Happy 15th Birthday, World Wide Web!

Fifteen years ago yesterday, the World Wide Web became official and was put into the public domain. In honor of that fact, one of our colleagues at frog (thanks Ben Tomassetti!) brought in a birthday cake for it today:


(Thanks to Cary Gibaldi for the photo) 

Note the nerd humor with the binary numbering of the years…there are 10 kinds of people in this world, those who understand binary and those who don’t. I can’t say that it actually was the “moistest cake I’ve ever tasted”, but, like the web, it was free, so I’m not going to complain.

This blog post at SiliconValley.com from yesterday sums up the situation nicely:

It could easily have gone differently. Fifteen years ago, the management of the CERN physics lab in Geneva could have decided that this World Wide Web thing that researcher Tim Berners-Lee was working on might have some proprietary value down the road and put it under lock, key and license. But they didn’t. Fifteen years ago today, they put it into the public domain and changed history. Of the many Web milestones we celebrate, that makes this one special.

The CERN directors took some convincing. “The difficult part was explaining to them the true nature of what the Web was going to be,” Berners-Lee’s colleague Robert Cailliau told the BBC. “We had to convince them that this was going to take off and it was a really big thing. And therefore CERN couldn’t hold on to it and the best thing to do was to give it away. We had toyed with the idea of asking for some sort of royalty. But Tim wasn’t very much in favor of that.”