Soon after my son introduced me to his new girlfriend, I sent her a Facebook “friend” invitation.
Two minutes later, my son called to criticize me for committing a grave social network faux pas, to which I responded, “Listen, I invented the Internet, and I’ll do whatever I darn well please there.” Here is a story of internet, a brief history of internet and the origin of internet.
Here are some snippets on the history of internet, when was internet created, when was internet invented, who was the internet invented by and the year the internet was invented, where was the internet invented, what year was internet invented, when internet was invented, and when internet was born.
Who invented the internet: The internet invention
Al Gore invented the Internet, and I cannot take any credit for that, although I did play a small part in its development.
The passing of Ray Tomlinson, the man credited with inventing email and the now ubiquitous ‘@’ sign, takes me back to my first job out of graduate school as a programmer at Bolt Beranek and Newman (BBN) in 1978.
I had just received my Master’s degree in Computer Science from UC Berkeley, where we learned about operating systems by adding features to a new “toy” OS called UNIX. BBN was creating the Arpanet (the precursor to the Internet) under the watchful eye of DARPA’s Vint Cerf.
The attraction was mutual: BBN was looking for UNIX kernel programmers (not many of us around in 1978), and I was fascinated by UNIX and the ARPANET.
How was the internet invented – Unforgettable minds
Here is a brief on how was internet invented. My first task was to complete the implementation and debugging of the first implementation of FTP (File Transfer Protocol), which Jack Haverty had written in the TOPS-20 assembly language.
Next I investigated a performance issue in Arpanet’s router, known as the IMP (Interface Message Processor). My fix to the problem became the basis for UNIX’s priority buffering algorithm and is still part of the ubiquitous Linux kernel.
The team at BBN was a fantastic group of technical minds, including Frank Heart, Dave Walden, Ray Tomlinson, Carl Howe, Steve Kent, and Jack Haverty. These people wrote the RFCs (Requests for Comments) that define the basic protocols, routing algorithms, and security mechanisms that scaled into today’s Internet.
You would expect that such technical giants understood the importance of what they were creating and that their impact on the world might go to their heads.
Nothing could be further from the truth. I remember a democratic and down-to-earth environment where every idea was reasonably considered, even from an inexperienced engineer like me.
Why was the internet invented: Arpanet
Most of the engineers who developed the Arpanet had no idea of the impact it would have on the world. As far as we were concerned, we were building a communication network that would be used by the military and academia, not by all of humanity.
An apocryphal story says that when Ray Tomlinson invented the first email, he told a fellow engineer, “Don’t tell anyone – we’re not supposed to be working on this.”
I do not know whether this story is true, but far more importantly, I know it could be true. Fortunately, the nameless engineer in the story did tell someone else, and the rest is history.
I believe that this atmosphere of humility and democratic discussion played a major role in the success of Arpanet.
The technologies are rock-solid because they were created by a team that worked together seamlessly, never pulled rank, and respected the possibility that a great idea could come from anywhere and anyone, even a new graduate like me.
Ray Tomlinson was a key part of that team, and his passing reminds us of how human beings can overcome physical limitations (like distance) via ingenuity, passion, and humility.