Happy Birthday WWW, and Thank you TIM!

According to this morning’s Google Doodle, today is the 30th anniversary of the World Wide Web.


On this day thirty years ago – March 12, 1989 – Tim Berners-Lee turned on his first web server at the CERN labs in Switzerland.  In doing so he changed the world.

Tim had a few thoughts about what to call his new creation; he originally thought to call it The Incredible Machine… and wow would he have been right.  However, Mr. Berners-Lee did not want people to think that it was a self-serving name (TIM!), and so instead of the Machine, we surf the web.  I think it worked out for the better… since the World Wide Web is simply too big to be a machine.

You may notice that I have referred to the web, and not the Internet.  This is largely misunderstood around the globe, but as synonymous as they seem to be, the World Wide Web is not the Internet… it is only one of the protocols and services that runs on it.  The Internet itself, originally called ARPANet, is a network that was started in 1969 as a collaborative effort of the American military (specifically the US State Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency) and a number of educational institutions (and was originally conceived of by Leonard Kleinrock in 1961 in a paper titled “Information Flow in Large Communication Nets.”

While the network has evolved tremendously in the 50 years since UCLA, UCSB, Stanford, and the University of Utah were originally connected, much of that change can be traced to the creation of the World Wide Web.  We may not have him to thank for e-mail and streaming video… but we likely would never have had those without his creation.

Of course, I do appreciate that he was humble and did not call his creation The Incredible Machine… otherwise, you might be reading this article at tim.garvis.ca!


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