August 8, 2010

History of Internet: People & Organisations that played a Key Role in the Greatest Invention of Mankind

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History of Internet
Before the wide spread of internetworking that led to the Internet, most communication networks were limited by their nature to only allow communications between the stations on the local network and the prevalent computer networking method was based on the central mainframe computer model. Several research programs began to explore and articulate principles of networking between physically separate networks, leading to the development of the packet switching model of digital networking. These research efforts included those of the laboratories of Donald Davies (NPL), Paul Baran (RAND Corporation), and Leonard Kleinrock at MIT and at UCLA. The research led to the development of several packet-switched networking solutions in the late 1960s and 1970s, including ARPANET and the X.25 protocols. Additionally, public access and hobbyist networking systems grew in popularity, including unix-to-unix copy (UUCP) and FidoNet. They were however still disjointed separate networks, served only by limited gateways between networks. This led to the application of packet switching to develop a protocol for internetworking, where multiple different networks could be joined together into a super-framework of networks. By defining a simple common network system, the Internet Protocol Suite, the concept of the network could be separated from its physical implementation. This spread of internetworking began to form into the idea of a global network that would be called the Internet, based on standardized protocols officially implemented in 1982. Adoption and interconnection occurred quickly across the advanced telecommunication networks of the western world, and then began to penetrate into the rest of the world as it became the de-facto international standard for the global network. However, the disparity of growth between advanced nations and the third-world countries led to a digital divide that is still a concern today.

Following commercialization and introduction of privately run Internet service providers in the 1980s, and the Internet's expansion for popular use in the 1990s, the Internet has had a drastic impact on culture and commerce. This includes the rise of near instant communication by electronic mail (e-mail), text based discussion forums, and the World Wide Web. Investor speculation in new markets provided by these innovations would also lead to the inflation and subsequent collapse of the Dot-com bubble. But despite this, the Internet continues to grow.

Robert Cailliau (born 26 January 1947) is a Belgian computer scientist who, together with Sir Tim Berners-Lee, developed the World Wide Web.During his military service in the Belgian Army he already wrote primitive Fortran programs to simulate troop movements.

In December 1974 he started working at CERN as a Fellow in the Proton Synchrotron (PS) division, working on the control system of the accelerator. In April 1987 he left the PS division to become group leader of Office Computing Systems in the Data Handling division. In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee proposed a hypertext system for access to the many forms of documentation at and related to CERN. Berners-Lee created the system, calling it World Wide Web, between September to December 1990. During this time, Cailliau and he co-authored a proposal for funding for the project. Cailliau later became a key proponent of the project.

In 1993, in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft Cailliau started the European Commission's first web-based project for information dissemination in Europe. As a result of his work with CERN's Legal Service, CERN released the web technology into the public domain on 30 April 1993.
Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee, OM, KBE, FRS, FREng, FRSA (London, 8 June 1955), is an English engineer and computer scientist and MIT professor credited with inventing the World Wide Web, making the first proposal for it in March 1989. On 25 December 1990, with the help of Robert Cailliau and a young student staff at CERN, he implemented the first successful communication between an HTTP client and server via the Internet. In 2007, he was ranked Joint First, alongside Albert Hofmann, in The Telegraph's list of 100 greatest living geniuses. Berners-Lee is the director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which oversees the Web's continued development. He is also the founder of the World Wide Web Foundation, and is a senior researcher and holder of the 3Com Founders Chair at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). He is a director of The Web Science Research Initiative (WSRI), and a member of the advisory board of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence. In April 2009, he was elected as a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences, based in Washington, D.C.

While an independent contractor at CERN from June to December 1980, Berners-Lee proposed a project based on the concept of hypertext, to facilitate sharing and updating information among researchers. While there, he built a prototype system named ENQUIRE. After leaving CERN in 1980, he went to work at John Poole's Image Computer Systems, Ltd, in Bournemouth, England, but returned to CERN in 1984 as a fellow. In 1989, CERN was the largest Internet node in Europe, and Berners-Lee saw an opportunity to join hypertext with the Internet: "I just had to take the hypertext idea and connect it to the Transmission Control Protocol and domain name system ideas and — ta-da! — the World Wide Web." He wrote his initial proposal in March 1989, and in 1990, with the help of Robert Cailliau, produced a revision which was accepted by his manager, Mike Sendall. He used similar ideas to those underlying the Enquire system to create the World Wide Web, for which he designed and built the first Web browser, which also functioned as an editor (WorldWideWeb, running on the NeXTSTEP operating system), and the first Web server, CERN HTTPd (short for HyperText Transfer Protocol daemon).

The first Web site built was at CERN, and was first put on line on 6 August 1991. It provided an explanation of what the World Wide Web was, and how one could use a browser and set up a Web server.

In 1994, Berners-Lee founded the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) at MIT. It comprised various companies that were willing to create standards and recommendations to improve the quality of the Web. Berners-Lee made his idea available freely, with no patent and no royalties due. The World Wide Web Consortium decided that its standards should be based on royalty-free technology, so that they could easily be adopted by anyone.
Vinton Gray "Vint" Cerf is an American computer scientist who is the "person most often called 'the father of the Internet'." His contributions have been recognized repeatedly, with honorary degrees and awards that include the National Medal of Technology, the Turing Award, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In the early days, Cerf was a DOD DARPA program manager funding various groups to develop TCP/IP technology. When the Internet began to transition to a commercial opportunity, Cerf moved to MCI/WorldCom where he worked for Bernie Ebbers. When Ebbers was indicted and sent to Federal prison, Cerf moved to Google.

Vinton Cerf was instrumental in the funding and formation of ICANN from the start. Cerf went to the same high school as Jon Postel and Steve Crocker. Cerf waited in the wings for a year before he stepped forward to join the ICANN Board. Eventually he became the Chairman of ICANN.

Cerf has worked for Google as its Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist since September 2005. In this function he has become well known for his predictions on how technology will affect future society, encompassing such areas as artificial intelligence, environmentalism, the advent of IPv6 and the transformation of the television industry and its delivery model.
Jonathan Bruce Postel made many significant contributions to the development of the Internet, particularly with respect to standards. He is known principally for being the Editor of the Request for Comment (RFC) document series, and for administering the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority until his death. The Internet Society's Postel Award is named in his honor, as is the Postel Center at Information Sciences Institute. His obituary was written by Vint Cerf and published as RFC 2468 in remembrance of Postel and his work.

Postel served on the Internet Architecture Board and its predecessors for many years. He was the Director of the names and number assignment clearinghouse, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), from its inception. He was the first member of the Internet Society, and was on the Board of Trustees of the Internet Society. He was the original and long-time .us Top-Level Domain administrator. He also managed the Los Nettos Network.

All of the above were part-time activities he assumed in conjunction with his primary position as Director of the Computer Networks Division ("Division 7") of the Information Sciences Institute at the University of Southern California.
CERN - The European Organization for Nuclear Research (French: Organization Européenne pour la Recherche Nucléaire), known as CERN, is the world's largest particle physics laboratory, situated in the northwest suburbs of Geneva on the Franco-Swiss border, established in 1954. The organization has twenty European member states, and is currently the workplace of approximately 2,600 full-time employees, as well as some 7,931 scientists and engineers (representing 580 universities and research facilities and 80 nationalities).

CERN's main function is to provide the particle accelerators and other infrastructure needed for high-energy physics research. Numerous experiments have been constructed at CERN by international collaborations to make use of them. It is also noted for being the birthplace of the World Wide Web. The main site at Meyrin also has a large computer centre containing very powerful data processing facilities primarily for experimental data analysis, and because of the need to make them available to researchers elsewhere, has historically been (and continues to be) a major wide area networking hub.
Project ENQUIRE was an early software project written in the second half of 1980 by Tim Berners-Lee, who went on to create the World Wide Web in 1989. ENQUIRE had some of the same ideas as the Web and the Semantic Web but was different in several important ways. One of them was that it was not supposed to be released to the general public. ENQUIRE was written in the Pascal programming language and implemented on a Norsk Data machine.

According to Berners-Lee (2000), the name was inspired by a book entitled Enquire Within Upon Everything.

Rather than a web site, ENQUIRE was closer to a modern wiki:

  • database, though a closed system (all of the data could be taken as a workable whole)

  • bidirectional hyperlinks (in Wikipedia and MediaWiki, this is approximated by the What links here feature). This bi-directional allows ideas, notes, etc. to link to each other without the author being aware of this. In a way, they (or, at least, their relationships) get a life of their own.

  • direct editing of the server (like wikis and CMS/blogs)

  • ease of compositing, particularly when it comes to hyperlinking.
Stephen D. Crocker (born October 15, 1944 in Pasadena, California) is the inventor of the Request for Comments series, authoring the very first RFC and many more. He received his bachelor's degree (1968) and PhD (1977) from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Steve Crocker has worked in the Internet community since its inception. As a UCLA graduate student in the 1960s, Steve Crocker helped create the ARPANET protocols which were the foundation for today's Internet. For this work, Crocker was awarded the 2002 IEEE Internet Award.

While at UCLA Crocker taught an extension course on computer programming (for the IBM 7094 mainframe computer). The class was intended to teach digital processing and assembly language programming to high school teachers, so that they could offer such courses in their high schools. A number of high school students were also admitted to the course, to ensure that they would be able to understand this new discipline. Crocker was also active in the newly-formed UCLA Computer Club.

Crocker has been a program manager at Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), a senior researcher at USC's Information Sciences Institute, founder and director of the Computer Science Laboratory at The Aerospace Corporation and a vice president at Trusted Information Systems. In 1994, Crocker was one of the founders and chief technology officer of CyberCash, Inc. In 1998, he founded and ran Executive DSL, a DSL-based ISP. In 1999 he co-founded and was CEO of Longitude Systems. He is currently CEO of Shinkuro, a research and development company.

Steve Crocker was instrumental in creating the ARPA "Network Working Group", which later was the context in which the IETF was created.

He has also been an IETF security area director, a member of the Internet Architecture Board, chair of the ICANN Security and Stability Advisory Committee, a board member of ISOC and numerous other Internet-related volunteer positions.

Marc Andreessen (born July 9, 1971, in Cedar Falls, Iowa and raised in New Lisbon, Wisconsin, United States) is known as an entrepreneur, investor, startup coach, blogger, and a multi-millionaire software engineer best known as co-author of Mosaic, the first widely-used web browser, and founder of Netscape Communications Corporation. He was the chair of Opsware, a software company he founded originally as Loudcloud, when it was acquired by Hewlett-Packard. He is also a co-founder of Ning, a company which provides a platform for social-networking websites. As of June 30, 2008, he is said to be joining the Board of Directors of Facebook. On September 30, 2008, it was announced that he had joined the Board of Directors of eBay. Andreessen is a frequent keynote speaker and guest at Silicon Valley conferences.

John Perry Barlow (born October 3, 1947) is an American poet, essayist, retired Wyoming cattle rancher, political activist and former lyricist for the Grateful Dead. He is also known to be a cyberlibertarian and was one of the founding members of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Jeffrey Preston Bezos (born January 12, 1964) is the American founder, president, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of Bezos, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Princeton University, worked as a financial analyst for D. E. Shaw & Co. before founding Amazon in 1994. He was named Time magazine's Person of the Year in 1999. In 2008, he was selected by U.S. News & World Report as one of America's Best Leaders.

Vannevar Bush (March 11, 1890 – June 28, 1974) was an American engineer and science administrator known for his work on analog computing, his political role in the development of the atomic bomb, and the idea of the memex, an adjustable microfilm-viewer which is somewhat analogous to the World Wide Web.

Bush was a well-known policymaker and public intellectual during World War II and the ensuing Cold War, and was in effect the first presidential science advisor. Bush was a proponent of democratic technocracy and of the centrality of technological innovation and entrepreneurship for both economic and geopolitical security.
Steve Case (born August 21, 1958) is a businessman best known as the co-founder and former chief executive officer and chairman of America Online (AOL). He reached his highest profile when he played an instrumental role in AOL's merger with Time Warner in 2000.

Dr. James H. Clark (born March 23, 1944) is a prolific entrepreneur and former computer scientist. He founded several notable Silicon Valley technology companies, including Silicon Graphics, Inc., Netscape Communications Corporation, myCFO and Healtheon. His research work in computer graphics lead to the development of systems for fast rendering of computer images. He is also a devoted sailor and the owner of several high-tech sailboats that he has helped to design.

Dr. Douglas C. Engelbart (born January 30, 1925) is an American inventor and early computer pioneer. He is best known for inventing the computer mouse, as a pioneer of human-computer interaction whose team developed hypertext, networked computers, and precursors to GUIs; and as a committed and vocal proponent of the development and use of computers and networks to help cope with the world’s increasingly urgent and complex problems.

His lab at SRI was responsible for more breakthrough innovation than possibly any other lab before or since. Engelbart had embedded in his lab a set of organizing principles, which he termed his "bootstrapping strategy", which he specifically designed to bootstrap and accelerate the rate of innovation achievable

Jerry Yang (born November 6, 1968) is a Chinese American entrepreneur and the co-founder, former CEO (or as he called himself, the Chief Yahoo) of Yahoo! Inc.
David Filo (born 20 April 1966 in Wisconsin) is an American businessman and the co-founder of Yahoo! with Jerry Yang.

Until the company decided to switch to PHP, his Filo Server Program, written in the C programming language, was the server-side scripting software used to dynamically serve variable web pages, called Filo Server Pages, on visits to the Yahoo! web site.

According to Web traffic analysis companies (including, comScore, Alexa Internet, Netcraft, and Nielsen Ratings), the domain attracted at least 1.575 billion visitors annually by 2008. The global network of Yahoo! websites receives 3.4 billion page views per day on average as of October 2007. It is the second most visited website in the world in May 2009.

William Henry "Bill" Gates III (born October 28, 1955) is an American business magnate, philanthropist, author, and chairman of Microsoft, the software company he founded with Paul Allen. He is ranked consistently one of the world's wealthiest people and the wealthiest overall as of 2009. During his career at Microsoft, Gates held the positions of CEO and chief software architect, and remains the largest individual shareholder with more than 8 percent of the common stock. He has also authored or co-authored several books.

Gates is one of the best-known entrepreneurs of the personal computer revolution. Although he is admired by many, a number of industry insiders criticize his business tactics, which they consider anti-competitive, an opinion which has in some cases been upheld by the courts (see Criticism of Microsoft). In the later stages of his career, Gates has pursued a number of philanthropic endeavors, donating large amounts of money to various charitable organizations and scientific research programs through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, established in 2000.

Rob Glaser (born January 16, 1962) is the founder of RealNetworks (1994) which produced RealAudio, RealVideo, RealPlayer, and Helix, among other products and services. Before founding RealNetworks, he had become a millionaire by working for Microsoft for ten years.

Glaser is a graduate of Yale University with an MA degree in Economics and a BS degree in Computer Science.

Glaser was the 22nd largest individual donor to 527 groups in the 2004 US election, donating over $2.2 million to pro-Democratic organizations. He was the leading creditor to Air America Radio, loaning at least $9.8 million according to its bankruptcy filing.

Albert Arnold "Al" Gore, Jr. (born March 31, 1948) is an American environmental activist who served as the 45th Vice President of the United States from 1993 to 2001 under President Bill Clinton. He is an author, businessperson, former US Senator and former journalist. In 2007, he shared the Nobel Peace Prize with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Gore also starred in the 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth, which won an Academy Award in 2007 and wrote the book An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It, which won a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album in February 2009.

James A. Gosling, O.C., Ph.D. (born May 19, 1955 near Calgary, Alberta, Canada) is a famous software developer, best known as the father of the Java programming language. Since 1984, Gosling has been with Sun Microsystems

Robert Elliot Kahn, (born December 23, 1938) is an engineer who, along with Vinton G. Cerf, invented the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and the Internet Protocol (IP), the technologies used to transmit information on the Internet.

Mitchell David Kapor (born November 1, 1950) is the founder of Lotus Development Corporation and the designer of Lotus 1-2-3. Kapor founded Lotus Development Corporation in 1982 with Jonathan Sachs, who was responsible for technical architecture and implementation, and created Lotus 1-2-3. Kapor served as the President (later Chairman) and Chief Executive Officer of Lotus from 1982 to 1986 and as a Director until 1987. In 1983, Lotus' first year of operations, the company achieved revenues of $53,000,000 and had a successful public offering. In 1984 the company tripled in revenue to $156,000,000. The number of employees grew to over a thousand by 1985.

Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider (March 11, 1915 – June 26, 1990), known simply as J.C.R. or "Lick" was an American computer scientist, considered one of the most important figures in computer science and general computing history. Licklider was instrumental in conceiving, funding and managing the research that led to modern personal computers and the Internet. His seminal paper on Man-Computer Symbiosis foreshadowed interactive computing, and he went on to fund early efforts in time-sharing and application development, most notably the work of Douglas Engelbart, who founded the Augmentation Research Center at Stanford Research Institute and created the famous On-Line System.

Carl Malamud (1959– ) is a technologist, author, and public domain advocate, currently known for his foundation He was the founder of the Internet Multicasting Service. During his time with this group, he was responsible for creating the first Internet radio station, for putting the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's EDGAR database on-line, and for creating the Internet 1996 World Exposition

Carl is the author of eight books, including Exploring the Internet and A World's Fair. He was a visiting professor at the MIT Media Laboratory and was the former chairman of the Internet Software Consortium. He also was the co-founder of Invisible Worlds, was a fellow at the Center for American Progress, and was a board member of the non-profit Mozilla Foundation.

Robert Melancton Metcalfe (born April 7, 1946 in Brooklyn, New York) is an electrical engineer from the United States who co-invented Ethernet, founded 3Com and formulated Metcalfe's Law. As of January 2006, he is a general partner of Polaris Venture Partners. Metcalfe was working at Xerox PARC in 1973 when he co-invented Ethernet, a standard for connecting computers over short distances, with David Boggs. Metcalfe pegs the exact day Ethernet was born: May 22, 1973, the day he circulated a memo titled "Alto Ethernet" which contained a rough schematic of how Ethernet would work. "That is the first time Ethernet appears as a word, as does the idea of using coax as ether, where the participating stations, like in AlohaNet or Arpanet, would inject their packets of data, they'd travel around at megabits per second, there would be collisions, and retransmissions, and back-off," Metcalfe explains. David Boggs offers another date as the genesis of Ethernet: November 11, 1973, the first day the system actually functioned.

Nicholas Negroponte (born December 1, 1943) is a Greek-American architect and computer scientist best known as the founder and Chairman Emeritus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab, and also known as the founder of The One Laptop per Child association (OLPC).

Theodor Holm Nelson (born 1937) is an American sociologist, philosopher, and pioneer of information technology. He coined the term "hypertext" in 1963 and published it in 1965. He also is credited with first use of the words hypermedia, transclusion, virtuality, intertwingularity and teledildonics. The main thrust of his work has been to make computers easily accessible to ordinary people. His motto is:

A user interface should be so simple that a beginner in an emergency can understand it within ten seconds.

Ted Nelson promotes four maxims: "most people are fools, most authority is malignant, God does not exist, and everything is wrong". (See chapter II, 3rd paragraph, 3rd and 4th sentence in: "The Curse of Xanadu"

Mark Pesce, (December 8, 1962, in Everett, Massachusetts) one of the early pioneers in Virtual Reality is a writer, researcher and teacher. The co-inventor of VRML, he is the author of five books and numerous papers on the future of technology.
Linus Benedict Torvalds (born December 28, 1969 in Helsinki, Finland) is a Finland-Swedish software engineer best known for having initiated the development of the Linux kernel. He later became the chief architect of the Linux kernel, and now acts as the project's coordinator. About 2% of the Linux kernel as of 2006 was written by Torvalds himself. Since Linux has had thousands of contributors, such a percentage represents a significant personal contribution to the overall amount of code. Torvalds remains the ultimate authority on what new code is incorporated into the standard Linux kernel.

Larry Wall (born September 27, 1954) is a programmer and author, most widely known for his creation of the Perl programming language in 1987. Wall continues to oversee further development of Perl and serves as the Benevolent Dictator for Life of the Perl project. His role in Perl is best conveyed by the so-called 2 Rules, taken from the official Perl documentation:

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