Monday, September 17, 2012

History Of The Early Days Of The Internet And World Wide Web

The Internet is over 40 years old. It started out as a Pentagon project for a self-healing communications network that could survive a nuclear war, and was originally ARPANet. Extended to bridge between incompatible computer networks (a DecNet over here, a BitNet over there, some homebrew system in yet another campus), it eventually became known as the INTER NETworking system, or Internet.

The Internet eventually developed a flourishing set of applications running on top of it by circa 1990. These included email and ftp, still widely used, and other apps which are in decline, such as gopher and usenet.

Tim Berners-Lee, working at CERN, decided that it was crazy to have to request a whole document just to see a page or two (even worse if the document owner didn't have a server setup to automatically deliver the document). Plus, documents came in all sorts of formats. He came up with the HyperText Transfer Protocol (but didn't invent the idea of hypertext) and the first HTML (HyperText Markup Language) and browser. This was an application that could run on CERN's local network, and eventually over the Internet as the World Wide Web. It became the Killer App of the Internet.

Al Gore did "play a role" in shepherding through Congressional support and funding for early Internet development, but to say that he "invented" it is a WILD exaggeration.
Feel free to add any comments you may have on urban legends of the early internet ... set the record straight.

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