|Developer(s)||Kim Nyberg, Teemu Rantanen, Kati Suominen, Kari Sydänmaanlakka|
|Initial release||0.1 / 15 April 1992|
0.1 / 25 April 1994
|Platform||Unix (Sun-4, NeXT/CubX, DEC Ultrix) using Motif|
Erwise is a discontinued pioneering web browser, and the first available with a graphical user interface.
Released in April 1992, the browser was written for Unix computers running X and used the W3 common access library. Erwise was the combined master's project of four Finnish students at the Helsinki University of Technology (now merged into Aalto University): Kim Nyberg, Teemu Rantanen, Kati Suominen and Kari Sydänmaanlakka. The group decided to make a web browser at the suggestion of Robert Cailliau, who was visiting the university, and were supervised by Ari Lemmke.
The development of Erwise halted after the students graduated and went on to other projects. Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web, travelled to Finland to encourage the group to continue with the project. However, none of the project members could afford to continue with the project without proper funding.
The name Erwise originates from otherwise and the name of the project group, OHT.
For the web to be popularized, Tim Berners-Lee knew that what people wanted was a GUI-based browser - one that could aim multiple operating systems, and most importantly, be easy-to-use for the technologically-challenged. At the time, personal computers were also confusing to some people that were not experienced with technology.
The following are significant characteristics of the browser:
Erwise crashed on some versions of Unix, which Berners-Lee attributed to poor Motif implementations.