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Håkon Wium Lie

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Håkon Wium Lie
Håkon Wium Lie, March 2009
Born (1965-07-26) July 26, 1965 (age 58)
Halden, Norway
Known forCascading Style Sheets
WebsitePersonal homepage of Håkon W. Lie

Håkon Wium Lie (born July 26, 1965) is a Norwegian web pioneer, a standards activist, and the chairman of YesLogic, developers of Prince CSS-based PDF rendering software.[1][2] He is best known for developing Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) while working with Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau at CERN in 1994. He was the Chief Technology Officer of Opera Software from 1998 until the browser was sold to new owners in 2016.[3][2]

Education and career[edit]

Håkon Wium Lie attended Østfold University College, West Georgia College, and MIT Media Lab, receiving an MS in Visual Studies in 1991.[4]

On February 17, 2006, he successfully defended his PhD thesis at the University of Oslo. His PhD thesis provides a background on the origins of CSS and a rationale to some of the design decisions behind it – particularly as to why some features were not included and why CSS avoids trying to become DSSSL.[5][6]

He has worked for, among others, the W3C, INRIA, CERN, MIT Media Lab, and Norwegian telecom research in Televerket.

Web Standards[edit]

While working with Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau at CERN in 1994, he proposed the concept of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS).[7] As a showcase and testbed, he integrated CSS into the Arena web browser, which became the first CSS implementation.[8]

After joining W3C in 1995, he worked on the CSS specifications, including CSS1,[9] CSS2,[9] and RFC 2318 (March 1998). Most of these specifications were developed with Bert Bos, who is considered co-creator of CSS.[10] Over the next decade, CSS established itself as one of the fundamental web standards, with profound impact on typography, aesthetics, and accessibility on the web.[11]

Along with his work on the CSS specifications, Wium Lie has been an activist for standards in general.

In 2005, he wrote an open letter to Bill Gates of Microsoft, asking why Microsoft's Internet Explorer did not support common web standards.[12] A few days later, when Bill Gates announced that Internet Explorer 7 would be launched, Wium Lie responded by launching the Acid2 challenge to Microsoft.[13] Although primarily targeted at Microsoft, the Acid2 test was also difficult for other browsers. Since then, Acid2 and the subsequent Acid3 have established themselves as benchmark tests which all browsers are measured against.[14]

In 2006, Wium Lie started campaigning for browsers to support downloadable web fonts using common font formats.[15][16][17] As of 2011, all major browser vendors have implemented web fonts this way.[18]

In 2007, Wium Lie started campaigning for the video element to make it easier to publish video on the web.[19] At Google I/O in 2011, Wium Lie presented the video element in combination with the WebM format which Google had open-sourced.[20][21]

In 2008, he was spokesperson for a group of technical committee members who resigned over the decision by Standards Norway to vote for the approval of OOXML.[22]

Wium Lie has also promoted the concept of printing from the web.[23] The third edition of his book on CSS, co-authored with Bert Bos, was produced from HTML and CSS files.[24][25] These files were then converted to PDF by the Prince XML + CSS formatter. In 2005, he joined the board of YesLogic, the company that makes the Prince formatter.

Building on his experience with web printing, in 2011 Wium Lie proposed to extend CSS to support pagination on screens.[26]

He has argued against the use of formatting objects and CSS Regions on the web.[27][28]

CTO of Opera Software[edit]

In April 1999, Wium Lie joined Opera Software in Oslo, Norway as CTO. His move was motivated by seeing Opera programmers make more progress on implementing CSS in three months than what Netscape and Microsoft had achieved in three years.[29]

At Opera, he spearheaded the development of mobile browsers, in particular small-screen rendering of web pages. Small-screen rendering enabled Opera to show normal web pages on the small screens commonly found on feature phones running the Opera Mini browser.[30]

When Opera Software filed a complaint against Microsoft in the EU over Internet Explorer in 2007, Wium Lie was a spokesperson, stressing the need for Microsoft to fully support web standards in their browser.[31] Opera's complaint led to a settlement where Microsoft started offering rival browsers from a browser choice screen to Windows users in Europe, and Wium Lie declared this a victory for the web.[32]

In 2013, Opera started a gradual transition from its own Presto web engine, to the WebKit engine also used by Safari and Google Chrome. Wium Lie said that it made most sense to work with the open-source communities than to continue developing its own engine.[33]

Chairman of YesLogic[edit]

Wium Lie has been chairman of YesLogic,[1][2] the developers of Prince, since 2004.[34] Prince uses CSS to render HTML as highly styled PDF with complex layout.[35]

Political and civic activities[edit]

In 2005, when politicians declared defeat against advertising towers on public pavements in Oslo, Wium Lie started the Stans.no campaign.[36][37][38] In 2009, Stans!no filed a suit against the city for allowing advertising towers to be built in public places, and the city subsequently bought the advertising towers and dismantled them.[39] After the advertising towers were removed, Stans.no has continued working against other types of advertising in the public space.[40]

To encourage sponsors to support the OLPC project, in 2008 Wium Lie ordered 100 laptops and turned his Oslo home into a temporary OLPC village.[41][42]

In 2012 he co-founded the Pirate Party of Norway, and he ran as their candidate in the 2013 election and the 2019 election.[43]

In 2014, he proposed to use the two unused Norwegian TLDs (.sj and .bv) to create privacy-enhanced zones.[44][45]

Wium Lie is a self-declared social democrat and he has contributed economically to cultural and political causes. In 2007 he gave a significant contribution to the new Oslo Opera House.[46]

In 2017, he was an initial investor in the Norwegian online alternative newspaper Resett, stating that it was meaningful to help provide a platform for Helge Lurås, a critic of NATO campaigns in Afghanistan and Libya, and Bjørn Ihler, a survivor of the Utøya massacre.[47][48][49][50][51]

Wium Lie is against Norwegian membership in the EEA and when the party Alliansen was formed as an anti-EEA party in 2017 he was on the election list for parliament for Akershus.[52][53] However, Wium Lie denounced the party before the election due to its shifting platform.[54]

In 2018, Wium Lie was sued by Lovdata for publishing Norwegian court decisions on rettspraksis.no, a volunteer web site. In less than 24 hours, the web site was closed by the Oslo court, and Wium Lie was sentenced to pay the legal bills of Lovdata. Under Norwegian law, court decisions are exempted from copyright but Wium Lie was not allowed to appear in court. In the wake of this decision, members of the Norwegian Parliament have asked for changes in how Lovdata is organized.[55] The case has been appealed and will be decided by the Supreme Court of Norway.[needs update]

Personal life[edit]

Wium Lie lives in Oslo, Norway. There, he has started web-based campaigns against high-rise buildings[56] and advertising in the public space.[57] Wium Lie also maintains a woodworking studio and runs an organic farm.[58]

Awards and recognition[edit]

In 1999, he was named to the MIT Technology Review TR100 as one of the top 100 innovators in the world under the age of 35.[59]

In 2001, he was a Technology Pioneer at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

In 2017, Wium Lie held a keynote at the WeAreDevelopers Conference 2017, talking about his contributions to the web today with the creation of CSS, and how it has evolved together with the web itself up to its current state.[60]

See also[edit]


Lie and Bert Bos wrote a book on CSS, now in its third edition.

  • Lie, Håkon Wium; Bos, Bert (1997). Cascading Style Sheets: Designing for the Web (1st ed.). Addison Wesley Longman. ISBN 0-201-41998-X.
  • Lie, Håkon Wium; Bos, Bert (1999). Cascading Style Sheets: Designing for the Web (2nd ed.). Addison-Wesley. ISBN 0-201-59625-3.
  • Lie, Håkon Wium; Bos, Bert (2005). Cascading Style Sheets: Designing for the Web (3rd ed.). Addison Wesley. ISBN 0-321-19312-1.


  1. ^ a b "Håkon Wium Lie". Retrieved 29 November 2023.
  2. ^ a b c "Håkon Wium Lie". www.wiumlie.no. Retrieved 2022-02-23.
  3. ^ Bos, Bert (17 December 2016). "A brief history of CSS until 2016". www.w3.org. Retrieved 2022-02-23.
  4. ^ "Curriculum Vitae: Håkon Wium Lie". www.w3.org. Retrieved 2022-02-23.
  5. ^ "Disputas: Doktorand Håkon Wium Lie". Archived from the original on 2006-02-23. Retrieved 2019-05-20.
  6. ^ Lie, Håkon Wium. "Phd. Thesis: Cascading Style Sheets".
  7. ^ Cascading HTML Style Sheets
  8. ^ Håkon Wium Lie; Bert Bos. "Chapter 20 - The CSS saga". World Wide Web Consortium. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
  9. ^ a b "Cascading Style Sheets, level 1". World Wide Web Consortium. 1996-12-17.
  10. ^ Bos, Bert (14 April 1995). "Simple style sheets for SGML & HTML on the web". World Wide Web Consortium. Retrieved 20 June 2010.
  11. ^ Shankland, Stephen (2010-11-08). "Browser underdog Opera fights for its survival". Cnet.com. And its chief technology officer, Håkon Wium Lie, worked with Web founder Tim Berners-Lee and founded the Web formatting technology called Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) that's now one of the hottest areas of Web design.
  12. ^ "Opera to MS: Get real about interoperability, Mr Gates". The Register. 2005-02-11. So, Mr. Gates, writes Hakon Lie, you say you believe in interoperability. Then why, pray tell, doesn't the web page of your interoperability communiqué conform to the HTML4 standard as it claims to?
  13. ^ Lie, Håkon Wium (16 March 2005). "The Acid2 challenge to Microsoft". CNET. Archived from the original on 16 June 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2008. To ensure that IE 7 does not become another failed promise, the Web community will issue a challenge to Microsoft. We will produce a test page, code-named Acid2, that will actively use features Web designers crave, such as fixed positioning of elements.
  14. ^ "Acid2: The Guided Tour". The Web Standards Project. Retrieved 24 December 2007.
  15. ^ Microsoft's forgotten monopoly
  16. ^ "Web fonts: the view from the free world". Archived from the original on 2011-07-23. Retrieved 2009-03-25.
  17. ^ CSS @ Ten: The Next Big Thing
  18. ^ Samples at: Webfonts demo and test pages. for Prince, Safari, Opera 10 alpha, and a special build of Firefox. Retrieved 02-Aug-2009.
  19. ^ "A call for video on the web". Archived from the original on 2012-04-26. Retrieved 2009-03-25.
  20. ^ Metz, Cade. "Opera CTO still sour on Google native code plugin". The Register. This morning, at Google I/O in downtown San Francisco, Wium Lie delivered a presentation on Opera's use of WebP, a new "lossy" image compression format open sourced by Google last fall.
  21. ^ Håkon Wium Lie giving a Google Tech Talk on <video>
  22. ^ "Norwegian standards body implodes over OOXML controversy". 3 October 2008. Opera CTO Håkon Wium Lie is among the technical committee members who are resigning over the OOXML decision. In the letter, he stresses the importance of open standards and the need for formats that are universally accessible to everyone.
  23. ^ Håkon Wium Lie and Michael Day giving a Google Tech Talk on printing from the web on YouTube
  24. ^ Printing a Book with CSS: Boom!
  25. ^ A description of how the CSS book was produced from HTML and CSS into PDF
  26. ^ Opera brings fondleslab-style reading to bog-standard web
  27. ^ "Formatting Objects considered harmful". Archived from the original on 2011-04-03. Retrieved 2009-03-25.
  28. ^ "CSS Regions Considered Harmful". Archived from the original on 2019-05-25. Retrieved 2017-02-25.
  29. ^ McAllister, Neil (2006-10-30). "Why Opera isn't planning to go open source". Computerworld. Archived from the original on 2006-11-09. I joined Opera when I saw that Opera was able to implement as much of CSS in three months as Netscape and Microsoft could in three years
  30. ^ "A quart into a pint pot". The Economist. 2002-12-14. Thank goodness, then, for Opera, a Norwegian software firm. It has devised a clever new way to squeeze grown-up web pages on to diminutive devices, such as smartphones, so that they both look good and are easy to navigate. The trick is to reformat the web page in an intelligent way—by working out which parts are important and which not, says Hakon Lie, Opera's chief technology officer.
  31. ^ Dignan, Larry. "Opera files complaint against Microsoft in the EU over IE, Windows bundle; CTO makes Web standards case". ZDNet.
  32. ^ Meller, Paul. "EC, Microsoft Settlement Broadly Welcomed". The legally binding commitments Microsoft made in the browser case mark "a victory for the future of the Web and its users," Hakon Wium Lie, the chief technology officer at Opera said at a press conference.
  33. ^ Clarke, Gavin. "Opera joins Google/Apple in-crowd with shift to WebKit and Chromium". The Register. Opera chief technology officer Håkon Wium Lie said in a statement: "It makes more sense to have our experts working with the open source communities to further improve WebKit and Chromium, rather than developing our own rendering engine further."
  34. ^ "About us". Retrieved 29 November 2023.
  35. ^ "Prince". Retrieved 29 November 2023.
  36. ^ Pedersen, Ole (5 April 2005). "Gir opp kampen mot gigareklame" [Gives up fight against giga-advertising]. KommunalRapport. Oslo. Leder av byutviklingskomiteen i Oslo, Ola Elvestuen (V), har gitt opp kampen mot reklametårene som firmaet JCDecaux skal sette opp i hovedstaden
  37. ^ Grenne, Harald (18 November 2005). "Mobiliserer til reklametårn-protest" [Mobilizing protest against advertising towers]. Kreativt Forum. Archived from the original on 18 November 2005. Retrieved 30 June 2019. Nå maner grupperingen «Stans!», bestående av folk som beskriver seg selv som Oslo-entusiaster, til aksjon mot det reklamekjøret mange Oslo-borgere nå føler de får tredd nedover ørene. På nettsiden www.stans.no har de laget et opprop som folk kan skrive under, og i tillegg har de samlet all mulig relevant informasjon om den betente saken ... Gruppen er partipolitisk uavhengig og får ikke støtte av kommersielle aktører. Håkon Wium Lie, som til daglig er Chief Technology Officer i landets mest offensive teknologibedrift, Opera Software, fungerer som kontaktperson.
  38. ^ Sandve, Gerd (21 January 2014). "Tordner mot lystårn - Håkon Wium Lie er leder i stans.no og kjemper for å fjerne reklametårn i Oslo" [Thunders against advertising towers - Håkon wium Lie is the leader of stans.no and works to remove advertising towers from Oslo].
  39. ^ "Kostbare reklametårn" [Dear-bought advertising towers]. Aftenposten. Oslo. 8 October 2009. Mange naboer har protestert mot den politisk omstridte reklamen. Protestgruppen «Stans!no» varslet tidligere i år søksmål mot kommunen. Nå er leder av gruppen, Håkon Wium Lie, som fikk støtte av flertallet i bystyret, lettet.
  40. ^ Halvorsen, Bjørn Egil (9 March 2006). "Her skal reklamen flomme" [Advertising will be flooding in these areas]. Aftenposten. Oslo. Vi frykter dette vil føre til større og mer reklame, sier Håkon Wium Lie i stans!no. Aksjonsgruppen har markert seg som en kraftig opponent mot reklametårnene. Men selv om planforslaget fraråder flere slike tårn og andre såkalte reklamefinansierte gatemøbler, er ikke Wium Lie fornøyd. - Reklamen flytter nå fra tårn til vegg. Oslos innbyggere trenger en plan som er grunnleggende restriktiv til reklame.
  41. ^ Brenna, Anders. "OLPC village in Oslo". Archived from the original on 2009-02-03.
  42. ^ Brombach, Harald (May 8, 2008). "OLPC-landsby". Archived from the original on 2019-05-06.
  43. ^ "Valglistens navn: Piratpartiet" (PDF).
  44. ^ Håkon Wium Lie Net names for safe shelter, 31 July 2014, fetched Feb 25 2017
  45. ^ Stig Øyvann How two remote Arctic territories became the front line in the battle for internet privacy, 01 Oct 2014, fetched Feb 25 2017
  46. ^ "Ga kvart million til Operaen". 2007-11-23. Vi er jo alle sosialdemokrater, og ønsker fortsette med det ... Jeg er ikke en superrik person. Noen bruker penger på dyre biler, men mitt store innkjøp i år var en brukt elbil. Bare der sparte jeg nok en halv million
  47. ^ Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2018
  48. ^ Lurås, Helge; Ulriksen, Ståle; Valther, Vegard (2010). "The Strategic Significance of Afghanistan. A Note of Caution to the NATO Summit". NUPI Policy Brief. 9–2010.
  49. ^ "Libya ble en rent sinnelagsetisk operasjon, som etterlot seg kaos". 29 September 2015. Libya ble en rent sinnelagsetisk operasjon, som forutsigbart nok etterlot seg kaos. Noen av oss advarte mot dette da operasjonen tok til.
  50. ^ "A Norway massacre survivor explains how we need to pay more attention to the radicalization of white men". 2017-10-07. Should the world be concerned about the radicalization of white men? "Yes," says Bjørn Ihler, "I almost got killed by one."
  51. ^ "Ønsker konfrontasjon med Støre og Solberg". 2017-08-24. Jeg synes det er meningfylt å bidra til at nye stemmer som Helge Lurås og Bjørn Ihler får en plattform. Jeg har ingen rolle i redaksjonen, men jeg synes det Helge sier om trusselvurderingen av Russland virker fornuftig. Jeg synes ofte at norske medier demoniserer et naboland vi burde kunne ha gode relasjoner til, sier Håkon Wium Lie
  52. ^ Nytt politisk parti vil ha Norge ut av EØS
  53. ^ "NSDs valglistearkiv". Archived from the original on 2018-10-13. Retrieved 2019-04-21.
  54. ^ "Historien om milliardærenes nye nettavis" (in Norwegian). 1 September 2017. Retrieved 23 April 2019. Det må her skytes inn at Håkon Wium Lie ikke lenger vil la seg assosiere med partiet. I en epost skriver han: Jeg tror det hadde vært fint å få en gründer på Stortinget, og det er slik jeg kjenner Hans Jørgen. At han til og med startet et firma som tilbyr sikker epost, er et ekstra pluss. Alliansens fanesak var kampen mot EØS-avtalen, som er et åk for Norge, og jeg sa derfor ja til å bli listeført. Så ser jeg også at valgkampen handler om andre temaer enn EØS, og jeg har måttet distansere meg fra uttalelser. Det er leit, og jeg regner meg ikke som kandidat, selv om jeg fortsatt står på listene.
  55. ^ Being Sued
  56. ^ StoppBlokk campaign
  57. ^ Stans!no campaign against advertising in Oslo
  58. ^ "Håkon Wium Le", The Setup, October 7, 2014
  59. ^ "1999 Young Innovators Under 35". Technology Review. 1999. Archived from the original on February 26, 2021. Retrieved August 15, 2011.
  60. ^ "The World & CSS - Hakon Wium Lie @ WeAreDevelopers Conference 2017". YouTube.
  61. ^ Nielsen, Henrik Frystyk (7 June 2002). "Libwww Hackers". World Wide Web Consortium. Retrieved 2 June 2010.

External links[edit]