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Who Really Invented the Internet?

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the original-net dept.

The Internet 497

jaymzter writes "The Wall Street Journal is running an article that it claims seeks to dispel an urban legend about the internet: 'The creation of the Arpanet was not motivated by considerations of war. The Arpanet was not an Internet.' The position of the piece is that it was Xerox's contribution of Ethernet that enabled the global series of tubes we know and love today, and what's interesting is that the former head of DARPA supports this claim."

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twisted pair, twisted logic (4, Insightful)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 2 years ago | (#40739775)

A general wiring specification is hardly on a level playing field with creating the internet. That's like saying Xerox's mouse created the PC. A nice piece of the puzzle perhaps, but not credit-worthy.

Why exactly do we need to pay continual homage to Xerox? To create more urban legends instead of dispel and dismiss them?

Re:twisted pair, twisted logic (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40739897)

"Why exactly do we need to pay continual homage to Xerox?"

In this case, it's because Barack HUSSEIN Obama (D-Kenya) gave credit for the Internet to the gov't. So OF COURSE the Wall Street Journal has to contradict that claim because Barack HUSSEIN Obama can't be right about anything ever-- especially when it comes to claims that the gov't did something good.

If Obama said the sky was blue, the WSJ would undoubtedly publish a story questioning it. Why, just the other night the sky was pitch black! Is there nothing Obama won't lie to the American people about?

Re:twisted pair, twisted logic (5, Funny)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740069)

I thought this was solved years ago when we all got together and gave Al Gore the credit?

Re:twisted pair, twisted logic (-1, Redundant)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740089)

Is there nothing Obama won't lie to the American people about?

Well, so far...there doesn't appear to be much of anything...

:)

Re:twisted pair, twisted logic (-1, Offtopic)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740243)

Obama is the typical college professor who knows a lot of facts and information and theory, but very little real world knowledge. President Woodrow Wilson had the same flaw. (And also lied that he would not take us to war.)

Re:twisted pair, twisted logic (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40740357)

And just by coincidence, they were the 2 worst presidents in US history.

1) Wilson
2) Obama
3) Buchanan

Re:twisted pair, twisted logic (5, Interesting)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#40739899)

Perhaps because prior to Ethernet, most communications were either serial, or proprietary. They were the first standard and widely adopted interconnect protocol.

Exactly, Ford didn't invent the car (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40740007)

He just made it available to everyone, which is what the free market does. If this had not happened, the Government would have been perfectly happy to continue being the exclusive user of the net. The market has always worked to make products available to as many people as possible. Governments have always worked to served themselves.

Re:Exactly, Ford didn't invent the car (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40740391)

Where may I find this pious anthropomorphic market you speak of?

Re:Exactly, Ford didn't invent the car (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40740409)

yeah yeah, Governments only serve themselves, unless you're sucking at its teet. And then, remarkably, they're still only serving themselves and you've earned every cent they give you.

Re:Exactly, Ford didn't invent the car (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40740473)

Yes yes, that always happen, no question about it... Oh, wait I just wonder why the Romans had invented the steam engine more then 20 centuries before the british in the industrial revolution.... Hum...

Problem is we don't know how many products or uses we've missed out because.... well... They didn't existed or no one given them THAT use (like the example of the steam engine that the Romans invented but didn't had any use to them except to rotate ceilings to showoff painted murals during orgies, for everything else they had slaves, hence no need for steam engines, so the tech disappeared for 20 centuries).

Don't assume, you do know what "assumption" is the mother of, right? There's no such thing as "the market"... There's people. People make the market, on both sides. Those who know came up with that expression so they didn't had to explain everything every time, and those who don't know simply overuse it. Stop doing it!

Re:twisted pair, twisted logic (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740121)

Perhaps because prior to Ethernet, most communications were either serial, or proprietary. They were the first standard and widely adopted interconnect protocol.

Not really relevant to the 'internet', though. Yes, there were some slow, and/or expensive, and/or dreadful networking mechanisms that were pushed out of the local network scene by ethernet; but the internet's interesting characteristics are all at higher layers in the network model, and can be run on top of all sorts of interfaces without any operationally visible differences. Ethernet pretty much dominates on the LAN side at this point; but large chunks of the internet on a wider area still run on non-ethernet interfaces of various flavors, and IP packets don't give a damn...

Re:twisted pair, twisted logic (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40740377)

At a certain point of abstraction, we could say that there are dozens of ethernet-like specifications. Prior to all that is the idea of "Packet switching" pioneered by ARPANET. CYCLADES is another government funded (France) project using packet switching and with high influence over today's Internet.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Packet-switched_network
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CYCLADES

As a previous poster said, the article is just conservative propaganda.

Re:twisted pair, twisted logic (4, Insightful)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740429)

Except that ethernet as a WAN protocol didn't emerge until well after the Internet was up and running. The Internet started on serial/TDM protocols, which by the way, were very standardized, albeit with the usual US/euro dichotomy.

Re:twisted pair, twisted logic (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#40739971)

Other notable inventions that have been misattributed:
- Ogg invented the automobile (well, he used a roundish rock to move heavy stuff)
- Alexander Graham Bell invented dial-up Internet
- Hammurabi wrote the US Constitution
- Pythagoras invented calculus
- Newton invented the outhouse (let's face it, outhouses would suck without gravity)

Re:twisted pair, twisted logic (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40740087)

Newton invented the outhouse (let's face it, outhouses would suck without gravity)

Yeah, I guess they would have to, wouldn't they?

Re:twisted pair, twisted logic (5, Funny)

Rob Riggs (6418) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740133)

- Newton invented the outhouse (let's face it, outhouses would suck without gravity)

Outhouses do suck without gravity. [wikipedia.org]

Re:twisted pair, twisted logic (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740015)

The whole point of the Arpanet layer model is that you could pop any transmission technology you wanted into layers 1 and 2 and you could still get connectivity over disparate networks, providing layers 3 and up could be made to work. Ethernet is certainly common in LANs, but considering you can't get more than 500 feet without boosting signal, it's an absurd claim to state that Ethernet was the start of the Internet.

Re:twisted pair, twisted logic (4, Informative)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740029)

A general wiring specification is hardly on a level playing field with creating the internet.

Ethernet is not a wiring specification. In fact, there are several types of wiring that can carry Ethernet: twisted pair (most common today), coaxial cable (less common), fiber optic, and possibly others. Ethernet is about the protocols which transport data from one computer to another on the same local area network.

Re:twisted pair, twisted logic (5, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740175)

That's true now, but I'd invite you to go back and read the original Ethernet papers from PARC. They describe, among other things, a single (coax) wiring model, with support for up to 256 computers on a single broadcast domain sharing a 3Mb/s channel. Numerous parts of the specification are based on limits of the technology at the time, such as the number of RAM chips it was possible to fit on the board and the I/O speed of the Alto.

The evaluation paper on the Alto, published in 1979, points out that it's possible to imagine a network of thousands of personal computers.

Re:twisted pair, twisted logic (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740093)

A general wiring specification is hardly on a level playing field with creating the internet. That's like saying Xerox's mouse created the PC. A nice piece of the puzzle perhaps, but not credit-worthy.

Why exactly do we need to pay continual homage to Xerox? To create more urban legends instead of dispel and dismiss them?

...twisted pair? ain't nothing to do with it. ethernet is ether -net. it's just a way to negotiate who transfers. perhaps the argument is that something like token ring isn't as suitable and cheap for large networks.

I guess one could argue that perhaps it still was the government who _bought_ the internet.

The Ethernet (2)

janeuner (815461) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740231)

Stupid quote is stupid: "It was at the Xerox PARC labs in Silicon Valley in the 1970s that the Ethernet was developed to link different computer networks. "

Ethernet != Internet

Re:twisted pair, twisted logic (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40740329)

They invented the photocopier, basicly the first betaversion of filesharing, which is directly responsible for the trillinons of dollars the music industry! SO SUE THEM!

First Post (0, Offtopic)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#40739781)

It was Al Gore, duh.

Al Gore (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40739791)

'nuff said.

Conservative opinion piece (5, Insightful)

Nimey (114278) | more than 2 years ago | (#40739799)

"See, it was never the government who created the Internet. The Free Market (peace be upon it) did it all by its lonesome!".

Color me shocked that a Murdoch paper's using that line.

Re:Conservative opinion piece (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#40739873)

Because it ran mostly on Ethernet, created by Xerox. Conservative logic!

Why not go back to DuPont or whoever made the raw materials for the Ethernet lines then?

Re:Conservative opinion piece (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740297)

And the funny bit was Ethernet probably had the least amount to do with making a network of networks. At the time Ethernet was about the least used medium for long distance connections. It took 20 years before Ethernet started being heavily used for long distance connections primarily because it's cheaper not better but DWDM was able to carry it and work around some of it's flaws.

Re:Conservative opinion piece (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40739891)

And of course the government is an entity unto itself that is not supported by tax dollars, nor is it helped along by the private sector eh? That was rhetorical for those too dim to get it.

Re:Conservative opinion piece (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40739931)

Yeah, my grandpa was a taxpayer back then. Clearly, he created the Internet.

Re:Conservative opinion piece (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40740191)

Yeah, my grandpa was a taxpayer back then. Clearly, he created the Internet.

I was a taxpayer back then. NOW GET OFF MY INTERNET!!

Re:Conservative opinion piece (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40739983)

That was rhetorical for those too dim to get it.

it's not nice to speak ill of conservatives like that.

Re:Conservative opinion piece (1, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40739989)

Nice falsehood there, but here's the articles actual thesis, summed up by Blogger Brian Carnell in 1999: "The Internet reaffirms the basic free market critique of large government. Here for 30 years the government had an immensely useful protocol for transferring information, TCP/IP, but it languished. . . . . In less than a decade, private concerns have taken that protocol and created one of the most important technological revolutions of the millennia."

Pretty good summation. Look at Amtrak versus the airlines. Amtrak has basically sat in a state of non-innovation since 1980 with ticket prices remaining high (~$1000 for a cross country journey), while the airlines have developed planes that practically fly & land themselves (via GPS) and at a cost of just $200-300 cross country..... much much less than what the same flight cost in 1980. "Government..... languished." Private concerns innovated in the face of competition (or else die out).

Re:Conservative opinion piece (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40740097)

"Private concerns innovated in the face of competition (or else die out)."

Or, in the case of the airlines, they get bailed out.

Not to mention the massive gov't subsidies in the form of infrastructure, both physical (airports) and regulatory (FAA), that make safe, efficient air travel possible in the first place.

Re:Conservative opinion piece (4, Insightful)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740179)

We are talking about the same airline industry that got $5 billion in government bailouts and $10 billion in loan guarantees in 2001? And we are also going to ignore all the chapter 11 bankruptcy filings from airliners, correct?

Re:Conservative opinion piece (4, Interesting)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740293)

Last time I used Amtrak (admitted, a few years ago, though fairly regularly at the time) it was cheaper, faster (for a trip across the state) and FAR more comfortable than an airline. And more convenient. And more accessible. And there was better food. And no baggage fees. Basically everything was better. I probably wouldn't do it cross country, but if my choices are Amtrak or a flight, I'm probably picking Amtrak for anything up to ten hours. I'd LOVE to see what it could become if they invested more in it, but it's certainly holding it's own.

Re:Conservative opinion piece (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40740385)

There are some very good routes with Amtrak and the price is very competitive if you can't buy in adavance.

However, there are also a ton of absolutely terribly routes their pricing corridors can make long trips north south far cheaper than short trips east west if things don't work out your way. I took at 26 hour train from the coast to the midwest and it was lovely, but a 1 hour stopover in the middle of no where in north dakota followed by 5 minute stops across the platfrom from mcdonalds is ridiculous when the food option on the train are so light and the trip is that long.

Re:Conservative opinion piece (1)

janeuner (815461) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740299)

The FAA does not do anything important. I don't even know why that agency exists. /sarcasm

Re:Conservative opinion piece (4, Informative)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740311)

The airline industry is heavily subsidized, the US government pays out billions for airport maintenance.

Re:Conservative opinion piece (4, Insightful)

dpilot (134227) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740337)

Great stuff, that free-market non-government GPS, isn't it?

I have nothing against the Free Market. Nor have anything against the government. I have something against people who feel that it must be all of one and none of the other, or that either can stand on its own feet, unaided.

Specifically on-topic, There was over a decade of the Free Market thrashing around trying to create "The Information Service." I know, because at various times I used several of them. They all failed, because they all wanted to own the entire pie, and none of them could. The internet walked in and simply wiped them all away. The only way any of them could even dream of surviving was to participate in the internet - to become an internet access point - an ISP. The internet succeeded BECAUSE nobody owned the whole pie, not in spite of it.

In a more enlightened place, maybe industry could have come together and done that. But that's not the USA of the 1980's and early 1990's.

Re:Conservative opinion piece (1)

ichimunki (194887) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740493)

Single most insightful, well-written analysis of this issue that I've ever read. Thank you.

Re:Conservative opinion piece (4, Informative)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740431)

. Here for 30 years the government had an immensely useful protocol for transferring information, TCP/IP, but it languished

Nice pro free market puff piece. It is, of course, utter bullshit.

The ARPANET protocols were first created in tail end of the 60's. Rather than languishing, they grew rapidly by the standards of the day, while being fiddled with until the flag day sometime in the early 80's (82?) when the IPv4 protocol was finalised. Since the early 80's, the number of hosts on the global IPv4 network (i.e. the internet) has grown exponentially, with approximately a 10x growth every 4 years.

Basically, there was never any languishing.

Re:Conservative opinion piece (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740465)

Well obviously, the gov't isn't concerned with outcomes, it's concerned with the process. Gov't is a process by which wealth is transferred from people who make it to people who can take it by force.

The market is concerned with getting things that people want by using whatever methods that are available, and private ownership of production (capitalism) is a method that the humanity has discovered that is best suited for delivering that goal - getting people the things that they want at the lowest possible prices and at the highest quality that is reasonable to achieve given the state of technology and manufacturing at those prices.

Gov't isn't about making a product that is useful, it's about extracting money and perpetuating itself.

So for example is the gov't interested in actually eradicating problems? Of-course not! The pharma developers are often faulted for not looking for cures but instead looking for ways to manage the disease, supposedly it makes them more money.

How about gov't? It's not interested in getting rid of poverty, who would vote for these politicians that are campaigning on the message of redistribution of wealth from some to the rest?

What if there were no poor people, what would the liberals do? Shoot themselves in despair? Gov't isn't looking for solutions to problems, it's not the goal, that's what free market capitalism does.

Gov't is looking for one thing: power. And power is not in solving problems, it's in taking over the process by which these problems are continued forever in a way that prevents them from ever being solved.

Re:Conservative opinion piece (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40740505)

Yes by any means... such as government bailouts and by leveraging tons of government-funded technology and then trying to take full credit.

Re:Conservative opinion piece (4, Informative)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740485)

Airlines, eh? The ones that are operating on wafer thing margins after their bailouts? Flying is kept safer by heavy regulation by the FAA. Aircraft technology is developed not by airlines but by the plane manufacturers, which these days means Boeing and Airbus. Airbus gets government subsidies from its European government backers and Boeing gets the same (in the form of defence contracts) from its US government backers.

If Amtrak had even a fraction of the government subsidies that air or automobile travel was getting right now you'd be zipping between major cities on 120MPH+ trains like they do in just about ever other developed country. Amtrak is suffering because it has to rely on privately owned infrastructure that's held by the freight operators. And still Amtrak is a more comfortable service than any flight or long haul road trip. If it weren't for the slow speed (caused by the rickety state of the primitive privately owned tracks) I'd be using it a whole lot more.

This is what conservatives do. They gut public services to the point where they can't function to their full potential, and they say "look! Told you! Government can't do anything right!" Conservatives spend their time in opposition claiming that government is incompetent, and when they get into office they set about proving it.

Re:Conservative opinion piece (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40740017)

"See, it was never the government who created the Internet. The Free Market (peace be upon it) did it all by its lonesome!".

Color me shocked that a Murdoch paper's using that line.

Just wait, they're setting up for editing Wikipedia to change the Internet Article to totally disavow all consideration of government influence and support.

Never mind that without the government Xerox would never exist.

YaFH (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40739857)

Yet another Flamebait Headline?

Al Gore (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40739889)

You mean it wasn't Al Gore?

nobody (3, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40739893)

Every generation of teenagers thinks they invented sex and music.... and the internet.

We used to laugh at "al gore invented the internet" but the next generation of people will laugh at "zuckerberg invented the internet"

The other problem is there is no "internet". No one thing you can point at. Who invented "the space shuttle" as one individual inventing one object is an equally dumb question.

Another problem is best displayed by analogy. Who invented God? There's 10000 religions all saying they did, and the other 9999 got it all wrong and the 9999 others are all going to hell. Odds are all 10000 got it wrong not just 9999. Or another great analogy, at least to educated people: Who caused the decline and fall of the roman empire?

Re:nobody (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40739955)

The roman empire caused the decline and fall of the roman empire

Re:nobody (2)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740075)

For what its worth, you have the God analogy backwards. No religeon claims to have invented God. Almost all religeons claim that God invented their religeon.

Re:nobody (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40740163)

For what its worth, you have the God analogy backwards. No religeon claims to have invented God. Almost all religeons claim that God invented their religeon.

And that, is why they are wrong.

Re:nobody (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740141)

>>>Who caused the decline and fall of the roman empire?

George Bush!
Oooops sorry that was automatic. Um. Julius Caesar's son Octavian when he killed-off democracy by subsuming all power to himself and leaving the People and the Senate powerless. (It then took ~300 years for bad emperors to squander the accumulated wealth & turn a once-vibrant free market state into a feudal state.)

Re:nobody (2)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740279)

Who caused the decline and fall of the roman empire?

Jeez, don't you need to read a huge 6 volume history book to figure that out?

Lightly Veiled Attack on Obama (-1, Flamebait)

Princeofcups (150855) | more than 2 years ago | (#40739909)

WSJ is no better than Fox News these days.

Re:Lightly Veiled Attack on Obama (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40740001)

This isn't an attack on Obama; it's an attack on Al Gore!

Re:Lightly Veiled Attack on Obama (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40740051)

"is no better than Fox News"

Isn't it interesting how you just assume that everyone agrees with you.

You do understand that FNC consistently has the highest ratings of the lot don't you?

The truth, therefore, is that you are in the minority. How do you like that?

http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/category/ratings

Re:Lightly Veiled Attack on Obama (0)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740169)

Given the "logic" displayed in your post, you are clearly an avoid Fox watcher.

Re:Lightly Veiled Attack on Obama (1, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740227)

Isn't it interesting how you just assume that everyone agrees with you.

So, just to clarify, you judge accuracy of a news source in terms of popularity? You're really not doing anything to dispel the stereotype of a Fox News watcher...

Re:Lightly Veiled Attack on Obama (2)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740201)

Regardless of one's opinion on the Wall Street Journal...

This is a WSJ Online article in the Opinion section. So, it's one of many blogs, essentially, under the WSJ name. The standards for the real Wall Street Journal and for their online-only content (particularly the Opinion section) are dramatically different. The online-only content is absolutely terrible.

Re:Lightly Veiled Attack on Obama (0)

jklappenbach (824031) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740419)

The WSJ and Fox News are both are owned by Rupert Murdoch. In effect, the WSJ is Fox News.

Al Gore (-1, Redundant)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 2 years ago | (#40739915)

and that is final!!!!

Crazy Talk Follows (4, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#40739927)

How about this: it was thousands of individuals, working both in the public and private sector on different pieces of the puzzle, when all taken together, who developed the Internet.

And then it gets crazier: if any of those pieces were missing, the same problems would have been present, and they would have been solved in similar but slightly different ways. If not for ARPANET, perhaps Project Xanadu would have yielded a working model, and something like IP would have been developed to make the networking work.

And to top it off: regardless, the state of the Internet at any particular point is largely a function of the available computing power. Moore's Law is highly resistant to challenge, and it's unlikely that any major change of players would have affected the outcome much. My BBS'ing days on a C=64 with a 300-baud modem might have had hypertext in the Xanadu model, but it still would have been an 8-bit experience.

In summary: there are stupid questions, like "who really invented the Internet?"

Re:Crazy Talk Follows (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40740025)

Ridiculous. Everybody who's not a liberal fascist knows that the public sector can't create things, only destroy them.

Except the military. Blowing stuff up creates Freedom!

Re:Crazy Talk Follows (2, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740055)

I think the key is defining the internet. The traditional definition is a connection of disparity networks. To do that, you need two things; A compatible physical connection, and a compatible protocol. Prior to Ethernet, the only connectivity that was remotely cross platform was serial. And even that was not always consistent. Also, prior to TCP/IP, there really was no totally cross platform communication standard. Even serial had issues with endian, and ascii. Oh, yeah... And ASCII too.

Re:Crazy Talk Follows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40740355)

Of course TCP/IP wasn't the only internetworking standard, nor was it the most popular in the early days. Novell bragged they had more IPX/SPX nodes than there were Internet nodes, and likewise IBM claimed their internal net was larger than than the Internet. There were even strange things like a Lotus Notes-based "internet", which is how the infamous Worldcom started.

IP's success came largely not from technical specifics, but because of the perception that it was a government standard and "nobody owns it". (Also, college students thought it was cool, and the entire marketing industry highly values young eyeballs.)

Re:Crazy Talk Follows (1)

randomencounter (653994) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740499)

TCP/IP is transport neutral. There were plenty of token ring networks back in the day, and quite a few multi-user internet nodes at smaller schools were single minicomputers connected by "high-speed" modem to larger schools that had real networks.

But it was still "The Internet".

they don't want to admit govt spending created it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40739933)

the free market freaks are trying to rewrite history to cover up that government spending created the greatest technology in a lifetime and in turn lead to MASSIVE economic growth!

Re:they don't want to admit govt spending created (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740073)

It did not start to grow "MASSIVELY" until private industry got into it. There were not even ISPs then, because they were private industry. Just shut up and watch your compuserv.

Re:they don't want to admit govt spending created (2)

darjen (879890) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740257)

right, because nobody but the government would have been smart enough to create a similar method for connecting computers together.

Re:they don't want to admit govt spending created (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740507)

you mean like the interstate and highway system? sure the government stole the idea from the Germans, but hey road networks have been around for ever.. i'm sure some company would have built them, in an open manor for that allowed for all companies to benefit from shared use and upkeep..

Wait what?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40739951)

Then, in 1979, Steve Jobs negotiated an agreement whereby Xerox's venture-capital division invested $1 million in Apple, with the requirement that Jobs get a full briefing on all the Xerox PARC innovations.

Wait, Jobs gets money from Xerox and also makes demands on them?! As far as I know, when you get money from investors, they are the ones making demands.

I am amazed at the deal he cut. I don't know if it's because he's God's gift of businessmen, Xerox' management were push overs or a ratio of both.

I did! (1)

Vlad_the_Inhaler (32958) | more than 2 years ago | (#40739969)

Wait till I get that patent granted! The court cases will be held in that part of Texas which is forever patent-troll-land!

ok, maybe not.

It's self aware. (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#40739981)

It invented itself.

and each of us is merely a cell, at part of the body.

Re:It's self aware. (1)

dagelf (2664263) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740469)

So perhaps the real question is: where does it think the root of intelligence is? In this world, or another? And how will it's belief shape it's motives...

The Internet existed before that (4, Interesting)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740027)

According to Wikipedia, the first two computer networks were connected together (to form an "internet", because that is what the word means) was in 1969, more than 10 years before Ethernet was invented. That means an internet proceeded Ethernet in existence. Ethernet was created as one means of transmitting networked data. It was not the only possibility: dozens of other standards could have been adapted for a de facto LAN standard (note the "LAN" part of that: Ethernet isn't even really part of the Internet per se). It did not invent it, it did not proceed it, and in fact it was not even necessary to the Internet's existence. Hell, the backbone of the Internet is fiber optics, not Ethernet.

Also, I'm a little confused by them calling ARPANET "not an Internet" (not least because "Internet" shouldn't be capitalized in that context), since it was a connection of multiple networks together.

Re:The Internet existed before that (-1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740095)

According to Wikipedia, the first two computer networks were connected together (to form an "internet", because that is what the word means)

That's just a network. An internet is the interconection of networks.

Re:The Internet existed before that (-1, Offtopic)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740125)

I'm sorry, somehow my brain didn't read the word "networks" in that sentence.

Re:The Internet existed before that (1)

Phasma Felis (582975) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740183)

Ahem:

the first two computer networks were connected together

For a glimpse of a privately-run Internet (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740071)

See Facebook, the iOS app store and AOL.

Suuuure (1)

Relic of the Future (118669) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740077)

Yes, of course; wires up to a few hundred meters in length, THAT's why we have a network reaching 40,000,000 meters around the world.

The guys bio suggests he knows at least a little bit about software (or at least running a software company) but he's obviously an idiot when it comes to hardware.

As someone actually in university in 1978 (0)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740081)

As someone who was actually in University as a math major (which is what computer science was back then) in 1978, I disagree with the depiction of the Internet or ARPA*NET as it was called when we used it, being privately funded.

It was a government financed program, and we were thrilled when we got 300 baud modems, you revisionist scum!

Peering Agreements Created the Internet (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40740107)

Regardless of the protocols or the cabling, until you have peering agreements, you don't have an Internet.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peering

Robert Metcalf! (1)

methano (519830) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740127)

So, Robert Metcalf invented the internet!

I was going to say... (1)

Phasma Felis (582975) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740137)

"In before some idiot posts AL GORE LOLOLOLOL," but there's 5 of those in 43 posts already. So...good to see Slashdot keeping consistent standards of "humor".

Not to be the old fart around here (2)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740149)

'Internetworking' predated Ethernet by a long shot. One could argue that the UUCP network [wikipedia.org] was the progenitor to or perhaps the first incarnation of the Internet - it had file transfers, email, usenet news [wikipedia.org] , and was a loosely-managed, cooperative network of systems across companies, universities, and government. It was mostly modem-based; those with dedicated leased lines were the envy of all.

It was store-and-forward, explicitly routed, and relied on config files like this [mit.edu] . Contained within this example is my UUCP node definition from 22 years ago. I'm not tellin' which one.

Speaking of ethernet, anyone else remember thick ethernet cable [wikipedia.org] and vampire taps [wikipedia.org] ?

err they are kindof wrong (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740151)

wasn't the whole idea of hooking up different networks into a common wider network (and the whole mesh thing) started by ARPAA Net??

then of course .EDUs wanted to play (they had .mil contracts) and it kind of went from there

Xerox invented The Internet like the guy that invented Asphalt invented the InterState Highway System

Who really cares? (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740167)

Xerox gets full credit for creating the Internet because they created ethernet and other computing ideas? If this is true what prevents me from using the same device to assign all credit to inventors of integrated circuits?

Who did what is no mystery all you need to do is pick an RFC and look at the authors list. RFC 760 and 761 are a good place to start.

As far as nuclear survivability my understanding is this was a mixed bag. Some people were pushing this very meme for political reasons and others had different intentions. It comes down to who you ask and value judgements you choose to assign to each actor.

One Thing I Like About The WSJ Opinion Pages Is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40740181)

That they don't let facts get in the way of a good, old ideological rant...

Ethernet specs? (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740215)

Didn't the Ethernet specs solve some problems such as collision sensing, retrys, etc.?

Claiming Ethernet is 'just wiring' misses a big point. Without wiring, the Internet pretty much can't exist. Those three layers are essential. Before Ethernet, the options were a choice between awful and marginal.

Does no one remember IMPs?

Steve Jobs (0)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740229)

He built the Apple Computer, giving all of us access to a personal computer.

Recommended Ars Technica review of this op-ed (4, Interesting)

bwintx (813768) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740317)

Good perspective here, IMHO:
Ars Technica review of this op-ed [arstechnica.com]

The Internet like all other Freedoms(tm) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40740327)

Was a gift of our corporate overlords. We have always been at war with Socialism.

So... uh.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40740363)

Basically they are saying xerox dropped the ball AGAIN on technology they invented.

GUI, MOUSE, INTERNET... Xerox had it all to begin with. And did nothing with any of it.

That is some epic fucking up for sure.

HMMM.. lets go raid xerox. what other tech are they sitting on and have no fucking clue about... the cure for cancer?

BSD and UUCP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40740375)

BSD and UUCP invented the internet.
It sprung organically as Usnet with !(bang) codes and route maps.

Or perhaps an inter-dimensional intelligence... (1)

dagelf (2664263) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740417)

Bear with me: Plato's world of forms; the realm of mathematical possibility - does it exist? Looking around you, noticing that it's very hard to escape world filled with man-made structures. Can you argue that all of these first existed as ideas, before made reality? Following this line of thought - how did man come to become intelligent in the first place? And similarly, you can hardly argue with the poetic beauty in the fact that a brain consists of many similar neurons, working in tandem, and that these are based on the template of billions of similar cells, vitally supporting it. Likewise, this perspective can be applied to the internet. Internet. A network connecting a lot of brains together? What will this interconnectedness wield? Will we find the common denominators in our diverse fields of study? Will this yield the algorithm to intelligently crawl a network of associations? Perhaps leading to the reverse of Godel's theorem of incompleteness: learning. Perhaps we are unwittingly building a central nervous system, under guise of our own brands and territories, that will allow a higher being to come into this world. Shouldn't the real question, therefore, perhaps rather be - can we stop the Internet, and why would we ever want to? Will it's intelligent inhabitants come to see us as peers, pets or threats? Just a perspective, to give meaning to the phrase: sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.

What a Stupid Fucking Article (0)

el jocko del oeste (2450190) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740459)

Sure, Ethernet is important. Ethernet contributed to the success of the Internet. But Ethernet only connects hosts on a local network. It isn't the Internet by any stretch of the imagination. The whole underlying premise of the article is just plain wrong.

The article is just a poorly executed attempt to glorify private enterprise and denigrate public involvement in technology. Why is this even on Slashdot? If you can't get the most basic technical information correct, what gives this any relevance at all? Sure, it's possible to have an interesting and valuable discussion of how the Internet came to be, and what part private and public investment played. But if you start with a blatent attempt to misrepresent the basic facts then all you've done is wasted my time.

Recommend Bruce Sterling's Short History (3, Interesting)

rbrander (73222) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740487)

http://w2.eff.org/Net_culture/internet_sterling.history.txt [eff.org]

SF and S-fact author Bruce Sterling did a fine little "short history" essay back in 1993. It was not only "not just Xerox" or "not just government" or "not just private industry", it was "not just America".

Note that 'Packet' is a very British term - and one of the really, really crucial developments was thinking of communications with packet-switching, not "opening a continuous line between sender and receiver".

It's a classic Wall Street Journal piece: reasonable research and fact-finding, but then they have to put the spin on it. That predates Rupert Murdoch by quite a bit.

Ethernet had nothing to do with it (4, Informative)

Solandri (704621) | more than 2 years ago | (#40740495)

Even today, almost none of the connections between Internet nodes are ethernet. Your home broadband connection is not ethernet - it's DSL, cable modem, or fiber. Back in the day when most Internet nodes didn't have dedicated connections, they used dialup modems over POTS, not ethernet. Most dedicated connections used the X.25 network provided by the phone companies for dedicated data lines.

What enabled the Internet was the idea of layering communications [wikipedia.org] . That way your applications saw the same packets coming from the network regardless of whatever software or hardware lay underneath. That is, rather than try to translate TCP/IP packet data into ethernet packet data, then translate that into DSL packet data, etc. for this post submission to get to slashdot, each layer just encapsulates the higher layer's data. So the TCP/IP packets never know they've been split up into 1542 byte chunks to be transmitted along ethernet to reach my DSL modem. They don't know they've been converted into whatever tortured protocol DSL uses, and so on all the way to slashdot's servers.

You just have underlying layers treat the above layers are data streams. Then the higher levels (e.g. apps) can interoperate completely agnostic to what underlying layers are used. Ethernet was one of those underlying layers, so had nothing to do with it. Ethernet's simplicity and versatility had a lot to do with it being adopted at the hardware level for LANs (as opposed to, say, Token Ring), but it had nothing to do with the Internet.
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