Most readers are probably acquainted with at least the outline history of the World Wide Web [WWW], developed originally, beginning in 1989, by Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau at the European nuclear research establishment, CERN (Organisation Européenne pour la Recherche Nucléaire). At the time, the Internet was very much a new thing, and that first project was aimed at using hyper-text to make accessing scientific information easier. (There were other search and indexing tools available, like Archie and Gopher, but none had really caught on in a big way.) The new WWW was made accessible to the public via the Internet in August, 1991.
As an article at Ars Technica reminds us, it was twenty years ago today, on April 30, 1993, that CERN announced the conclusion of an internal debate, making the WWW technology freely available to anyone, putting three software packages in the public domain: a basic Web server, a basic client (a line mode browser), and a common library. Quoting from the announcement:
CERN’s intention in this is to further compatibility, common practices, and standards in networking and computer supported collaboration.
CERN has announced today that, in commemoration of that 1993 decision, it is starting a project to restore the world’s first website, which was hosted on Berners-Lee’s NeXT workstation, and explained how to use the new technology. (A slightly later copy is available here.) It also intends to restore related files and documents.
To mark the anniversary of the publication of the document that made web technology free for everyone to use, CERN is starting a project to restore the first website and to preserve the digital assets that are associated with the birth of the web. To learn more about the project and the first website, visit http://info.cern.ch
CERN also has a restoration project page.