The World Wide Web is 25 today, March 12, after being born out of the mind of the visionary Tim Berners-Lee at CERN.

It is outstanding, and I am not stopping to shout it everywhere I go, that Berners-Lee and CERN granted a public domain license to the Web and its technologies. This means that the Web could develop and be adopted and adapted as it eventually was without hindrance. Nobody had to ask permission, nor pay licensing fees. Open and free.

Diagram from Tim berners Lee's paper, 1989.

Diagram from Tim Berners Lee’s paper, 1989.

Indeed, the IP protocol was also a technology which was allowed to grow free and open. Wow!! That was really hippie-thought.

So, thanks Web for being there and being open. Our life has changed out of the magical qualities that you brought about. Magically, in fact, we can transport ourselves to far domains and interact, share and create together with other human beings. Every time a push the “Enter” key after writing an URL I feel that magical conundrum of hidden actions that have to trigger and happen behind the scenes. And voilá, I get Italian newspapers or the Pravda. Or, I can write and publish silly posts like this.

I remember, on the other hand, how some did not believe in it, when it was clear from the start that the Web was a really empowering and transformative tech which came to stay. Famous is the cover of Newsweek in February 1995 when they titled “The Internet? Bah.” Seriously? Buying books online?

Sure…

Such was the answer of many, at that time, even in higher education, where supposedly we should be ourselves people of vision and should be forming people who will be agents of change.

About Antonio Vantaggiato

Professor, web2.0 enthusiast, and didactic chef.
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