- 30 Apr 08, 14:10 GMT
CERN relinquishes all intellectual property rights to this code, both source and binary form and permission is granted for anyone to use, duplicate, modify and redistribute it.
With these words the world wide web was truly born. On 30 April 1993 the two directors of the Cern particle physics lab, W Hoogland and H Weber, signed a document that made the web free to use, adapt, change, grow and develop.
It was a remarkable decision. It turned the internet from a physical network of computers into a practical tool for sharing because finally there was simple data management system which made it easy to connect to and share information across machines.
Jack Schofield over at the Guardian, chides us for doing "web birthday" pieces. But he's missing the point somewhat.
This is about a seemingly simple decision which transformed the fortunes of the net.
As Robert Cailliau who worked at Cern told me: "We had to convince them that this was going to take off and it was a really big thing. And therefore Cern couldn't hold on to it and the best thing to do was to give it away."
Without a free web, he said, "we would have had some sort of market share alongside services like AOL and Compuserve, but we would not have flattened the world".
I think that decision is worth noting.
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