Home / Blogs

CERN Celebrates 20 Years of The Free And Open Web

Don't miss a thing – sign up for CircleID Weekly Wrap newsletter delivered to your inbox once a week.
Dan York

Of all the many applications and services that run on top of the Internet, arguably none has been more successful than that of the World Wide Web. Invented by Tim Berners-Lee back in 1989 while he was a physicist at CERN, the "Web" has fundamentally changed almost every aspect of our life… and become a part of basically every aspect of our life. Think of a part of your life… and then think of the websites that are part of that. Whether it is social networks, banking, shopping, dating, news, reading, publishing, writing, gaming, sports and now even communicating in real-time… all are aspects that somehow involve the "Web".

Today, April 30, is a special day in the history of the Web, because, as recounted on that newly-redesigned famous website (because it was the first website), info.cern.ch, it was twenty years ago today that CERN published a statement that put the WWW technology out in the public domain for all to use. Building on the long history of openness of the Internet, CERN stated very clearly that "CERN relinquishes all intellectual property rights to this code, both source and binary form and permission is granted for anyone to use, duplicate, modify and redistribute it”.

And thus was born the wider Web ... anyone could download, use and modify the W3 server software and the W3 client and start creating new sites. And people did! By the tens… and hundreds… and on and on… changing and modifying the code to satisfy their own dreams and ideas. Keep in mind, this was before Mosaic and other graphical clients changed the Web again by introducing images along with text. The original Web was one of text. I remember telnetting to info.cern.ch back in the early '90s to see what this "World Wide Web" thing was all about - and pressing numbers to follow links. It was a very different world.

Still, from those early days - and more importantly from the openness of those early days - came everything else about the Web that we use today. Those early adopters didn't need to ask anyone for permission to innovate… they just downloaded the code and started hacking away.

Thank you, CERN, for the reminder of the importance of today - and of the incredible importance of an open Web… riding on top of an open Internet.

P.S. Vint Cerf has a great retrospective out today as well: The open internet and the web

By Dan York, Author and Speaker on Internet technologies - and on staff of Internet Society. Dan is employed as a Senior Content Strategist with the Internet Society but opinions posted on CircleID are entirely his own. Visit the blog maintained by Dan York here.

Related topics: Web



To post comments, please login or create an account.

Related Blogs

Related News

Explore Topics

Dig Deeper

Afilias Mobile & Web Services

Mobile Internet

Sponsored by Afilias Mobile & Web Services

DNS Security

Sponsored by Afilias


Sponsored by Verisign

Promoted Posts

Now Is the Time for .eco

.eco launches globally at 16:00 UTC on April 25, 2017, when domains will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. .eco is for businesses, non-profits and people committed to positive change for the planet. See list of registrars offering .eco more»

Boston Ivy Gets Competitive With Its TLDs, Offers Registrars New Wholesale Pricing

With a mission to make its top-level domains available to the broadest market possible, Boston Ivy has permanently reduced its registration, renewal and transfer prices for .Broker, .Forex, .Markets and .Trading. more»

Industry Updates – Sponsored Posts

Major Media Websites Lose Audience Due to Slow Load Times on Mobile

DeviceAtlas' Deep Device Intelligence Now Addresses Native App Environment

A Look at How the New .SPACE TLD Has Performed Over the Past 2 Years

Why .com is the Venture Capital Community's Power Player

Miss.Africa Announces 2016, Round II Seed Funding Tech Initiative for Women in Africa

Airpush Chooses DeviceAtlas to Provide Device Awareness to Mobile Ad Network

DeviceAtlas Releases Q2 2016 Mobile Web Intelligence Report, Apple Loses Browsing Market Share

Effective Strategies to Build Your Reseller Channel (Webinar)

Facilitating a Trusted Web Space for Financial Service Professionals

News.Markets: A Rising Star in the World of Financial Trading and New TLDs

Mobile Web Intelligence Report: Bots and Crawlers May Represent up to 50% of Web Traffic

DeviceAtlas Brings Device Awareness to HAProxy

Verisign Launches New Monthly Blog Series: Top 10 Keywords Registered in .COM and .NET

Standards and Browser Compatibility

.nyc Goes Public to Brand the Big Apple

Mobile Web Traffic: A Dive Into the Data

Four Reasons to Move from .COM to Your .BRAND Domain

Dot Brand: Why Your Brand Needs Its Own Top-Level Domain

DotConnectAfrica's Executive Director Sophia Bekele Keynote Remarks for the ITU's Girl's ICT Day

Join dotMobi at World Hosting Days 2014, April 1 - 3