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Old 06-15-2021, 09:57 AM   #1
hazel
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Tim Berners-Lee sells source code for the worldwide web


Of course it's been open-source for years! But the original digital document remains in his possession and is of huge historical interest. Now the father of the web is going to auction this document for charity as a unique non-fungible token on the ethereum blockchain.
Quote:
The files include code with approximately 9,555 lines which feature implementations of the three languages and protocols invented by Sir Tim that remain fundamental to the World Wide Web today, known as HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), and URIs (Uniform Resource Identifiers).
Which raises the question: is this really a public-spirited thing to do, given that NFTs have a strong whiff of scam about them and blockchains are guzzlers of energy?
 
Old 06-15-2021, 10:48 AM   #2
obobskivich
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I'm actually surprised this isn't in a museum or library archive somewhere - but as you point out, 'its been open-source for years' so certainly the 'strong whiff of scam' comes to mind ('a fool and his money...'?). Also how do you even deal with provenance on something like that? 'the original digital document remains in his posession' - so let me try to wrap my head around this:

- The 'winner' here is not getting the original computer he did the work on (which I believe *is* in a museum, if I'm not mistaken)
- The 'winner' is basically getting to claim they 'own' a copy of a file that has probably been bounced around between systems, storage media, etc over the years - so how 'original' is it?

What I'm thinking about is basically this: I started ripping CDs to mp3 probably 20 years ago, and have some of those files still in my music library, but they're there as a result of multiple, repeated, copyings - the original disk drive that held them has long since failed, and what exists now is probably more like a 10th+ generation copy - is that 'original'?

I'm sure someone will spend a small fortune on it though, as seems to be the case with anything related to 'blockchain' these days...
 
Old 06-15-2021, 11:02 AM   #3
DavidMcCann
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I saw that in the news but it lost me with "non-fungible token on the ethereum blockchain". Please don't explain — there are some things I'm happier not knowing.
 
Old 06-15-2021, 11:11 AM   #4
boughtonp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMcCann View Post
I saw that in the news but it lost me with "non-fungible token on the ethereum blockchain". Please don't explain ó there are some things I'm happier not knowing.
It's ok, just think of it as like DRM for hipsters.

 
Old 06-15-2021, 11:16 AM   #5
hazel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boughtonp View Post
It's ok, just think of it as like DRM for hipsters.
Except that DRM stops you copying things while NFTs let you copy and share a file all over social media, so that it becomes famous (and therefore valuable in terms of what people are prepared to pay for the original).
 
Old 06-15-2021, 11:40 AM   #6
BenCollver
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I felt disturbed by what i read about NFT and crypto-currency.

"Bitcoin spreads a carbon footprint bigger than Australia's, and ... the run-up in its price could triple the carbon dioxide it spews..."

https://fortune.com/2021/04/20/bitco...pollution/amp/

"Carrying out a payment with Visa requires about 0.002 kilowatt-hours; the same payment with bitcoin uses up 906 kilowatt-hours, more than half a million times as much, and enough to power a two-person household for about three months."

https://thecorrespondent.com/655/blo...55475-f933fe63
 
Old 06-15-2021, 09:04 PM   #7
ntubski
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Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post
- The 'winner' here is not getting the original computer he did the work on (which I believe *is* in a museum, if I'm not mistaken)
- The 'winner' is basically getting to claim they 'own' a copy of a file that has probably been bounced around between systems, storage media, etc over the years - so how 'original' is it?
It's more like the 'winner' gets a (digitally) signed autograph from Tim Berners-Lee.
 
Old 06-16-2021, 07:53 AM   #8
boughtonp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hazel View Post
Except that...
I didn't say they were the same. They are similar in that both are mechanisms [attempting to] assert ownership over bytes. (And both should be treated with suspicion.)


Quote:
Originally Posted by hazel View Post
Which raises the question: is this really a public-spirited thing to do, given that NFTs have a strong whiff of scam about them and blockchains are guzzlers of energy?
It's a PR stunt, jumping on the bandwagon to increase publicity - due to all the discussions just like this one that'll be going on.

For anyone genuinely interested in the history, the other parts seem more interesting:
Quote:
Originally Posted by https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/national/19373185.inventor-sir-tim-berners-lee-puts-original-world-wide-web-files-auction/
As well as the opportunity to delve into the bare bones of the webís early architecture, the winning bidder will receive an animated visualisation of the code, a letter written by Sir Tim about its creation, as well as a digital poster of the full code

The question I'm curious about is where the money is going - you used the word "charity" but that's not in the sources I've looked at - except the BBC who claim "good causes" - nor in the actual auction page at Sotheby's, where it says:
Quote:
Originally Posted by https://www.sothebys.com/en/digital-catalogues/this-changed-everything
The sale will benefit initiatives that Sir Tim and Lady Berners-Lee support.
Which could mean anything.

 
Old 06-16-2021, 11:12 AM   #9
DavidMcCann
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ntubski View Post
It's more like the 'winner' gets a (digitally) signed autograph from Tim Berners-Lee.
I'd rather have one of these
Donald Knuth reward cheque
 
Old 06-28-2021, 10:52 AM   #10
hazel
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The bidding is now $2.8 million. I think people are really crazy!
 
  


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