Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 23rd Jul 2012 20:17 UTC
Internet & Networking "It's an urban legend that the government launched the Internet. The myth is that the Pentagon created the Internet to keep its communications lines up even in a nuclear strike. The truth is a more interesting story about how innovation happens - and about how hard it is to build successful technology companies even once the government gets out of the way."
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by gan17 on Mon 23rd Jul 2012 20:32 UTC
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Nikola Tesla invented the internet!!


Reply Score: 5

RE: Tesla!!
by zima on Thu 26th Jul 2012 15:07 UTC in reply to "Tesla!!"
zima Member since:

Not strictly about Tesla, but quite analogous on a more limited scale...
With texting language, of course:

Also, open web issues ( ), perhaps its dot com bubbles (or at least banking panics), and predictions of world peace.

Reply Score: 2

by 1c3d0g on Mon 23rd Jul 2012 21:00 UTC
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...who cares? Obviously a lot of different very talented individuals, backed by multi-billion dollar corporations, collectively contributed to what we now call the "Internet". Is this simple concept so hard to understand? ;)

Reply Score: 2

by sithlord2 on Mon 23rd Jul 2012 22:07 UTC
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Al Gore!

Reply Score: 3

RE: duh...
by Slambert666 on Tue 24th Jul 2012 04:30 UTC in reply to "duh..."
Slambert666 Member since:

Quoting Al Gore:
During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country's economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system.

According to Vint Cerf:
While it is not accurate to say that VP Gore invented Internet, he has played a powerful role in policy terms that has supported its continued growth and application, for which we should be thankful.

Without Al Gore, there probably would not have been an internet like we know it today

Reply Score: 3

collaborated effort
by robojerk on Mon 23rd Jul 2012 22:57 UTC
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I always thought the US government initially paid for infrastructure, then used protocol from private companies.

Reply Score: 1

Ow my brane!
by Vanders on Mon 23rd Jul 2012 23:01 UTC
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Good God, what a horribly confused and terrible article. It was like ramming an iron spike repeatedly through my brain. I am dumber for having read it.

Edited 2012-07-23 23:02 UTC

Reply Score: 9

sponsored by apple
by antonone on Tue 24th Jul 2012 06:11 UTC
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For a second I thought the article is sponsored by Apple to introduce Steve Jobs into the "internet discovery" subject. That would add Apple +10 points to Coolness.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Radio
by Radio on Tue 24th Jul 2012 06:29 UTC
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"Damn gov'ment, get outta ma way!"

Also, the gov'ment did not invent modern roads, it was McAdam. That is why we would reduce the role of the governement!

...Seriously, the Wall Street Journal has been spiraling into a paper-FoxNews; it is getting uglier month after month.

Reply Score: 4

This is how it works, stupid
by spiderman on Tue 24th Jul 2012 06:51 UTC
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Everything big is done by the governments. The computer, nuclear power, the internet and the web would not exist without government funding and coordinating.
The "one click to buy" concept was invented by private corporations.

Reply Score: 4

RE: This is how it works, stupid
by Doc Pain on Wed 25th Jul 2012 05:23 UTC in reply to "This is how it works, stupid"
Doc Pain Member since:

Everything big is done by the governments. The computer, nuclear power, the internet and the web would not exist without government funding and coordinating.

Governments do not invent. They support.

Inventions are made by individuals, and their inventions get combined and extended, but it's an individual defining the first point of that kind of development.

As soon as resources are required to accelerate the creation of something (e. g. the Internet), the government comes into play. Seeing future chances and use is important when transfering money into the bodies that finally execute the growth, typically bigger companies who have a "good connection" to governmental installations providing money and other kind of support. Of course, the government itself (I'm refering to their direct "components") can also build things, sure, but from a financial point of view, it's often cheaper to contract a company than to hire own employees to do stuff.

Now imagine why "everything big" can only be done: They have their interconnections with banks and companies that finally carry out the "real work", coordinated by governmental organisations. It's hard to imagine that "pure individuals" could create massive things like the Internet: infrastructure, protocol, cabling, satelites, all the many things involved. But if you look precisely, each of thouse millions of little steps is done by... a simple person (and millions of them).

Just like the initial invention itself.

Reply Score: 4

Comment by Kroc
by Kroc on Tue 24th Jul 2012 06:56 UTC
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Don't be silly. Nobody invented the Internet, it just came about from random chance and continual evolution. There were many proto-internets inhabiting cyberspace and this just happened to be the one that survived ;)

Reply Score: 2

Wow, just wow
by Soulbender on Tue 24th Jul 2012 08:00 UTC
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Seriously, can any useless hack write for traditional media these days? I mean, come on. If you guys want to be relevant at least try to hire competent writers.
There's so much wrong with this article it's not even funny and there's much I could write but the Ars article is pretty much spot on.

Still, "Full credit goers to Xerox".
...bitch, *please*.

So having created the Internet, why didn't Xerox become the biggest company in the world? The answer explains the disconnect between a government-led view of business and how innovation actually happens.

Executives at Xerox headquarters in Rochester, N.Y., were focused on selling copiers.

So, uh, it's somehow the governments fault that the Xerox executives didn't focus on Ethernet and advancing the Internet?

I'm sure many "dropped the ball" here in a way but putting it all on the government is a bit narrow-minded. It's not like the government was stopping Xerox (or anyone else) from trying to do anything with the internet and Ethernet.
The fact that it didn't take off until it was privatized doesn't mean the government didn't invent it. Inventing and making popular are two different things.

I'm with Vanders; reading this article made me stupider.

Reply Score: 5

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Perhaps things just seem simple in hindsight, so I could be totally off base here, but it seems like the invention of the internet is rather trivial. That is to say, the protocols that make it run are things that many companies and academia could/had done or had similar technologies.

The great thing about the internet was the deployment and how it standardized and evolved.

The world made cars where people drive on different sides of the roads. Different countries have different rail gauges.

Yet, the internet was deployed... with all its flaws, lack of authentication, lack of control...
Today we help fill in some of those gaps.

For example, e-mail (smtp) is an absolutely silly protocol. Anyone can lie to be anyone else. And it resulted in massive spam. Yet, one wonders if they had built in security, would it have been as common? For all it's flaws, we've made it work.

Edited 2012-07-24 14:22 UTC

Reply Score: 2

NSF funding helped a lot
by AndrewZ on Tue 24th Jul 2012 15:51 UTC
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I worked at the National Science Foundation in the 80's. At that time there was a grant to create these fuzzball / IMPs with routing capability. The work was done by David Mills. This was to add functionality to existing store and forward capability in an academic subnet. As far as I know, these were the first internet routers.

And no, I don't think Xerox had much to do with the internet.

Edited 2012-07-24 15:53 UTC

Reply Score: 4

That was funny.
by jefro on Tue 24th Jul 2012 16:19 UTC
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I took a Novell class in the 80's. This topic was part of the class. Seems to me the class did have this same urban rumor. Like the original holders of tcp/ip and how the lower US ip's had priority over other lower numbers. Still that way. Guess you can change history by writing a blog.

Reply Score: 2

RE: That was funny.
by grat on Tue 24th Jul 2012 20:18 UTC in reply to "That was funny."
grat Member since:

I took a Novell class in the 80's. This topic was part of the class.

I disbelieve. Novell didn't accept that TCP/IP existed until Netware 4.1 in the mid 1990's. ;)

It took some serious bashing from the academic sector to convince them that IP was the way forward... and by then, they'd already been out-flanked, out-maneuvered and out-fud'd by M$.

They were big proponents of ethernet, however.

Reply Score: 3

Not how I remember it
by trev on Wed 25th Jul 2012 03:21 UTC
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Granted it's been a while but I recall how things were when I started. It was a mix of competing protocols, standards and technologies for a long time. Just a few I recall off the top of my head are:

lower layers:
802.3 (ethernet)
token ring (can't recall the wiring spec name but I think they had both 4 AND 16 mbps options)

higher layer:

ANY one or two of the technologies listed could have never existed and I'm pretty sure we would still have something like the internet today. It might have taken longer but in the end it seems a logical evolution of networking.

I should point out I was rather late in the game too (started working in networking in 88 as I recall). The author seems quite poorly informed about this subject. Maybe he should have talked to some of the people that were working on things back then.

Reply Score: 2