Tim Berners-Lee, fully Sir Timothy John "Tim" Berners-Lee

Berners-Lee, fully Sir Timothy John "Tim" Berners-Lee

English Computer Scientist, Inventor of the World Wide Web in 1989, Director of the World Wide Web Consortium

Author Quotes

I just had to take the hypertext idea and connect it to the TCP and DNS ideas and ? ta-da! ? the World Wide Web.

If you use the original World Wide Web program, you never see a URL or have to deal with HTML. That was a surprise to me - that people were prepared to painstakingly write HTML.

It?s the whole cat and mouse game between the readers and writers that makes the web work.

On the web the thinking of cults can spread very rapidly and suddenly a cult which was 12 people who had some deep personal issues suddenly find a formula which is very believable.

That idea of URL was the basic clue to the universality of the Web. That was the only thing I insisted upon.

The people who designed the tools that make the Net run had their own ideas for the future.

The Web, after all, is just a tool. It?s a powerful one, and it reconfigures what we can do, but it?s just a tool, a piece of white paper, if you will. So what you see on it reflects humanity?or at least the 20 percent of humanity that currently has access to the Web. As a standards body, the W3C is not interested in policing the Web or in censoring content, nor should we be. No one owns the World Wide Web, no one has a copyright for it, and no one collects royalties from it. It belongs to humanity, and when it comes to humanity, I?m tremendously optimistic. After 20 years, I?m still very excited and extremely hopeful.

We shouldn't build a technology to colour, or grey out, what people say. The media in general is balanced, although there are a lot of issues to be addressed that the media rightly pick up on.

When something is such a creative medium as the web, the limits to it are our imagination.

Access to the Web is now a human right. It's possible to live without the Web. It's not possible to live without water. But if you've got water, then the difference between somebody who is connected to the Web and is part of the information society, and someone who (is not) is growing bigger and bigger.

Data is a precious thing and will last longer than the systems themselves.

I myself feel that it is very important that my ISP supplies internet to my house like the water company supplies water to my house. It supplies connectivity with no strings attached.

I'm an optimist about humanity in general, I suppose.

It's amazing how quickly people on the internet can pick something up, but it's also amazing how quickly they can drop it.

One of the issues of social networking silos is that they have the data and I don't.

The amount of control you have over somebody if you can monitor internet activity is amazing.

The perceived accountability of the HTML group has been an issue. Sometimes this was a departure from the W3C process, sometimes a sticking to it in principle, but not actually providing assurances to commenters. An issue was the formation of the breakaway WHAT WG, which attracted reviewers though it did not have a process or specific accountability measures itself. There has been discussion in blogs where Daniel Glazman, Bj”rn H”rmann, Molly Holzschlag, Eric Meyer, and Jeffrey Zeldman and others have shared concerns about W3C works particularly in the HTML area. The validator and other subjects cropped up too, but let's focus on HTML now. We had a W3C retreat in which we discussed what to do about these things. Some things are very clear. It is really important to have real developers on the ground involved with the development of HTML. It is also really important to have browser makers intimately involved and committed. And also all the other stakeholders, including users and user companies and makers of related products. Some things are clearer with hindsight of several years. It is necessary to evolve HTML incrementally. The attempt to get the world to switch to XML, including quotes around attribute values and slashes in empty tags and namespaces all at once didn't work. The large HTML-generating public did not move, largely because the browsers didn't complain. Some large communities did shift and are enjoying the fruits of well-formed systems, but not all. It is important to maintain HTML incrementally, as well as continuing a transition to well-formed world, and developing more power in that world.

The world's urban poor and the illiterate are going to be increasingly disadvantaged and are in danger of being left behind. The web has added a new dimension to the gap between the first world and the developing world. We have to start talking about a human right to connect.

We?ve lost a fighter. We?ve lost somebody who put huge energy into righting wrongs. There are people around the world who take it on themselves to just try to fix the world but very few of them do it 24/7 like Aaron. Very few of them are as dedicated. So of the people who are fighting for right, and what he was doing up to the end was fighting for right, we have lost one of our own. ? We?ve lost a great person. [Eulogizing Aaron Swartz]

When you go onto the internet, if you really rummage around randomly then how do you hope to find something of any of value?

Accountable systems are aware of the appropriate use of data, and they allow you to make sure that certain kinds of information that you are comfortable sharing with people in a social context, for example, are not able to be accessed and considered by people looking to hire you. For example, I have a GPS trail that I took on vacation. Certainly, I want to give it to my friends and my family, but I don?t necessarily wish to license people I don?t know who are curious about me and my work and let them see where I?ve been. Companies may want to do the same thing. They might say, ?We?re going to give you access to certain product information because you?re part of our supply chain and you can use it to fine-tune your manufacturing schedule to meet our demand. However, we do not license you to use it to give to our competition to modify their pricing.? You need to be able to ask the system to show you just the data that you can use for a given task, because how you wish to use it will be the difference in whether you can use it. So we need systems for recording what the appropriate use of data is, and we need systems for helping people use data in an appropriate way so they can meet an ethical standard.

Everybody who runs a Web site knows we're not assured of compatibility, and we could end up with a split.

I should be able to pick which applications I use for managing my life, I should be able to pick which content I look at, and I should be able to pick which device I use, which company I use for supplying my internet, and I'd like those to be independent choices.

I'm not a fan of giving a website a simple number like an IQ rating because like people they can vary in all kinds of different ways. So I'd be interested in different organisations labelling websites in different ways.

It's amazing that the globe has been able to work together to accomplish what we already have.

Author Picture
First Name
Last Name
Berners-Lee, fully Sir Timothy John "Tim" Berners-Lee
Birth Date

English Computer Scientist, Inventor of the World Wide Web in 1989, Director of the World Wide Web Consortium