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

Most of this has been discussed much already, but I just wanted to add my chorus to those who point out how much cross-fertilization there was in those days. Remember Xerox PARC is on Stanford land, and not only did many of us work as summer interns, they gave us "no fee consulting" agreements so that we could bicycle up the hill to attend "dealers" that sounded interesting and collaborate on other projects as Xerox people would also listen in on seminars. People like Dave Boggs (Ethernet co-inventor) and John Shoch were Stanford graduate students, and many others were students of CMU, MIT, Berkeley, etc. which were all ARPA contractors. The ARPA-funded (along with other government agencies)?projects at SRI like NLS were also clearly connected by some of the same people. ?Xerox even designed and built a computer (jokingly called "MAXC" which makes another great anecdote) specifically to run the TENEX operating system of BBN and put it on the ARPANET.
So as usual real history is more complicated that pundits like to convey. 
It might be safe to say that PUP was the first working corporate internet ("intranet" was not coined yet). It did have multiple different computer architectures and network technology from the start, but did not have the multi-organizational issues of the ARPA/netInternet. To follow PUP is also interesting. I was hired by Xerox?briefly as a consultant to help a few researchers run a version of PUP we did for BSD Unix. I do? not think 3Com ever did sell PUP. Xerox tried to come up with a new generation protocol which they called Xerox Network Systems which is probably what was meant. XNS used 48-bit addresses, while PUP used only 16 bits and TCP/IP used 32 bits. The irony was that Novell tried to implement XNS from the specifications, but made a few byte-swapping errors. This Novell variant was arguably the most commercially sucessful internet protocol as part of their NetWare product during its short heyday in the 1980s.
So spinning this history to either?the political left or right is clearly misleading. Internet technology is a very good example of what government's role should be: fund the research, then get out of the way and let the market competitive forces drive products. The more interesting debate is what the government role is later after the technology matures. Do they subsidize the entrenched interests who can afford lobbyists (the phone company and cable TV model), or act as referee to attempt to keep the marketplace competitive (at the expense of perhaps hampering the innovation). But those are opinions creeping in again. 
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