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That's Sir Tim to You 249

Posted by michael
from the peer-to-peer-networking dept.
andrew_j_w writes "British born creator of the web Tim Berners-Lee has finally received his Knighthood from the Queen. It's nice to a pioneer, who certainly not a household name, get such a high honour from the establishment. Hopefully more people will now recognise the great work he did!"
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That's Sir Tim to You

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  • by Qinopio (602437) on Friday July 16, 2004 @05:42PM (#9721871) Homepage
    But will he say "ni!"?
  • Whats next? (Score:5, Funny)

    by arieswind (789699) * on Friday July 16, 2004 @05:42PM (#9721886) Homepage
    Whats next? Thats SIR Bill Gates to you!
  • by Cavio (217880) <cavio@hotmail.com> on Friday July 16, 2004 @05:43PM (#9721895) Homepage

    "He is now working on an idea called the "semantic web", which is about giving more meaning to what is on the web."

    I guess Slashdot might be described as anti-semantic.

    Braummph-Pumph Thanks! I'll be here all week

  • Sir Tim (Score:5, Funny)

    by Eravau (12435) <tony.colterNO@SPAMtonycolter.com> on Friday July 16, 2004 @05:43PM (#9721899) Homepage Journal
    So is he now part of the Knights of the Round <TABLE>?
  • Wait... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Aadain2001 (684036) on Friday July 16, 2004 @05:44PM (#9721901) Journal
    I thought Al Gore created the internet/web?! :-P
    • Re:Wait... (Score:4, Funny)

      by strictnein (318940) * <strictfoo-slashdot AT yahoo DOT com> on Friday July 16, 2004 @05:47PM (#9721936) Homepage Journal
      almost

      Gore created the Interweb.
    • Re:Wait... (Score:5, Funny)

      by josh3736 (745265) on Friday July 16, 2004 @05:52PM (#9722004) Homepage
      So NOW we know what really happened!

      Tim and Al were roommates back in college.

      Tim just stole the floppy from Al's computer while he was sleeping and took all the credit.

      Al won't rest until he makes the cover of Wired.

      • Al will make the cover of pretty much every newsmag out there when he becomes the first emperor of the moon
    • Re:Wait... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Yosi (139306) on Friday July 16, 2004 @05:55PM (#9722033) Journal
      When I tell people I work for the inventor of the Web, their first response is always,

      ``Didn't Al Gore invent that?''

      Then I have to go into a long tedious explanation about how Al Gore invented the Intenet, and the Web is only one application of it.

      I personally would prefer that Tim would keep on going on these long trips to get awards. Getting things done on Cwm [w3.org] without direction from Tim on what Cwm should actually do is getting hard. I've been spending more time at work on slashdot as result.
    • Re:Wait... (Score:5, Informative)

      by MoxCamel (20484) * on Friday July 16, 2004 @05:57PM (#9722063)
      I know your post is meant to be funny, but I'd like to point out that "Al Gore claimed to create the internet" is false. What he said was:

      During my service in the United States Congress I took the initiative in creating the Internet.

      Although you can argue semantics (okay yes, he literally said it.) What he meant, was that he was instrumental in the funding of ARPANET. So, in a sense, you can say that the internet probably wouldn't exist, or at least would have taken longer to come into existence, had it not been for Al Gore. I'm no Al Gore apologist (well, except here, I guess) but the guy does deserve some credit for having the foresight to help fund the project. (I don't for a moment believe he had the foresight to see what the internet would become, but then nobody else did either.)

      • Re:Wait... (Score:2, Insightful)

        by maxpublic (450413)
        What he meant, was that he was instrumental in the funding of ARPANET. So, in a sense, you can say that the internet probably wouldn't exist, or at least would have taken longer to come into existence, had it not been for Al Gore.

        Yeah, right. If not Arpanet it would've been something else, and we'd still have the internet today. Gore just happened to be in the right place at the right time, nothing more.

        And in any event, Gore's still an idiot for saying that in the first place. But then no one ever sa
      • Re:Wait... (Score:4, Funny)

        by hunterx11 (778171) <<hunterx11> <at> <gmail.com>> on Friday July 16, 2004 @06:28PM (#9722344) Homepage Journal
        I agree Gore got a bum deal, but he did try to word it to make it sound more important than it was. He deserved to get burned, just not nearly as badly as he did. What he should have said was:

        "During my service in the United States Congress I took the initiative in creating the Internet -- IN JAPAN!"

      • Re:Wait... (Score:2, Informative)

        by SquadBoy (167263)
        And even if you assume that is what he meant he was wrong. ARPANET came online in 1969 when Al Gore was 21. So in what sense was he instrumental in funding ARPANET?
      • Hey you...

        Yeah, you, congressman bigshot...

        Figure a way to get Wikimedia a billion dollars in no-strings-attached funding, and in ten years, you can claim... you know... Aw crap, I'm not going to spell it out for you, you're a politician, you can spin it like the best of us...

      • Re:Wait... (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Al Gore did support continued funding for DARPA projects like ARPANET, after they had already been started, and for that he would deserve some credit, if he hadn't tried to inflate his small contribution to the level of something critically important.

        Having said that, Al Gore was not in any way instrumental in initiating funding for the creation of ARPANET. According to this history of the Internet [leidenuniv.nl], the plans for ARPANET were published in 1966/67, and it was operational by 1969. During this time, Al Gore w
  • But for how long? (Score:5, Informative)

    by WormholeFiend (674934) on Friday July 16, 2004 @05:46PM (#9721928)
    • well, he would only be demoted to a "companion of honour" so i guess it isnt all that bad
    • From the artilec in the parent post...

      Instead of acclaimed artists, musicians, writers, scientists, community volunteers and entrepreneurs taking the title Sir or Dame, they would become Companions of Honour.

      Who would want to be called a 'Companion of Honour'? It sounds like a fancy name for a pricy hooker.
    • by Space cowboy (13680) * on Friday July 16, 2004 @07:57PM (#9722927) Journal
      The UK political system has 2 houses, the commons (to which I could aspire) and the lords (in which only the gentry may vote). This may (at first glance) look incredibly stupid - the establishment having a hereditary vote that can interrupt the process of democracy. In the traditional sense of UK government, this is of course not the case....

      The commons has to vote, and when a majority decision is reached, it goes to the Lords for ratification.

      The Lords act as the 'public conscience' (and hey, it actually does work like this). Despite their allegiance to any party, there are myriad examples of the Lords sending a bill back to the Commons saying 'it has to cope with X better', where X could be any under-privileged group you care to mention. The Lords are *not* elected, They have a duty of *moral* care - and frankly they do a good job, despite the privilege that the system inherently (no pun intended :-) gives them.

      In fact the Commons (the elected representatives) have the ability to over-rule the Lords if a bill goes back and forth 3 times. This is 'the voice of the people', but the Lords can raise an almighty stink (and have done), saying *why* they rejected the bill. This has been an unbelievable embarassment to governments in the past, and it takes a strong-willed government to push a bill through regardless. The last was Thatcher, and I think she paid a heavy price for not negotiating a compromise.

      The take-home message is simple - the UK has 2 houses. One is elected and needs to justify its existence. One is not, and acts for those who cannot speak out for themselves. At least that's the idea, and although it's not perfect, it does seem to work reasonably well when you couple it with an independent media, at least IMHO...

      Simon
      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 17, 2004 @06:32AM (#9724249)
        Party right, partly wrong.

        The Lords isn't just restricted to the traditional gentry. Politicians, statesmen, judges etc are all appointed to the Lords, regardless of their family origin. Indeed, for many years, the House of Lords has been seen as a way for a government to "promote" a troublesome Cabinet Minister, flattering his (or her) ego, while reducing the potential for damage.

        Under the current system, the Lords can effectively delay a Bill's progress for a single year, after which, the Commons can drive it through using the Parliament Act. This doesn't happen very often, though. In situations where the Commons appears to have been trying to pass a piece of legislation for many years without success, the logical conclusion is that the Government does not actually want to pass the legislation. A good example of this would be the bill on foxhunting, which has been proposed pretty much every year since Labour came to power in 1997, but has been defeated in the Lords every year. One may suspect that Blair has no real interest in banning foxhunting (it is a bit of a non-issue, in all fairness, compared with much of the other business of government), but he finds it a useful rallying point on which to focus the rebellious left-wingers in his party each year.

        The Lords does actually work remarkably well in practice; far better than it really has any right to. It acts as a conservative (with a small "c") influence upon any government and is a useful check on hastily thought out populist and/or badly drafted legislation. It's been one of the most effective defenders of civil rights in the UK since Labour came to power.

        It's a good illustration of how counter-intuitive the British constitution can be. One of the other most effective checks upon governments who would go too far comes from the unelected, heriditary monarch. Her powers are, in reality, extremely limited, but as the current Queen is, contrary to the general public perception, a formidable expert on Britain's constitutional system, the moderating effect can be valuable.
  • by writertype (541679) on Friday July 16, 2004 @05:48PM (#9721942)
    He's the guy whose weapon was the slide rule, right?

    (Damn--what's a good Web designer combat weapon?)
  • by GillBates0 (664202) on Friday July 16, 2004 @05:49PM (#9721975) Homepage Journal
    Here's a story I submitted a few weeks back. I think it deserves visibility, and since I couldn't get /. to post it, a comment will have to do (Mods: not grousing about rejected stories, just trying to make myself heard)

    In this day and age of superfluous patents [slashdot.org] and frivolous lawsuits [slashdot.org], Sir Tim Berners-Lee [w3.org] gently reminds us of the importance of free and selfless contribution [cnn.com] for the betterment of humanity. Speaking at the ceremony for winning the Millennium Technology Prize [technologyawards.org] (as reported earlier on Slashdot [slashdot.org]), he said that he would never have succeeded if he'd tried to charge money for his inventions. The prize committee agreed, citing the importance of Berners-Lee's decision never to commercialize or patent his contributions to the Internet technologies he had developed, and recognizing his revolutionary contribution to humanity's ability to communicate.

  • Anybody else remember Hypercard for the Mac? Fidonet? Or what was that funky mouse based terminal emulator called again?
    • by Angostura (703910) on Friday July 16, 2004 @06:00PM (#9722084)
      I don't think he would deny it, in fact I'm sure he wouldn't. I heard him speaking many years ago (must be 10) and he made it very clear then that hypertext certainly wasn't novel and neither was networking,

      He said he believed that his main contribution (from my rusty memory) was implementing it in a mark-up language that was so simple that any layman could sling something together quickly (an attribute that has, perhaps been lost over the years) and also providing a simple way for a document on one machine to reference a document on a machine anywhere in the world - again simply.

      Of course, Sir Isaac Newton was also knighted for clambering up on tall people.
      • As long as the internet exists, so will pages like this [geocities.com] - and this is indeed the beauty of the whole thing, how anyone really can (and does) create HTML.
      • A long time ago in the days of Digital and their internal network, we had manuals in electronic form which were marked up with something called Runoff and programs for browsing them. Hypercards existed and this used some of the concepts.

        Tim used a very simple markup language too, but it was easier to extend that many of the others floating around. For me, the beauty was the URL. You could link to almost anything and for me, this was the simple but revolutionary idea. When we had the Internet, we had Gophe

      • My homepage is written completely in vim (with sometimes a little help from php to do stuff like headers, etc.) Efficient, no. Fun, yes. Works, oh yeah, absolutely and like a charm on anything from lynx to firefox (and maybe even that other browser, the one with all the bugs? Oh yeah, Windows Update ...)

        By 1996, every school kid had his own webpage. Sure, very few - if any - of them changed the world, but back then, ALL webpages looked like they'd been written in notepad (ah, the days of my pre-unix youth!
    • Yes, he says that very proudly, mind you. Sir Tim has always emphasized that the only way to build things is to build it on the Backs of Giants. In fact, I would more say it needs to be built on the back of huge piles of many small ideas. That's what's so wrong about software patents, it kills that process.

      Sir Tim is probably one of the people that say software patents are bad with most authority, in we should appreciate that.

  • A strange move (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Albanach (527650) on Friday July 16, 2004 @05:53PM (#9722011) Homepage
    Isn't it a little strange that someone who pioneered the web - free of class distinctions, where every IP address and domain name ranks equal - would choose to take an honour from the monarch and with it endorse the class system?

    It's entirely reasonable that the creator of the web should be recognised by society, but the British Honours system is recognition by the establishment, not by society. Further to that, holding the second highest rank in the Order of the British Empire seems a lot less noble when we consider the persecution under which many countries within the empire existed.

    Just my 2p worth. Others may wish to stand up for the system. Personally I think it sucks.

    • Re:A strange move (Score:4, Insightful)

      by HBI (604924) <kparadine&gmail,com> on Friday July 16, 2004 @05:54PM (#9722031) Homepage Journal
      I'm sure someone in your line of ancestry did something bad.

      Perhaps we should hold you accountable for that. It's about the same argument you are making here.
      • OT:

        You've never heard of reparations [millionsfo...ations.com] I take it?
        • As soon as someone can convice England to pay reparations for slavery, I'll go along with it(they're the ones who set it up in the colonies long before the USA was a country).

          I like how that site you linked to mentions a bible quote "The Lord said to Moses: If anyone sins and is unfaithful to the Lord... about something...stolen... - when he thus sins, and becomes guilty, he must return what he has stolen or taken by extortion. He must make restitution in full, add a fifth of the value to it and give it al
    • I think you're a bit confused. He came up with the World Wide Web (WWW) he did not come up with the Internet or IP addresses or Domains or any of that stuff. All of that stuff existed and worked quite well before he came along and due to the work of other people (not him).

      All he did was take an existing markup language, make a few mods, and came up with a really neat idea and tool. The Web is not The Internet. The web -relies- on the Internet.

      (I'm not begrudging him his due either, though when the web fir
    • The British Empire could have been a lot worse than it actually was.

      For the most part it was fairly benign to the conquered people - certainly in comparison to a lot of the alternatives (thinking of the Conquistadors etc). I think the worst thing that happened was dropping the ball over the bit of land between Canada and Mexico where the British lost control of the colonists who went on to murder a lot of the natives and continue to use slave labour for fifty years after the Brits recognised it to be abho
    • "...holding the second highest rank in the Order of the British Empire seems a lot less noble when we consider the persecution under which many countries within the empire existed."

      So you're from India, right ?

    • by Space cowboy (13680) * on Friday July 16, 2004 @08:26PM (#9723081) Journal
      It's not often said, but the British Empire was one of the first to enshrine the rights of man on a global scale. Slavery and all its connotatations came late in the empire's history, and frankly stood against almost everything the empire originally stood for (but by this stage, the money-men had taken over :( There are no noble actions in the enslavement of continents, but let's be clear here - the UK sold slaves from Africa to the USA, nowhere else. To deride the 'empire' for it's failings is to deny the good whilst celebrating the bad about the political system of the time.

      The empire was a good thing during a time when war was commonplace, it brought stability to areas of conflict, it imposed Pax Britannia in the same way that the USA imposes Pax Americana today - the UK ruled through trade and prosperity within its territories, as opposed to the other colonial powers which tended to be more .. austere. Tell me the difference between what happened then and what happens now, As far as I can see, it boils down to 'the US allows countries their own government as long as it does not interfere with US foreign policy'. Not too different from 'The UK allows the locals to do their own thing, subject to overall control from the governer'

      If you look at the evolution of the colonies that the UK had, compared to those that the other world powers at the time had, I think you'll see a more liberative and free society within the ex-UK colonies than the others. Even those countries that were our competitors at the time must concede that the model of democratic and fair government by the people of the people has its roots in the UK's parliamentary system. If you doubt me, look it up. See how nepotism and favouritism were rife in the politics of the day. Like it or loathe it, the rule of law was a rule imposed on *all* British subjects, since the Magna Carta enshrined the right of the common man to be treated with the same dignity as the Lord.

      This is not to say that the British Empire was inherently good (or bad), you only have to look at 4th July to see most Americans attitude [grin], but consider what the situation would have been if the British sense of 'fair play', (and the system of law that it created), the English language, and the idea of Democracy as a fair form of government were never spread around the globe. This is the legacy of the Empire that you denigrate so tritely. Consider. Would you have done so well in different circumstances ? Consider that seriously for a moment.....

      To get back more to the parent post: we (the Brits) honour those who serve more than is typically asked. We give them a title, a mark of distinction, a way of marking them as 'better' than average. If you don't like that, well, that's your privilege. Personally, I think ole Tim deserves every honour he gets. It's a distinction that goes back several hundred years, and I think he stands tall in the company of his peers. Well done Sir Tim.

      Simon
  • by Timesprout (579035) on Friday July 16, 2004 @05:54PM (#9722030)
    Al Gore has challenged Sir Tim to a joust to decide who is the true inventor if the internet.

    "Verily I do declare tis I am the inventor of ye internet" said Al as he went looking on ebay for jousting poles and suits of armour.

  • by x.Draino.x (693782) on Friday July 16, 2004 @05:55PM (#9722035)
    I thought this was funny, slightly paranoid?

    Email is safe unless it contains programs. (Data and documents are fine, programs are not). If you send me a program, I will not run it, as it could damage my system and could be a virus. Note: Documents for Microsoft word, Excel, and possibly other Office programs tend to execute programs (scripts) in what you would expect to be harmless documents. These can expose my machine to viruses, because these programs do not (it seems) prevent scripts from running within a document when it received by email. Please do not send me Microsoft Office documents. If you are sending text, please send it as plain text or HTML. If you use your favorite word process, slide tool, etc, and send it in that program's format, then you are forcing me install proprietary software on whatever machine I read them on. . If your email is sent from Microsoft Outlook, and contains an attachment, I will be more likely to discard it as I understand that a famous series of viruses in 2001 resulted from Outlook's tendency to execute scripts in email, and used up a huge amount of my and my colleague's time.

    I think it should just say if you've been recently exposed to any Microsoft product, do not email me.
    • I don't blame him, I'm the same way with my email unless I know you really really well (and you personally told me what you were sending over, if it just has a note that says 'check this out' I assume a smart virus and nuke it). Word docs and programs sent in email contain viruses and trojans 99 percent of the time.

      Any email I get that isn't in plain text format goes in the trash with no response. Of course I use Pine on a Linux box as well, so that helps avoid viruses even more. But as over 90 percent of
    • Seems perfectly reasonable to me.

  • by tdrury (49462) on Friday July 16, 2004 @05:56PM (#9722048) Homepage
    "What is your name, oh mighty wizard?"
    "They call me 'Tim'"

    Of all the Monty Python movies, that is the only exchange that has ever annoyed the hell out of me. I don't know why.

    -tim

  • TBL's Computer (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CdBee (742846) on Friday July 16, 2004 @06:06PM (#9722138)
    To anyone with an interest in the birth of the web, one of the CERN NeXT Cubes used by Lee can be viewed in the Science Museum in London.

    Anyone familiar with the NeXT machine and its current Mac descendents will doubtless find it quite an interesting exhibit.
    • To anyone with an interest in the birth of the web, one of the CERN NeXT Cubes used by Lee can be viewed in the Science Museum in London.

      Any idea how they got hold of it? Tim had been asking CERN for it for several years. Last time I saw info.cern.ch it was sitting in an office with a note on it saying that Tim would really like to have it.

      • Not a clue, I'm afraid. It's been there at least a year, I can't speak for before that. And to be honest, although it has a faded CERN sticker on it, one NeXT cube looks very much like another....
        • Not a clue, I'm afraid. It's been there at least a year, I can't speak for before that. And to be honest, although it has a faded CERN sticker on it, one NeXT cube looks very much like another....

          It was the cube, not the pizza box? If so that would be the original programming machine.

          The whole Web thing was a plot to introduce next into cern...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    For a moment, I thought it was our Timothy. Phew. What a relief ;)
  • Missing (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rexz (724700) on Friday July 16, 2004 @06:11PM (#9722182)
    "It's nice to a pioneer, who certainly not a household name, get such a high honour from the establishment."

    Maybe he could now invent the verb.

  • by XO (250276)
    I think the distinction and honor should really go to the inventor of Gopher, or for that matter, even maybe Archie, as they could be descendents of each other.. archie -> gopher -> www

    On the other hand, me and my best friend in middle/high school invented and developed a system that was technologically far superior to the www, was able to seamlessly integrate content of virtually any type from virtually any source.. and had initial test versions developed and running under OS/2 and AmigaOS.. but t
  • by Cobblepop (738291) on Friday July 16, 2004 @06:13PM (#9722211)
    > It's nice to a pioneer, who certainly not a household name,
    > get such a high honour from the establishment.

    Er..."Some people have a way with words. Others not have way." - Steve Martin.
  • by BillsPetMonkey (654200) on Friday July 16, 2004 @06:18PM (#9722257)
    that even our American friends wouldn't mind one? Not having to tick the Mrs/Mr/Dr/Ms box is nice.

    But I worry about the whole honours system because it's outdated, outmoded and even unwanted [guardian.co.uk] in some cases.

    My wish for TBL is that he refuse the award. Seriously. Why accept an award from a monarch seeking justification for her burden on taxpayers? As long as she brings in more in tourism than she spends, then no problem, but don't legitimise her privilege by accepting token medals and titles from her.
  • From his site:
    "If your email is sent from Microsoft Outlook, and contains an attachment, I will be more likely to discard it as I understand that a famous series of viruses in 2001 resulted from Outlook's tendency to execute scripts in email, and used up a huge amount of my and my colleague's time."

    How sad, he should get a Mac!
    • How sad, he should get a Mac!
      From the same page you are quoting from ...

      If I use slides (I often do not) I use a laptop -- currently a Mac running OSX.

      Sad he is not, perhaps reading his HTML would be nice.

  • by defsdoor (737019) on Friday July 16, 2004 @06:37PM (#9722426) Homepage Journal
    I was thinking about honours the other day - before the government raised their desire to rename them all.

    I was thinking that the orignal Bell Labs guys should be nominated - after all where would we all be today if it wasn't for Ritchie, Thompson, Korn etc... ?

    We all are truly standing on the shoulders of giants.
  • by DonElectron (741790) on Friday July 16, 2004 @06:39PM (#9722448)
    But the man who invented duct tape lives in obscurity. The world is filled with insensitive clods.
  • congrats! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    alright! it's about time the guy who created spiderman get some credit! what's that?
  • by twem2 (598638)
    What with the current move to try and get rid of knighthoods (why I can't understand, would the French get rid of the Legion D'Honour?)
  • Maybe now I'll stop hearing those stupid Al-Gore-invented-the-Internet commments since the guy who really invented (what most people consider the Internet) is getting recognition for it.
    • Maybe now I'll stop hearing those stupid Al-Gore-invented-the-Internet commments since the guy who really invented (what most people consider the Internet) is getting recognition for it.

      Um, he's the one who tried to take credit for it ... (and before you copy/paste, yes, I have read the "full quote").

      • If you have the entire quote, then read it and stop doing what every right-winger in the world has done by trying to make it something it wasn't. Unless you have a quote of Gore stating explicitly that he invented the Internet, then you're spinning what was an admittedly awkwardly-phrased statement.

        Pick up a copy of Where Wizards Stay Up Late which retells the story about DARPA/ARPAnet and the evolution of the Internet. Turn back to the index and look up Al Gore. Notice that he's one of the few politicians

  • The article states: "Tim Berners-Lee, the British inventor of the world wide web, has received his knighthood from the Queen."

    I'm not trying to dispute Berner-Lee's brilliance in recognizing what could be done with the tools and resources available to him, but giving him credit for inventing the Web is a little like giving Steve Jobs credit for inventing the GUI. Both of them took great ideas around them, added their own touches and ideas and combined them in a way that made something greater than the sum

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