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Sunday, June 13, 2004Tim berners lee, is awarded the world's largest technology prize, the Millennium Technology Prize from the Finnish Technology Award Foundation. The E1 million, or $1.2 million, prize for outstanding technological achievements that raised the quality of life is supported by the Finnish government and private contributors.If Tim Berners-Lee had decided to patent his idea in 1989, the Internet would be a different place.Instead, the World Wide Web became free to anyone who could make use of it. Many of those who did became rich: Jeff Bezos (Amazon.com), Jerry Yang (Yahoo), Pierre Omidyar (eBay) and Marc Andreeson (Netscape).But not Berners-Lee, 49, a British scientist working at a Geneva research lab at the time.The Internet has many fathers: Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn, who came up with a system to allow different computer networks to interconnect and communicate; Ray Tomlinson, the creator of e-mail; Ted Nelson, who coined the term hypertext; and scores of others.But only one who conceived of the World Wide Web (originally, Berners-Lee called it a "mesh" before changing it to a "web"). Before him, there were no browsers, no hypertext markup language, no "www" in any Internet address, no URLs, or uniform resource locators.Because he and his colleague, Robert Cailliau, a Belgian, insisted on a license-free technology, today a Gateway computer with a Linux operating system and a browser made by Netscape can see the same Web page as any other personal computer, system software or Internet browser.If his then-employer, CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory in Geneva, had sought royalties, Berners-Lee believes the world would have 16 different "webs" on the Internet today.
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