That Would Be Sir Tim (Berners-Lee)

Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with the creation of the World Wide Web, will be anointed a knight by Queen Elizabeth.

Berners-Lee, 48, is being knighted in recognition of his “services to the global development of the Internet” for helping to invent the Web. Buckingham Palace announced the news yesterday as part of its 2004 New Year’s Honours list.

Berners-Lee is a British citizen who lives in the U.S. and serves as director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which he also helped found. He will be officially made a Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE). The rank of Knight Commander is the second most senior rank of the order of the British Empire.

Berners-Lee issued a modest statement via the W3C, extending the honor to the Web community. He also reaffirmed his position that the Web be decentralized and free to all, both trademarks of the open-source development movement.

“I accept this as an endorsement of the spirit of the Web; of building it in a decentralized way; of making best efforts to keep it open and fair; and of ensuring its fundamental technologies are available to all for broad use and innovation, and without having to pay licensing fees.”

The London-born Berners-Lee graduated from the Queen’s College at Oxford University, England in 1976. There, he built his first computer with an M6800 processor, an old television and some tools.

Berners-Lee sowed the seeds of the Web in 1980 where, working as a software engineer for the European Particle Physics Laboratory in Geneva (CERN), he wrote “Enquire,” a program for storing information.

This program formed the conceptual basis for the Web. In 1989, he proposed the Web as a global project designed to allow people to work together by combining their knowledge in a Web of hypertext documents.

In October 1990, Berners-Lee wrote the first Web server, “httpd”, and the first client, “World Wide Web,” a what-you-see-is-what-you-get hypertext browser/editor which ran in the NeXTStep environment, according to his biography. He is credited with spearheading initial specifications of the Web’s fundamental protocols, URI , HTTP , and a markup language for linking documents and Web pages, HTML .

He later documented the Web’s birth and evolution in the book “Weaving The Web,” published in 1999.

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