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[ih] XEROX/PUP and Commercialization (was Re: FYI - Gordon Crovitz/WSJ on "Who Really Invented the Internet?")

On 7/23/2012 6:07 PM, Jack Haverty wrote:
> No one can really define "The Internet".  Or maybe just everyone has
> their own idea.

There was a discussion on this list some time ago, that converged on a
relatively small set of alternative definitions, each with a legitimate
rationale, IMO.  People varied in which they preferred.  My feeling is
that that's fine, as long as the choice is stated, when declaring when
and who invented the net.

An incomplete list of the alternatives includes a cross-product of:

   * Proposal vs. initial implementation vs. initial operation

   * packet-switching vs. heterogeneous comms h/w interconnect vs.
heterogeneous administration interconnect

The distinction between a category of technology, a particular
technology, and a particular service operation also make it worth some 
notational alternatives such as 'internetworking' vs. "The Internet".

> DEC had DECNet.  Novell had Netware.  PTTs had X.25/X.75.  Banyan
> did Vines. Apple did Appletalk.  Microsoft joined the fray.   ARPANet
> had its own technology.
> All of those "internets" shared a common characteristic.  Computers,
> and applications, could interact in powerful ways - as long as they
> all adopted the same candidate technology.

Well, several of those connected very different kinds of comms hardware, 
but yes, they put a layer of service technology on top that homogenized 
things.  I think X.75 was the exception and, in its is way, really did 
permit Internetworking.

Except for X.75, the thing about your list is that each of those had to 
be run under a homogeneous administration.

That's why I prefer to the non-hardware definition of "internetworking" 
as the inter-connection of networks under independent administration.

However I prefer to define "The Internet" as the start of Arpanet 
operation, since it's been in continuous operation since then, with all 
of its original, user-level applications still in use.

I'm also obviously biased to buttress this view by noting the remarkable 
similarity between the email messages sent by Tomlinson in 1971 and the 
core of mail formats we we today.  This end-to-end service orientation 
prompted RFC 1775, To be "On" the Internet.

> Somewhere along that path, over the 30+ years or so of the journey
> so far, The Internet was invented.  It's hard to define...the

Per the above, I don't think it is hard to define.  There is a 
relatively small range of credible definitions.  What's difficult is 
getting everyone to agree on just one.  I suspect it's not that 
difficult to get agreement on the plausibility of the small range.

So the real requirement when discussion the invention is to first state 
the definition that provides criteria.

  Dave Crocker
  Brandenburg InternetWorking