Tim Berners-Lee Wins Greatest Briton Award

Tim Berners LeeIt’s gradually becoming more common knowledge that the inventor of the Web, and what many people think of as The Internet, is an Englishman.

Tim Berners-Lee worked up the idea when working at CERN in 1989 and has now received another award, the first Greatest Briton awards.

Following the world changing invention, Berners-Lee consciously took the decision to give the idea away and not patent it, sharing it for the good of society.

To many this highlights the difference between the US and the UK, and possibility the US and the rest of the world. The idea of inventing, then freely sharing the idea, rather to only release the idea when they have figured out how to commercially exploit it. They view Berners-Lee generosity in stark contrast to events since the Web’s invention, with the rise of software patents. The opposing view is that those in the UK really don’t have the first idea about how to make a business from a good idea.

As one of the awards panelist, David Starkey said, “He chose not to commercially exploit his invention. He gave it away almost wilfully. If he had fully exploited it, he would make Bill Gates look like a pauper today.”

Tim now holds the 3Com Founders chair at the Laboratory for Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL)at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is the overall Director of the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium), an open forum of companies and organizations with the mission to lead the Web to its full potential.

Tim Berners Lee