Summary of WWW BOF at IETF

Tim Berners-Lee (timbl)
Thu, 1 Apr 93 19:16:00 MET DST

There was a small meeting about WWW at the 26th
Internet Engineering Task Force meeting in Columbus
Ohio on Tuesday. This is a summary for the record.

Tim BL

WWW BOF Minutes

This is a summary of the discussion at the WWW
BOF at the 26th IETF.
Tim Berners-Lee mentioned a few recent
+ NCSA's "Mosaic" WWW client for X11
agreed by the meeting to be the best
information access tool to date. This
is at an advanced beta state (version
0.12). FTP pickup rate for this product
now excedes that for NCSA telnet.
+ A Windows client for MS-DOS machines
exists, the equivalent of XMosaic but
for PCs. It is user configurable and
looks good. A problem with release is
that a runtime licence is needed for te
TCP stack used (Distinct).
+ The growth rate of access to the CERN
server has continued to double every
four months for the last two years with
no sign of tapering off.
Man pages on the web
Steve Romig of Ohio State was congrtulated on
his server server for unix manual pages. This is
a good example of an automatic server (a perl
script in this case) which provides a powerful
data access. Steve agreed to make his tools
available on the web.
Web Agenda
There was a discussion of things which should be
done to make it easier for the web to spread.
These include
+ Better packaging of CERN sofware, in
particular the server: simpler
installation, irrelevant file hiding,
+ Licencising of CERN software: There was
deep concern expressed that investment
by others in WWW related projects wuld
be jepardized later by CERN's licencing
conditions, in the way that the
University of Minnesota have pulled the
rug out from under the Gopher project.
The General Public (Gnu-style) licence
was not so acceptable as pure public
domain code. The meeting was quite
intent that this be solved very quickly.
+ A better vt100 full-screen browser is
needed for a large dial-up user base.
NCSA are likely to bring out a public domain
very simple to install server, as a partial
solution to the first two issues issues.
There was a proposal to create a small group to
implement the vt100 client, which formed and aims
to implement the product for public release.
vt100 client
[Note: Minutes after the BOF we received an
announcement of the "Lynx" 2.0 beta release by Lou
Montulli. This may solve the problem or at least
provide a base. Lynx is a vt100 full screen
hypertext WWW client. Check it out by telnetting
to and logging in as www.
Source and binaries are available by anon FTP from]
The three standards important for WWW at this
stage are:
The Universal Resource Locators spec defines the
addressing syntax used by WWW. This is to be
released immediately as an Internet Draft for the
standards track.
The Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)
specification defines the transport format for
menus, hypertext and general online documentation.
This must be specified at RFC standards track
level in order to be submitted as a MIME content-
type. This in turn is necessary as HTTP uses MIME
format for returned multimedia messages, and we
want it to stay MIME-compliant. HTML will
therefore be released as an Internet Draft as soon
as possible.
HTTP is the access protocol used by WWW servers.
An extended (back-compatible) version is in use
in the 2.0 and above CERN software. This is quite
open to extension and so any comment on the
protocol should be discussed on the www-talk list.
It was agreed to put these documents through the
IIR working group whose chaiman, Chis Wieder, has
agreed to oversee their passage. The BOF will
not, therfore, meet again or propose a WWW working
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Tim Berners-Lee <> (chair)
Jill Foster <>
Jane Smith <>
Karen Sollins <>
Mark Prior <> *
Jim Knowles <>
Steve Romig <>
Michael Mealing <> *
Mitra <> *
Cifford Neuman <> *
Alisa Hata <> *

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Unfortunately many attendees left without
filling in the roster sheet.