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MIT Lecturer Defends His Standing As Email Inventor

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the for-some-values-of-invented dept.

The Internet 249

hapworth writes "IT professionals were recently outraged to hear that the Smithsonian acquired some code from MIT lecturer VA Shiva Ayyadurai who has convinced no less august pubs than Time Magazine and The Washington Post that he invented email. While objectors howl on forums and message boards, VA Shiva Ayyadurai spoke up today to defend his standing as email's creator, claiming he doesn't regret not patenting it because he doesn't believe in software patents."

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Maybe... (5, Funny)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142049)

... but Ray Tomlinson at BBN invented the use of the "@" sign.

Re:Maybe... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39142095)

... but Ray Tomlinson at BBN invented the use of the "@" sign.

Yeah, but I first invented the "@" sign.

Re:Maybe... (3, Interesting)

smitty97 (995791) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142877)

doesn't anyone remember bang paths?

Re:Maybe... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39142965)

Just your mother

Re:Maybe... (2)

hedronist (233240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142991)

Sure do!

...!{sun,apple,pyramid}!thirdi!peter, or
thirdi!peter@pyramid.com

Ah, those were the days!

Re:Maybe... (4, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142105)

... but Ray Tomlinson at BBN invented the use of the "@" sign.

Yeah, but Chuck Norris was the first one to use it.

oh, and ..

In Soviet Russia email patents YOU!

Re:Maybe... (4, Funny)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142499)

Only after Bruce Lee showed him how. Twice.

Re:Maybe... (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142883)

Only after Bruce Lee showed him how. Twice.

And the art of communicating without email.

Re:Maybe... (4, Informative)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142121)

and Ray used it to send e-mail between different machines in 1971 on the ARPANET. How this 1978 guy's claim has any legs I don't get.

Re:Maybe... (5, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142443)

and Ray used it to send e-mail between different machines in 1971 on the ARPANET. How this 1978 guy's claim has any legs I don't get

There are a lot of things claimed by a lot of people but it does NOT mean they are the actual inventors.

As far as I can recall, I've been using "emails" since 1975

If that 1978 guy wants to claim that he invented "email", let him claim

Those of us who know better, know better

Re:Maybe... (5, Insightful)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142949)

He claims that he created a program called "email", and he says, it was the first. Well, except for the fact that the Unix mail program dates from '72. And that there are RFCs for protocols referring to electronic mail way before that. If we want to be strict about it, email probably started with the telegraph.

This guy is an idiot looking for attention.

Good point. (4, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142137)

Many DIFFERENT items go into a modern email system.

Tomlinson "invented" the practice of using the @ sign.

Ayyadurai may have been the first person to use the term "email".
But there is no evidence that he invented the concept of electronic messages between people.

Re:Good point. (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142307)

Even if he is the first to use the term "email" (which I don't believe), electronic mail messages that even a modern email user would recognize had been in use for the better part of seven years by 1978. The guy is a liar, and he's trying to cover it up with clever semantics games. One can trace the evolution of modern email systems with trivial ease from the Unix version 1 mail command through the RFCs detailing out header formats, message body encoding, UUCP and SMTP transmission protocols right up to RFC2822 in 2001. I don't see this asshat's name on any of the RFCs or as an author of any of the mail variants. He's a liar, or nuts. In either case, if I was MIT, I'd be looking at giving this moron his walking papers.

Re:Good point. (2)

WhitetailKitten (866108) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142683)

I came here to say this. This assclown is as easily disproved by simply examining the RFCs.

Re:Good point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39143021)

Doesn't it go back further to multics / ITS / TOPS-10, etc?

Anyhow, I hear you after that

Re:Good point. (5, Informative)

greg1104 (461138) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142493)

Ayyadurai may have been the first person to use the term "email".

Nope; that was probably BBN Mercury in 1965. Every important component to e-mail can be found by that year [multicians.org] ; that page even specifically debunks this bozo at the top. Like a lot of things, the minute electronic mail became feasible to build, e-mail was built by multiple people. All the requirements were in place the minute a community of people on time-shared computers existed. The number of independent creations of the same thing during a short time period show it was really an obvious next step the minute two people could use the same computer.

Re:Good point. (3, Informative)

greg1104 (461138) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142945)

Wow, this self-important wanker even has inventorofemail.com [inventorofemail.com] . The Boston interview [boston.com] seems to state his weak-ass case the best. When faced with Tomlinson's 1971 record, he says that isn't really e-mail. Apparently he thinks that some subset of having folders or blind carbon copy are somehow amazing innovations, the things that made his work modern e-mail while earlier ones were not. Whatever.

Doesn't believe in patents (4, Interesting)

Squiddie (1942230) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142053)

If only the rest of the world saw it his way. If he did invent email, that is.

Re:Doesn't believe in patents (5, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142079)

Which he didn't. The ancestor of the mail systems used on the Internet today was the mail command from the original versions of Unix, way back around 1971 or so. This guy is either a lunatic or a liar, but the one thing he isn't is the inventor of email.

Re:Doesn't believe in patents (5, Interesting)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142135)

CTSS had email before UNIX did - 1964, if I recall.

Re:Doesn't believe in patents (5, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142185)

I was referring to Unix-style email, which is the granddaddy of most the email passed around today. By 1973 there was RFC 561, which was, so far as I'm aware the first description of a proper ARPANET text message.

Re:Doesn't believe in patents (3, Informative)

greg1104 (461138) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142581)

I find it amusing that the incomplete 1971 ancestor to RFC561, RFC196 [faqs.org] "A Mail Box Protocol", already includes the concept that instead of a full mail program you might just telnet somewhere and speak the mail protocol to that.

Re:Doesn't believe in patents (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39142657)

This is golden, /. at its finest.

Re:Doesn't believe in patents (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142145)

heck if you want to go down to the "stone age" version then a TELEGRAM would be considered the first "email" since it was the first transmitted media to have the basic format (you sent the telegram to a location addressed to a person)

Re:Doesn't believe in patents (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39142179)

Dude, you're talking about the mail command versus email -- E mail! Don't you know that if you take something that already exists and put an e or an i in front of it, it's completely new computer wizardry? The entire USPTO is based around this concept. Anyone with a UID of fewer than seven figures should know this stuff.

Re:Doesn't believe in patents (4, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142207)

iAgree

Re:Doesn't believe in patents (1)

paiute (550198) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142407)

iAgree

eSright

Re:Doesn't believe in patents (2)

mrclisdue (1321513) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142455)

Ah, if I had mod points, I could mod you iNteresting or iNsightful.

cheers,

Re:Doesn't believe in patents (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39142775)

And in other news, some Asian dude LInvented basketball

Re:Doesn't believe in patents (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39142557)

mail is edited using vi, e-mail is edited using Emacs.

Re:Doesn't believe in patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39142571)

Maybe he also invented the flux capacitor?

Re:Doesn't believe in patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39142099)

Companies like Google would be in a much better position to innovate freely not being attacked by frivolous lawsuits from Microsoft and Oracle.

Re:Doesn't believe in patents (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142101)

If he did invent email, then he could not have gotten a patent, since there were no software patents when email was invented.

Re:Doesn't believe in patents (3, Insightful)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142103)

Oh yes, he sure did. In 1982. When every computer on the network already had networked mail services. Electronic mail was invented before this clown was even born. [multicians.org] Let the burning at the stake proceed forthwith.

Re:Doesn't believe in patents (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142119)

...for the record, what he did appear to contribute (or at least copyright) was the word 'EMAIL', although 'electronic mail' existed as early as 1965.

Re:Doesn't believe in patents (3, Informative)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142445)

...for the record, what he did appear to contribute (or at least copyright) was the word 'EMAIL', although 'electronic mail' existed as early as 1965.

This claim in itself is fishy. You can't copyright "terms." That's not what copyright is for. Copyright is for individual works. He could have copyrighted his source code (in fact it was automatically copyrighted as soon as he wrote it), but there's no way he could claim ownership of a "term" other than by trademarking it. Some bad reporting happened somewhere along the line, here, and now it's getting regurgitated all over the Interwebs.

Re:Doesn't believe in patents (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142645)

Fair point; that was lifted from the Multics article I linked. Here's the oldest trademark I could find [uspto.gov] for 'email' (that wasn't French for 'enamel'), which I'm afraid I'm not experienced enough in the area to interpret. Interestingly, there's one from 1982 [uspto.gov] that claims 'No claim is made to the exclusive right to use the word "Email", apart from the mark as shown.' That might be just about enamel, but it could also suggest that 'e-mail' was already widely used. I'm sure if we really wanted we could look it up in old archives of Usenet postings and RFCs.

Re:Doesn't believe in patents (2)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142737)

Unfortunately, those trademarks were actually filed after this guy claims he invented the term EMAIL. But you're onto something. Here's an issue of Popular Mechanics [google.com] from August 1983 where, on page 107, it says very clearly: "Both The Source and CompuServe (the two largest computer networks) ... began their services by offering electronic mail (called EMAIL on CompuServe and SMAIL on The Source)..." So not only was CompuServe more than likely operating a nationwide email network before 1982, but it actually called it EMAIL (all caps), just like what the guy claims he "copyrighted."

Re:Doesn't believe in patents (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142809)

Let's keep going with it. InfoWorld from May 1981 says the same thing [google.ca] . Computerworld [google.ca] pushes the date back to March, and uses the term as though it were common (and not in all-caps.) That's as early as I can dig in publications.

Re:Doesn't believe in patents (3, Informative)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#39143037)

Here's Popular Science from September 1980 [google.com] , though unfortunately they don't call it "email" -- they abbreviate it "EM."

Re:Doesn't believe in patents (1)

Kadagan AU (638260) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142197)

According to the parent's link, the first spam electronic mail message was sent on May 3rd, 1978.. Before Ayyadurai "invented email".. Doesn't sound like much of an invention.. Possibly Ayyadurai coined the term "email", but that's all.

Re:Doesn't believe in patents (4, Informative)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142267)

Actually it mentions the 1978 DEC marketing message (a fairly well-known event) in line with an earlier 1971 war protest message. The 1978 date was the first commercial spam. I guess we might use a different term for it today, but it was definitely unsolicited.

Re:Doesn't believe in patents (5, Interesting)

tysonedwards (969693) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142215)

From TFA: VA Shiva Ayyadurai claims is to have created the first "graphical front end for an electronic mail system", and was the first to copyright the term "EMAIL".

It is the craziness of the mass media that translates a copyright filing as "Invention".

Re:Doesn't believe in patents (3, Informative)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142375)

From TFA: VA Shiva Ayyadurai claims is to have created the first "graphical front end for an electronic mail system",

Which is still wrong. Even the piece about the "To:" and the use of user'@'host which existed in RFC469 around 74, reaffirmed in RFC498, and the Mail Transfer Protocol RFC772 dated 1980 which kicked off the the modern internet version of SMTP, none of which include VA Shiva's name, btw. I suppose all the programs that were running at that time that generated the need for those RFCs had no "graphical front end" for the electronic mail that they were serving?

and was the first to copyright the term "EMAIL". It is the craziness of the mass media that translates a copyright filing as "Invention".

Now that one I can believe, but whether it's a legitimate copyright is a different thing. Knowing the military's proclivity to abbreviate, I wouldn't be surprised if e-mail and email, as well as EML and all caps forms in various ARPANET related documentation, already existed long before VA Shiva came along to "claim" the copyright. (Copyright is automatically granted, and as far as I know you can't copyright a word, you can Trademark it though.

Re:Doesn't believe in patents (4, Interesting)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142447)

The first GUI email claim seems a little questionable to me. The Xerox Alto (1973) had a GUI, WYSIWYG, mice, ethernet, and email (Laurel and Hardy). I can't find a date reference for Laurel and Hardy, but Steve Jobs visited them in December of 1979 and later said:

And they showed me really three things. But I was so blinded by the first one I didn't even really see the other two. One of the things they showed me was object orienting programming they showed me that but I didn't even see that. The other one they showed me was a networked computer system...they had over a hundred Alto computers all networked using email etc., etc., I didn't even see that. I was so blinded by the first thing they showed me which was the graphical user interface. I thought it was the best thing I'd ever seen in my life. Now remember it was very flawed, what we saw was incomplete, they'd done a bunch of things wrong. But we didn't know that at the time but still though they had the germ of the idea was there and they'd done it very well and within you know ten minutes it was obvious to me that all computers would work like this some day.

Re:Doesn't believe in patents (1)

wurp (51446) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142701)

A single word is not copyrightable. It's possible he was the first to *trademark* the term, though.

Re:Doesn't believe in patents (1)

tysonedwards (969693) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142761)

According to the legal definition, a single general term is not copyrightable, however a non-generic term is.

Copyright Registration Number: TXu000111775 - EMAIL [loc.gov]

Re:Doesn't believe in patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39142831)

Application Title: Computer program for electronic mail system.

The program, not the term. Term can be trademarked.

Re:Doesn't believe in patents (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142849)

According to the legal definition, a single general term is not copyrightable, however a non-generic term is.

That's not true. You can't copyright any single term, just like you can't copyright the title of a book.

Read the text of that claim you cite. The work's title is "EMAIL." The actual work being submitted is the text of a computer printout, i.e. the source code of his email program.

Re:Doesn't believe in patents (4, Informative)

PatPending (953482) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142393)

His name is on three separate patents; are these "software patents?" (Presumably he has had a change of mind.)

6,718,368 System and method for content-sensitive automatic reply message generation for text-based asynchronous communications

6,718,367 Filter for modeling system and method for handling and routing of text-based asynchronous communications

6,668,281 Relationship management system and method using asynchronous electronic messaging

Source: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.htm&r=0&p=1&f=S&l=50&Query=in%2FShiva+and+in%2FAyyadurai+&d=PTXT [uspto.gov] >

Give the kid a break (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39142057)

When I was in school, I invented all kinds of things!

Factoring, long division!

Patents... (4, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142077)

I'd love to test our Social Networking application we ran in college, long before this interweb thing came along, against some of the patents people are claiming now.

As for email, I've got junk from my Dad's Model 14 Teletype, with headers and all, which could certainly pass for early email. Back then it was passed between stations until intended recipient was expected to have received it - your TTY was always expected to be left on.

Uh, 1980? (5, Interesting)

leighklotz (192300) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142107)

When I got to MIT in 1979 email had been in use for a long time. Both " at " and "@" were in equal use on ITS to send mail over ARPAnet via NCP. I'm not sure what this guy is claiming about having invented email in 1980.

Re:Uh, 1980? (4, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142223)

According to Time, he's also the King of Mars and Jennifer Aniston's husband. Not a bad life.

Re:Uh, 1980? (1)

s1d3track3D (1504503) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142489)

and Morgan Fairchild, "Yeah! That's the ticket!"

Re:Uh, 1980? (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142353)

Ah, but this email is very, very good quality. For you sir, I am having special price.

Re:Uh, 1980? (1)

TheSync (5291) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142947)

But did you call it "email"?

The first NYT reference I can find is William Safire's On Language [blogspot.com] column November 27, 1983, where it is presented as a fairly new term.

Define e-mail? (2)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142113)

I think the invention of the Teleprinter and the Fax machine soon after got him beat. Modern e-mail requires IP based servers and DNS.

Re:Define e-mail? (1)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142317)

Booooring. I so invented Token-Ring and RIP way before all your silly email preponderances.

Re:Define e-mail? (2)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142371)

Any time you have a multi-user system the need for e-mail arises naturally and just about every multi-user system in the world had it. Before ARPAnet or Internet or DNS.

Get an iphone (-1, Offtopic)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142139)

Yeah, the iphone is more expensive than any of the other suggestions here, but you'll love it. Nothing spells success like pulling out your iphone to make a call. And another advantage is that there's a new version every two years!

Join us. Joooooinnnn Ussssss. Braiiinnsssss....

Re:Get an iphone (-1, Offtopic)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142163)

Man, that really ruined the joke. I didn't notice the page updated and replied to the wrong article. Boy is my face red.

Move along, nothing to see here, just experimental conversation.

Re:Get an iphone (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39142315)

You know what else ruined the joke? Not being funny.

Really... (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142159)

Email is one of those things that becomes obvious once the tech comes into existence. Give someone a computer with the option of sending data back and forth and a whole slew of people will say "Send this Memo to EVERYONE" and thus Spam was born.

This is silly. (4, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142169)

What is email? It isn't a protocol - you can send it over many, many protocols. It is a concept: The very idea of sending a text message by electronic means to be stored somewhere the recipient may access it for a non-realtime conversation. What is that, really? It's the telegraph. Computers made it much faster, cheaper and more accessible, but the real core of the idea is as old as the telegraph.

Re:This is silly. (3, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142341)

Quite right. There are a number of different formats. But the most widely used one is based on RFC561 all the way back in 1973 (though I imagine it only formalized what guys like Ray Tomlinson had already been doing for a couple of years). Both UUCP and SMTP were built specifically with this basic format in mind, since by the time they were developed, it had been in use for years.

Re:This is silly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39142419)

And the telegraph is ultimately based on electromagnetism which goes back 13.5 billion years. Everything is a remix.

Unix V6 (1)

stox (131684) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142171)

Unix Version 6, released in 1975, had the mail command.

Re:Unix V6 (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142263)

The mail command dates back to v1. And the earliest RFC (561) stating the structure of ARPANET mail messages dates back to 1973. That's talking about direct ancestors of modern mail systems based on RFC 822. But just about any modern email program would be able to open up an RFC 561 formatted message and display it correctly.

More details (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39142229)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiva_Ayyadurai#Email_claims [wikipedia.org]

1) He did not invent it.
2) He did copyright the term "EMAIL" in 1982.
3) But he doesn't believe in software patents.

Now he is trying to twist his "copyright on "EMAIL"" into "Invention of EMAIL" with nothing more than his own words.

Wake me up when Dennis Ritchie returns to whoop his undeserving ass...

Re:More details (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142405)

2) He did copyright the term "EMAIL" in 1982. .

What does that mean? How do you "copyright" a single word? I could understand if he applied for a trademark on the word "EMAIL", but I don't understand the claim of "copyrighting" the word "EMAIL". Does that mean using the word "EMAIL" is copyright infringement?

Re:More details (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142607)

And how did he copyright it? Register it? Send himself registered mail with the word "email" in the envelope. I think he's a liar from top to bottom. ARPANet email had been around for over a decade by the time of this alleged copyrighting, and older email systems had been around several years before the Unix V1 mail command.

Re:More details (4, Informative)

almitydave (2452422) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142625)

According to the Wikipedia article linked above, he copyrighted his email program which was called "EMAIL". So the copyright is on the software, not the term, which as numerous people here have mentioned is not eligible for copyright.

Re:More details (2)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142525)

I did some digging. As I mentioned earlier in the thread, you can't "copyright a term."

Here's his actual claim. [loc.gov] What he did was register the copyright on his software. The title of his software is "EMAIL." That doesn't give him any kind of rights to the term, and it is not proof that he was the first one to use the term, either. There could have been a thousand software systems that called themselves that -- there just isn't a government record to prove it. Either A.) they didn't register their copyrights with the copyright office; or B.) they did so before 1978, which is as far back as the current online records go.

check the rfcs (1)

amyzing (45302) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142269)

Okay, this is kind of stupid, on his part.

It's true that RFC 822 came out after he claims to have invented email. It obsoleted RFC 733, where you find To, Cc, Bcc, and in fact much of what was (better-) formalized in 822. 1977. If November 1977 is insufficiently early, then 733 obsoleted 724, which was released in May of that year (and is basically a first attempt).

He didn't "invent" email. He implemented something that a lot of people were doing. Crocker et al. invented the format used for messages, as described in the series of RFCs 724 - 733 - 822. See rfc-editor.org for details.

Amy!

VA Shiva Ayyadurai (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39142299)

How this charlatan got a MIT gig is the real fraud.

CTSS 1965, Multics (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39142327)

"CTSS had mail and inter-user messaging in 1965. These facilities were useful in the initial construction of Multics. Multics provided mail and inter-user messaging between users on the same system as early as 1968. Extending mail on a single system to mail across the network was a development effort started in the early 70s that continued into the 1990s.

THVV wrote the first mail command for 645 Multics in 1968, imitating the CTSS MAIL command. "

Etc.

http://multicians.org/mx-net.html#tag22

See 3.3.2

wikipedia (1)

trip23 (727132) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142333)

At least they could have looked up the wikipedia entry on email. More trustable than a random claim or news article.

hubhost!middlehost!edgehost!user@uucpgateway.somedomain.example.com

'nuff said.

Anything to get on TV (1)

Grindalf (1089511) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142337)

Electronic mail was invented by me, can I get on TV for relatively little effort too? :0)

Doesn't believe in patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39142357)

And yet here he seems to have them: http://www.ptodirect.com/Results/Patents?query=PN/6718368

Great (1)

eyenot (102141) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142439)

The guy in the sleeper car chewing watermelon, in "The Man Who Would Be King", invented e-mail. Well, guess what, I caught him stealing your watch!

is this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39142503)

wanker a friend of that bloated white whale carcass, Al Bore?

Al Gore (-1, Troll)

s1d3track3D (1504503) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142519)

Everybody know's the when Al Gore was a congressman he invented the internet and with it, email

Re:Al Gore (0)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142819)

He funded it, dip shiite. Electrons don't grow on trees.

Re:Al Gore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39143001)

Source: http://www.snopes.com/quotes/internet.asp

During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country's economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system.

As Snopes.com points out (emphasis added), "Clearly, although Gore's phrasing might have been a bit clumsy (and perhaps self-serving), he was not claiming that he "invented" the Internet (in the sense of having designed or implemented it), but that he was responsible, in an economic and legislative sense, for fostering the development the technology that we now know as the Internet."

Re:Al Gore (1)

PatPending (953482) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142821)

Everybody know's the when Al Gore was a congressman he invented the internet...

And while he was at it, Al Gore invented his namesake--algorithms!

Question mark (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39142541)

Why, this is an outrage! Of course this person invented email.

To even consider thinking otherwise ranks up there with the invention of the question mark* as one of the great invention misjustices of all time!

*which was actually invented some time in the 30s by Mr. Evil Snr.

A fake pumping himself up (1)

loose electron (699583) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142605)

Good grief - looks to me like somebody trying to re-write history.
Look at:
http://www.vashiva.com/inventing_email.asp [vashiva.com]
Got his own web site pumping himself.

Then:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiva_Ayyadurai [wikipedia.org]
A wiki page that many have said needs to be deleted.
I wonder who wrote that little work?

Maybe Big Brother can get him a job
working for the Thought Police!

Re:A fake pumping himself up (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142705)

What I can't figure out is how the piece of shit thought he wouldn't be outed? If he's so fucking smart, he must surely have realized that all the information showing him to be a conman can be found in about five minutes.

Re:A fake pumping himself up (3, Insightful)

elo_sf (838722) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142757)

He seems to be using a variant of the "big lie" wrapping some pieces of truth in the bigger lie. He does appear to have a valid copyright registration for a computer program entitled "EMAIL." from 1982. He's then taking advantage of the mainstream press' unfamiliarity with copyrights vs trademarks vs patents AND their unfamiliarity with software technology--or even willingness to read something as basic as the wikipedia entry for email to realize that 1982 was late to the party and at best the guy did develop a neat computer program at a young age, but certainly is in no way is the inventor of email as a technology. Shame on the media as much as on him.

Did I Miss Something? (1)

tgeek (941867) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142765)

When the hell did Time and the Washington Post become "august" [reference.com] pubs???

Software patents are evil, k? (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142811)

But I'm fairly sure we started with message board symbolic links first, and file attachments, which is what we used it for.

Maybe the first spam used his system, but not the first Corriere Electronique as the French would say.

(On ARPA*NET since 1978 and internal mil systems circa 1982, my old slashdot account had 4 digits but I spaced the password and the email account was an old CIS one I can't remember the number of)

Electronic Mail described in 1957 (4, Informative)

TheSync (5291) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142879)

This NYTArticle [nytimes.com] from April 28, 1957 says:

Mail Sped by Electronics Predicted by Summerfield; One-Day Delivery Sought Between Any 2 Cities --Many 'Ifs' in Plan ELECTRONIC MAIL SEEN IN A DECADE Senate to Study Bill Full Report Planned 'Pattern' for Country Fire From Two Sides Question of 'Intangibles'

WASHINGTON, April 27--The Post Office Department envisions a five-to-ten-year transition to the electronic age...

RFC 1149 (1)

PatPending (953482) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142885)

Say, isn't this the same guy who "invented" RFC 1149 [ietf.org] ?

Re:RFC 1149 (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142961)

At the time, that was a more reliable method.

Shiva Ayyadurai (5, Interesting)

rlk (1089) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142907)

As it happens, I actually knew Shiva in high school (I was one year behind him in Livingston -- class of 1982; he was class of 1981). We lived about 1/4 mile apart, and took the same bus to and from school. We were both science/math geeks.

I do remember (not the details) the project he's talking about. We discussed it on the bus. He did indeed submit it to the Westinghouse Talent Search, and as I recall he got past the first round. It certainly was an interesting project for the time, and my recollection is that he designed it very well and he well deserved to advance. I don't know one way or the other whether he came up with it independently, but he most certainly didn't invent email.

It has been well over a decade since I last saw him.

Inventor of "EMAIL(TM)", not of e-mail (3, Informative)

Guy Harris (3803) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142935)

As he says on his Web site [vashiva.com] , he's the "inventor of EMAIL".

He does not, however, say he's the inventor of email or e-mail or electronic mail, so I guess he means he's the inventor of a system named "EMAIL". the copyright he got was for a "COMPUTER PROGRAM FOR Electronic Mail System", which suggests that "EMAIL" was a program that implemented, err, umm, email. [vashiva.com]

He als says "Every software system needs a User's Manual, so did the world's first E-MAIL system. At that time, Shiva was everything on the project: software engineer, network manager, project manager, architect, quality assurance AND technical writer.", so maybe "the world's first E-MAIL system" was the first system that "handled it all" - ARPANET e-mail involved different mail user agents and mail transfer agents on different operating systems, so there wasn't a single "COMPUTER PROGRAM FOR Electronic Mail System".

Or not. A historical overview of the CTSS system, from its fiftieth anniversary [multicians.org] , quotes Tom Van Vleck (also cited in another posting [slashdot.org] ):

Electronic Mail. Noel Morris and I wrote a command, suggested by Glenda Schroeder and Louis Pouzin, called MAIL, which allowed users to send text messages to each other; this was one of the earliest electronic mail facilities.[11] (I am told that the Q-32 system also had a MAIL command in 1965.)

Reference 11 is to Van Vleck's The History of Electronic Mail [multicians.org] (which mentions the copyrighting of "EMAIL" in a parenthetical note at the top of the page) and Errol Morris's New York Times Opinionator blog post "Did My Brother Invent E-Mail With Tom Van Vleck?" (my head asplode when I learned that Errol Morris was Noel Morris' brother). [nytimes.com]

The news article he cites [vashiva.com] says he "created an electronic mail system", which may well be the case. It doesn't say he created the first electronic mail system, and "created an electronic mail system" suggests that the notion of an "electronic mail system" wasn't a Shiny New Idea (and, in fact, it wasn't).

And, in fact, the article to which the "to defend his standing as email's creator" link takes you [internetevolution.com] quotes him as saying "I did not claim that I created electronic communications," so at least give him credit for that.

espam (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#39142951)

I first used an email like system in 1980 on an IBM mainframe. I was referred to as mail, but not "email". I think at best he might be able to say he was the first to coin the silly term "email". I see no more reason to use the "e" as we don't refer to the network as "electronic". No doubt others might already be using words like "iMail" (Steve, is that you?) or "cmail" or "nmail".

Who cares, though. It all became worthless as soon as spam (all lower case) was invented a few days afterwards.

how do we differentiate different email systems? (1)

buddyglass (925859) | more than 2 years ago | (#39143033)

As someone else pointed out: was the telegraph really the first email? How closely does a system need to resemble what we currently know as "email" in order for it to really be "email"? If we were to identify the inventor of "modern" email, would that be Postel in 1982 with the RFC for SMTP (proposed in 1980), or someone earlier?
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