TeX Hour

A weekly video meeting

Celebrate 30 years open source WWW


Jonathan Fine

On 30 April 1993 CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) put into the public domain the World Wide Web (so called) software that Tim Berner-Lee and other employees had developed. This TeX Hour celebrates this important anniversary.

For more information about the TeX Hour, including Zoom URL, see the About page.

History, someone said, is a foreign country. For those born in this century some aspects of life in 1993 are close to incomprensible. Mostly, to speak with someone remotely you had to dial the number for the place you thought you they might be. That might be a public call box!

In 1903 flying machines were similarly incomprensible. The Wright Flyer caused a sensation when it came to New York in 1909. (This was 44 years after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.) And 30 years on from 1903 air travel was a reality, at least for some, and many people used air-mail for its speed (and despite its expense).

Today it is incomprehensible that to send information to someone in another continent you would

Even the highly condensed DVD (4.7BG each) finds it difficult to compete with electronic transfer of information. It used to be that telegraphy was much more expensive than post. It is now snail-mail that is the luxury item. Today, you’d just arrange a video meeting!

The World Wide Web is central to that change. It has energy. The most common form now of written communication is to put information on a web server. Once down, those who want it (and who are permitted) can retrieved to wherever they happen to be. The web pages fly around the world. Well, much faster than fly. Seconds to cross the Atlantic.

For the TeX community, remember that print started as an economical way of making multiple copies of information. It’s much cheaper than copying it out by hand. It still is cheap to print many copies. It’s the distribution, which depends on the physical movement of things, that is expensive. And many people view PDF is in web browser.




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