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Friday, August 27, 2010

A Brief History of the Internet

Did you know that the inventor of the internet did not really make himself ultra rich in the likes of Bill Gates and the owners of Yahoo and Google?  His name is Tim Berners-Lee.  Unlike other inventors like Thomas Edison and Benjamin Franklin, he did not work on the invention by himself.  He was with CERN, the world's largest particle physics laboratory, when he proposed the World Wide Web based on his prototype system Enquire that he built.  He invented the World Wide Web, HTML (hypertext markup language), HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) and URLs (Universal Resource Locators) in 1990.   He developed the first web browser and the first web server at CERN working closely with Robert Cailliau.  His invention is what started what we now do online.   Internet per se could have been envisioned by others but not exactly as how Berners-Lee etal did it.  It is very interesting to note that when researching now for internet history years back, most pointed to Tim Berners-Lee.  Researching on it now shows different people and organizations stating what they had done.  This is except for the ARPANET that is actually the forerunner of the internet.  After that, came the world’s first web address http://info.cern.ch/. 

The idea of Berners-Lee behind this is for CERN physicists share all the computer-stored information at the laboratory. Information then could be transferred easily over the internet by using hypertext, the now familiar point-and-click system of navigating through information.  From there on, the internet developed further into having other features like java script, PHP, ASP and others.  This would make now several web pages easier to navigate through links, pop-ups, tabs, scrolls, hyperlinks, and etcetera.   1991 was the turning point for the internet, though we may see as primitive now, it was then that testing was made on universal line mode browser.
Tim Berners-Lee founded the World Wide Web Consortium in 1994.  The consortium decided that their standards will be based on royalty-free technology so that it can be adopted by anyone.  With this, Berners-Lee and the consortium it shows that they did not take advantage on what could have been trillions or quadrillions of dollars for them.  So, for us internet users, we are lucky that we are not paying for more.  In connection with this, here is a quote of Mr. Tim Berners-Lee on what he wants:
I have a dream for the Web [in which computers] become capable of analyzing all the data on the Web – the content, links, and transactions between people and computers. A ‘Semantic Web’, which should make this possible, has yet to emerge, but when it does, the day-to-day mechanisms of trade, bureaucracy and our daily lives will be handled by machines talking to machines. The ‘intelligent agents’ people have touted for ages will finally materialize.”
– Tim Berners-Lee, 1999
Making the technology royalty free, the internet was made available to those who have telephones and computers.  There is the dial-up connection through a modem.  In this type of internet connection, you are not able to use the telephone independently while you are connected on the internet.  Except in other few areas, this type of internet connection is almost obsolete because of slow speed.  The common connection now is DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) a high speed connection that does not interfere with the voice service of the telephone.  This means to say that the telephone could be used while connected on the internet.  ISPs (Internet Service Providers) proliferated when the internet became commercial.  From wired telephone service connection it was followed by the wifi wireless broadband connection.  It is no longer necessary to have a telephone line to subscribe for a DSL internet connection.  Landline telephone companies followed suit in offering only DSL internet connection without necessarily subscribing to telephone service.  It might not be long from now the internet might just replace landline telephone for those who have computer internet service.  Being online has already the ‘chat’ messenger service where you could call through the computer and VoIP.  Not only that, with the web cam you can see the person you are talking with.

 So, that’s the brief history of the internet that is focused more on the World Wide Web for commercial use.  For internet history earlier than 1990, it was actually more LAN (Local Area Networking) because it was limited only to a group or area to access.  The connections were mostly direct to computers.

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