Hacker News new | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Ian Peter's History of the Internet (2004) (nethistory.info)
16 points by charlysl 6 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 2 comments

I respect this perspective about non-military origins of the internet, and perhaps it is true in the context of "ARPANET as a separate effort than the Internet".

However, the motivations driving the development of this technology are more diverse than scientific and engineering. There is clear-as-day evidence of military and military-related conceptualization and funding in computer networking going all the way back to defense initiatives in the 1950s.

An early 1960s Baran paper needs to be cited when discussing the origins of the Internet: "Reliable Digitial Communications Systems Using Unreliable Network Repeater Nodes".


This paper clearly extends computing and communications work done at RAND and the Air Force on SAGE, and it is likely that this strongly influenced what ARPANET became. Reliable Using Unreliable would at the very least drive or be used to support funding of ARPANET.

The "military origins" perspective is elaborated on in Ronda Hauben's "The Birth and Development of the ARPANET".


That's what I thought, but it nonetheless merits quoting Bob Taylor, no less, from same web, "So, who really did invent the Internet?" [1]

Perhaps the most serious rebuttal on the theory of Pentagon origins (otherwise known as the big bang theory of Internet origins) came from the person who was in charge of the Pentagon Arpanet project at the time when the Internet supposedly began, Bob Taylor. Writing in reference to a mailing list invitation to attend the 35th anniversary event, Bob Taylor explained.

"In February of 1966 I initiated the ARPAnet project. I was Director of ARPA's Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO) from late '65 to late '69. There were only two people involved in the decision to launch the ARPAnet: my boss, the Director of ARPA Charles Herzfeld, and me.

Numerous untruths have been disseminated about events surrounding the origins of the ARPAnet. Here are some facts.

The creation of the ARPAnet was not motivated by considerations of war. The ARPAnet was not an internet. An internet is a connection between two or more computer networks."

Said page then goes on with a lengthy discussion of five alternative theories of the Internet's origin, which seem to depend mostly on how "internet" is defined.

[1] https://www.nethistory.info/History%20of%20the%20Internet/or...

Applications are open for YC Summer 2019

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact