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20 years on, world’s first web page to be reborn

This picture taken on April 30, 2013 in Geneva shows a 1992 copy of the world’s first web page. The world’s first web page will be dragged out of cyberspace and restored for today’s Internet browsers as part of a project to celebrate 20 years of the Web. AFP

GENEVA—The world’s first web page will be dragged out of cyberspace and restored for today’s Internet browsers as part of a project to celebrate 20 years of the Web, organizers said on Tuesday.

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) said it had begun re-creating the website that launched that World Wide Web, as well as the hardware that made the groundbreaking technology possible.

The world’s first website was about the technology itself, according to CERN, allowing early browsers to learn about the new system and create their own web pages.

The project will allow future generations to understand the origin and importance of the Web and its impact on modern life, CERN web manager Dan Noyes told AFP.

“We’re going to put these things back in place, so that a web developer or someone who’s interested 100 years from now can read the first documentation that came out from the World Wide Web team,” he said.

The project was launched to mark the 20th anniversary of CERN making the World Wide Web available to the world for free.

British physicist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, also called W3 or just the Web, at CERN in 1989 to help physicists to share information, but at the time it was just one of several such information retrieval systems using the Internet.

“It’s one of the biggest days in the history of the Web,” Noyes said of April 30, 1993.

“CERN’s gesture of giving away the Web for free was what made it just explode.”

Noyes said other information sharing systems that had wanted to charge royalties, like the University of Minnesota’s Gopher, had “just sort of disappeared into history.”

By making the birth of the Web visible again, the CERN team aims to emphasize the idea of freedom and openness it was built on, Noyes said.

“In the early days, you could just go in and take the code and make it your own and improve it. That is something we have all benefited from,” he said.

While CERN was not promoting any specific ideology, “we want to preserve that idea of openness and freedom to collect and collaborate,” said Noyes.

The first browser, Noyes said, was “actually very sophisticated, with images and features that don’t really exist anymore, like being able to edit web pages as well as read them.”

“We would like to somehow enable people to try this,” he said.

He acknowledged, however, it remained unclear how this would be accomplished and that the CERN team was considering creating some kind of emulator, or possibly filming the process to show what it looked like.

The world’s very first web page was meanwhile cruder and dedicated to the World Wide Web project itself. It was hosted on Berners-Lee’s NeXT computer.

The URL leading to the basic, white page with a few lines describing the Web as a “wide-area hypermedia information retrieval initiative aiming to give universal access to a large universe of documents,” had long been dormant.

The CERN team has restored the files using a 1992 copy of the first website, which can be viewed at http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html, but hopes to find earlier copies.

“We know there is a missing disk that has a 1990 copy of the first website somewhere,” Noyes said, stressing that the restoration project is open and urging the public to get involved.

“Someone out there might know where (the disk) is, and we would really like some help and collaboration in tracking these things down,” he said.—Nina Larson

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Tags: Anniversary , Internet , IT

  • bluestar777

    My very first computer is a Radio Shack TRS 80 Color Computer (this is still doing very fine and fully functional,but definitely don’t have enough horsepower for use in for browsing the Internet ) which I plug it and attach to a TV. Our old CRT analog television serves as its monitor. You can use it for programming in BASIC and assembly language, in particular the machine language code of the Motorola 6809E processor. And when you’re done, you will save your program on a Tape Cassette Recorder, which is BTW, a Radio 0Shack Cassette recorder too. This was manufactured sometime in 1980. an offshoot of the original Radio Shack TRS 80 which came into market in 1977…just over a year after the very first *personal computer* in the world, the ALTAIR 8800 which came into existence,sometime in 1975/76. It does not even have a monitor. What you need is how to understand and interpret those row of LED lights located in front panel of the box. My beloved CoCo 3 here is still very much alive and doing well

    Now, fast forward into 1993. My very first foray into the world of Internet browsing was in 1993 There were several service online providers around like Compuserve etc., but it was not neccessarily the Internet. The very first one that enabled me to get ccconnectedccccoconnected

    • Mux

      You started with a TRS-80? I started with a Commodore VIC-20. I learned line number BASIC programming in it. Then my dad bought me an Apple ][ plus clone which I used for college where I studied Computer Science in 1984. Very few of my classmates had a computer at home then. I was considered one of the lucky ones.

    • clanwolf

      I had a Commodore. All it was good for we’re moving sprites around the monitor/tv screen. Fairly unused. Then I had a 386. Apart from playing Karateka and zork, not used so much..as for the web, I mostly started it due to my fandom of Gillian Anderson.

      • Ricci Santiago

        an Xfiles fan eh, me too :)

      • Mux

        Me three. I loved X-Files.

  • damuhoka

    Good state of the Internet. Sad state for the Philippines. As more and more people get connected PLDT in its “infinite wisdom” limited our connection using their ‘rightful-legal’ claim of a policy change in the form of a FUP.. Fair Use Policy.. That limits ‘unlimited customers’ to 15GB of limited download per month. In my own estimate that is worth about 20+ good quality youtube videos a day, or 2 hours of skype, and your not even using it for work yet.

    this does not only hamper people who’ve been confidently using smartbro for the past few years without much issue. but now its effectively degraded and flushed their home-income. people, who’ve been using the same service for online work.

    Money Pangilinan & Co. won’t allow customers to cancel their subscription for any reason, but they would change the rules in the middle of the game.

    • ThudOthwacker

      “That limits ‘unlimited customers’ to 15GB of limited download per month.” ~damuhoka

      What plan are you in? Get a dsl instead.

      • damuhoka

        Plan 999. The issue here is the ‘unlimited’ advertised plan. if its going to be capped, they should have informed us before asking us to renew our contract.

      • Ricci Santiago

        is there a 15GB limit? i was told its unlimited. im using the 999 smartbro plan and it seems okay, there are a few hang ups though, the Globe one is good but they have a 5GB download limit

      • damuhoka

        yes there is. a sort of ‘new’ policy that they’ve implemented. there is a petition online to rescind the policy. if you have used up your limit now they would trottle down your connection to as low as 3kbps from your enjoyable rate of 100kbps. Mine was throttled for almost 3 weeks.

      • Ricci Santiago

        thanks.if my contract is finished.ill use dongles, its much cheaper

      • clanwolf

        Been using wi-tribe for over two years now..it’s matured since then and is fairly consistent with its minimum speeds.

      • Noname Yet

        data caps are essential for an ISP to ensure that optimum speeds are maintained for all customers especially when they have customers always playing heavy traffic online games. since they use more bandwidth, they should pay more for overloading the internet highway.

        i haven’t been updated lately on internet back there but i’m guessing Plan 999 is PhP 999.00? that price is about just right for 15gb… heck that’s even lower than where i’m based. but the speed should’ve been at least 1mbps and then trickle down to 64kbps when cap has been reached.

        i spent approx. PhP 2,900 for my phone line + 40gb internet. i reach that limit in 2 weeks just streaming etc. I upgraded to 150gb (P3,500) /monthly but the speeds are 10mbps download / 2mbps upload. that’s how it is here. we pay in data caps.

        one way for them to improve things is they (pldt/globe/etc) should offer selling data blocks that can carry over next month aside from the monthly cap if you don’t use it up.

    • mr dt


      • damuhoka

        That’s the problem sir, most of us including myself is under contract. and nobody in his right mind would pay pldt the remainder of the contract for a lousy service.

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