The 1973 paper by Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn describing TCP/IP represented the start of the ‘Internet Age.’ By 1987, key developments in the U.S. planted seeds for the global Internet: adoption of TCP/IP by the ARPANET, and two TCP/IP-based, National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded community networks. These were CSNET (the Computer Science Network) and the NSFNET.
What is often overlooked is that this U.S. activity was not emulated elsewhere. Governments of almost every country actively opposed Internet adoption. They viewed the Internet as a non-standard U.S. technology. They favored a collection of protocols, commonly referred to as OSI (Open Systems Interconnection), being developed by the world’s standards bodies (such as the International Organization for Standardization). In Europe, most national governments and the European Commission would not fund Internet R&D.
In the U.S., there also was anti-Internet pressure. The Commerce Department supported the GOSIP (Government OSI Profile) directive requiring that OSI be included on U.S. government computer purchases. And many U.S. companies preferred OSI to TCP/IP.
On February 8, 1996, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Grateful Dead lyricist, Electronic Frontier Foundation founder and Internet Hall of Fame inductee John Perry Barlow wrote 'A Declaration of Cyberspace.' At the time, the declaration sought to establish that the Internet falls outside any country's borders, and that as a result no government's laws should be applied to it. By 2004, John Perry Barlow, reflecting on the optimism of his work, noted,"we all get older and smarter." Here, the modern orator revisits this historic paper in New York City on July 30, 2013.
Today’s generation cannot imagine a time when the Internet did not exist. But there was a “beginning”, initiated by the appearance in late 1969 of the ARPANET, the first large-scale, heterogeneous, multi-purpose computer network.
However, this heralded event was preceded by a developing vision for global information communication by early thinkers who foresaw aspects of today’s globally-connected world. But this vision had to wait for technology to catch up.
Perhaps the first system that actually provided global electronic connectivity with instantaneous communication occurred with the invention and intercontinental deployment of the telegraph network. This took place in the mid-nineteenth century and was a turning point in world history. One can argue that it served as an inspiration for even broader visions to come as well as a harbinger of some elements of the Internet we enjoy today.
One of the earliest direct expressions of the vision imagined that “It will be possible for a business man in New York to dictate instructions, and have them instantly appear in type at his office in London or elsewhere.” Further, that “…an inexpensive instrument, not bigger than a watch will enable its bearer to…” deliver “…any picture, character, drawing or print … from...
At the Internet Hall of Fame, we encounter a lot of history, and many of the milestones that led to the development of the modern Internet are already familiar to many of us: the genesis of the ARPANET, the implementation of the standard network protocol TCP/IP, the growth of LANs (Large Area Networks), the invention of DNS (the Domain Name System), and the adoption of American legislation that funded U.S. Internet expansion—which helped fuel global network access—to name just a few.
But given our familiarity with these milestones, we started wondering: are there important historical aspects of the network’s origins and development that we're missing? What about Internet history should we know more about?
We posed these questions to some of the Internet Hall of Fame’s inductees, and the responses we received were both varied and fascinating. Over the next six weeks we will share these with you in a three-part series authored by three inductees who provided their insights: Leonard Kleinrock highlights several visionaries who anticipated Internet technology; Elizabeth Feinler focuses on the standards-setting practices that help keep the Internet open and free (did you know anyone ...
Mahabir Pun shares his personal story in a short documentary created by Ericsson’s Networked Society campaign. In the piece, Pun talks about the importance of having a “strong education,” and how, for him, it was unattainable because he lived in a rural Nepal village. Because of this experience, Pun made it his mission to connect Nepalese villages to the Internet, ensuring that his people would have the opportunity to get a good education. To date, he has networked 175 villages through his organization, the Nepal Wireless Networking Project.