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In this interview from the 2009 Web 2.0 conference, Tim O'Reilly talks with Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web and Director of the World Wide Web Consortium. Berners-Lee talks about his expectations for the Web when he created it, his thoughts on how it has changed with growth and his concerns for its future.
Openness is not merely a virtue of the Web, says Berners-Lee, it is there by design and was essential to the system's success. Necessarily, the Web was a flexible network where anyone could experiment and build upon other people's data. A concern for Berners-Lee is that this quality could suffer if large parts of the network become too controlled or restricted.
What makes data on the Web meaningful? O'Reilly and Berners-Lee discuss how user-generated data become more meaningful, as systems turn up trends in people's actions. Similarly, when people first put data on the Web they don't need to worry about formally categorizing it: others will find it, link to it, and work with it, and thereby add meaning.
Berners-Lee talks about the World Wide Web Foundation, which works to make the Web a resource for all humanity. The foundation's first goal is to help more people gain access to the Web, and then to learn small lessons that can be replicated to help others.
Additionally, O'Reilly asks Berners-Lee about why the 404 error page was a good invention, how he thinks mobile devices will change the Web, what he thinks of upcoming technologies like HTML5, and what interests him on the Web today.
Tim Berners-Lee - A graduate of Oxford University, Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, an internet-based hypermedia initiative for global information sharing, while at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory, in 1989. He wrote the first web client and server in 1990. His specifications of URIs, HTTP and HTML were refined as Web technology spread.
This free podcast is from our Web 2.0 Conference series.