We’ve all forgotten that it’s the 25th anniversary of the first web page!

by Joey deVilla on December 20, 2015

the first web server

Note the sticker on its chassis, which reads: “This machine is a server. DO NOT POWER DOWN!”
Creative Commons photo by “Coolcaesar” at Wikipedia. Click the photo to see the source.

In this weekend’s collective geeky euphoria over Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the 25th anniversary of the first web page has gone largely unreported. It was on December 20, 1990 when the NeXT computer pictured above served it, kicking off what I consider to be the world’s most successful side project.

The folks at CERN tweeted about the anniversary in the wee hours of the Eastern Time Zone…

…and so far, it seems that the only tech site to It some commemoration of this historic event is Engadget. That’s a shame, for as they put it:

It’s more of a platform than a bunch of documents, and it’s now available on everything from the phone in your pocket to a display on your head. However, its core remains the same: it’s a vital, dynamic tool for sharing information around the planet. Barring surprises, you’ll likely be surfing the web by the time the first site marks its 50th birthday.

The world’s first web page still lives on today in its original, very plain form at the same URL, http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html, with the exact same content. If you’d like to see it the same way a lot of people did back then, go to CERN’s Line Mode Browser page and enjoy it in all its monochromatic green glory:

first web page in line-mode browser

My first experience with the Web was in the fall of 1994 on the NCSA Mosaic browser at Queen’s University on a terminal running X, followed soon by Mosaic running on my Mac Quadra 660AV. A number of my friends first experienced it on Windows 3.1, where the first web page looked like this:

first web page in mosaic for windows browser

As for the inventor of the web, he’s done quite well for himself. How many developers get to take part in the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, never mind for their technological achievements?

tim berners-lee

Here’s a quick video featuring Sir Tim talking about how the web went from idea to reality, and his continuing hopes for the platform:

To close this article, I’ll leave you with Sir Tim’s TED talk from last year, A Magna Carta for the Web, in which he reminds us that the fight for openness and access, for net neutrality and against filter bubbles and centralized corporate control, continues:

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