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A Brief History of the Internet 285

Ant writes "'Many young people around the world use the internet every day, and yet they have no memory of the history that led to the creation of the global network. Many have no understanding of how or why the internet has developed. As part of out continuing efforts to combat ignorance around the world, The Lemon is proud to present this timeline...'"
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A Brief History of the Internet

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    But he was resposible for seeing that it got funding, and was pushed into the private sector. Credit where credit is due.
    • He rode the wave (Score:4, Insightful)

      by the_duke_of_hazzard ( 603473 ) on Monday May 19, 2003 @07:36AM (#5990488)
      No, he rode the wave. Saying something is happening does not mean you made it happen. A case of a post hoc ergo proper hoc argument, for you classicists out there.
      • He never claimed to have invented it or anything else!
        Ya gotta stop getting you news from Jay Leno & that boring Rush guy.
      • by Von Rex ( 114907 ) on Monday May 19, 2003 @12:28PM (#5992015)
        Is that the right-wing spin of the day? That Gore just "rode the wave" and that 400+ other legislators would have done the same thing?

        Check this out. You might learn something.

        Al Gore and the Creation of the Internet" [firstmonday.dk]

        As you'll see, Gore made his first proposal to fund a universal version of the internet in 1986. How many other politicians, people not usually known for being up to date with technology, were pushing the internet in 1986? Were you?

        This article puts 1986 into perspective:

        "That Gore wrote about a national "data highway" as far back as 1986 is extremely significant. It is important to make clear the context of the state of computing at that time. The IBM PC was only four years old. The Apple II computer was still in widespread use. The number of hosts on the Internet numbered, as counted by Mark Lottor's Internet Domain Survey, was 5,089. Entire universities (such as Michigan State University) made their initial connection to the Internet in 1986. In order for Gore to make this kind of speech in 1986, he had to have been conversant with the thinking of computer scientists and Internet pioneers. Such pioneers included such as Vint Cerf, Steven Wolf, and Larry Smarr - then director of the National Center for Supercomputer Applications at the University of Illinois (NCSA), where Mosaic would be born some seven years later."

        Did you get that, bunky? Seven years before Mosaic. Is that what you call "riding the wave"?

        Speaking of Vinton Cerf, who might be trusted to have an informed opinion on this, this is what he had to say about Gore:

        Al Gore was the first political leader to recognize the importance of the Internet and to promote and support its development.

        No one person or even small group of persons exclusively "invented" the Internet. It is the result of many years of ongoing collaboration among people in government and the university community. But as the two people who designed the basic architecture and the core protocols that make the Internet work, we would like to acknowledge VP Gore's contributions as a Congressman, Senator and as Vice President. No other elected official, to our knowledge, has made a greater contribution over a longer period of time.

        Last year the Vice President made a straightforward statement on his role. He said: "During my service in the United States Congress I took the initiative in creating the Internet." We don't think, as some people have argued, that Gore intended to claim he "invented" the Internet. Moreover, there is no question in our minds that while serving as Senator, Gore's initiatives had a significant and beneficial effect on the still-evolving Internet. The fact of the matter is that Gore was talking about and promoting the Internet long before most people were listening. We feel it is timely to offer our perspective.

        As far back as the 1970s Congressman Gore promoted the idea of high speed telecommunications as an engine for both economic growth and the improvement of our educational system. He was the first elected official to grasp the potential of computer communications to have a broader impact than just improving the conduct of science and scholarship. Though easily forgotten, now, at the time this was an unproven and controversial concept. Our work on the Internet started in 1973 and was based on even earlier work that took place in the mid-late 1960s. But the Internet, as we know it today, was not deployed until 1983. When the Internet was still in the early stages of its deployment, Congressman Gore provided intellectual leadership by helping create the vision of the potential benefits of high speed computing and communication. As an example, he sponsored hearings on how advanced technologies might be put to use in areas like coordinating the response of government agencies to natural disasters and other crises.

        As a Senator in the 1980s Gore urged government agencies t
    • " But he was resposible for seeing that it got funding"

      I'm sure that is some comfort.

      Fact is, had Al not sponsored some legislation, 434 other reps would have. Al just got out in front of the wave. He showed no insight (if he had, he would have been sponsoring it 10 years prior). He showed no courage ("Internet good!" was never cotroversial). And for him to say he invented the internet is the same as Bush claiming that he figured out that Saddam was a bad guy.

      Al was not reponsible for anything other
      • He was sponsoring it years before any other legislator had even heard of it. I'd lay even money that he was sponsoring it before you heard of it. You were probably still watching Sesame Street when Gore was sponsoring the internet.
    • by jeffy124 ( 453342 ) on Monday May 19, 2003 @12:33PM (#5992058) Homepage Journal
      what do you mean - "did not invent the internet"? Of course he invented it!

      Haven't you heard it's all based on Al-Gore-ithms?
  • by jkrise ( 535370 ) on Monday May 19, 2003 @04:50AM (#5990118) Journal
    Once upon a time, there wan an Internet. Along cam Slashdot... phut - the internet got slashsdotted.

    The rest, as they say, is history.
  • by B3ryllium ( 571199 ) on Monday May 19, 2003 @04:51AM (#5990124) Homepage
    ... I met a shady character in a bar, and he told me that one day machines would rule us with twisted-pair whips.

    It took me years to figure out what he meant.

    Damn those corporate drones in middle management.
    • You went to a bar in 1927, and you're still alive?! Long live, the Nostradamus of the Internet.

      And who's the shady character you met? I suspect it could've been Pop Gates or even Grandpa Gates :-)
  • by $$$$$exyGal ( 638164 ) on Monday May 19, 2003 @04:55AM (#5990134) Homepage Journal
    On a related note, here is the history of Usenet [google.com]. Unlike the story-linked-site, the Usenet site is a real history, and is in many ways funnier.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      My Favorite post:

      I wish Lucas & Co. would get the thing going a little faster. I can't really imagine waiting until 1997 to see all nine parts of the Star Wars series.


      Hopefully his imagination has improved over the years... If not, he's probably just as fed-up as me.
  • And (Score:5, Funny)

    by IanBevan ( 213109 ) * on Monday May 19, 2003 @04:56AM (#5990136) Homepage
    ..then in 2003, The Lemon creates the widest webpage in the history of the internet.

    That's a funny site :)

  • Billy G (Score:3, Funny)

    by aardwolf204 ( 630780 ) on Monday May 19, 2003 @04:57AM (#5990140)
    Best part of the article:
    1981: Bill Gates embarks on heroic and lifelong quest to piss off every person in America.
    And it only took him 17 years to integrate the OS and browser.
  • well... (Score:2, Funny)

    by chrispy666 ( 519278 )
    at least they got something right : the internet was invented with porn in mind !!!

    I still don't get the "lemon" part though... all they talk about is apple, nothing sour in that ;)

  • Al Gore....duh!
  • by WIAKywbfatw ( 307557 ) on Monday May 19, 2003 @05:00AM (#5990151) Journal
    1981 - Bill Gates embarks on heroic and lifelong quest to piss off every person in America.

    1992 - World-Wide Web released by CERN. Group suggests someone invent a web browser so people can use it.


    Bill Gates gets a mention (although not a positive one) but Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web doesn't? How bad is that?

    It amazes me that Berners-Lee isn't more widely acknowledged for his contribution to today's internet. Granted he's never been a man who's to court publicity, but he will go down in history as one of the most influential figures of the 20th century.

    Arguably, he's been as important to the information revolution as Gutenberg was to the printing one. I'm not saying that he created everything single-handedly, only that his work should be acknowledged.

    Yes, I realise that the The Lemon timeline is meant to be jokey but shouldn't a guy who's made so much possible for so many - for geeks the world over to argue with each other over which edition of AD&D is the best, people who've never had a social life to order a bride without leaving their front rooms and teenagers everywhere to download more porn than their Dad's could ever have imagined - get at least a tip of the hat?
    • by davejenkins ( 99111 ) <slashdot.davejenkins@com> on Monday May 19, 2003 @05:22AM (#5990199) Homepage
      It amazes me that Berners-Lee isn't more widely acknowledged for his contribution to today's internet. Granted he's never been a man who's to court publicity, but he will go down in history as one of the most influential figures of the 20th century.

      Hrmmm... his invention certainly is influential, but not him. Influence is a showing of the pervasity, and profound changes from something. If that something is a single event, then it must be fundamentaly different, and destroy the prior 'world': Einstein's Theory of Relativity, Marx' theory of class struggle (good and bad).

      TBL's "hypertext", while certainly a fantastic insight and construct, built upon endless hours of conceptualisation by the Arpanet team concerning distributed data. Also, hypertext didn't "destroy" anything, it merely added another medium.

      Just as Philo T. Farnsworth "invented" television, would you have remembered his name? Is he up there with Einstein, Woodrow Wilson? Kennedy?
      • by WIAKywbfatw ( 307557 ) on Monday May 19, 2003 @05:51AM (#5990271) Journal
        If that something is a single event, then it must be fundamentaly different, and destroy the prior 'world': Einstein's Theory of Relativity, Marx' theory of class struggle (good and bad).

        What did the Apollo moon landings destroy? Or climbing Mount Everest? Or the creation of the Olympic movement? Or Pasteur's work in medicine?

        I'm sorry, but I don't see how something has to be destructive, even in the loosest sense of the word as you're applying it, to be either influential or historical.

        Oh, and as for just who "invented" the television, well, that's a real can of worms you've opened there. Farnsworth? George Carey? W. E. Sawyer? Edwin Belin? Vladimir Kosma Zworykin? John Logie Baird? Denes von Mihaly? Take your pick.

        Farnsworth's showed off his technology on September 7, 1927. Baird's first public demonstration (to the general public in a department store) was on March 25, 1925, and he had a working model a year earlier.

        Of all the pioneers who can claim to have invented the television, Farnsworth's claim isn't the strongest. But, obviously, because he was American he's the one Americans credit.
      • by jeremyp ( 130771 ) on Monday May 19, 2003 @08:10AM (#5990592) Homepage Journal
        I disagree that an influential event needs to destroy the previous world. I also disagree that the www "merely added another medium". After all, the telephone, television, radio, fax, ethernet etc all merely added another medium. Are you suggesting that Alexander Graham Bell does not deserve recognition for the telephone?

        The www has revolutionnised the World of on-line information. It's made it infinitely more accessible and at the same time set computer-human interface design back 20 years :)

        BTW Einstein's theories of relativity have had almost zero influence on the World. It has no practical applications that I can think of off hand (maybe interplanetary space probes?). The other great scientific theory of the 20th century - quantum mechanics - otoh pervades our every day life. I always think it is fitting that Einstein received the Nobel prize for his description of the photo electric effect (part of quantum mechanics), not relativity since in the long run it has turned out to be far more important.
        • Einstein's theories of relativity have had almost zero influence on the World. It has no practical applications that I can think of off hand (maybe interplanetary space probes?).

          One application that I happen to know about is our GPS system, whose satelites rely on the general theory of relativity to give accurate results. Read all about it here [ohio-state.edu].

          Perhaps ignorance about this kind of thing is a result of misunderstanding what exactly relativity is... my high school physics teacher told me that he didn

        • Relativity hasno practical application? Well, appart from changing and introducing a whole new scientific world view, what about GPS? Without the timeshift relativity expresses, GPS couldn't work.

          Not only that, but general and special relativity also are fundamental to quite a few other theories.

          As for what work Einstein got his Nobel, I'm not entirely sure, but iirc, the reason why he got it for his work on photons was because relativity wasn't proven at the time. But I'm not entirely sure about that...
      • Also, hypertext didn't "destroy" anything, it merely added another medium.

        Remeber gopher, or archie? Two software tools very much in use by the geeks prior to html/http and now both are dead.

      • Yes, I'll never forget Philo T. Farnsworth. His nephew taught my English 101 class, and Farnsworth's biography was that semester's reading material. This amazingly overweight English teacher had an ego to match his tremendous bulk, mostly based on his relationship to his "famous" uncle. I dropped out of the class halfway through because I absolutely detested him, then tested out English 101 the next semester.

        The biography, written by Farnsworth's wife, is one of the most boring books in existence. Imag
      • Just as Philo T. Farnsworth "invented" television

        Ex-squeeze me? John Logie Baird demonstrated the first television at the Royal Institute several months before Farnsworth ever completed his.
    • Granted he's never been a man who's to court publicity

      And that is why he's the man.
    • by gad_zuki! ( 70830 ) * on Monday May 19, 2003 @05:28AM (#5990217)
      >Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web doesn't? How bad is that?

      I guess when it comes to fame it helps to be:

      A. Wealthy

      B. American

      C. Become more wealthy as time goes on.

      Sorry Tim, not to mention Marc Andreessen.

    • Cats (Score:3, Informative)

      by clambake ( 37702 )
      Well, if Tim Berners-Lee had only held on to his "world wide web" then we'd probably all be speaking his name now... but we all know what happened to his empire, don't we:

      "Cats becomes sole proprietor of all your base. Every Zig moved."

      • Re:Cats (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 19, 2003 @07:07AM (#5990398)

        Well, if Tim Berners-Lee had only held on to his "world wide web" then we'd probably all be speaking his name now...

        No. If TBL had "held on to" the WWW, nobody would ever had heard of it, or him. One of the major benefits of the WWW is that it is open for anybody to write browsers, servers, or run websites. If TBL had ever tried to exert control, the WWW would have been dropped instantly. Licensing was one of the things that killed gopher.

    • It amazes me that Berners-Lee isn't more widely acknowledged for his contribution to today's internet.
      Funny that most people are only referring to Tim Berners-Lee as the 'inventor of the web', while he was actually working with a companion [web.cern.ch]. Does it have anything to do with Tim being English?

    • I tip my hat: 1989 - Berners-Lee invented http and came up with the name "world wide web"
    • This site has a lot of comments railing against patents for non-innovative, obvious "inventions". Well, I see the Tim's web not as revolutionary but as evolutionary. Gopher had navigation among documents and there were search engines but not hyperlinks inside the documents themselves. I don't want to take away from Tim's work, but I think you were overstating its importance. Someone else would've come up with that sooner or later (probably sooner).
  • And I thought the internet just evolved from multinode BBSes running WildCat and Discussion Board Sync software.

    Who knew? :)
    • by Esion Modnar ( 632431 ) on Monday May 19, 2003 @05:16AM (#5990182)
      Remember when Computer Shopper published BBS numbers by state?

      And if you were real lucky, you had a good selection in your local calling area.

      Ah, those were the days...

      • I was picking up a new skiffy novel the other day and they had a stack of Computer Shopper's up by the register. I picked up this anemically thin thing and commented to my wife "I remember when CS was this thin the first time, about 20 years ago." The Geekboy behind the counter was actually awed. Kids these days ...
      • I remember that listings for BBSes always included settings such as N-8-1 (no parity, 8 bits, 1 stop bit).

        And 300 baud works pretty well until you try to get into a Teleconference on a multi-line BBS, since with more than 2 or 3 people talking you never have a chance to get a word in edgewise. Worked fine at faster speeds though.

        FidoNet was an amazing concept. Send somebody on another BBS an e-mail message from your BBS, and they'd receive it within a day or two (when the BBSes would call each other and
  • by SgtChaireBourne ( 457691 ) on Monday May 19, 2003 @05:02AM (#5990156) Homepage
    The Lemon seems weak on content, I realize that it's an attempt at humor, but there is not even a mention of Usenet. (IIRC, Clarinet was the first profitable uses of the 'net) Plus the some of the dates, e.g. for Apple, are wrong.

    The Hobbes' Internet Timeline [zakon.org] and the ISOC list of Internet Histories [isoc.org] give much better coverage.

  • Al Gore's Internet (Score:5, Informative)

    by scubacuda ( 411898 ) <scubacuda&gmail,com> on Monday May 19, 2003 @05:04AM (#5990161)
    Here [harvard.edu] is a good thread on the Al Gore myth.

    Seth Finkelstein has collected lots of good links on the topic.

    • We all know Al didn't invent the internet, but the man made the claims with his own mouth and on camera. He should be stood up for ridicule over his comments. He should have also VERY PUBLICALLY say he goofed on the comment. But he hasn't. The Debunkers are full of bunk.
  • by Rik Sweeney ( 471717 ) on Monday May 19, 2003 @05:06AM (#5990165) Homepage
    I always thought that the Internet was invented by Microsoft and shipped with Windows 95.
  • This is news??? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fishbert42 ( 588754 )
    Is there any way to mod this entire story as (-1, Overrated)?

    Seriously, this has to be one of the most useless and uninteresting items to appear on Slashdot in the recent past. A real history of the internet? Maybe that would be an interesting read. But this garbage from The Lemon is completely worthless, not even funny (it tries, yet fails miserably), and unworthy of even a mention on Fark [fark.com].
  • by ANTI ( 81267 ) on Monday May 19, 2003 @05:18AM (#5990189) Homepage
    just a few examples:
    1977: email invented. most common message: "let me know when you are there so i can call you.
    (Family archives show as #1: "did you get this [email]?" and "are you there ?")

    1978: Spreadsheet, 10 years till anyone knows how to use them.
    (Show me one person who has a usefull use for spreadsheets ... )
    1995: AOL, Compuserve, etc take off
    (I canceled my CIS account in late 1995, after using it for quite a while.
    Erm - shute, I wanted to, but I didn't....)

    1995: Release of Windows'95
    (Erm ... by that time I stopped using Windos, but didn't 95 came out somewhere in the middle of 96 ?)

    1997: Internet Porn introduced to businesses. Worker productivity down 97%
    ('97? I could swear Admiral K. sold his stuff for websites long before that [ESCdd])

    2001: Blogging invented.
    (hey, my first lj-entry is Aug 29th, 2000 - and I joined the bandwaggon very late.)

    ps:
    semicolon-dash-closing bracket
    • by Anonymous Coward
      (Show me one person who has a usefull use for spreadsheets ... )

      Accountants. Spreadsheets were not invented on a computer; accountants and other money-men had been using actual peices of paper with grids on them, called spreadsheets, long before the display of an Apple ][ was carved up into a little grid.
    • Show me one person who has a usefull use for spreadsheets ...

      Obviously you've never done accounting.

    • Show me one person who has a usefull use for spreadsheets ...

      I wrote a spreadsheet a few weeks ago that calculated the remaining creep life of steel pipework. I have also written one that calculates fatigue.

      For my own personal use I have one that calculates the correct aspect ratios and borders for my Avisynth scripts when converting AVIs to VCD or SVCD...

      They aren't just use for creating long lists.

    • 1995: AOL, Compuserve, etc take off
      (I canceled my CIS account in late 1995, after using it for quite a while.

      I have a program book from 1984 that has a program to automate compuserve so that you will not spend as much time online, to reduce bills.
  • by jkrise ( 535370 ) on Monday May 19, 2003 @05:19AM (#5990190) Journal
    199? : Slashdot enters the internet.
    2002 : First X10 cam sold thru spam; meanwhile thousands of anti-spam s/w kits sold!
    2002 : Bill Gates sends spam on Trustworthy Computing to all registered devotees.
    2002 : Code Red brings IIS-based servers to their knees.
    2003 : Slammer brings down the Internet and even ATMs.
    2003 : Microsoft walks out of W3C meet, vows to remain with proprietary designs.
    2002 : Opera releases Bork edition for MSN pages.
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    2008 : A separate internet - Slashnet is created. Henceforth, slashdotting will not affect regular internet users.
    2009 : Microsoft buys Slashdot, karma virus hits Slashdot, millions of users get karma +10,000! Old timers encouraged to adopt Palladium to get good karma.
  • by aardwolf204 ( 630780 ) on Monday May 19, 2003 @05:25AM (#5990202)
    1969: x10 proposes a world wide computer network capable of poping up advertisements on users workstations. The DOD shows interest and tags the name ARPANET on it.

    1981: Lary Flint and other Porn big shots support the effort.

    1982: IBM turns down an offer to control the new born ARPANET, they're too busy licensing C:\>.

    1986: Buttered popcorn beats out Gummy Bears by 20% in the first ever international email survey. Thus spam is invented.

    1989: Playboy releases first ever Playmate gallery in ASCII on Gopher.

    1991: Al Gore changes the name of the project by inventing the term "internet". Later NCSA releases the first browser, mosaic.

    1993: The warez pups populate the Internet with copies of Doom and give users a reason to get online.

    1994: The motion picture "Hackers" captures audiences with its amazing 3d representations of the internet, thus VRML is invented.

    1995: Windows 95 hits store shelves hyping Plug and Play. ISA 28.8's fly off the shelves.

    1998: Windows 98 is released with an integrated web browser, courtesy of Microsoft, and everyone forgets who Netscape is.

    2000: Slashdot posts a story about about how cool slashdot is, and is instantly slashdotted as people reload the page.

    2002: Grandma finally gets it when you tell her the internet isnt on the AOL cd she got in the mail.

    2003: Linux becomes THE buzzword, instantly making it the #1 os to brag about and will inevitably dominate the desktop forever. Resistance is futile.

    2004: Since AOL decides not to port AOL 8 to Linux the huge ISP fails and Time Warner starts talks with X10 about new and improved "Popup Commercials" for Cable TV.

    Of course I missed a few minor things, like how WAP became the dominant authoring language, IRC put AT&T and MCI out of business, and how SCO ranted and raved about nonsense until they were beaten by a giant penguin.
    • 2005: the last sale of a cell-phone without internet connection; 2006: the last sale of a cell-phone without embedded PDA; 2007: first cell-phone (with PDA) implaneted to the brain for direct connections with voice, messages and IP; 2008: first beowulf cluster based on brain-implanted cell-PDAs; 2009: the last porn-site is closed, now it goes virtual on IRC; 2010: the last sale of a PC - people use only brain-implanted cell-PDAs; 2011: self-repairable servers; 2012: the last travelling to the work; 2013: th
  • by samael ( 12612 )
    It always amuses me when /. lags so far behind the times.

    Slashdot should stick to news stories. Checking blogdex and daypop once a day gives me a far better grasp of what 'cool links' are makign their way around the internet.
  • The Lemon? (Score:3, Funny)

    by 10Ghz ( 453478 ) on Monday May 19, 2003 @05:34AM (#5990233)
    So, is that like poor mans tneonion.com?
  • Forgive me if this is off topic, but this is the first time I've seen "The Lemon" before... After seeing thier little "Desperate Personals" and trying to place where I have seen that same kind of thing before I began thinking: Am I correct in thinking that this is, in fact, a parody of a parody [theonion.com]?

    There was a time when I thought the internet could be no more ironic... I beleive I was wrong in that assumption.
    • No. The Onion is not a parody any more, because it is now an original creation in its own right. Furthermore, it is the brilliant riposte to Europeans who claim that Americans do not understand irony.
      • Re:The lemon? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Americans do not understand irony.

        Apparently the do not. Do you know what irony is? If you're claiming that The Onion is ironic, then I guess you don't.

        I have a feeling you meant satire or possibly sarcasm, but you're probably too confused to figure out which.
  • 2003 : in april, AMD releases the Opteron, which has Palladium Hardwired. The AMD Athlon64 and Intel Prescott will follow.
    2004 : the mass market of hardware is mainly converted to Palladium.
    2005 : M$ releases Windows Longhorn, thus activating Palladium.

    Internet has no future.
  • Asshats! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by imag0 ( 605684 )
    The guy must be a Farker.

    Cheers man, you just got slashdotted!
  • In 1992, I predicted :
    Instant messaging
    An auction site
    Personal ads
    Job hunting sites
    and
    MMORPGS
  • by crux6rind ( 609204 ) on Monday May 19, 2003 @05:55AM (#5990275) Homepage
    -IRC
    -browser war
    -opensource/unix/linux
    -apache webserver
    -wireless (802.11a/b/g)
    anything else?
  • A: The internet was invented. It was all text.
    B: The web was invented. It had pretty pictures. Some people thought they could make money from it. They failed.
    C: Spam and pop-ups.

    The end.
  • I'm not sure when I did.

    All I remember is that, at first I had email through a bbs-email gateway. I used this to download files with an email-ftp gateway. The bbs owner was not amused.

    When I finally got on the net, it was via a dialup unix box. I remember that some months after this, the first version of Mosaic for Windows (and shortly after, for the Amiga) was released.

    Those months, I dabbled in Gopher, but with the advent of Mosaic, I quickly gave it up.

  • First piece of spam appears in USENET newsgroups and is quickly removed. "Well, that should be the last of that", say users.

    If only, is there anything we could have done to prevent the worlwide spam epidemic ?
  • How come Fark gets a mention but not /. ?, haven't we killed enough servers ?.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 19, 2003 @06:57AM (#5990385)
    (If we all used lynx, maybe it wouldn't have got /.ed so soon)

    Many young people around the world use the internet every day, and yet they have no memory of the history that led to the creation of the global network. Many have no understanding of how or why the internet has developed. As part of out continuing efforts to combat ignorance around the world, The Lemon is proud to present...

    The History of The Internet

    ARPANET (precursor to internet) invented. (If anyone makes any overused Al Gore jokes they will be beaten unconscious with a 300 baud modem)

    Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniack get stoned out of their minds and build a computer that costs a fortune and runs no software. "Everyone will want one of these!", says Jobs.

    Dr. Robert M. Metcalfe develops Ethernet, later to be replaced by SodiumPentatholNet.

    E-mail invented. most common message: "Let me know when you're there so I can call you"

    Dan Bricklin invents the spreadsheet. It will be 5 more years before anyone knows what they're for, and another decade before anyone knows how to use them.

    Bill Gates embarks on heroic and lifelong quest to piss off every person in America.

    Researchers develop TCP/IP, DNS, IAB, and other important internet acronyms.

    Apple's low-cost computers for schools offers an affordable way to give kids training in software they will never use.

    Scientists develop sexy buzzword "Internet" to replace awkward term "ARPANET"

    First ISP created. Business is slow due to the fact that the Internet has no purpose, nobody knows about it, and more people own Betamax machines than computers.

    World-Wide Web released by CERN. Group suggests someone invent a web browser so people can use it.

    Mosaic - the first major web browser - is released. Users complain that it should support animated gifs, or at least a tag. Yeah, that would look AWESOME!

    DOOM is released, slowing the network to a near stop, and worker productivity to a total stop. Parents rejoice as the release of the game frees them from all responsibility for how their kids behave.

    First piece of spam appears in USENET newsgroups and is quickly removed. "Well, that should be the last of that", say users.

    AOL, Compuserve, Prodigy, and other on-line services take off, making heaps of cash. Microsoft execs begin thinking: "Maybe we should look into this internet thing".

    Support for animated .GIF files and MIDI music on webpages becomes widespread. "Make it stop! MAKE IT STOP!", scream users.

    Release of Windows 95 and Internet Explorer bring sharp rise in memory sales, profanity use.

    Real Audio released, allowing users to listen to halting bursts of static in real time.

    Instant messaging created as a way for people all over the world to interrupt each other.

    US Robotics releases the 56k modem, allowing users to download even more data before their next random disconnect.

    AOL begins its efforts to make sure that no human being on planet earth is without an AOL sign-up disk.

    Parenting groups become concerned that spending extended time online is depriving children of important time spent watching television.

    Internet introduced to businesses. Worker productivity up 35% Internet Porn introduced to businesses. Worker productivity down 97%

    Scam e-mails replace oil as the chief export of Nigeria.

    3lit3 hax0rz, d00d: Teens become most prolific illiterate writers in history.

    Internet gold rush. Silicon valley geeks crushed to death under heaps of investment money

    Napster introduced. Rampant piracy drives Metallica to life of abject poverty as wandering minstrels. Other artists soon to follow.

    Everquest Released. People give up repetitive, boring, normal lives in exchange for repetitive, boring, virtual lives.

    FARK introduced as a service to help teenage boys locate pictures of breasts on the internet.

    Y

  • by WegianWarrior ( 649800 ) on Monday May 19, 2003 @07:59AM (#5990552) Journal

    Since its inception almost 30 years ago, the internet has been transformed from a primitive device for sharing thoughts and ideas, into a massive network where people pay to connect and read advertisements they don't want, while calling each other "asshats".



    Sounds painfully like Fark.com to me.. and to a lesser extent, Slashdot.

  • by Micro$will ( 592938 ) on Monday May 19, 2003 @08:21AM (#5990632) Homepage Journal
    2.5 million B.C.: OOG the Open Source Caveman develops the axe and releases it under the GPL. The axe quickly gains popularity as a means of crushing moderators' heads.

    100,000 B.C.: Man domesticates the AIBO.

    10,000 B.C.: Civilization begins when early farmers first learn to cultivate hot grits.

    3000 B.C.: Sumerians develop a primitive cuneiform perl script.

    2920 B.C.: A legendary flood sweeps Slashdot, filling up a Borland / Inprise story with hundreds of offtopic posts.

    1750 B.C.: Hammurabi, a Mesopotamian king, codifies the first EULA.

    490 B.C.: Greek city-states unite to defeat the Persians. ESR triumphantly proclaims that the Greeks "get it".

    399 B.C.: Socrates is convicted of impiety. Despite the efforts of freesocrates.com, he is forced to kill himself by drinking hemlock.

    336 B.C.: Fat-Time Charlie becomes King of Macedonia and conquers Persia.

    4 B.C.: Following the Star (as in hot young actress) of Bethelem, wise men travel from far away to troll for baby Jesus.

    A.D. 476: The Roman Empire BSODs.

    A.D. 610: The Glorious MEEPT!! founds Islam after receiving a revelation from God. Following his disappearance from Slashdot in 632, a succession dispute results in the emergence of two troll factions: the Pythonni and the Perliites.

    A.D. 800: Charlemagne conquers nearly all of Germany, only to be acquired by andover.net.

    A.D. 874: Linus the Red discovers Iceland.

    A.D. 1000: The epic of the Beowulf Cluster is written down. It is the first English epic poem.

    A.D. 1095: Pope Bruce II calls for a crusade against the Turks when it is revealed they are violating the GPL. Later investigation reveals that Pope Bruce II had not yet contacted the Turks before calling for the crusade.

    A.D. 1215: Bowing to pressure to open-source the British government, King John signs the Magna Carta, limiting the British monarchy's power. ESR triumphantly proclaims that the British monarchy "gets it".

    A.D. 1348: The ILOVEYOU virus kills over half the population of Europe. (The other half was not using Outlook.)

    A.D. 1420: Johann Gutenberg invents the printing press. He is immediately sued by monks claiming that the technology will promote the copying of hand-transcribed books, thus violating the church's intellectual property.

    A.D. 1429: Natalie Portman of Arc gathers an army of Slashdot trolls to do battle with the moderators. She is eventually tried as a heretic and stoned (as in petrified).

    A.D. 1478: The Catholic Church partners with doubleclick.net to launch the Spanish Inquisition.

    A.D. 1492: Christopher Columbus arrives in what he believes to be "India", but which RMS informs him is actually "GNU/India".

    A.D. 1508-12: Michaelengelo attempts to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling with ASCII art, only to have his plan thwarted by the "Lameness Filter."

    A.D. 1517: Martin Luther nails his 95 Theses to the church door and is promptly moderated down to (-1, Flamebait).

    A.D. 1553: "Bloody" Mary ascends the throne of England and begins an infamous crusade against Protestants. ESR eats his words.

    A.D. 1588: The "IF I EVER MEET YOU, I WILL KICK YOUR ASS" guy meets the Spanish Armada.

    A.D. 1603: Tokugawa Ieyasu unites the feuding pancake-eating ninjas of Japan.

    A.D. 1611: Mattel adds Galileo Galilei to its CyberPatrol block list for proposing that the Earth revolves around the sun.

    A.D. 1688: In the so-called "Glorious Revolution", King James II is bloodlessly forced out of power and flees to France. ESR again triumphantly proclaims that the British monarchy "gets it".

    A.D. 1692: Anti-GIF hysteria in the New World comes to a head in the infamous "Salem GIF Trials", in which 20 alleged GIFs are burned at the stake. Later investigation reveals that many of the supposed GIFs were actually PNGs.

    A.D. 1769: James Watt patents the one-click steam engine.
  • by VDM ( 231643 ) on Monday May 19, 2003 @08:40AM (#5990713) Homepage
    "A brief history of the future", J.Naughton, is a very good book [briefhistory.com] on the origins of the Internet, with some even funny detail. Worth to be read (more than T.Berners-Lee book...)
  • The email message wasn't "Let me know when you're there so I can call you".

    The phone message was "Did you get my email".
  • by dcherk ( 410356 ) on Monday May 19, 2003 @10:20AM (#5991225) Homepage
    For a much more complete history of not just the internet, but of interactive computing in general, read The Dream Machine [amazon.com] by M. Mitchell Waldrop. This book centers around JCR Linklider and describes the efforts he and many other people made to invent networking, the mouse, the modern PC, and interactive computers in general.
    From the Amazon review: "Waldrop interviewed dozens of contemporaries and examined reams of notes and primary sources to compose this massive biography of influence that stretches from MIT to the Pentagon to Xerox PARC and far beyond."
    Many funny annecdotes are part of the story: Why is the mouse called "Mouse", the origin of "Requests for Comments", why is it called "Ethernet" and so on.
    Strongly recommended!
  • by Chacham ( 981 ) *
    Well, it was cute. But that tip off about Zombo.com [zombo.com], (warning: flash) was great. Anything is possible at Zombo.com!
  • This line was unintentionally funny to me: Many have no understanding of how or why the internet has developed.

    Most people I encounter here in the United States have only a limited grasp of the history of even our own country. I don't know how it is elsewhere, but American society is so future-focused that we have only the most dim recollections of even recent history.

  • by AtariAmarok ( 451306 ) on Monday May 19, 2003 @12:04PM (#5991806)
    Before the Internet, computer users enjoyed frequent crashes, lockups, bizarre messages, infinite loops, and freezes that required the three-fingered salute.

    Then along came the Internet, where everything was in HTML, which had none of these problems (the worst that could happen was a screen that looked bad).

    But then along came Java and Java Script, and the Internet has "caught up", so now web pages are full of frequent crashes, lockups, bizarre messages, infinite loops. Once again computer users can enjoy when they were used to in the pre-Internet days. No longer are they in an environment free of the mistakes of bad programmers .

  • Several years ago, people were saying that Vint Cerf was the "father of the Internet". I found Vint's email address somewhere and wrote to him. He said that it was true that Al Gore was an originator of the Internet; Al was the first government leader to support making the old DarpaNet and the old, largely proprietary Internet into a public utility. Vint was one of the technical fathers of the Internet, but Al Gore was the father of the public utility we know today.

    It is difficult to imagine now, but t

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