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[ih] birth of the Internet?

Miles Fidelman <mfidelman at meetinghouse.net> wrote:
> I've been part of an interesting discussion, on another list, that's led 
> to the question of when the Internet was actually "born."
> Was it:
> - when the ARPANET moved from NCP to TCP/IP?
> - when the ARPANET was split into two, linked backbones (ARPANET/MILNET)?
> - was there an earlier point at which IP was linking LANs across the 
> - some other event?

I think there are two separate kinds of ways of looking at it:

1. Pick some criteria for what makes the Internet special, and look
   for the first time something was done / existed that met them?

2. Trace the direct lineage of today's Internet to its organizational
   or physical predecessors and see where it started.  That it, what
   was the birth of the thing that eventually turned into the Internet.

If you go with #1, you may pick something that was a one-shot, or that
developed into some separate entity that either got discontinued or
absorbed into the Internet long after the Internet had separately
evolved to meet your criteria.  That is, the thing that you pick may
not be part of the Internet's primary direct lineage.

If you go with #2, you may pick something that did *not* develop its
unique Internet-qualifying aspects until after they had all been done
by someone else somewhere else.

I think #2 is a better fit for the question, but that implies that
picking some key criteria of technical achievement blindly and then
looking for the first occurrence of that in history is the wrong

That aside, though, if I have to pick what makes the Internet the
Internet, I'd go with: allowing multiple computer networks under
*separate, independent administration* to connect and support the same
set of common protocols and apps across them.  Where "multiple" isn't
just two, who work out their own unique bilateral; I mean that it lets
more than two accomplish this goal in similar ways without having to
work out new technical means of doing so for each pair.
  -- Cos