Pioneer Who Kept the Web Free Honored With a Technology Prize:
If Tim Berners-Lee had decided to patent his idea in 1989, the Internet would be a different place. Instead, the World Wide Web became free to anyone who could make use of it. Many of the entrepreneurs and scientists who did use it became rich, among them Jeffrey P. Bezos ( Amazon.com), Jerry Yang ( Yahoo), Pierre Omidyar ( eBay) and Marc Andreessen (Netscape).
But not Mr. Berners-Lee, a British scientist working at a Geneva research laboratory at the time. That is why some people think it is fitting - or about time - that on Tuesday, Mr. Berners-Lee will finally be recognized, with the award of the world's largest technology prize, the Millennium Technology Prize from the Finnish Technology Award Foundation... only one person conceived of the World Wide Web (originally, Mr. Berners-Lee called it a 'mesh' before changing it to a 'web'). Before him, there were no 'browsers,' nothing known as 'hypertext markup language,' no 'www' in any Internet address, no 'U.R.L.'s,' or uniform resource locators.,Because he and his colleague, Robert Cailliau, a Belgian, insisted on a license-free technology, today a Gateway computer with a Linux operating system and a browser made by Netscape can see the same Web page as any other personal computer, system software or Internet browser. If his employer at the time, CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory in Geneva, had sought royalties, Mr. Berners-Lee said he thought the world would have 16 different 'Webs' on the Internet today."