La propuesta de Tim Berners-Lee

Interesante el análisis realizado por la revista Time en The Web at 25: Revisiting Tim Berners-Lee’s Amazing Proposal:

Here are some of the things that made “Information Management: A Proposal” so powerful:

Berners-Lee borrowed existing ideas. Rather than trying to convince anyone at CERN to support anything too radical, he recommended bringing together technologies and concepts his colleagues already knew and understood. For instance, as he mentions in his document, the concept of hypertext already existed; it had been named years before by Ted Nelson, whose wildly-ambitious-but-unfinished-even-in-2014 Project Xanadu presaged many aspects of the web. And the proposal’s opening infographic references Bill Atkinson’s brilliant Mac software HyperCard, whose “stacks” were akin to rudimentary websites that could be distributed on floppy disks.

He was realistic. Xanadu was supposed to implement super-sophisticated features such as intelligent links that would auto-adjust themselves if a document moved, and built-in accounting for royalties so that authors could make money off their hypertext creations. Berners-Lee, who was eager to propose something that one or two people could put together in a year or less, slashed out every detail that wasn’t absolutely necessary.

He made decentralization fundamental. “Most systems available today use a single database,” Berners-Lee wrote. They stored a lot of stuff, all in one place. He proposed something entirely different: a way to link up disparate documents and databases, no matter where they resided.

He aimed for universal compatibility. Though Berners-Lee coded the original WorldWideWeb software on a computer from NeXT — the company Steve Jobs started after being forced out of Apple in 1985 — he wanted the web to be available everywhere, on every sort of computer used at CERN, including Macs and VAX minicomputers.

He wanted to make sharing simple. It’s tempting now to think of the web as something that didn’t become social until this century, with the arrival of services such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. But from the start, Berners-Lee proposed a tool for painless, democratized collaboration among CERN’s staff of “several thousand people, many of them very creative, all working toward common goals.”

He looked forward. Berners-Lee said that all CERN needed at moment was a tool capable of distributing text documents formatted for a screen with 24 rows of 80 characters apiece. But he said graphics were a possible future area of expansion, and even mentioned speech and video — forms of media that barely existed in digital form in 1989.

He knew that everybody would eventually need something like the system he was proposing. “CERN meets now some problems which the rest of the world will have to face soon,” Berners-Lee wrote. “In 10 years, there may be many commercial solutions to the problems above, while today we need something to allow us to continue.”

El verdadero origen de Internet

No, Internet no nació con el fin de crear una red de comunicaciones resistente a un ataque nuclear. ¿Cómo lo sé? Porque lo desmienten los padres de Internet en Brief History of the Internet:

5 It was from the RAND study that the false rumor started claiming that the ARPANET was somehow related to building a network resistant to nuclear war. This was never true of the ARPANET, only the unrelated RAND study on secure voice considered nuclear war. However, the later work on Internetting did emphasize robustness and survivability, including the capability to withstand losses of large portions of the underlying networks.

El hombre que cambió el mundo

En la revista Esquire han publicado el artículo The Man Who Changed The World: Tim Berners-Lee. El artículo dice:

No other living person has shaped our lives more than Tim Berners-Lee. Even when Steve Jobs was alive. The personal computer had many architects. And the internet, too, was the work of dozens of scientists at the US Department of Defence going back to the Fifties. But the World Wide Web had just one creator, and he built it for neither profit nor power. The platform on which Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos have built empires was given freely to the world by an Englishman from south-west London, a modest genius who has fought to keep it free and open ever since.

[…]

In 1989, he was an Oxford-graduate physicist working at CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research) in Switzerland, where the world’s finest minds smash particles into each other in giant accelerators in an effort to decode the essential building blocks of the universe. Berners-Lee managed the computer systems, and he was frustrated. All these scientists had different computers that ran on incompatible programs so their data couldn’t easily be shared or linked. So, in what he describes as “an act of desperation”, he came up with the building blocks of our online universe instead — the common language of HTML, the shared information transfer protocol of HTTP and the URL conventions we know today.

[…]

What distinguishes the web among so many technological breakthroughs is it had a moral purpose from day one. While the CERN scientists focused on the smallest particles in the universe, Berners-Lee was thinking big — about making a better world. The revolution he created was no accident — the web was designed to make information free, to accelerate and democratise knowledge and solve humanity’s problems. The web was such a powerful idea that, of course, it didn’t take off at once.

Lesson three: even genius needs a sales pitch. Berners-Lee could have just surrendered his invention to the market of ideas, let others champion it if they wanted. But instead, he fought for it — he has always fought for it — often in the face of opposition and indifference. He knew that the web, like any network, would only impress if it was big, so he went out and exhorted his peers to participate. At the 1991 Hypertext conference in San Antonio, Texas, his paper proposing the web was rejected, but he went anyway, and set up a demo at the venue for passing delegates. Incredibly, they were unimpressed.

El creador de las cookies y la etiqueta

En el artículo Lou Montulli de la Wikipedia podemos leer:

En 1994 fue uno de los ingenieros fundadores de Netscape Communications y programó el código de redes para las primeras versiones del navegador web de Netscape. También fue el responsable de varias innovaciones en los navegadores, tales como las cookies, la etiqueta parpadeante (<blink>), la Tecnología Push y el client pull, el servidor proxy, HTTP sobre SSL, e impulsó la implementación de los GIF animados en los navegadores. Mientras trabajaba en Netscape, fue también uno de los fundadores del grupo de trabajo de HTML en el W3C y uno de los autores que contribuyeron a la especificación de HTML 3.2.