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[ih] Essential components of Internet technology and operation


As evidenced by several efforts, including the latest, I doubt that 
considering different criteria for defining the start of the Internet is 
ever going to lead to rough consensus about a single definition.

In the face of an impasse about an entirety, it often is useful to break 
things down into components and consider them separately.

So I suggest an exercise a deconstructive exercise.

For today's Internet:

    a.  Consider a technical, administrative or operational innovation 
that is generally viewed as important for making the Internet work.

    b.  Identify when it was innovated and by whom.

    c.  Rinse, repeat, developing a list of essential components and 
their origins.

For example, a couple of components that aren't near the margins of 

    1.  Packet switching

        While there is some debate about fine-grain of details about 
innovation, its conceptualization was roughly the mid-60s by one or very 
few folk, and its demonstration in a network was, perhaps, 1969 in the 

    2.  Hyperlinks

        Conceptualized by Nelson and Engelbart, apparently separately. 
(I don't know enough about the internals of Engelbart's project to know 
exactly how it developed there and who exactly should get credit for 
it.)  Terminology from Nelson.  Demonstrated operationally by Engelbart, 
in a standalone system.  Demonstrated in a distributed system by 

To the extent that my statements are inaccurate or incomplete, I suspect 
the debate and repair effort can be more constrained for most of the 
items (as long as we keep away from the invention of email...)

With a small amount of diligence, this ought to produce an interesting 
timeline, possibly with, ummm, seven layers...



  Dave Crocker
  Brandenburg InternetWorking