Fresh Air Interview: Tim Berners-Lee: The Creator of the World Wide Web.

The creator of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee. He created the web in 1989, as a way to organize his own projects. The Web has grown rapidly since then. In 1992 there were 100 sites on it, as of last May there were 22,000. Berners-Lee is dedicated to keeping the Web open as a public good. He now works at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he heads the World Wide Web Consortium, a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing standards, protocols and new software for the Web.

Decentralizing the web

Tim, you made the web fundamentally client-server. Servers have urls, can be indexed, have centralising power. Clients do all the work: run the code, render the page, be subservient. Clients do not have urls, cannot be indexed and cannot communicate among each other (gRPC excepted). Don’t you agree this design has massive centralisation as a side-effect, and how can we fix the design?

He’s actually been working on solving that exact problem:…

Tim Berners-Lee: we must regulate tech firms to prevent ‘weaponised’ web

I think it’s a little hard to blame Tim here, DRM was happening with or without it being part of HTML. Either it could be in proprietary plugins or it could be part of the spec, but as long as movie studios were requiring DRM, DRM was going to happen. If anyone railroaded it through, it would be Google, who owns Widevine, and via Chrome, basically can determine web standards with or without the W3C’s support, from a practical sense.

So the W3C has to accept DRM to prevent it being in a proprietary plugin, and Firefox had to also accept the DRM to avoid being “the browser that can’t play Netflix”, and everyone effectively has to go along with it to ensure they still have a seat at the table on the issue, but it all, at the end, comes back to the MPAA, which isn’t going to let you have a license to stream their content unless it is locked with DRM, regardless of how futile DRM actually is.


.. I think the following quote from Braveheart is awesome. The whole movie seems designed to turn the audience into William Wallace worshipers, except for this line, which causes an attentive viewer to stop and think:

“Admire this man, this William Wallace. Uncompromising men are easy to admire. He has courage, so does a dog. But it is exactly the ability to compromise that makes a man noble.”

Mary Lee Berners-Lee obituary

Computer scientist who became one of the world’s first freelance programmers in the 1950s

The computer scientist Mary Lee Berners-Lee, who has died aged 93, was on the programming team for the computer that in 1951 became the first in the world to be sold commercially: the Ferranti Mark I. She led a successful campaign at Ferranti for equal pay for male and female programmers, almost two decades before the Equal Pay Act came into force. As a young mother in the mid-1950s she set up on her own as a home-based software consultant, making her one of the world’s first freelance programmers.

Modest about her own pioneering achievements, she is on record (in an interview with computer historian Janet Abbate) as saying that her biggest contribution was to be “the grandmother of the web”. In 1989 Tim Berners-Lee (now Sir Tim), the eldest of her four children, proposed a system to access and exchange documents across the internet, and soon afterwards built the first web server, website and browser.