Happy 30th Birthday Public Internet!!
On 30 April 1993 CERN published a statement that made World Wide Web technology available on a royalty free basis, allowing the web to flourish.
Can you imagine your life without the internet? It’s hard to believe the World Wide Web is only thirty years old. From the world’s very first website or better yet web page (as it was simply documents hyperlinked together) to today’s smilingly infinite array of websites providing just about every service, product and bit of information known to man we have come a long way.
Tim Berners-Lee is a British physicist who back in 1989 wrote a proposal to develop what he called a distributed information system for CERN which would be utilized by physicists and engineers as a way of sharing and disseminating information. CERN is the European Organization for Nuclear Research, it is now the biggest particle physics laboratory in the world located in Geneva Switzerland.
The Tim Berners-Lee document described a way to manage information about the accelerators and experiments at the laboratory through a network of documents that would be linked together and accessible via the internet. What was needed, wrote Berners-Lee, was “a pool of information which could grow and evolve with the organization and the projects it describes”.
Mike Sendall his supervisor at the time probably did not imagine this humble proposition cultivating the “technology revolution” and the age of instant communication which we live in today. From video based websites like Netflix and YouTube to search engines which drive the world wide web such as Google and Bing what we have today is a self evolving system that manifests the ideas of mankind into a living reality.
Berners-Lee is the man attributed with the invention of the first public “web.” But for the record, Berners-Lee did not “invent” the Internet; Berners-Lee likes to make the distinction between the World Wide Web also referred to at that time as W3 and the internet, he explains the distinctions between the web protocol he developed and the larger Internet.
“I was lucky enough to invent the Web at the time when the Internet already existed — and had for a decade and a half. If you are looking for fathers of the Internet, try Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn who defined the “Internet Protocol” (IP) by which packets are sent on from one computer to another until they reach their destination.”
According to the CERN website “Berners-Lee developed WorldWideWeb software on a NeXT computer, a model developed, manufactured, and sold from 1988 until 1990 by the NeXT Inc. company founded by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. The NeXT had a 305 millimetre die-cast magnesium, cube-shaped, black case, which led to the machine being informally referred to as “The Cube”. It cost US$6500.
The NeXT Computer was based on the new 25 MHz Motorola 68030 central processing unit (CPU). The NeXT did not prove a business success but the technology was way ahead of its time, offering interfaces and tools that are familiar to computer users 20 years later. Berners-Lee used the sophisticated operating system NeXTSTEP to develop a working prototype server and browser. The original browser was called “WorldWideWeb” but later renamed Nexus to avoid confusion with the information space.”
Check out the humble beginnings of the World Wide Web here.