Tim Berners-Lee, the unknown hero of the Internet

If you’re reading this article, then you’re definitely using the web. However, you probably never heard about the person behind it. His name is Tim Berners-Lee, and he’s a British computer scientist. In his early days, he invented the world wide web and heavily contributed to the set of standards that made web pages possible (HTML, HTTP, and URIs). Moreover, he released the idea to the world for free instead of making billions from it.

The initial web

In 1989, while working as a software engineer at CERN (The European Organization for Nuclear Research), Tim realized that the scientists there were having difficulties sharing information. There was different information on different computers so anyone looking for info would have to go through multiple computers to find it. Tim proposed his solution, which became later known as the World Wide Web.

As the web started growing in the 1990s, Tim Berners-Lee decided that it should be free and available to everyone. According to Tim: “had the technology been proprietary, and in my total control, it would probably not have taken off. The decision to make the Web an open system was necessary for it to be universal. You can’t propose that something be a universal space and at the same time keep control of it“.

Later on, Tim Berners-Lee founded the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) which was devoted to developing the web standards and leading the Web to its full potential. In 2009, Tim also established the World Wide Web Foundation with the purpose of fighting for digital equality around the world, campaigning for affordable and equal access, and for the digital freedom of the individual.

The new decentralized web

The World Wide Web didn’t turn out exactly as Tim dreamed. Many people started abusing it and building monopolies on top of it. For this reason, Tim started a new project called Solid. It aims to decentralize the web and take power away from monopolies like Google and Facebook.

Tim Berners-Lee changed the world by inventing the web and giving it away for free. Now, it’s up to us to decide whether the Web turns into a tool for equality or a tool for the greedy corporations to make more money.

Post Image by Paul Clarke / CC BY-SA

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