CERN & the Web

Hakon Lie (
Fri, 25 Sep 1998 15:46:30 +0200 (MET DST)

Sir - In a recent article (Vacuum science: A stronger suck) you
correctly identify CERN, the European high-energy physics laboratory,
as the cradle of the Web. You also assert that "... CERN was widely
criticised for inventing the World Wide Web and then failing to cash
in on it."

However, you fail to recognize that CERN's offering of free Web
software was critical to the creation of the Web as we know it. CERN
even published the source code to their software and this open policy
ensured that early Web browsers and servers spoke the same language.

Free source code has a long-standing tradition on the Internet.
Netscape's recent release of source code for their browser shows that
commercial companies, as well as government-supported physics
laboratories, finds this a viable approach.

Håkon Lie, Oslo, Norway
Formerly of CERN, now of the World Wide Web Consortium