Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Who was the true father of the Internet?

Pop quiz: Who said:
It is from this paper that the rumor was started that the Internet was created by the military to withstand nuclear war. This is totally false. Even though this Rand work was based on this premise, the ARPANET and the Internet stemmed from the MIT work of Licklider, Kleinrock and Roberts, and had no relation to Baran's work.
We've been focusing on history lately. On November 29 & 30, in Washington DC was an NSFNET Celebration. It was an oral history project. Lots of the primary folk from the primary organizations (NSF, MERIT, IBM, MCI) were present, retelling the NSFNET Story. It was fascinating. It was, like so many things, like looking a picture in black and white, and then seeing the same picture in color. So much was added to the history. Things like - the "network of network?" - that was NSFNET. NSFNET established the network hierarchy and "tiers." Where NSF's "cooperative agreements" came from and how that created the foundation of future policy struggles. This was not, after all, a simple R&D and transfer of technology project that NSF funded. This was, as the NSFNET Final Report stated, communications infrastructure, vital to the success of our economy and culture.

All this led to significant revisions to CT's history section. Take a look; give feedback!

BTW, the lead-in quote was by Larry Roberts, the head of ARPANET in the late 1960s, who has a pretty decent first hand perspective on why he built the ARPANET (aka Internet) the way that he did.