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[ih] internet-history Digest, Vol 37, Issue 1

This is like the arguments about when life begins - lots of different

I like Bob's milestone - the Internet came to life when its technology
(i.e., the TCP technology that enabled the "inter" aspect of Internet)
was adopted for operational use and there was no going back.  Everything
before that was prenatal, part of a lengthy R&D gestation.  Much of the
Arpanet software "DNA" carried over to the Internet algorithms.  But
1/1/1983 seems like a good date for when the Internet was "born".

Subsequently, the offspring Internet consumed its mother Arpanet, which
disappeared totally - as happens in the animal kingdom.  But of course,
opinions may differ.

At the time, the "Arpanet people" didn't think they were creating an
Internet.  In fact, as I remember, the Internet was somewhat of an
annoyance, since it significantly altered the traffic patterns which the
Arpanet internal algorithms were optimized to handle and caused
operational problems as a result.  Those "gateways" (now called routers)
just acted weird, unlike normal well-behaved hosts.  The Arpanet R&D was
intently focused on making the network bigger and better, converting to
the X.25 interface, deploying clone networks for anyone who wanted one,
and in general evolving and commercializing the Arpanet technology.  

The government had to mandate the transition to TCP in order to make it
possible to communicate across several networks - the "inter" in
Internet.  Without the mandate, I doubt it would have happened.   Our
"Internet" today would probably be a gaggle of X.25 networks
interconnected by X.75 gateways - that was certainly the plan.  The
economics and performance of X.25/X.75 would probably never have
permitted the creation of the Web, or any of the other "killer apps"
that we now use everyday.  Packet-switching may have changed the
economics of using long lines, but I think the "Internet economics"
changed the cost structure on data comm dramatically, and that's what
enabled the explosion of growth of "The Internet" from the mid-90s on.
If the Arpanet had had its way, today's Internet, if it existed at all,
would be X.25/X.75.

So, my perspective is that the Arpanet was not the fledgling Internet -
the Arpanet reluctantly nurtured the Internet, and eventually died as a
result.  Once TCP was required, the Arpanet was doomed; it took only a
few years.  I wonder if there are any Arpanet-style X.25 networks

I have a big red button that says "I Survived the TCP Transition
1/1/83".  They were handed out to commemorate the cutover, but I don't
remember exactly where I got it.  Sounds like something Jon Postel would
have done though.  Anybody else have one?

/Jack Haverty
Point Arena, CA

On Mon, 2009-11-02 at 12:20 -0800, Bob Braden wrote:
> Noel wrote:
>    And speaking of the Internet as a distinct entity, whats it's birth-day
>  > anyway? I would call it the first day on which a packet was sent from one
>  > host, across a particular kind of network, through a router (or 
> gateway as we
>  > called them back then), across another network, into another host. 
> (That woul
>  > d
>  > have been a TCP packet, I guess - no IP back then!) So where and when was
>  > that?
> At the time, we reckoned the beginning of the Internet to be the Red 
> Flag day when the ARPAnet converted from NCP to TCP/IP: Jan 1, 1983.
> I think someone has an "I survived..." sweatshirt to commemorate that date.
> Bob Braden