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Wednesday, 30 April 2008 18:22

WWW inventor says Internet 'œstill in its infancy'

Timothy Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web—www, the code for the Internet—in March 1989 while working for a physics laboratory at CERN. On its 15th anniversary of being placed in the public domain, the Internet and The Web has literally altered the world.

English computer scientist, inventor, and physicist Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee, with the help of Robert Cailliau, proposed a concept of hypertext in the late 1980s, which would help to share and update information for researchers around the world.

Hypertext has become the point-and-click system that is seen on the Internet, which allows users to navigate through information.

ENQUIRE was the name of the prototype system for hypertext. At that time, about 1989, only a few universities and research institutions around the world had Internet nodes. CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research), located in Geneva, Switzerland, had the largest one in Europe.

Berners-Lee’s idea was to improve the Internet with Hypertext. He said, “I just had to take the hypertext idea and connect it to the Transmission Control Protocol and domain name system ideas and — ta-da! — the World Wide Web." [w3.com: “Answers for Young People”]

Thus, the World Wide Web (now, often shortened to just The Web) was created.

Soon, Berners-Lee also designed the first web browser and editor (WorldWideWeb) and the first Web server (httpd, short for “hyper test transfer protocol daemon”).

Early on, in 1991 and 1992, other institutions in Europe and the United States installed servers on their computer systems. The Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) was one of the first in the United States.

By November 1992, twenty-six servers existed in the world. Less than six months later, over two hundred had been installed.

Early in 1993, computer scientists at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) introduced the first version of Mosaic, which allowed PC (personal computer) and Apple Macintosh users to access the Web.

Since that time the Web has become a system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed through the Internet. Berners-Lee continues to be very active in its development.

April 30, 2008 marks the fifteenth anniversary of when the World Wide Web was first put into the public domain. See its historical account at: “Public Domain CERN WWW Software.”

The declaration stated, "CERN's intention is to further compatibility, common practices, and standards in networking and computer supported collaboration."

At that time, Berners-Lee said, "With the Web, we are sharing knowledge, without discrimination as to who or where in the world you are."

In April 2008, Berners-Lee was interviewed by the BBC to mark the fifteenth anniversary of the World Wide Web. Please read on.

In an interview with BBC News at the end of April 2008, Berners-Lee was quoted to have said, "The experience of international collaboration continues. Also the spirit that really we have only started to explore the possibilities of [the web], that continues." [PC Advisor: “Tim Berners-Lee: 'The internet is still young”]

He added, "The web has been a tremendous tool for people to do a lot of good even though you can find bad stuff out there." [PC Advisor]

And, "What's exciting is that people are building new social systems, new systems of review, new systems of governance. My hope is that those will produce... new ways of working together effectively and fairly which we can use globally to manage ourselves as a planet," [PC Advisor]

According to Netcraft, an Internet research company, about 165 million websites are in existence around the world. There are hundreds of millions of Internet users.

Learn more about the first website at CERN’s webpage: “The website of the world's first-ever web server."

Read a BBC biography of Berners-Lee at: "Tim Berners Lee (1955-)."

Learn more about The Web at: "The World-Wide Web: Origins and Beyond."


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