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Thursday, 30 June 2011

History of the Internet

History of the Internet

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The history of the Internet starts in the 1950s and 1960s with the development of computers. This began with point-to-point communication between mainframe computers and terminals, expanded to point-to-point connections between computers and then early research into packet switching. Packet switched networks such as ARPANET, Mark I at NPL in the UK, CYCLADES, Merit Network, Tymnet, and Telenet, were developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s using a variety of protocols. The ARPANET in particular led to the development of protocols for internetworking, where multiple separate networks could be joined together into a network of networks.
In 1982 the Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP) was standardized and the concept of a world-wide network of fully interconnected TCP/IP networks called the Internet was introduced. Access to the ARPANET was expanded in 1981 when the National Science Foundation (NSF) developed the Computer Science Network (CSNET) and again in 1986 when NSFNET provided access to supercomputer sites in the United States from research and education organizations. The ARPANET was decommissioned in 1990. Commercial internet service providers (ISPs) began to emerge in the late 1980s and 1990s and the Internet was commercialized in 1995 when NSFNET was decommissioned, removing the last restrictions on the use of the Internet to carry commercial traffic.
Since the mid-1990s the Internet has had a drastic impact on culture and commerce, including the rise of near instant communication by electronic mail, instant messaging, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) "phone calls", two-way interactive video calls, and the World Wide Web with its discussion forums, blogs, social networking, and online shopping sites. The research and education community continues to use advanced networks such as NSF's very high speed Backbone Network Service (vBNS) and Internet2. Increasing amounts of data are transmitted at higher and higher speeds over fiber optic networks operating at 1-Gbps, 10-Gbps, or more. The Internet continues to grow, driven by ever greater amounts of online information and knowledge, commerce, entertainment and social networking

Merging the networks and creating the Internet (1973–90) [edit] TCP/IP

Merging the networks and creating the Internet (1973–90)

TCP/IP

Map of the TCP/IP test network in February 1982
With so many different network methods, something was needed to unify them. Robert E. Kahn of DARPA and ARPANET recruited Vinton Cerf of Stanford University to work with him on the problem. By 1973, they had soon worked out a fundamental reformulation, where the differences between network protocols were hidden by using a common internetwork protocol, and instead of the network being responsible for reliability, as in the ARPANET, the hosts became responsible. Cerf credits Hubert Zimmerman, Gerard LeLann and Louis Pouzin (designer of the CYCLADES network) with important work on this design.[23]
The specification of the resulting protocol, RFC 675 – Specification of Internet Transmission Control Program, by Vinton Cerf, Yogen Dalal and Carl Sunshine, Network Working Group, December 1974, contains the first attested use of the term internet, as a shorthand for internetworking; later RFCs repeat this use, so the word started out as an adjective rather than the noun it is today.
With the role of the network reduced to the bare minimum, it became possible to join almost any networks together, no matter what their characteristics were, thereby solving Kahn's initial problem. DARPA agreed to fund development of prototype software, and after several years of work, the first somewhat crude demonstration of a gateway between the Packet Radio network in the SF Bay area and the ARPANET was conducted. On November 22, 1977[24] a three network demonstration was conducted including the ARPANET, the Packet Radio Network and the Atlantic Packet Satellite network—all sponsored by DARPA. Stemming from the first specifications of TCP in 1974, TCP/IP emerged in mid-late 1978 in nearly final form. By 1981, the associated standards were published as RFCs 791, 792 and 793 and adopted for use. DARPA sponsored or encouraged the development of TCP/IP implementations for many operating systems and then scheduled a migration of all hosts on all of its packet networks to TCP/IP. On January 1, 1983, known as flag day, TCP/IP protocols became the only approved protocol on the ARPANET, replacing the earlier NCP protocol.[25

Opening the network to commerce

Opening the network to commerce

The interest in commercial use of the Internet became a hotly debated topic. Although commercial use was forbidden, the exact definition of commercial use could be unclear and subjective. UUCPNet and the X.25 IPSS had no such restrictions, which would eventually see the official barring of UUCPNet use of ARPANET and NSFNET connections. Some UUCP links still remained connecting to these networks however, as administrators cast a blind eye to their operation.
World Internet Hosts: 1981–2009During the late 1980s, the first Internet service provider (ISP) companies were formed. Companies like PSINet, UUNET, Netcom, and Portal Software were formed to provide service to the regional research networks and provide alternate network access, UUCP-based email and Usenet News to the public. The first commercial dialup ISP in the United States was The World, opened in 1989.[39]
In 1992, Congress passed the Scientific and Advanced-Technology Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1862(g), which allowed NSF to support access by the research and education communities to computer networks which were not used exclusively for research and education purposes, thus permitting NSFNET to interconnect with commercial networks.[40][41] This caused controversy within the research and education community, who were concerned commercial use of the network might lead to an Internet that was less responsive to their needs, and within the community of commercial network providers, who felt that government subsidies were giving an unfair advantage to some organizations.[42]

From gopher to the WWW

From gopher to the WWW

As the Internet grew through the 1980s and early 1990s, many people realized the increasing need to be able to find and organize files and information. Projects such as Gopher, WAIS, and the FTP Archive list attempted to create ways to organize distributed data. Unfortunately, these projects fell short in being able to accommodate all the existing data types and in being able to grow without bottlenecks.[citation needed]
One of the most promising user interface paradigms during this period was hypertext. The technology had been inspired by Vannevar Bush's "Memex"[58] and developed through Ted Nelson's research on Project Xanadu and Douglas Engelbart's research on NLS.[59] Many small self-contained hypertext systems had been created before, such as Apple Computer's HyperCard (1987). Gopher became the first commonly-used hypertext interface to the Internet. While Gopher menu items were examples of hypertext, they were not commonly perceived in that way.
This NeXT Computer was used by Sir Tim Berners-Lee at CERN and became the world's first Web server.
In 1989, while working at CERN, Tim Berners-Lee invented a network-based implementation of the hypertext concept. By releasing his invention to public use, he ensured the technology would become widespread.[60] For his work in developing the World Wide Web, Berners-Lee received the Millennium technology prize in 2004.[61] One early popular web browser, modeled after HyperCard, was ViolaWWW.
A potential turning point for the World Wide Web began with the introduction[62] of the Mosaic web browser[63] in 1993, a graphical browser developed by a team at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (NCSA-UIUC), led by Marc Andreessen. Funding for Mosaic came from the High-Performance Computing and Communications Initiative, a funding program initiated by the High Performance Computing and Communication Act of 1991 also known as the Gore Bill.[64] Indeed, Mosaic's graphical interface soon became more popular than Gopher, which at the time was primarily text-based, and the WWW became the preferred interface for accessing the Internet. (Gore's reference to his role in "creating the Internet", however, was ridiculed in his presidential election campaign. See the full article Al Gore and information technology).

Use and culture

Use and culture

E-mail and Usenet

E-mail is often called the killer application of the Internet. However, it actually predates the Internet and was a crucial tool in creating it. Email started in 1965 as a way for multiple users of a time-sharing mainframe computer to communicate. Although the history is unclear, among the first systems to have such a facility were SDC's Q32 and MIT's CTSS.[55]
The ARPANET computer network made a large contribution to the evolution of e-mail. There is one report[56] indicating experimental inter-system e-mail transfers on it shortly after ARPANET's creation. In 1971 Ray Tomlinson created what was to become the standard Internet e-mail address format, using the @ sign to separate user names from host names.[57]
A number of protocols were developed to deliver e-mail among groups of time-sharing computers over alternative transmission systems, such as UUCP and IBM's VNET e-mail system. E-mail could be passed this way between a number of networks, including ARPANET, BITNET and NSFNET, as well as to hosts connected directly to other sites via UUCP. See the history of SMTP protocol.
In addition, UUCP allowed the publication of text files that could be read by many others. The News software developed by Steve Daniel and Tom Truscott in 1979 was used to distribute news and bulletin board-like messages. This quickly grew into discussion groups, known as newsgroups, on a wide range of topics. On ARPANET and NSFNET similar discussion groups would form via mailing lists, discussing both technical issues and more culturally focused topics (such as science fiction, discussed on the sflovers mailing list).
During the early years of the Internet, e-mail and similar mechanisms were also fundamental to allow people to access resources that were not available due to the absence of online connectivity. UUCP was often used to distribute files using the 'alt.binary' groups. Also, FTP e-mail gateways allowed people that lived outside the US and Europe to download files using ftp commands written inside e-email messages. The file was encoded, broken in pieces and sent by e-mail; the receiver had to reassemble and decode it later, and it was the only way for people living overseas to download items such as the earlier Linux versions using the slow dial-up connections available at the time. After the popularization of the Web and the HTTP protocol such tools were slowly abandoned.

Globalization and 21st century

Globalization and 21st century

Since the 1990s, the Internet's governance and organization has been of global importance to commerce. The organizations which hold control of certain technical aspects of the Internet are both the successors of the old ARPANET oversight and the current decision-makers in the day-to-day technical aspects of the network. While formally recognized as the administrators of the network, their roles and their decisions are subject to international scrutiny and objections which limit them. These objections have led to the ICANN removing themselves from relationships with first the University of Southern California in 2000,[51] and finally in September 2009, gaining autonomy from the US government by the ending of its longstanding agreements, although some contractual obligations with the Department of Commerce continue until at least 2011.[52][53][54] The history of the Internet will now be played out in many ways as a consequence of the ICANN organization.
In the role of forming standard associated with the Internet, the IETF continues to serve as the ad-hoc standards group. They continue to issue Request for Comments numbered sequentially from RFC 1 under the ARPANET project, for example, and the IETF precursor was the GADS Task Force which was a group of US government-funded researchers in the 1980s. Many of the group's recent developments have been of global necessity, such as the i18n working groups who develop things like internationalized domain names. The Internet Society has helped to fund the IETF, providing limited oversight.