The World Wide Web can buy a drink! But the World Wide Web cannot rent a car.
Twenty-one years ago, Tim Berners-Lee published the first webpage. Web page, in the parlance the time. This was part of a project Berners-Lee had embarked on while working at CERN, and it really was just a project: a protocol for linking documents via hypertext, one effort among many that researchers and computer scientists were experimenting with in their desire to stay connected.
The web's roots can be traced back as far as the 1980s, when Berners-Lee developed his hyptertext-based Enquire software at CERN; in 1989, he got the green light from his boss for a side project that that would devise a way to link information and to scale those links. Using a NeXT cube computer -- the cutting-edge machine designed by Steve Jobs's NeXT, Inc. -- Berners-Lee put the finishing touches on a protocol that would use hypertext (a concept that had been around since 1963) as the basis of file-sharing on the Internet (which had been around for nearly as long). The point was to make information not only connected, but accessible in its connectivity. To make his protocol workable, Berners-Lee also developed the world's first browser. And, for that matter, its first server.