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posted by janrinok on Monday March 10 2014, @01:52AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the happy-birthday-to-you dept.

AnonTechie writes:

"For those of you who remember Gopher, Minitel, and Compuserve, the article is an interesting reminder of what once was, and for those born more recently a chance to read about a time before 'http' and 'www' had any meaning."

From an article by phys,org,

Twenty-five years ago, the World Wide Web was just an idea in a technical paper from an obscure, young computer scientist at a European physics lab. That idea from Tim Berners-Lee at the CERN lab in Switzerland, outlining a way to easily access files on linked computers, paved the way for a global phenomenon that has touched the lives of billions of people. He presented the paper on March 12, 1989, which history has marked as the birthday of the Web. But the idea was so bold, it almost didn't happen.

Related Stories

Sir Tim Berners-Lee Talks about the Web Again 43 comments

Sir Tim Berners-Lee gave an interview with radio station WBUR about the state of the Web and its future:

Berners-Lee initially imagined the web as a beautiful platform that could help us overcome national and cultural boundaries. He envisioned it would break down silos, but many people today believe the web has created silos.

And he still largely sees the potential of the web, but the web has not turned out to be the complete cyber Utopian dream he had hoped. He's particularly worried about the dark side of social media — places where he says anonymity is being used by "misogynist bullies, by nasty people who just get a kick out of being nasty."

He also identified personal data privacy, the spread of misinformation, and a lack of transparency in online political advertising as major problems with the current Web in a letter marking the World Wide Web's 28th birthday last month.

Previously: World Wide Web Turns 25 years Old
Tim Berners-Lee Proposes an Online Magna Carta
Berners-Lee on HTML 5: If It's Not on the Web, It Doesn't Exist
The First Website Went Online 25 Years Ago
Berners-Lee: World Wide Web is Spy Net
Tim Berners-Lee Just Gave us an Opening to Stop DRM in Web Standards


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  • (Score: 5, Funny) by edIII on Monday March 10 2014, @02:19AM

    by edIII (791) on Monday March 10 2014, @02:19AM (#13716)

    From the moment they started trying to add functions to a document markup language best suited for actual code, it's been one long descent into hell.

    We've made do, but the World Wide Web has been the longest running hack. You can just smell the duct tape sometimes.

    --
    Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by bugamn on Monday March 10 2014, @02:38AM

      by bugamn (1017) on Monday March 10 2014, @02:38AM (#13724)

      Sometimes I find a page that is pure, or almost pure, HTML and I find it so beautiful in its way. Those are pages that adapt themselves to my need, instead of trying to impose their needs. For example, I like to use a tilling manager with my wide-screen monitor, but most pages I find won't accept less than two thirds of the horizontal space of the screen.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Reziac on Monday March 10 2014, @03:27AM

        by Reziac (2489) on Monday March 10 2014, @03:27AM (#13735) Homepage

        Heh, I use plain ol' HTML myself. Plain and functional. If folks don't like it, well, they know where the Back button is.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 10 2014, @05:00AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 10 2014, @05:00AM (#13746)

      Relax. I'm sure this 'web' thing is just a fad.

      And September will end soon. Any day now. Any... *sob* day...

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by regift_of_the_gods on Monday March 10 2014, @02:23AM

    by regift_of_the_gods (138) on Monday March 10 2014, @02:23AM (#13718)

    During much of the early history of the Internet and WWW, is that simple, shipping code written by one or two guys beats complex specifications painstakingly crafted by a committee of experts who are intent on solving "the whole problem, not just the immediate need."

    For another couple of examples, see the first chapter of Mark Pilgrim's "HTML5: Up and Running" for a fascinating discussion of how HTML got the IMG tag, and how we got to HTML5 (basically, XHTML was pushed aside). Ironically, Mr. Berners-Lee was on the losing side of these last two bake-offs.

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Ethanol-fueled on Monday March 10 2014, @02:55AM

      by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Monday March 10 2014, @02:55AM (#13727) Homepage

      So what do we do from here? Do we accept the internet as being one band-aid fix on top of another, with all of its existing exploit potential? Or do we risk fundamental technical change which is on its face beneficial but could be subject to even more nefarious subversion? Or something else?

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by bogibear on Monday March 10 2014, @03:17AM

        by bogibear (475) on Monday March 10 2014, @03:17AM (#13731)

        While technical change is good, I fear that the only change we will see is more control over the Internet from governments and business. I think we can all concede that with some small exception, the Internet is no longer anonymous and free. Now that we have the NSA scanning for threats (perceived and real), companies like Verizon and Comcast throttling traffic, and the death of net neutrality, I can't help but feel that the "Golden Age" of the Internet has come and gone.

        --
        The world's cumulative IQ is a constant. The population is growing.
        • (Score: 1) by Cyberdyne on Monday March 10 2014, @09:30AM

          by Cyberdyne (403) on Monday March 10 2014, @09:30AM (#13802)

          Yes, but you're talking about the old-fashioned, hierarchical, 'ISP' version of the internet. If you haven't already, look up 'mesh networks' and be prepared to be inspired. Once they become fast enough, and they will, we will be much more likely to get our net neutrality back.

          And the monopoly of the Internet as we know it today will gradually die off.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by juggs on Monday March 10 2014, @03:23AM

      by juggs (63) on Monday March 10 2014, @03:23AM (#13732) Journal

      To my mind we entered a world of over-engineering simple web delivery once we strayed beyond HTML 4.01 Strict (not that that is not without it's problems of course).

      I have no idea what is going through the minds of current web developers where if you visit a page with scripts disabled you get....... nothing. Every single element on the page is expected to be sucked in and loaded by javascript. And in a lot of cases sucked in from a bajillion seemingly unrelated domains (images from here, js snippets from here there and everywhere - fsck knows what they do but have to let them run client-side anyway, some text from somewhere else). It's frankly shambolic.

      It is also horrible in accessibility terms. It's bad enough we cripple blind users' ability to interact by throwing up captchas all over the place (have you tried making sense of a captcha audio alternative recently???!) - but this kind of nonsense decimates screen reader abilities. What happened to the spirit of inclusivity and being egalitarian that the foundations underlying the web built? Just where did it go so horribly off the rails? /ethanol-fuelled rant

      • (Score: 1) by Reziac on Monday March 10 2014, @03:30AM

        by Reziac (2489) on Monday March 10 2014, @03:30AM (#13736) Homepage

        Same rant I've been known to vent :(

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by demonlapin on Monday March 10 2014, @03:36AM

        by demonlapin (925) on Monday March 10 2014, @03:36AM (#13737) Journal
        You don't even have to disable scripts. I've lost track of how many web pages have zero content if you have AdBlockPlus and Ghostery configured. Lots of them won't load the main article until Ghostery lets the Disqus comments through.
        • (Score: 2, Insightful) by threedigits on Monday March 10 2014, @08:42AM

          by threedigits (607) on Monday March 10 2014, @08:42AM (#13786)

          Maybe it's because an increasing share of web "content" are really adds in disguise?

      • (Score: 2) by regift_of_the_gods on Monday March 10 2014, @03:54AM

        by regift_of_the_gods (138) on Monday March 10 2014, @03:54AM (#13739)

        Site owners need revenues. Maybe not SN, but all the big sites do, especially those with hundreds or thousands of employees. Some of them can sell merchandise or paid online subscriptions; most of the rest have to sell ads and/or visitor tracking data. In order for them to get the right amount of ad revenue (right amount = maximum amount possible, given the content and service they are providing), they need analytics and data mining, and often intersite tracking so they can really get a feel for what their customers are interested in. And since they're competing with TV and other sites, everything's gotta look good with professional design values, not the way the WWW was in the '90s (except for Craigslist). But hey, practically all of the content is still free.

        I've often felt that I wouldn't mind paying extra for really good content and maybe a little privacy, but I've never gotten around to signing up for a subscription at wsj.com or nytimes.com or any of the others. I imagine their marketing managers run into that phenomenum quite a bit.

      • (Score: 3, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 10 2014, @04:56AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 10 2014, @04:56AM (#13745)

        That is precisely the problem I had with "The Old Site" -- they use fsdn.com for their graphics and scripts; so does SourceForge. Since my work doesn't want anyone downloading arbitrary code, they blocked SourceForge, and fsdn.com along with it, which made visiting "The Old Site" like returning to using lynx.

        Please, please, please SoylentNews, don't ever split across domains like that. I need doses of intelligence at work, or I won't long survive.

        • (Score: 1) by hankwang on Monday March 10 2014, @07:10AM

          by hankwang (100) on Monday March 10 2014, @07:10AM (#13769) Homepage

          ""The Old Site" -- they use fsdn.com for their graphics and scripts; so does SourceForge. Since my work doesn't want anyone downloading arbitrary code, they blocked SourceForge, and fsdn.com along with it,"

          You can proxy "the other site" using Avantslash (see sig), if you have a webserver available somewhere. That is, if you still want to visit TOS.

      • (Score: 1) by timbim on Monday March 10 2014, @08:54AM

        by timbim (907) on Monday March 10 2014, @08:54AM (#13794)

        TIL Shambolic is a word.

      • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Monday March 10 2014, @03:13PM

        by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Monday March 10 2014, @03:13PM (#14012) Homepage Journal

        4.1 is what I'm using on my site. Nothing fancy there, just text, hyperlinks, and two (so far) images. I hate playing that "hit the moving link" game and hated seeing text that was covered by an image (not on my machines, but at work they had IE. Glad I retired).

        --
        Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
    • (Score: 1) by danomac on Monday March 10 2014, @04:16PM

      by danomac (979) on Monday March 10 2014, @04:16PM (#14055)
      Back in the early days of the internet, giving the finger meant something totally different. :-)
      • (Score: 2) by EvilJim on Monday March 10 2014, @09:40PM

        by EvilJim (2501) on Monday March 10 2014, @09:40PM (#14306) Journal

        yes, I've fingered a few ports in my time, but maybe not as you mean.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by istartedi on Monday March 10 2014, @05:37AM

    by istartedi (123) on Monday March 10 2014, @05:37AM (#13755) Journal

    My early impressions of the WWW were shaped by installations available to me at school. There were labs with Sun clusters, and labs with DOS. The Sun clusters had access to Gopher. The WWW was only available using a Lynx-like browser on DOS. In those days, there was a lot of material available on Gopher and Solaris was a very slick operating system. Even when Windows came out, it was way behind.

    Thus, my early impressions of the WWW vs. Gopher were shaped by the systems upon which they were installed. I learned about all the early developments in those days reading USENET, and finding Gopher links. The WWW looked like an interesting little experiment; but I didn't enjoy it.

    Upon graduation, I had to be weened off the university computer labs. I actually spent some time on free BBSs run by local hobbyists. Eventually I signed up for commercial Internet, but USENET and e-mail were still the killer apps. It was still DOS. Windows was too slow on cheap hardware, and systems capable of running Solaris was also probably out of reach for my money.

    It wasn't until I was sitting in front of a Windows95 machine that the WWW started to "win". It seemed like GUIs based on X stood still while Windows got faster and faster. The era of "next year is the year of Linux on the desktop" had begun...

  • (Score: 2) by SGT CAPSLOCK on Monday March 10 2014, @06:36AM

    by SGT CAPSLOCK (118) on Monday March 10 2014, @06:36AM (#13762) Journal
    I remember how I used to facepalm when I heard people on TV (the news, etc) trying to communicate URL's. "h-t-t-p-colon-forwardslash-forwardslash-dubya-dub ya-dubya-dot- ..." Man, wasn't that terrible?

    Now it's just "facebook-dot-com-slash- ..."

    ...
    ...
    ...
    sigh...
    • (Score: 1) by mwvdlee on Monday March 10 2014, @09:32PM

      by mwvdlee (169) on Monday March 10 2014, @09:32PM (#14299)

      Or rather h-t-t-p-colon-slash-slash-slash-dot-dot-org... atleast THAT is one thing I'll miss dearly.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Luke on Monday March 10 2014, @06:54AM

    by Luke (175) on Monday March 10 2014, @06:54AM (#13766)

    I'm sure everyone (who was around and old enough at the time) will recall their first experiences of the new-fangled Interweb thing when it came out.

    Like a number here I was used to text-based communications (news, email and bbs/radio messaging), beginning in 1986 for me personally. However in '93 I well recall having my first browser experience with NCSA Mosaic on a Mac.

    This was at a Uni where I was both a student and employee, and the comment at the time was that the small amount of browsing I did probably cost several $$ per page. While that was most likely exaggerated nonetheless the cost of data was a significant thing for us down here for many years to come.

    Such was the culture then that one often had to go to the University, cap in hand, and almost sign away one's first-born in order to gain some sort of access. Such access was generally so grudgingly given, and with such strictures that there was a palpable feeling of almost committing a crime every time one dared use a terminal (despite the fact that one had to personally pay for the data used, on a Kb basis IIRC).

    Early semi-public access to the internet was conducted over elderly telephone lines at glacial speeds, and was jealously guarded. There were dubious machinations required in order to get data to and from the 'net that involved the electronic equivalent of sneaking into the Uni after dark and making a snatch and dash... connections often weren't exactly real-time, although I recall a radio link I once ran that worked surprisingly well :-)

    Naturally those of us involved often did these things (that would have been very frowned upon then) in order to provide access to such a wonderful resource, and in the true pioneering spirit of hacking and innovation. It's a pity it was so restricted but I guess the resource was obviously limited even to the Universities, and cost serious money to run.

    Perhaps this was a good thing since many people shone through with the amount of hard work and excellent ideas they came up with. A good number have gone on to bigger and better things.

    Once the 'net became more commercial there were various wild-west activities undertaken by new and existing Telco's/ISP's in order to make money. This was occasionally somewhat bizzarely implemented due to the curious interconnect regulations we had at the time. It was possible for a company to provide free accounts to the public, yet make money for themselves at the expense of the incumbent Telco.

    Once that anomaly was sorted things settled down a bit and we ended up with a more orderly progression to what we have today.

    I consider myself lucky to have been around at the early times, there were fewer people, and yet they seemed curiously closer despite it being text-only communication. There was a special feeling of uniqueness and togetherness that will, I suspect, never be felt again in this medium.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Geezer on Monday March 10 2014, @10:24AM

    by Geezer (511) on Monday March 10 2014, @10:24AM (#13814)

    When I first explored beyond my Prodigy account and got a first look at AOHell, the thought immediately came to mind, "Wait until the marketing and advertising assholes get hold of this." I was right.

    For 25 years, practically every innovation and implementation has been driven by the imperative to jam more ad crap onto a screen. Any benefit to actual user experience and functionality has been purely secondary.

  • (Score: 2) by Boxzy on Monday March 10 2014, @09:39PM

    by Boxzy (742) on Monday March 10 2014, @09:39PM (#14303) Journal

    "...the article is an interesting reminder of what once was, and for those born more recently a chance to read about a time before 'http' and 'www' had any meaning."

    Some of us are old enough to remember the first One-To-Many new fangled communications invention, namely Citizens Band Radio

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_band_radio [wikipedia.org]

    "...These services began in 1945 to permit citizens a radio band for personal communication (e.g., radio-controlled model airplanes and family and business communications)."

    Now Get Off My Lawn, Durn Kids.

    --
    Go green, Go Soylent.