On April 30, 1993, CERN—the European Organization for Nuclear Research—announced that it was putting a piece of software developed by one of its researchers, Tim Berners-Lee, into the public domain. That software was a “global computer networked information system” called the World Wide Web, and CERN’s decision meant that anyone, anywhere, could run a website and do anything with it. In an era when online services were still dominated by proprietary, for-profit walled gardens such as AOL and CompuServe, that was a radical idea.
On this day, 25 years ago, @CERN made history by releasing the World Wide Web technology into the public domain and gifting us the seed of a revolution for human communication and commerce. The importance of having chosen the public domain cannot be overstated. pic.twitter.com/FupsS8ZObX
— Sylvain Miermont (@smiermont) April 30, 2018
When CERN gave the web to the world, the internet was still largely the province of academics, researchers, and professional technologists. But thanks in part to the web’s approachability, consumers and businesses soon began hopping on board. Useful tools such as Yahoo (January 1994) and the Netscape browser (October 1994) were built upon Berners-Lee’s creation. And by 1995 or so, it was clear that the web was going to be one of the few technologies in history that really would change everything.