Why Tim Berners-Lee deserves the same respect as Newton?

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Published: 06th February 2017
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Even today's 5 year olds type ‘www' at a browser's address bar and looks up to the computer screen for the information she wants; such has been the tremendous impact of the World Wide Web on the human psyche that we can't even image our lives without it.

More than 40% of the entire human population on this planet innocuously uses the Web regularly in some capacity. Such unprecedented popularity of the web can only be paralleled by the application of Laws of Motion propounded by Sir Isaac Newton. All the basic amenities in our lives are direct or indirect application of those laws and the Web is getting close to that with each passing day.

The US military developed the ARPANET for their in-house projects, which was later extended to the universities and corporations for making information exchange easier. Many of us confuses the internet with the World Wide Web, but technically it is not so. The Web is a service that operates using the infrastructure that the internet provides.

Interestingly, the Web was developed as an unofficial project in the holy grail of particle physics - the CERN laboratories. Sir Tim Berners-Lee was a young British software engineer who worked in the CERN and attempted to solve the problem of establishing a standardized communication protocol, a Universal Resource Locator or URL and a hypertext markup language for different computers in the vast research facility. The project was regarded as ‘vague but exciting' by Lee's boss in 1989, but somehow survived and was developed by Lee almost single-handedly in the initial 1990s.

Later on, the success of the project took the form of an explosion when Lee and the other key movers advocated that the technology should be free and not copyrighted and CERN will allow anyone to use it and develop it. This extraordinary vision of Sir Lee has allowed unimaginable development of the web in all these years, not to mention that the world celebrated the 25th birthday of the Web in the year 2014.

Sir Lee would have become the richest person in the world, if he would have decided to patent the technology and maintain its copyrights. In today's world, the web acts as a parallel to the physical, touch and feel world. Almost everything is a part of the web. Take the name of some of the worlds biggest, most famous and respected technology companies which have created billions of jobs all over the world and their founders have made fortunes - all of them owes to the contribution of Sir Tim Berners-Lee. But then, where would be the novelty of a human mind if Sir Lee would not have fought for freeing the Web!

Not only for companies and businesses, websites are extension of an individual's personality and is widely considered as one of the coolest ways to express oneself. The billions of jobs we are talking about is a direct result of this simple demand-and-supply economics. There are millions of companies who offer low cost web development and nowadays, with the help of the open source tools, almost anyone with little or no technical knowledge is opening a web designing company. The Web is becoming a self-complete ecosystem - extract knowledge from it, grow on it and contribute to it! All of these have been possible only because of the greatness of Sir Lee, as summarized aptly in his own words, "Had the technology been proprietary, and in my total control, it would probably not have taken off. You can't propose that something be a universal space and at the same time keep control of it."


Jeo Nash has been part of the revolution created by low cost web development companies in various capacities and currently he owns a web designing company with an impressive clientele. He has formal education in electronics and computer science and loves to listen to Bob Marley.

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