followed the Linux model--where the source code for the product is freely available and updated by programmers all of the world--for the release of the Communicator 5.0 source code. Netscape is hoping that a similar grass-roots movement will seize the development of Communicator, ensuring its position at the top of the Web browser market.

"It's going to move the product along much faster than we or anyone else would be able to," he said