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  (Source: Know Your Meme)
Two-decades ago WWW replaced Gopher and other more rudimentary protocols

Even as the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) is plotting a faster next generation internet, it is celebrating the past with a new post on the WorldWideWeb protocol, whose source code and software it launched royalty free twenty years ago to the public.

While many people think Al Gore "invented" the WorldWideWeb (due to his push for funding it in Congress), that distinction arguably goes to CERN and British physicist Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

Development on the WorldWideWeb (www) and its backing hypertext protocol (which created a "web" of links) began in 1989 under the leadership of Professor Berners-Lee.  At the time some hypertext protocols existed, but many were proprietary; thus other protocols like WAIS and Gopher were more commonly used to retrieve information in packets over networked computers.

Professor Berners-Lee hosted the worldwide web's first site himself on a NeXT computer (from Steve Jobs' short-lived startup).  The NeXT machine cost a whopping $6,500 at the time and came in a stylish cubic form factor.  Using the machine's advance capabilities, Professor Berners-Lee demoed how to run a www-based webserver, wrote a primitive browser for the protocol, and made a website showing its capabilities.  The website today has been revived by CERN to celebrate the landmark of WWW's royalty-free publication.

NeXT Berners-Lee
Prof. Berners-Lee poses in 1994 with his NeXT computer. [Image Source: CERN]

The NeXT browser software was then ported to a crude command-line style browser.  This browser worked on top of the email protocol.  You would email CERN with the URL -- the web address -- of the www-protocl page, and CERN would reply with a message with the page's context, that the command-line program would parse as text.  There were no graphics at first.

WWW software
Early software for WWW under development on Prof. Berners-Lee's NeXT PC.
[Image Source: CERN]

Soon rich-media browsers like Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Internet Explorer and the now-defunct Netscape Navigator popped up.  From there we were off to the races -- internet useage and website grew like a wildfire, transforming our day-to-day life.

In late 1993, there were around 500 web servers using WWW, which accounted for roughly 1 percent of web traffic.  Today there are 630 million sites that use the protocol

Describes Rolf Heuer, CERN Director-General, "There is no sector of society that has not been transformed by the invention, in a physics laboratory, of the web.  From research to business and education, the web has been reshaping the way we communicate, work, innovate and live. The web is a powerful example of the way that basic research benefits humankind."

So congratulations, CERN, and happy birthday WorldWideWeb.  Sure CERN's other inventions like mankind's most expensive and complex piece of machinery -- the LHC particle collider -- are impressive.  But from creeping sloths to flying toaster cats, the internet is arguably a far greater triumph for the creativity of mankind.  Now back to viewing GIFs, readers.

Sources: CERN [1], [2]

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By This is John Galt Speaking on 4/30/2013 3:09:31 PM , Rating: 1
You're right... Al Gore most certainly didn't invent the Internet. (He DID, however, invent manmade global warming as a concept for political purposes, but let's leave that for another day.)

But neither, most assuredly, did Tim Berners-Lee. (To say that Tim Berners-Lee invented the Internet would be like saying that Henry Ford invented roads.)

Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. The World Wide Web is NOT the Internet. The Internet is NOT the World Wide Web. The two things are completely different things. The World Wide Web is a collection of linked "documents" that may be accessed across the network known as the Internet. The Internet is a network of networks. The WWW is a collection of documents. The Internet had existed for almost 30 years before Tim Berners-Lee conceived of the WWW.

In fact, the WWW only represents about 12% of Internet traffic (per Sandvine, 2012 report). In North America, 65% of Internet traffic is video streaming, and Netflix alone represents half of that. So Netflix all by itself (in N.America) uses three times more of the Internet than the WWW does. There are many services that use the Internet. The WWW is just one of them, and a minority one at that.

The Internet was invented in 1964 by Leonard Kleinrock, who authored a book on packet switching. This work built upon a previous paper he had written in 1961 that proposed "packet switching", and also drew upon a paper authored by J.C.R. Licklider of MIT (and later the first head of DARPA's computer research) on the "Galactic Network". The first Internet connection that put the theory into practice was successfully made in 1967.

There are many of us who used the Internet quite regularly in our work for at least 10 years before the World Wide Web was invented. Email, newsgroups, BBS, Gopher, VideoTXT were all quite prevalent in academia and in places like Digital Equipment Corporation, which networked 100,000 employees together around the globe on EASYnet (which partly used Internet connections and also gatewayed out over the Internet to other companies) 15 years before the World Wide Web.

A publication called "Daily Tech" would be expected to know these elementary things, don't you think? This isn't to diminish the accomplishment of the invention of the WWW by Tim Berners-Lee. That accomplishment should absolutely be celebrated. I'm just shocked that you could attribute the invention of an entirely different thing made up of entirely different technologies, which had already existed for over 25 years, to Tim Berners-Lee as well.

By BRB29 on 4/30/2013 4:19:55 PM , Rating: 1
You're both wrong. Steve Jobs made the internet twice.

By This is John Galt Speaking on 4/30/2013 4:27:28 PM , Rating: 5
It's not semantics, any more than the difference between "automobile" and "roads" is semantic. In the analogy, the "roads" are the "Internet" and the "automobile" is the "World Wide Web". The invention of the WWW (automobile) brought ease of use and therefore enormous growth in use of the Internet (roads). The WWW (automobile) uses the Internet (roads) to connect information (towns and cities).

The Internet (capital "I") existed and was used by millions of people for years, nay decades, before the World Wide Web was invented. It didn't exist "in a sense". It existed as a huge actual thing. The Internet is a specific thing (hence the capitalization of the proper noun, "Internet"). The term "internet" (lower case "i") is used in Vint Cerf's RFC 675 "SPECIFICATION OF INTERNET TRANSMISSION CONTROL PROGRAM", dated Dec.1974. The use of the term "Internet" (capital "I") to describe "The Internet", i.e. the one and only, the thing that exists still today, the network of networks, the open global TCP/IP network, etc. began upon the merging of ARPANET and NSFNET, which I think was mid-1980s. I'm 100% certain that I was using "Internet gateways" from EASYNET to the Internet (capital "I") as early as 1983, and calling it "the Internet". So, no, it's not semantics by any stretch of the imagination. The Internet is a network. It's physical. You can touch it. It has routers and switches and fiber and copper. The World Wide Web is a collection, like a library is a collection, of documents that use hypertext to link to each other and to expose any to anyone. One cannot touch the World Wide Web. It's entirely virtual. It's software and 1's and 0's. There is no physical attribute to the World Wide Web. That sounds like a lot more than semantic differences to me. It's at the basest, caveman logic: I can touch one of the things. I cannot touch the other.

The pre-WWW Internet was not "very different than what we know today". In fact, from ARPANET's move to TCP/IP in 1983, the Internet of today is almost identical -- other than orders of magnitude of additional bandwidth -- to the Internet of the 1980s. And logically, the Internet is really no different today than the Internet of 1972, other than the removal of all proprietary routers and access points and the move to a mesh structure, which also happened in the '80s. It's a packet-switched network of networks that uses common protocols to allow literally billions of (physical) devices to communicate with each other. 12% of that communicating is done using the World Wide Web. 88% is not.

To put it another way. If the World Wide Web evaporated suddenly in an instant, the Internet would not be affected whatsoever, except that 12% of the traffic traversing it would disappear. Otherwise the Internet would continue to move the other 88% of its traffic perfectly well. Conversely, if the Internet evaporated suddenly in an instant, the World Wide Web could no longer function (for the most part). It would no longer have its primary network to make connections between links and documents. My web page sitting on a server in Pennsylvania would no longer be visible to you wherever you are. This webpage sitting on a server wherever it is would no longer be visible to me. The World Wide Web rides on the Internet, the same way that automobiles ride on roads. If the automobiles disappeared, the roads would still be fine. You could walk on them, ride horses on them, etc. But if the roads disappeared, you really could no longer practically use an automobile. The ability to connect my house to your house by road would be gone.

Your comment that includes "the `internet' as we know it today -- rich interlinked content" shows me where you've run astray. You are making the mistake of thinking that "internet" and "World Wide Web" are interchangeable. I hope I've cleared that misconception up. I don't mean to sound mean, but it doesn't matter what you think on this topic. These are the facts. The Internet is assuredly NOT "rich interlinked content". It's a physical communications network using specific protocols. You've just grown up misusing and misunderstanding the word. Now, today, you've learned the difference and your life from here on out will be infinitely richer and more enjoyable since you will no longer bear the risk of the wrath of geeks.

By Paj on 5/1/2013 7:50:39 AM , Rating: 2
While actual http traffic might only account for 12% of actual traffic, to say the rest of traffic would continue as normal without the web is incorrect. The WWW is what made the Internet accessible to ordinary people.

How would people watch videos without a web browser to sign up to a video site, pay for an account, and see a gallery of videos to view?

The WWW and the browser is what made the Internet what it is today. It moved the internet from being the preserve of hobbyists and technically minded organisations to a mass communication and economic tool.

By CSammy on 5/1/2013 8:21:18 AM , Rating: 3
Devices like the Xbox 360, Wii, PS3 sure make that possible without a web browser, don't they?

By BRB29 on 5/2/2013 7:54:47 AM , Rating: 2
Doesn't the PS3 have a web browser? I don't own one so I'm not 100% sure but I swear I've seen people use it.

By Paj on 5/1/2013 7:52:17 AM , Rating: 2
Mick does, however, get it wrong here:

The demands of the LHC meant that the CERN scientists could not use the traditional internet, created by CERN researcher Sir Tim Berners-Lee, for fear of a worldwide collapse.

By mik123 on 4/30/2013 4:39:12 PM , Rating: 2
Look up the definition of the internet. It's still universally known as network of networks. Web was invented as a way to store and access content on the internet.

Web is just as different from the internet as ATMs are different from a network of financial institutions.

Why confuse people?

By This is John Galt Speaking on 4/30/2013 4:51:18 PM , Rating: 2
By the way, I'm only responding to the line "While many people think Al Gore "invented" the internet (due to his push to fund it in Congress), that distinction arguably goes to CERN and British physicist Sir Tim Berners-Lee".

By Azethoth on 5/3/2013 9:59:28 PM , Rating: 2
Dude, go smoke some pot and relax. Statistically nobody cares about nerdy distinctions. If the unwashed masses think the internets and interwebs are the same then it is so.

It is not even wrong to confuse the apps running on the internet: browsers & apps & whatever, with the internet itself. The correct analogy is not cars and roads. That is just a red herring so you can act as if people are stupid.

A better analogy is books and novels. Yes a book is the physical thing and novel is the information thing but I speak of both interchangeably and without confusion.

Boring pedantry may mean something under some tightly constrained circumstance you are partial to, but statistically it amounts to zero of the real world use cases.

By AlphaVirus on 5/1/2013 10:27:34 AM , Rating: 2
Jason I think I understand your thought and reasoning. It sounds like you are saying that times have changed and thus the meaning turns grey instead of black and white. It would be kind of like saying "Can you pass me that cook book" and someone gives you an iPad with a book displayed. Technically it's not a cook book but yes it is.

I also see why the others are trying to argue the details that the Internet and WWW are two completely different things.

I won't join in the battle because I really don't care enough lol, but I will post this link directly from W3.

By McDragon on 5/1/2013 6:22:24 PM , Rating: 2
Did you just suggest that Ford invented the automobile?

Because that would be a failing in your elementary knowledge...

My First Time
By abraxas1 on 4/30/2013 2:18:31 PM , Rating: 2
After nearly a decade of command line and BBS use I nearly wept when I first used Mozilla and began exploring the WWW.

...and no that wasn't yesterday ;)

RE: My First Time
By abraxas1 on 4/30/2013 2:20:51 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, not Mozila. It was NCSA Mosaic

RE: My First Time
By theapparition on 4/30/2013 2:46:42 PM , Rating: 2
I remember the first time I used Mosaic too.

Thought instantly that the world was going to change.

RE: My First Time
By amanojaku on 4/30/2013 3:35:00 PM , Rating: 3
It DID change. We stopped buying porn from the newstand. Gigidy.

By rippleyaliens on 4/30/2013 8:31:03 PM , Rating: 2
You would think NERDs of the world would do research.. Internet= The ability to have switch packets-ROUTABLE (Big thing back in the day), That would be able to survive a NUCLEAR Attack. HENCE, DOD-- Created the Internet, via Darpa, PRE-Darpa.. WWW.. MADE it easier to go to sites, VERSUS, GOING by IP Address.. Hence, DNS Was Created, to resolve those IP Address, into a Way to avoid having to remember, WWW= Port 80, OF TCP/IP Ftp=21,

Think BIGGER, before just throwing out names, and places, WITHOUT Actually thinking, HOW \WHEN\WHAT\WHERE--- How about WHY!!!..

you forget, TCP\IP, Really didnt get popular, until Mid 90's.. Netbeu\IPX\SPX, IE PROTOCOLS.. First machines, up until, WIN 95, There had to be distinct CODE just to enable TCP\IP.. HENCE Proxy servers, in the past, as MOST NETWORKS used Novels, IPX\SPX, OR Microsoft NETBEU PROTOCOLS.. TCP\IP, in use for MANY Years before these, only saw radical usage with UNIX-- Win95 ushered in the Infamous BROWSER Wars, with Netscape.. But before that, we alll dialed into AOL\Compuserve\UUnet, etc..

The Military CREATED the -- INTERNET, to provide secure,\ROUTABLE communications incase of a Nuclear war.. TO WHICH if i sent a message from NY to LA, It would bounce alllllll over the Country AT THAT TIME, without worrying taht if A link was broken in say, Colorado, it can re-route to a differnt SITE, without LOOSING the Initial Message.. hence TCP\IP.. PORT 80 was utilized so that IDIOTS!!!! Can get on the INternet, and type,, without having to know the exact IP of said site.

Damn im old..

By Just Tom on 5/3/2013 3:45:43 PM , Rating: 2
The Military CREATED the -- INTERNET, to provide secure,\ROUTABLE communications incase of a Nuclear war

You might be old but you're wrong. DARPANET was not designed to survive a nuclear war. The redunancy built into the system was because the equipment of the day was awful not in order to survive a nuclear war.

By chromal on 4/30/2013 7:53:39 PM , Rating: 2
I'm probably showing my age that I still remember upgrading from Mosaic to Netscape 0.90 and being impressed that Netscape didn't have to wait until all the page elements were downloaded before replacing a blank screen with the web page. Unlike Mosaic, it could draw in the page's text and then load in the graphics as you were reading. It was also possibly the first to support progressive image loading with interlaced GIF images.

Uh, no.
By zzttopp on 4/30/13, Rating: -1
RE: Uh, no.
By theapparition on 4/30/2013 2:50:15 PM , Rating: 2
Agree completely. It was many advances that combined create what we consider the World Wide Web now.

I'd argue that NCSA Mosaic was the what we consider to be the start of the modern web.

I still remember many of the old gopher and archie commands.

RE: Uh, no.
By This is John Galt Speaking on 4/30/2013 3:21:08 PM , Rating: 2
DARPA creation from the 1960s actually!

DARPA released the RFQ for ARAPANET in 1969, and a 4-host system was running by the end of that year. ARPANET in large scale was demonstrated in 1972 by Kleinrock. Ray Tomlinson invented email that same year. The remainder of the '70s saw ARPANET, USENET, and MILNET grow, but they were primarily for research and defense projects. Hobbyists had newsgroups and BBS. And a goofy newspaper columnist from Florida made the fateful decision to NOT take legal action to protect his copyrights when field engineers from DEC starting typing his columns into a Dave Barry Newsgroup every morning. The result was that Dave Barry's columns were traveling the world with the push of a button and the idea that the Internet could distribute entertainment was born.

The big switch to TCP/IP on ARPANET was 1983. You probably remember ARPANET for researchers and MILNET for DoD.

RE: Uh, no.
By JasonMick on 4/30/13, Rating: -1
RE: Uh, no.
By CSammy on 4/30/13, Rating: 0
RE: Uh, no.
By Azethoth on 5/3/2013 10:07:02 PM , Rating: 2
Just ignore them Mick. Internet, Browsers, Apps, etc. are as interchangeable as xeroxing and copying, googling and searching, etc.

Anyone that disagrees needs to immediately uninstall their browser(s) otherwise they are in danger of surfing the internet.

RE: Uh, no.
By Solandri on 4/30/2013 3:48:48 PM , Rating: 2
The browser was invented in Illinois at NCSA as a HFS file viewer 4 years later, but NNTP was intermachine and predated Berners-Lee by 3 years. There were MANY heavy users, but combining documents (Berners), news (NNTP), data and viz (Mosaic) is the basis for the www.

Not sure why you're citing NNTP. NNTP was a store-and-forward distribution system (heck, so was email initially) because most systems back in those days weren't connected to the Internet 24/7. They'd make a dialup connection every few hours or once a night and exchange updated data. Like FidoNet on BBSes, the updated data would propagate outwards like ripples in a pond until it had reached the whole world. News (the service which used NNTP) is like a distributed web forum, with copies stored on every computer in the world, and NNTP is the protocol used to synchronize all those different copies, neighbor to neighbor, like a great big game of telephone. This distribution methodology is still used in DNS and (in a more abstract sense) bittorrent.

HTTP (the protocol used for the WWW) was in many ways the very antithesis of NNTP. HTTP requires a direct connection between the client and server. There is only one authoritative copy, and initially there was no way for the client to modify the copy on the server. FTP, Archie, Veronica, Gopher, and WAIS were the predecessors to the WWW, not News. All of those required you to connect to a server, request a list of files, decide which you want and ask the server for that file, and the server would send it back to you in response.

What the WWW did differently was combine the two - instead of the files and the list of files being different things, the WWW does not distinguish between them. They're both data sent to you via HTTP. It's like how the menu and food you order from the menu are different. But then one day the Star Trek replicator is invented, and someone realizes the menu and food are now just the same thing and can be handled the same way. You're no longer locked into getting the complete menu first, then picking which food to order. Dining becomes more like a choose your own adventure story. You start picking an appetizer from an appetizer menu, and the appetizer itself contains your menu of choices for recommended entrees based on your appetizer choice, and the entree contains your menu of recommended choices for dessert.

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