See also Net Moguls and Wendy's Technoprophets

Important People | Important Dates in Internet History |
Important Dates in the History of Commerce on the Internet


Important People: Principal Figures in the Development of the Internet and the World Wide Web


Marc Andreessen  John Perry Barlow  Tim Berners-Lee  Jeff Bezos 
Vannevar Bush  Steve Case  Vinton G. Cerf  James H. Clark 
Steve Crocker  Doug Engelbart  David Filo and Jerry Yang
(external link)
Bill Gates 
Rob Glaser  Al Gore  James Gosling  Robert E. Kahn 
Mitchell David Kapor  Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider  Carl Malamud  Bob Metcalfe 
Nicholas Negroponte  Ted H. Nelson Mark Pesce Jonathan B. Postel
Linus Torvalds Larry Wall Phil Zimmerman Other pioneers
(external link)

Marc Andreessen
photo  Marc Andreessen, a computer designer in his twenties, helped create the path-breaking browser Mosaic in 1993 while an undergraduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In those days, Mosaic was one of the few graphic-smart programs for viewing WWW pages on the Internet. Andreessen was one of seven members of the original Mosaic development team at the National Center for Supercomputer Applications at the university. In 1994, Andreessen cofounded a company, now named Netscape Communications Corporation, with James H. Clark, founder of Silicon Graphics Inc. One of the primary aims of Netscape Communications is to develop tools for navigating cyberspace. 

Perry Barlow photo 


John Perry Barlow is co-founder and vice chairman of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit organization working "to protect fundamental civil liberties, including privacy and freedom of expression," in the arena of computers and the Internet. Barlow and Mitchell Kapor founded EFF in 1990, with initial funding from Kapor and Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computer, Inc. EFF has joined litigation on behalf of the rights of "Netizens," including the suit to overturn the Communications Decency Act, and lobbies Congress for broader public access to information.

Barlow first used the science fiction term "cyberspace" the way we use it now, to refer to the digital and electronic world of the Internet. His "Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace" has led some to call him the "Thomas Jefferson of cyberspace." He also co-wrote songs with the Grateful Dead for twenty years. He is currently a Fellow at Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

Berners-Lee photo 


Tim Berners-Lee is the inventor of the World Wide Web initiative which he started in 1989 for his own use as a researcher at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (known as CERN) in Switzerland. 

Berners-Lee has a background in text processing, real-time software, and communications. He developed his first hypertext system, "Enquire," in 1980. Soon after developing the WWW, in 1991 Berners-Lee first specified hypertext markup language (HTML) as part of the WWW initiative to facilitate communication among high-energy physicists. The specification continued to evolve quickly to meet the requirements of the WWW community. What began as an electronic library system for a group of physicists has turned into an international bazaar of information. Berners-Lee was responsible for the development of three standards that weave documents into the WWW. One, URLs (uniform resource locators) are the standard for pointing to documents anywhere on the Internet. Two, HTML is the standard for highlighting documents with URLs to hyperlink them to other documents in the WWW. Three, hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) is the standard for transferring hyperlinked documents from WWW servers to WWW clients. 

Berners-Lee left CERN to found the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which has centers at CERN and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). MIT made sense to Berners-Lee as a home base partly because the center of gravity of Internet research is in the United States, and partly because MIT has a track record of honorable consortium behavior with industry to develop broadly useful, public standards such as X Windows. 

Recent development of the WWW is due largely to the efforts of Berners-Lee and MIT's Laboratory of Computer Science (LCS). The W3C is a vendor-neutral forum for developing and formalizing WWW standards. The goals of the consortium, which Berners-Lee directs, are to coordinate development of the WWW and to maintain its interoperability over time, without any major discontinuities. The W3C also conducts research to determine the WWW's future and provide reference implementations of WWW software. The consortium also hopes to address security issues, such as message integrity, authentication, and privacy. 

Jeff Bezos photo  The son of a Cuban refugee, Jeff Bezos is the founder and CEO of , the largest online provider of books and music. Bezos left his Wall Street job and moved West in 1994, where he started out of his garage. More than a million new customers shopped at the company's site during the 1998 holiday season, and shipped over 7.5 million books and other merchandise, more than it shipped during all of 1997. Still, the company has yet to show a profit.

Important People | Important Dates in Internet History |
Important Dates in the History of Commerce on the Internet

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Last modified: January 16, 1999 by Kathy Olson
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