×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Internet's First Registered Domain Name Sold

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the not-a-growth-industry dept.

The Internet 137

MojoKid writes "Believe it or not, it wasn't internet.com or dot.com that was acquired when the Internet was young. Instead, it was the somewhat off-the-wall name of symbolics.com. The Symbolics company was the first to use an internet domain name to guide Internet viewers to its line of Lisp machines, which were single-user computers optimized to run the Lisp programming language. XF.com Investments, which is a Missouri-based Internet investments firm, has managed to secure the domain name from its original owner for an undisclosed sum and XF's CEO was quick to proclaim his excitement over the acquisition. It's hard to say why this domain name was the first registered back on March 15, 1985, but for obvious reasons it holds a special place in history. There has been one original owner for nearly 25 years. Over that time, we've seen the Internet grow to the tune of 180,000,000+ registered domains, and thousands more are being added each and every day."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

137 comments

fp for sale (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29268907)

make an offer.

Re:fp for sale (2, Insightful)

AnonGCB (1398517) | more than 4 years ago | (#29269109)

Honestly, I can't mod this offtopic, as much as I want to. This is actually slightly clever and had it been a registered user I'd have modded +1 funny.

Re:fp for sale (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29269479)

Don't worry I modded it offtopic for ya.

utter fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29269455)

You fail. You should have posted 'first host!'

EPIC FAIL (5, Funny)

popo (107611) | more than 4 years ago | (#29268921)

Imagine being able to choose any domain name you wanted.... ... and choosing "Symbolics.com".

Re:EPIC FAIL (5, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 4 years ago | (#29268933)

in all fairness, .cx wasn't yet available.

Re:EPIC FAIL (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29269367)

I was under the impression that tubes.com and AlGore.com were the first domain names ever registered. Huh. Learn something new every day.

Re:EPIC FAIL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29268943)

Indeed, porn.com would have been a lot more valuable.

Re:EPIC FAIL (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29268949)

It was one of those things that didn't seem that stupid at the time, like DOS or Twitter(I'm predicting here).

Re:EPIC FAIL (2)

Raffaello (230287) | more than 4 years ago | (#29270003)

From TFA:
The Symbolics company was the first to use an internet domain name to guide Internet viewers to its line of Lisp machines

"internet viewers?" Were they "viewing" the internet via email or via usenet? :) This was 1985. There was an internet but there was no world wide web because Tim Berners-Lee had yet to invent it. The world's first web site didn't go live for another 6 years.

This is why it didn't seem stupid at the time - there was no point in having a catchy domain name since there was no world wide web for people to surf to your catchy domain name on. Domains were just for mapping ip addresses to something easier to remember, not for luring in clueless web surfers.

Re:EPIC FAIL (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#29270811)

It was one of those things that didn't seem that stupid at the time, like DOS or Twitter(I'm predicting here).

Twitter will be seen as stupid for all eternity.

Re:EPIC FAIL (5, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#29268999)

No, it makes perfect sense. You own a company called Symbolics, and you have the feeling this commercial-internet thing is going to be big. So you choose your domain name to represent the face you want to show to the internet at large: symbolics.com, the commercial site for Symbolics.

IOW, it's the domain system working the way it's supposed to. Before domain name squatting. Before the idea that a name alone, rather than the thing which the name is supposed to represent, embodies actual value becoming firmly embedded in the public mind. Before the sex.com ripoff, before Mike Rowe Soft, before all the other domain name silliness we've all seen far too much of.

I suppose you think he should have registered IBM.com and held out for piles of cash. Or maybe he should have paid a consulting firm another pile of cash to come up with some vaguely pleasant-sounding and utterly meaningless collection of syllables and stuck ".com" on the end. Or something.

Some people actually remember what the domain name system is for.

Re:EPIC FAIL (2, Insightful)

popo (107611) | more than 4 years ago | (#29269037)

Ok, lighten up.

First off, there are domain names like cars.com that one might have surmised would be very valuable -- and would not have been name squatting. How is this not "what the domain name system is for"?

Or are you one of the Slashdot socialists who generally believes that profit is evil and that capitalists destroyed the Interweb?

Re:EPIC FAIL (3, Funny)

dcollins (135727) | more than 4 years ago | (#29269097)

"Or are you one of the Slashdot socialists..."

Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

Re:EPIC FAIL (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29269129)

Mostly because the internet wasn't about making a profit, it was about sharing information.
Thus the euphemistic name "information superhighway".
Besides, just to clear your pipes a bit, capitalism is not about trying to fuck someone, its about providing goods for services rendered.
In capitalism, domain squatting is usually referred to as piracy in it's truest form.

Re:EPIC FAIL (0, Offtopic)

DangerFace (1315417) | more than 4 years ago | (#29271183)

I know this is getting a little offtopic, but I thought it needed to be said that you are wrong - capitalism isn't about providing goods for services rendered, or about trying to fuck anyone. It's about capital, hence the name, and capital is money or stuff. Whoever has the most wins. That's it. In capitalism, do whatever you want as long as you don't piss off someone richer than you. Of course, we don't live in a properly capitalist society, and few people want to.

Re:EPIC FAIL (2, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#29269285)

Are you going to go buy an acre in the middle of some prairie? It might be in the main financial district of a megacity in 25 years.

(doesn't mean it's a good investment)

Re:EPIC FAIL (4, Interesting)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 4 years ago | (#29269473)

The first domain name was acquired long before people thought of using the internet for advertising, or even commerce. The early sites were for customer support, not marketing. The big internet goldrush wouldn't happen for nearly a decade. The names were undoubtedly chosen because these organizations already existed on the set of networks collectively known as the "internet", it was only the domain registrar that was new.

It would be as pointless for Symbolics to choose cars.com as it would have been for IBM to choose movies.com as its domain name.

Also, these are all .COM domains. There is a bit of selective editing going on here for some reason. I notice this blog [cirtex.com] mentions that the first .EDU and .GOV registrrations were in 1985, but a couple of paragraphs later completely forgets this and doesn't include them when listing "only 6 domains were registered this year".

I also find it interesting that there were no more registrations for over a month until several domains were registered on April 24 1985 (including cmu.edu and berkeley.edu).

Re:EPIC FAIL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29269487)

Apparently you don't realize that there's a difference between capitalism and douche baggery.

Re:EPIC FAIL (1, Insightful)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#29269515)

"Or are you one of the Slashdot socialists who generally believes that profit is evil and that capitalists destroyed the Interweb?"

He might not be, but I most certainly am. The domain name system was never envisioned as the commodity that it has become. Capitalism never benefits the Common Good especially well; rather it benefits a small minority of the Commons exceptionally well to the detriment of the rest. I presume you're at least well-read enough to have heard the term "concentration of wealth" and understand the dynamic that fuels it? We've certainly seen some concentration of domain names, now haven't we?

Re:EPIC FAIL (5, Insightful)

cstacy (534252) | more than 4 years ago | (#29270035)

Ok, lighten up.

First off, there are domain names like cars.com that one might have surmised would be very valuable -- and would not have been name squatting. How is this not "what the domain name system is for"?

I was at MIT, BBN, Symbolics, and various other places back then and was a "network liaison" (administrator) on the ARPANET. (I did an obscure early implementation of DNS, too.)

At the very beginning, it didn't occur to us that domain names would be traded as they are today, or that cybersquatting would be allowed. Toplevel names were supposed to be the names of organizations, and domain names were like host names (MIT-MC became MC.MIT.EDU). More abstract names (like "ftp" or "library" or "daily-scifi") might occur in the leaves, but not at toplevel.

There were rules about who was allowed to register domain names; it was not a free-for-all where anyone could obtain a .COM domain. To qualify for a .COM, you had to represent that you were a multinational corporation with some large number of hosts (and that didn't mean consumer class personal computers, yet) coming on the network. To get a .ORG you had to be certified as a non-profit organization, and to get a .NET you had to be some kind of ISP. If you were just a small company, or an individual, you were supposed to register for a locality domain name (such as joeswidgets.boston.ma.us). (My own personal US domain was one of the first of those, actually.) The domain registration rules loosened up very soon after: I registered some other early .COM domains for small US-only companies about six months after SYMBOLICS.COM was registered.

At some point, more or less anything could get registered. People such as myself were well positioned all along to just grab all the good names long before there was anyone else around. We could have all been millionaires, if we'd had the foresight to be unscrupulous cheaters. It's not that we didn't realize that cybersquatting would be lucrative. It just seemed like it would be a wrong and unethical thing to do, if you actually got away with it. I guess our imaginations failed in that respect. I guess we were chumps.

Even before the Internet, we discussed how people might utilize "the worldnet" and what kind of problems would occur. But mostly we thought about it very much like how we viewed our familiar ARPANET -- it would be like the research network we were accustomed to except a little less idealized, with many more people and lots of random personal email and stuff. Spam had yet to be invented. There was no online ordering of books or goods. The grapes in my local grocery store did not have a URL on the label. There were no URLs yet! There was no web. Domain squatting or other infrastructure gaming was unimaginable: surely only properly validated names would be registered. And anyway, the DNS was never supposed to be the way that end users would locate services, anyway. There were supposed to be high level directory services, with DNS just an implementation detail. Directories never happened like was envisioned, and search engines were invented, instead. So to some degree that has finally happened now: many people just type things at Google and use bookmarks, and never really think much about domain names. And who actually types "cars.com" into a browser and expects any particular useful result?

Re:EPIC FAIL (2, Interesting)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 4 years ago | (#29271051)

On Slashdot, you are truly a god among men. Even though you didn't predict this future, to have witnessed the history between then and now is an honour many of us have not had.

How many of the rest of us wish we could have been where you have? To have watched the Internet unfold from the ARPANET into truly unimaginable thing it is today?

Re:EPIC FAIL (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 4 years ago | (#29271091)

First off, there are domain names like cars.com that one might have surmised would be very valuable --

Back in the day, the internet was mostly a research thingy, not a marketplace. So, cars.com would only "sell" to profs and students, a market which would probably be to thin to bother.

Re:EPIC FAIL (1)

master5o1 (1068594) | more than 4 years ago | (#29271617)

Here I was thinking that it was Twitter users that were destroying the Internet with their inane spelling decisions and unreadable texts.

Re:EPIC FAIL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29269137)

No wonder you're mad, your home page isn't even your name - http://www.sff.net/people/Daniel.Dvorkin/

Re:EPIC FAIL (4, Informative)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 4 years ago | (#29269299)

Hey, what do you have against Mike Rowe [wikipedia.org] ? That guy's an American hero. Not only is he the host of Dirty Jobs [imdb.com] , one of the few good shows on Discovery channel (the other being Mythbusters), but he's also a very outspoken supporter of the trades and American blue-collar workers. He's even got a website [mikeroweworks.com] dedicated to the issue of the decline in trades jobs/workers in America, which has been a contributing factor to the collapse of our physical infrastructure.

But, seriously, I absolutely agree with you. The domain name registration system is all fucked up. The registrars (the most successful of which typically have had close ties to the InterNIC/ICANN board) are making a killing already selling virtual goods (it's like printing money). The least they can do is to mitigate domain-squatting and domain-hijacking rather than to cooperate with and try to profit off of helping those scummy companies.

I don't know why being sick of scummy business practices make you a socialist, but if trademarks were abused in the same fashion we'd quickly start running out of legible company or product names. Oh, you want to register a company name that doesn't substitute numbers for letters or incorporate creative misspellings? That will be $5000, please.

I can understand the argument that capitalism is desirable for promoting healthy competition, driving down costs and increases product/service quality. But how do domain squatters/prospectors contribute anything positive to society? By driving the cost of decent domain names up? That benefits only the domain squatters/prospectors. They're the definition of a parasitic establishment—one whose actions benefits only themselves while harming the rest of society and draining its resources.

Re:EPIC FAIL (1)

schon (31600) | more than 4 years ago | (#29269343)

Hey, what do you have against Mike Rowe? That guy's an American hero. Not only is he the host of Dirty Jobs, one of the few good shows on Discovery channel (the other being Mythbusters), but he's also a very outspoken supporter of the trades and American blue-collar workers.

Different [wikipedia.org] Mike Rowe.

Re:EPIC FAIL (1)

countach (534280) | more than 4 years ago | (#29269583)

I doubt they knew it was going to be big. I doubt they visualised a future with cars.com and sex.com.

Re:EPIC FAIL (1)

j-stroy (640921) | more than 4 years ago | (#29269683)

I used the groundbreaking Symbolics 3D graphics workstation for a while It had a fast response graphics tablet paint system that was hardware based. It did a lot, and was impossible to crash... well if it ever "crashed", you clicked ok, and it kept going. was bulletproof, modular and nice.

Re:EPIC FAIL (1)

weav (158099) | more than 4 years ago | (#29270753)

As one of the people who worked on the graphics code ("S-Products") down in Westwood, I'm flattered that people remember the stuff. It does live on in the Mirai software, by which Gollum was done.

Re:EPIC FAIL (1)

walmass (67905) | more than 4 years ago | (#29269851)

Exactly. Symbolics was founded by a few original MIT hackers from the AI lab.. people who wrote the first computer chess, the first space-war, people who modified the TX-0, then the PDP-1. They believed in free software and sharing knowledge (RMS was the last of that breed, from the same lab), and although the founding of Symbolics itself came from a conflict and it produced commercial software, they never forgot their roots.

It would be inconceivable for them to domain-squat.

If you have time, you might want to read a bit about them [mitya.pp.ru]

Re:EPIC FAIL (1)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 4 years ago | (#29270131)

I remember one company I worked for in 1995 had registered a domain name for themselves and then asked us PC Specialists to register:

walmart.com
kmart.com
sears.com

etc Domain names as well, as they were vendors that the company sold tools and fans to via agreements. We told them that the domain names had already been taken and most popular names are owned by their owner, or someone else cybersquatted on them and sold them to the trademarked owner.

I'll bet the vendors wouldn't have liked it that management tried to register their domain names.

I still own domain names for companies I founded or tried to found, and from time to time someone tries to make an offer but doesn't give me a dollar amount. The names are unique for I founded them in the late 1990's, but other companies started to use the same name as imitators/competitors in the 21st century. I might be sitting on a gold mine if they make me a good offer for them.

I own symbolics (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#29271841)

You own a company called Symbolics

I do? I mean... I do... I do own symbolics, yes.

They're not in debt, are they?

Re:EPIC FAIL (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 4 years ago | (#29269005)

Imagine being able to choose any domain name you wanted.... ... and choosing "Symbolics.com".

Imagine getting the fabled domain name, now please explain to me how you leverage that into any sort of profit outside of curious passerby's from The Slashdot.

Re:EPIC FAIL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29269101)

Back then you couldn't just pick any name, you had to submit a justification for the name.

You would also have needed an existing arpanet hostname and your domain better have reflected who
you represent. Also, I don't believe there was any charge -- so no actual purchase.

Re:EPIC FAIL (2, Funny)

InlawBiker (1124825) | more than 4 years ago | (#29269657)

I remember it well. Here's my hosts file, from before there was DNS.

127.0.0.1 localhost
127.0.0.1 pornbox
216.17.96.87 symbolics.com
192.1.122.17 bbn.com
64.14.127.126 dec.com

...etc.

Re:EPIC FAIL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29270399)

Looking back, pussy.com would have been a much better choice.

Who is the joker who tags every story "story"? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29268961)

Do we really need a tag to tell us it's a story?

Re:Who is the joker who tags every story "story"? (0, Offtopic)

Starlon (1492461) | more than 4 years ago | (#29268977)

You joker, Anonymous Coward. Everyone knows it's you tagging these!

Re:Who is the joker who tags every story "story"? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29269021)

My suspicious is that it is an automatic tag to differentiate it from journal entries, 'ask slashdot', firehose submissions, and the like.

Re:Who is the joker who tags every story "story"? (1, Offtopic)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#29269151)

My suspicious is that it is an automatic tag to differentiate it from journal entries, 'ask slashdot', firehose submissions, and the like.

Yes! Editors, would you pretty, pretty please make a FAQ so people will stop asking this? Thanks!

Re:Who is the joker who tags every story "story"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29269315)

This is true, but the OP's question remains valid.

Re:Who is the joker who tags every story "story"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29269041)

You wanna know how I got these tags?

Re:Who is the joker who tags every story "story"? (1)

u38cg (607297) | more than 4 years ago | (#29271327)

It's an internal slashcode thing, not a user being dumb (easy as it is to believe :p). Though why it gets displayed is anyone's guess...

Re:Who is the joker who tags every story "story"? (4, Funny)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 4 years ago | (#29271381)

For some reason though, it wont let us negate it with "!story"

Re:Who is the joker who tags every story "story"? (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 4 years ago | (#29271757)

I thought it was to differentiate the stories from all the non-stories that get posted.

Stallman and symbolics (4, Informative)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 4 years ago | (#29268971)

    That company crops up in various stories. Before Richard Stallman decided to launch the GNU project to give people freedom, he spent two years out-programming Symbolics as punishment for their destruction of MIT's hacker community. Here's where some of the story can be found [faifzilla.org] , about half way down.

Re:Stallman and symbolics (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#29269385)

Given that LMI went bankrupt in 1987 (3 years after the end of the two year period you cite), while Symbolics continued to operate into the 1990s, it seems possible to construct an interpretation other than 'out-programming'.

It certainly sounds like Stallman was very productive during that period.

First .COM, not First Domain (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29268995)

n/t

Re:First .COM, not First Domain (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29269141)

How is this informative if he says "first .com not domain".

What was the first domain, Professor Hawking?

Re:First .COM, not First Domain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29269893)

See RFC 920. The first domain was .ARPA, and you're a twit.

Re:First .COM, not First Domain (0)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#29269189)

Wrong. Did you and the two cluebots who modded you informative even bother to RTFT (Title)?

It says First Domain Name Sold.

All other domains prior to this symbolics.com domain were not sold, they were given to their (mostly) university, government and military owners for free.

Re:First .COM, not First Domain (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29269337)

Wrong. Did you and the two cluebots who modded you informative even bother to RTFT (Title)?

It says First Domain Name Sold.

All other domains prior to this symbolics.com domain were not sold, they were given to their (mostly) university, government and military owners for free.

You mean the title on the slasdot post that says "Internet's First Registered Domain Name Sold"? or the title on the article itself that says "Internet's First Registered Domain Is Finally Sold, But For How Much?"?

Re:First .COM, not First Domain (2, Informative)

Rantastic (583764) | more than 4 years ago | (#29269453)

It says First Domain Name Sold.

No it doesn't and it wasn't sold. Back then all domain names were free for the asking. The title should be "The first registered .com domain name was just sold."

Re:First .COM, not First Domain (2, Informative)

astrosmash (3561) | more than 4 years ago | (#29269475)

DNS was introduced in the mid-80s. Established internet domains (network, govt, military, universities) transitioned more slowly to the new system via the temporary .arpa TLD [wikipedia.org] .

Symbolics [catb.org] , on the other hand, jumped on board right away. symbolics.com is the oldest domain name in use today.

WHO CARES? (-1, Flamebait)

skirtsteak_asshat (1622625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29269057)

It's the "frist post" of the domain naming system, yes... but explain to me why symbolics.com is significant other than that it's had one owner for 25 years? Other than that, what significance is being the first registered domain? Someone had to be first, and symbolics is as obscure and incidental as any I can think of. Why is this a story again? Kdawson isn't involved somehow? Clearly I'm missing something that makes this important in the slightest.

Summary is wrong (3, Insightful)

Rantastic (583764) | more than 4 years ago | (#29269281)

Unless you define the internet as the .com name space. The .edu name space is older and was just as much the internet.

Re:Summary is wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29269409)

Barely. Nobody refers to the .edu bubble of the late 90's, nobody invests in a .edu startup, and no top 10 website list (by traffic) ends in .edu. Like history isn't what happened but what historians write, the internet is where people go, and whatever that may be, it ends in .com.

Re:Summary is wrong (3, Interesting)

SEAL (88488) | more than 4 years ago | (#29269603)

According to wikipedia:

symbolics.com is actually older than any currently registered edu domain, beating Berkeley by a month.
nordu.net was registered a couple months prior to symbolics.

I'm not sure about .mil or deprecated .arpa domains - they are hard to check up on.

Re:Summary is wrong (1)

cstacy (534252) | more than 4 years ago | (#29270257)

According to wikipedia:

symbolics.com is actually older than any currently registered edu domain, beating Berkeley by a month.
nordu.net was registered a couple months prior to symbolics.

I'm not sure about .mil or deprecated .arpa domains - they are hard to check up on.

The .ARPA domains predated the .COM domains. They were not "registered" per se, they were just the pre-DNS HOSTS file names with ".ARPA" appended to them.

Re:Summary is wrong (1)

SEAL (88488) | more than 4 years ago | (#29269701)

Also for reference, the .edu namespace is neither older nor newer than the other generic TLDs. They were defined in October 1984 in RFC 920 [ietf.org] .

Right. Article describes the beginning of ".com" (3, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#29270305)

This was perhaps the first domain name registered under ".com", not the first domain name.

What you're seeing here is the beginning of DNS replacing HOSTS.TXT. Before DNS, every site had to FTP over a new copy of the HOSTS.TXT file from SRI-NIC to update the name to IP address translation. There were thousands of names in HOSTS.TXT before the transition, and they all predate this one. Many were grandfathered into ".com". I had domain names in HOSTS.TXT from 1982 or so.

The original idea was to have a much more hierarchical system. Big organizations would have one (1) domain, like "FORD", with other domains under that. So the global name file was expected to be small.

You need a history lesson (4, Informative)

WebCowboy (196209) | more than 4 years ago | (#29270809)

Unless you define the internet as the .com name space.

The .com TLD is not the internet name space, but the internet namespace does include the .com TLD, so it standa to reason that a .com domain could be the first registered on the internet.

The .edu name space is older and was just as much the internet.

.arpa, .com, .edu, .gov, .mil and .org TLDs were all established simultaneously in an RFC published in the fall of 1984. None of them is technically older than any of the others. Practically speaking though the first officially registered and functioning domain name on the internet is SYMBOLICS.COM came into being on March 1985, predating the approximately simultaneous registration of several university .edu domains by about a month.

If you want to be pedantic there were perhaps dozens of internet domain names that simultaneously became the "first domain names". These were all .arpa domains and were all temporary. Prior to the establishment of any internet-wide root nameservers resolving hostnames to domain names used a resolver that read a locally stored text file called hosts. The hosts file was generated and maintained centrally by university researchers and manually downloaded by sysadmins to EVERY COMPUTER ON THE INTERNET that needed to resolve hostnames. The "official" hosts file of the internet was flat in structure--there was no defined levels like today. An informal structure was established using hyphens as separators (a host might be named in a pattern like COMPUTERNAME-UNIVERSITYNAME) but there was no standards applied or technical significance to the structure as there is in today's DNS.

When the nameservers came online they were set up with the official hosts file as it existed at that time, within the .arpa TLD. The .arpa TLD was meant to be temporary--it allowed internet hosts to transition to DNS client resolvers from hostname files seamlessly. Config files, databases, etc. may have referred to hosts by name, and by using the temporary .arpa TLD the name resolver could be changed without disruption (note how name resolution works to this day--if you do not use a FQDN your computer appends the supplied hostname to the domain of your own host--since at the beginning all domain names were .arpa this scheme allowed dns resolution to behave exactly like the original hostname file).

All those .arpa domains are gone now--but the .arpa TLD did become permanent--when standards for doing REVERSE lookups were established the domain in-addr.arpa was created. There are a handful of .arpa domains that exist to manage the inner workings of various DNS functions, but .arpa has never been open to domain registrations from the public--all .arpa domains are established through internet standards.

So, though .arpa domains were technically the firs, YOU are wrong and the article summary was RIGHT. symbolics com was the first REGISTERED domain on the entire public internet.

Re:You need a history lesson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29271225)

symbolics com was the first REGISTERED domain on the entire public internet.

Wrong. See the other comment about nordu.net - if you trust the accuracy of whois entries of that age.

Also as part of the history lesson, MILNET split off from ARPANET in 1983, and then became the Defense Data Network. So it is very likely, but not easily verifiable, that ddn.mil was one of the early registered domains. Another one: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (llnl.gov). Once again I can't find a clear registration date. They had close ties with UCLA at the time, though, and were involved in the early Internet efforts. LLNL discovered the Morris worm in 1988.

Nice HW though! (4, Interesting)

KC1P (907742) | more than 4 years ago | (#29269319)

I never drank the Lisp Kool-Aid so I wasn't into lispms, but we had a Symbolics machine in college (is 3600 a model? that's all my dusty brain can cough up) and the keyboard was a real work of art! You had to stare at it for a while just to notice the QWERTY part floating in the ocean of other keys. The UI was pretty slick too. If only there were something like this for a language I *liked*.

Re:Nice HW though! -- Software too! (1)

SpammersAreScum (697628) | more than 4 years ago | (#29269461)

Yup, the 3600 was the first model. Followed by the 3670 and 3640, etc, if memory serves. I had the pleasure of coding extensively on, and administering, a network of several of them in the mid-80s. Led to a career-long love of LISP and EMACS. Great machines; you just had to reseat the boards on the backplane every so often...

Re:Nice HW though! (4, Informative)

vbraga (228124) | more than 4 years ago | (#29269491)

Pictures [globalnerdy.com] for Lisp Machine keyboard.

Re:Nice HW though! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29270505)

Meta? Super? Hyper Keys!?

Is that what RMS used to write Emacs? It would explain all the key combos...

Re:Nice HW though! (1)

ari_j (90255) | more than 4 years ago | (#29269549)

Yes, the 3600 was part of the Symbolics line. You might even still be able to get one. It was earlier in Symbolics' history. Hardware type-tagging of pointers and hardware garbage collection are the more interesting of the features. That, plus the GUI and thorough online documentation. Very cool stuff, regardless of your preferred programming syntax. It's not hard to imagine using the same technology to support fast execution and easier compilation for other dynamically-typed languages.

15 March 1985 (1)

Bozzio (183974) | more than 4 years ago | (#29269345)

I can't be the only one to have thought of ...

The ides of March... Et tu, Marty McFly?

... can I?

the end result (1)

Eil (82413) | more than 4 years ago | (#29269599)

Over that time, we've seen the Internet grow to the tune of 180,000,000+ registered domains, and thousands more are being added each and every day."

And 99% of them are registered by spammers and professional cybersquatters. Thanks, ICANN and the domain name registrar industry.

Why Symbolics? (4, Interesting)

lennier (44736) | more than 4 years ago | (#29270065)

" It's hard to say why this domain name was the first registered back on March 15, 1985,"

I'd guess maybe because Symbolics was the original MIT spinoff Lisp machine [wikipedia.org] company, and during the 80s Lisp was the Artificial Intelligence language poised to become THE lingua franca for computing, everywhere.

The GUI was invented on Lisp machines. Emacs was inspired by Lisp machines.

1985 was the heyday of the Strategic Computing Initiative [wikipedia.org] which funnelled US $1 billion into the attempt to build, basically, a literal Skynet - the last great push for coordinated defense AI.

In 1985 Cisco was a year old and ARPANET had only been running this newfangled TCP/IP thing [wikipedia.org] for two. If you were to pick one company to, ahem, symbolise the shiny face of tomorrow - well, other than maybe IBM or Bolt, Beranek and Newman [wikipedia.org] - yeah, Symbolics would have been way up there.

I still miss that future we didn't get to see.

Re:Why Symbolics? (2, Interesting)

cstacy (534252) | more than 4 years ago | (#29270293)

" It's hard to say why this domain name was the first registered back on March 15, 1985,"

I'd guess maybe because Symbolics was the original MIT spinoff Lisp machine [wikipedia.org] company, and during the 80s Lisp was the Artificial Intelligence language poised to become THE lingua franca for computing, everywhere.

[...]

I still miss that future we didn't get to see.

Some of your details are a little off, but you are conceptually accurate. I lived that future, and since then I've felt like I've been transported back to the stone knives and bearskins, and Spock is nowhere in sight.

Perspective (3, Funny)

xenobyte (446878) | more than 4 years ago | (#29271273)

Over that time, we've seen the Internet grow to the tune of 180,000,000+ registered domains, and thousands more are being added each and every day.

Actually there's only a few thousand 'serious' domains registered... the rest are just junk domains registered by spammers and malware peddlers... ;)

So what happened to Symbolics to make them sell? (2, Interesting)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 4 years ago | (#29271579)

Have they gone bust or did they go bust years ago and what was left of the company kept the name? Did a former CTO squirrel it away somewhere for a rainy day and $$$$ ?

We're the Symbolics (1)

ciaran.mchale (1018214) | more than 4 years ago | (#29271981)

There was a British comedy duo called the Symbolics. One member of the pair introduced themselves to audiences with "We're the Symbolics. I'm Sim. And he's the other one."
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...