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Paul Merrell

Exclusive: Tim Berners-Lee tells us his radical new plan to upend the - 1 views

  • “The intent is world domination,” Berners-Lee says with a wry smile. The British-born scientist is known for his dry sense of humor. But in this case, he is not joking.This week, Berners-Lee will launch Inrupt, a startup that he has been building, in stealth mode, for the past nine months. Backed by Glasswing Ventures, its mission is to turbocharge a broader movement afoot, among developers around the world, to decentralize the web and take back power from the forces that have profited from centralizing it. In other words, it’s game on for Facebook, Google, Amazon. For years now, Berners-Lee and other internet activists have been dreaming of a digital utopia where individuals control their own data and the internet remains free and open. But for Berners-Lee, the time for dreaming is over.
  • In a post published this weekend, Berners-Lee explains that he is taking a sabbatical from MIT to work full time on Inrupt. The company will be the first major commercial venture built off of Solid, a decentralized web platform he and others at MIT have spent years building.
  • f all goes as planned, Inrupt will be to Solid what Netscape once was for many first-time users of the web: an easy way in. And like with Netscape, Berners-Lee hopes Inrupt will be just the first of many companies to emerge from Solid.
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  • On his screen, there is a simple-looking web page with tabs across the top: Tim’s to-do list, his calendar, chats, address book. He built this app–one of the first on Solid–for his personal use. It is simple, spare. In fact, it’s so plain that, at first glance, it’s hard to see its significance. But to Berners-Lee, this is where the revolution begins. The app, using Solid’s decentralized technology, allows Berners-Lee to access all of his data seamlessly–his calendar, his music library, videos, chat, research. It’s like a mashup of Google Drive, Microsoft Outlook, Slack, Spotify, and WhatsApp.The difference here is that, on Solid, all the information is under his control. Every bit of data he creates or adds on Solid exists within a Solid pod–which is an acronym for personal online data store. These pods are what give Solid users control over their applications and information on the web. Anyone using the platform will get a Solid identity and Solid pod. This is how people, Berners-Lee says, will take back the power of the web from corporations.
  • For example, one idea Berners-Lee is currently working on is a way to create a decentralized version of Alexa, Amazon’s increasingly ubiquitous digital assistant. He calls it Charlie. Unlike with Alexa, on Charlie people would own all their data. That means they could trust Charlie with, for example, health records, children’s school events, or financial records. That is the kind of machine Berners-Lee hopes will spring up all over Solid to flip the power dynamics of the web from corporation to individuals.
  • Berners-Lee believes Solid will resonate with the global community of developers, hackers, and internet activists who bristle over corporate and government control of the web. “Developers have always had a certain amount of revolutionary spirit,” he observes. Circumventing government spies or corporate overlords may be the initial lure of Solid, but the bigger draw will be something even more appealing to hackers: freedom. In the centralized web, data is kept in silos–controlled by the companies that build them, like Facebook and Google. In the decentralized web, there are no silos.Starting this week, developers around the world will be able to start building their own decentralized apps with tools through the Inrupt site. Berners-Lee will spend this fall crisscrossing the globe, giving tutorials and presentations to developers about Solid and Inrupt.
  • When asked about this, Berners-Lee says flatly: “We are not talking to Facebook and Google about whether or not to introduce a complete change where all their business models are completely upended overnight. We are not asking their permission.”Game on.
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Tim Berners-Lee: internet freedom must be safeguarded | Technology | guardian.co.uk - 3 views

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    "Berners-Lee developed the web to meet the demand for information-sharing between physicists in universities and institutes around the world."
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    [... #Berners-Lee #developed the #web to #meet the #demand for # information - #sharing between physicists in universities and institutes around the world. ...]
Paul Merrell

Sir Tim Berners-Lee on 'Reinventing HTML' - 0 views

    • Paul Merrell
       
      Berners-Lee gives the obligaotry lip service to participation of "other stakeholders" but the stark reality is that W3C is the captive of the major browser developers. One may still credit W3C staff and Berners-Lee for what they have accomplished despite that reality, but in an organization that sells votes the needs of "other stakeholders" will always be neglected.
  • Some things are clearer with hindsight of several years. It is necessary to evolve HTML incrementally. The attempt to get the world to switch to XML, including quotes around attribute values and slashes in empty tags and namespaces all at once didn't work. The large HTML-generating public did not move, largely because the browsers didn't complain. Some large communities did shift and are enjoying the fruits of well-formed systems, but not all. It is important to maintain HTML incrementally, as well as continuing a transition to well-formed world, and developing more power in that world.
  • The plan is, informed by Webforms, to extend HTML forms. At the same time, there is a work item to look at how HTML forms (existing and extended) can be thought of as XForm equivalents, to allow an easy escalation path. A goal would be to have an HTML forms language which is a superset of the existing HTML language, and a subset of a XForms language wit added HTML compatibility.
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  • There will be no dependency of HTML work on the XHTML2 work.
    • Paul Merrell
       
      He just confirms that that incremental migration from HTML forms to XForms is entirely a pie-in-the-sky aspiration, not a plan.
  • This is going to be a very major collaboration on a very important spec, one of the crown jewels of web technology. Even though hundreds of people will be involved, we are evolving the technology which millions going on billions will use in the future. There won't seem like enough thankyous to go around some days.
    • Paul Merrell
       
      Perhaps a political reality. But I am 62 years old, have had three major heart attacks, and am still smoking cigarettes. I would like to experience interoperable web apps before I die. What does the incremental strategy do for me? I would much prefer to see Berners-Lee raising his considerable voice and stature against the dominance of the browser developers at W3C.
    • Paul Merrell
       
      Bye-bye XForms.
    • Paul Merrell
       
      This is the precise reason the major browser developers must be brought to heel rather than being catered to with a standard that serves only the needs of the browser developers and not the need of users for interoperable web applications. CSS is in the web app page templates, not in the markup that can be exchanged by web apps. Why can't MediaWiki exchange page content with Drupal? It's because HTML really sucks biig time as a data exchange format. All the power is in the CSS site templates, not in what users can stick in HTML forms.
  • The perceived accountability of the HTML group has been an issue. Sometimes this was a departure from the W3C process, sometimes a sticking to it in principle, but not actually providing assurances to commenters. An issue was the formation of the breakaway WHAT WG, which attracted reviewers though it did not have a process or specific accountability measures itself.
  • Some things are very clear. It is really important to have real developers on the ground involved with the development of HTML. It is also really important to have browser makers intimately involved and committed. And also all the other stakeholders, including users and user companies and makers of related products.
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Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

How Big Is Your Target? - Freedom Penguin - 0 views

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    "April 20, 2016 Jacob Roecker 0 Comment Opinion In his 2014 TED presentation Cory Doctorow compares an open system of development to the scientific method and credits the methods for bringing mankind out of the dark ages. Tim Berners-Lee has a very credible claim to patent the technology that runs the internet, but instead has championed for its open development. This open development has launched us forward into a brave new world. Nearly one third of all internet traffic rides on just one openly developed project. "
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    "April 20, 2016 Jacob Roecker 0 Comment Opinion In his 2014 TED presentation Cory Doctorow compares an open system of development to the scientific method and credits the methods for bringing mankind out of the dark ages. Tim Berners-Lee has a very credible claim to patent the technology that runs the internet, but instead has championed for its open development. This open development has launched us forward into a brave new world. Nearly one third of all internet traffic rides on just one openly developed project. "
Paul Merrell

Can Dweb Save The Internet? 06/03/2019 - 0 views

  • On a mysterious farm just above the Pacific Ocean, the group who built the internet is inviting a small number of friends to a semi-secret gathering. They describe it as a camp "where diverse people can freely exchange ideas about the technologies, laws, markets, and agreements we need to move forward.” Forward indeed.It wasn’t that long ago that the internet was an open network of computers, blogs, sites, and posts.But then something happened -- and the open web was taken over by private, for-profit, closed networks. Facebook isn’t the web. YouTube isn’t the web. Google isn’t the web. They’re for-profit businesses that are looking to sell audiences to advertisers.Brewster Kahle is one of the early web innovators who built the Internet Archive as a public storehouse to protect the web’s history. Along with web luminaries such as Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Vint Cerf, he is working to protect and rebuild the open nature of the web.advertisementadvertisement“We demonstrated that the web had failed instead of served humanity, as it was supposed to have done,” Berners-Lee told Vanity Fair. The web has “ended up producing -- [through] no deliberate action of the people who designed the platform -- a large-scale emergent phenomenon which is anti-human.”
  • o, they’re out to fix it, working on what they call the Dweb. The “d” in Dweb stands for distributed. In distributed systems, no one entity has control over the participation of any other entity.Berners-Lee is building a platform called Solid, designed to give people control over their own data. Other global projects also have the goal of taking take back the public web. Mastodon is decentralized Twitter. Peertube is a decentralized alternative to YouTube.This July 18 - 21, web activists plan to convene at the Decentralized Web Summit in San Francisco. Back in 2016, Kahle convened an early group of builders, archivists, policymaker, and journalists. He issued a challenge to  use decentralized technologies to “Lock the Web Open.” It’s hard to imagine he knew then how quickly the web would become a closed network.Last year's Dweb gathering convened more than 900 developers, activists, artists, researchers, lawyers, and students. Kahle opened the gathering by reminding attendees that the web used to be a place where everyone could play. "Today, I no longer feel like a player, I feel like I’m being played. Let’s build a decentralized web, let’s build a system we can depend on, a system that doesn’t feel creepy” he said, according to IEEE Spectrum.With the rising tide of concerns about how social networks have hacked our democracy, Kahle and his Dweb community will gather with increasing urgency around their mission.The internet began with an idealist mission to connect people and information for good. Today's web has yet to achieve that goal, but just maybe Dweb will build an internet more robust and open than the current infrastructure allows. That’s a mission worth fighting for.
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Long Live the Web: A Call for Continued Open Standards and Neutrality: Scientific American - 1 views

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    [The Web is critical not merely to the digital revolution but to our continued prosperity-and even our liberty. Like democracy itself, it needs defending By Tim Berners-Lee November 22, 2010 22 ...]
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Solid - 1 views

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    "Solid is an exciting new project led by Prof. Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, taking place at MIT and the Qatar Computing Research Institute. The project aims to radically change the way Web applications work today, resulting in true data ownership as well as improved privacy. "
Paul Merrell

Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Approve Work On DRM For HTML 5.1 - Slashdot - 1 views

  • "Danny O'Brien from the EFF has a weblog post about how the Encrypted Media Extension (EME) proposal will continue to be part of HTML Work Group's bailiwick and may make it into a future HTML revision." From O'Brien's post: "A Web where you cannot cut and paste text; where your browser can't 'Save As...' an image; where the 'allowed' uses of saved files are monitored beyond the browser; where JavaScript is sealed away in opaque tombs; and maybe even where we can no longer effectively 'View Source' on some sites, is a very different Web from the one we have today. It's a Web where user agents—browsers—must navigate a nest of enforced duties every time they visit a page. It's a place where the next Tim Berners-Lee or Mozilla, if they were building a new browser from scratch, couldn't just look up the details of all the 'Web' technologies. They'd have to negotiate and sign compliance agreements with a raft of DRM providers just to be fully standards-compliant and interoperable."
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    From the Dept. of YouGottaBeKiddingMe. 
Fabien Cadet

The Evolution of Web Design (infographic) | kissmetrics.com, 2011-04? by Sean Work - 3 views

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    « Can you believe that the first published website is already 20 years old? Web design has come a long way since the first website was published by Tim Berners-Lee in 1991. This infographic is a peek at the evolutionary tale of web design, which is ironically still in its infant stages. Enjoy the infographic below and let your imagination wander. You might find yourself asking, "Where will web design be in the next 20 years?" »
Gary Edwards

RDFa, Drupal and a Practical Semantic Web - 1 views

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    CMSWire has a brief explanation of RDFa and why it's important. RDFa is also finding it's way into the Drupal CMS, which could be a game changer. Timothy Berners-Lee vision of a "Semantic Web" where the meaning of content is understood by both humans and machines depends on the emergence of capable information systems that make it transparently easy to add semantic markup. I'm not surprised that Drupal is jumping with both feet.

    "... In the march toward creating the semantic web, web content management systems such as Drupal (news, site) and many proprietary vendors struggle with the goal of emitting structured information that other sites and tools can usefully consume. There's a balance to be struck between human and machine utility, not to mention simplicity of instrumentation.

    With RDFa (see W3C proposal),  software and web developers have the specification they need to know how to structure data in order to lend meaning both to machines and to humans, all in a single file. And from what we've seen recently, the Drupal community is making the best of it.
Paul Merrell

W3C Helps Authors Go Mobile - 0 views

  • http://www.w3.org/ -- 8 December 2008 -- Today, W3C has made it easier to create content designed to improve people's mobile experience using a broad range of devices. W3C invites the community to try the W3C mobileOK checker, which is based on the newly published standard, the mobileOK Basic Tests 1.0 Recommendation. "The new checker builds on the suite of quality assurance tools offered by W3C to help authors and authoring tool developers create clean content," said Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director. "Clean content offers a number of benefits to authors and users alike. The mobileOK checker does a nice job helping you improve your content one step at a time. Your mobile audience will thank you each time you improve your score."
  • The mobileOK Basic tests are based on the part of the Mobile Web Best Practices that can be verified automatically with software. The checker makes use of the popular W3C validator to help improve content quality. In addition to the mobile-friendliness score, the checker offers tips for meeting the needs of people on the go.
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

The original proposal of the WWW, HTMLized - 1 views

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    [... The problems of information loss may be particularly acute at CERN, but in this case (as in certain others), CERN is a model in miniature of the rest of world in a few years time. CERN meets now some problems which the rest of the world will have to face soon. In 10 years, there may be many commercial solutions to the problems above, while today we need something to allow us to continue. ...]
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Inventor de la Web pide una Constitución Mundial de Internet para protegerla contra la vigilancia - 0 views

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    #Protección, Sí, pero -y además de la #vigilancia #irregular- #contra los #abusos #institucionales... # ya sabéis: #censura, #discriminación del #tráfico, #más formatos #propietarios...
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Inventor Of World Wide Web Warns Of Threat To Internet | PopularResistance.Org [# Via Jerry Ashton's LinkedIn] - 0 views

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    "London (AFP) - The British inventor of the World Wide Web warned on Saturday that the freedom of the internet is under threat by governments and corporations interested in controlling the web."
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    "London (AFP) - The British inventor of the World Wide Web warned on Saturday that the freedom of the internet is under threat by governments and corporations interested in controlling the web."
Paul Merrell

Social Media Giants Choking Independent News Site Traffic to a Trickle - 0 views

  • Several prominent figures, including Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, warned the EU Parliament that its proposed censorship measure would begin transforming the Internet from an open platform for sharing and innovation, into a tool for the automated surveillance and control of its users.
  • For much of the year, independent media has felt the sting of increased social media censorship, as the “revolving door” between U.S. intelligence agencies and social-media companies has manifested in a crackdown on news that challenges official government narratives. With many notable independent news websites having shut down since then as a result, those that remain afloat are being censored like never before, with social media traffic from Facebook and Twitter completely cut off in some cases. Among such websites, social media censorship by the most popular social networks is now widely regarded to be the worst it has ever been – a chilling reality for any who seek fact-based perspectives on major world events that differ from those to be found on well-known corporate-media outlets that consistently toe the government line. Last August, MintPress reported that a new Google algorithm targeting “fake news” had quashed traffic to many independent news and advocacy sites, with sites such as the American Civil Liberties Union, Democracy Now, and WikiLeaks, seeing their returns from Google searches experience massive drops. The World Socialist Website, one of the affected pages, reported a 67 percent decrease in Google returns while MintPress experienced an even larger decrease of 76 percent in Google search returns. The new algorithm targeted online publications on__gaT
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