On April 30, the World Wide Web celebrated its 20 birthday.
Happy birthday to the World Wide Web; the project turned 20 this past April and to celebrate, inventor Tim Berners-Lee will restore the first web-server to remind the world of its significance in modern society.
Most of us use the web everyday, either for work, play, research or what-have you. But how many of us actually stop to think about its origins? Fact is, not many, which is why inventor/physicist Tim Berners-Lee and his team of researchers are restoring the very first web page to its original state.
Sadly, most of the digital assets (IP addresses, domain names, files etc) have been removed from the original web locations. Soon, the very first dedicated hosting server will be back online so the entire world can experience it from humble beginnings. Some might scoff at the idea, but Berners-Lee argues the project goes beyond restoring a legacy system to its original glory; current generations will see how the web has evolved and maybe, just maybe, they will have a deeper appreciation for how the web has changed the world.
So, the web’s 20th anniversary may be up for debate but one things for certain: On April 30, 1993, “CERN published a statement that made World Wide Web technology available to everyone on a royalty free basis.” The project was originally conceived in 1989 as way for physicists and universities to share information from around the world. However, the statement issued 20 years ago allowed the technology to flourish under various development.
As a result, the World Wide Web exists as we know it and has been free to everyone since 1993. The WWW legacy is truly about the sharing of knowledge between anyone with a computer possessing the ability to curate content of their own, without any scrutiny from outside authority. It’s an amazing dream that CERN feels has lost some of its luster. The great giveaway as they called it, was meant to empower the public so no-one could claim ownership of the web. So where does that leave us? Has the web changed the world like Bereners-Lee and his team had hoped?
Keeping the web free
Perhaps the restoration of the web’s first dedicated hosting server, it’s files and original IP addresses will raise enough awareness of the efforts to keep the web free.
Today, a few major corporations are able dominate the web with their far-reaching presence, something that isn’t really a form of two-way communication. Yet, it’s hard to deny the amount of social change the web has brought about in the past 20 years.
If youngsters choose to see the restoration of the world’s first web site of some sort of PR stunt, perhaps they are missing the point; the web must remain free from corporate control and any other organization who wishes to govern its existence.
CERN believes keeping the web free and available to everyone is a human right. That legacy has not changed in 20 years. So, raise a glass to Berners-Lee and his team, for without their contributions the world just wouldn’t be the same.