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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 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:

http://www.dailytech.com/CERN+Develops+Possible+In...

quote:
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.


"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad














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