CET meeting 05-06. 02. 2000. Budapest
Internet: Past, present, future


In 1993 Mark Andreesen of NCSA (National Center for SuperComputing Applications, Illinois) launched Mosaic X. It was easy to install, easy to use and, significantly, backed by 24-hour customer support. It also enormously improved the graphic capabilities (by using 'in-line imaging' instead of separate boxes) and installed many of the features that are familiar to you through the browsers which are using to view these pages such as Netscape (which is the successor company established by Andreesen to exploit Mosaic) and Bill Gates' Internet Explorer. Like so many other Internet innovations, trial versions of Mosaic were made available free to the educational community. Mosaic soon became a runaway hit. By 1994 tens of thousands of versions had been installed on computers throughout the World. The potential of HTML to create graphically attractive web-sites and the ease with which these sites could be accessed through the new generations of web-browsers opened the Web to whole new groups. Until now, the Web had served two main communities - the scientific community (accessing on-line documentation) and a wider 'netizens' (net citizens) community (accessing e-mail and news-group facilities). Now commercial web-sites began their proliferation, followed at a short distance by local school/club/family sites. These developments were accelerated by the appearance of ever-more powerful (and cheap) personal computers (which increased both the number of netizens and the potential market for businesses) and by the increase in capacity of the communications infrastructure. The Web now exploded.

In 1994 there were 3,2 mln hosts and 3,000 web-sites. Twelve months later the number of hosts had doubled and the number of web-sites had climbed to 25,000. By the end of the next year the number of host computers had doubled again, and the number of web-sites had increased by more than ten-fold. In that year, by the way,