An extraordinarily hysterical headline in the Guardian shrieks “SIR TIM BERNERS-LEE Invented the internet (sic). OMG!” (and why invented is capitalised and Internet is not, is a mystery only the 13 – count them, bloody 13 – people who wrote this crap can explain.
Not so much OMG as OhFFS! Look, stupendous though Berners-Lee’s achievement was, he did NOT invent the bloody Internet. The credit for that goes to the US military, who wanted a network of widely-dispersed and interlinked computers, enough of which, plus the local telephony infrastructure, would survive after a nuclear engagement to provide a usable communication network, when transcontinental lines might be knocked out. Or so they hoped.
What Sir Tim came up with was the concept of the World-Wide Web, which lives on top of the Internet, in much the same way as earlier versions of Windows lived on top of MS-DOS – in both cases providing a Graphical User Interface (GUI), that hid all the nasty code-based stuff and made it far easier to use. Though it has to be said that there are still people who cannot get to grips with the Web (which is what most of us mean when we refer to the Internet), or even recognise its potential.
So, let’s always remember TB-L for what he did, which so greatly enhanced the lives of many of us (while confusing many others and providing an outlet for every psycho with a computer), and for which he deserves to be acknowledged as, indeed, he was with his knighthood.
However, the Guardian Grinches remember him as one of the People Who Ruined the Decade which seems just a tad perverse as, if there was no Internet, they wouldn’t be able to bitch about him in the first place, blaming him for all the crap that has come to infest the Web.
Which is a bit like holding Henry Ford responsible for all the road deaths since the Model T, or blaming Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz for Jeremy Clarkson.