Honor the Web's 25th Birthday by Upholding Its Founding Principles
NEWS ANALYSIS: Tim Berners-Lee urges net citizens to become activists that uphold the spirit of open collaboration that made the World Wide Web great.It wasn’t all that long after the World Wide Web grew from a private email channel for the scientific and defense communities on the verge of its explosive expansion into a global phenomenon that I had my first Web experience with browsers, Web servers and the power of links. It was back in the days when eWEEK was still PC Week and the lab included an eclectic bunch of techies plugging and prodding whichever piece of electronics found its way into labland. One of the chief prodders, Eamonn Sullivan, took it upon himself to set up a server and put PC Week on the web before Netscape became a business entity and sufficiently strong to make Microsoft tremble. In any case, I’d like to say I understood the ramifications of what I was viewing on that Mosaic browser in 1994, but that wasn’t the case. Other than figuring I was looking at the end of CompuServe and Prodigy as well as a really neat publishing platform, I didn’t foresee Amazon or Google or millions of people rushing to Facebook to let me know what they had for breakfast. If you want to see what that first PC Week Website looked like, it is, remarkably, still available here. I’m guessing that even Tim Berners-Lee didn’t foresee the scale of World Wide Web growth into the incredible economic engine it is today as March 12 marked the 25th anniversary of the global hypertext Mesh service Berners-Lee proposed to his fellow workers at the CERN particle physics laboratory. The World Wide Web was aptly named as it has become the defacto platform for global communications, commerce and conflict.
Berners-Lee took a few moments to acknowledge the WWW anniversary in a message and on a Web site at webat25.org. On that site he notes, “There are a few principles, which allowed the web, as a platform, to support such growth. By design, the Web is universal, royalty-free, open and decentralised. Thousands of people worked together to build the early Web in an amazing, non-national spirit of collaboration; tens of thousands more invented the applications and services that make it so useful to us today, and there is still room for each one of us to create new things on and through the Web. This is for everyone.”