The Cnam Computer Lab, later called Cédric (Centre d’Etudes et de Recherche en Informatique et Communications) in 1988, took part to major progresses in the history of the Internet in France. At this time, the status of the laboratory was quite ambiguous, between research and engineering, and this produced concrete achievements. In fact, the first IP packet, the first Usenet server and the first HTTP server from France took place here at Cnam, in the campus rue Saint-Martin.

The first Usenet / UUCP server

In 1983, France was one of the first countries to access, via the UUCP (Unix to Unix Copy) protocol, to the messaging network Usenet and to Usenet forums. The network, baptized Fnet, was designed at Cnam around Humberto Lucas and Bernard Martin, two engineers from the Computing Lab. Due to the non-commercial nature of Unix, its spreading was supported mainly by non-profit associations. Among them, the Cnam represented by Humberto Lucas and Bernard Martin, organized the 11th European Unix Systems User Group OPEN Meeting, nicknamed “Spring in Paris”, in April 1982.

The first HTTP server

Later on, Stéphane Bortzmeyer, a research engineer at Cnam, carried out pioneer works in France on the Internet. With some students (Pascal Courtois, Lionel Seinturier, Ludovic Rousseau…), he set up in 1994 the first HTTP server in France. He also participated to the First International Conference on the World-Wide Web, held in Switzerland on May, 1994. Here he was nominated for the “Best Use of Multiple Media” award, for his Usenet Image Gallery. Nicolas Pioch, while still a student, won the award for the WebLouvre, designed in Cnam servers. The WebLouvre (today called the WebMuseum, after a directive from the museum) is one of the earliest examples of a virtual museum.

First International Conference on the World-Wide Web

Stéphane Bortzmeyer documented for the first time in France an event with real pictures on a website, for the “Armada de la Liberté” (Freedom Fleet). During the week from 10th July 1994 to 17th July, dozens of great ships gathered in Rouen (Normandy, France) to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Allied landing in Normandy during World-War II. On the 17th July, the boats sailed to Le Havre, down the river Seine. Several millions of people visited this exhibition. The previous edition, “Les voiles de la Liberté” (Freedom Sails), was in 1989 for the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution.


Vessel from “Armada de la Liberté”
Another vessel from “Armada de la Liberté”