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History of Internet and WWW:

The Roads and Crossroads of Internet 's History.
by Gregory R. Gromov

    The Brief Version of the History
      Consist of I page. Last updated: December 1, 1996

    The History in more details

      Consist of 9 pages. Last updated:December 1, 1996

"A comprehensive history of the Net remains to be written. This essay can only show the path where others may later follow."
Henry Edward Hardy

    "The key words that came to my mind while writing this history were: synergy, serendipity and coincidence".
    Ben Segal

    "... think upon patience. Pray you, gentlmen."
      Shakespear, All's well that ends well, Act 3, Scene 2

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Road #1 ( USA to Europe)

Information Age's Milestones:

1866: "In the beginning was the Cable..."

    The Atlantic cable of 1858 was established to carry instantaneous communications across the ocean for the first time.

    Although the laying of this first cable was seen as a
    landmark event in society, it was a technical failure. It only remained in service a few days.

    Subsequent cables laid in
    1866 were completely successful and compare to events like the moon landing of a century later.
    ... the cable ...
    remained in use for almost 100 years.
    Smithsonian's National Museum of American History

    1957: Sputnik has launched ARPA

      President Dwight D. Eisenhower saw the need for the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) after the Soviet Union's 1957 launch of Sputnik.

      The organization united some of America's most
      brilliant people, who developed the United States' first successful satellite in 18 months. Several years later ARPA began to focus on computer networking and communications technology.

      1962, Dr. J.C.R. Licklider was chosen to head ARPA's research in improving the military's use of computer technology. Licklider was a visionary who sought to make the government's use of computers more interactive. To quickly expand technology, Licklider saw the need to move ARPA's contracts from the private sector to universities and laid the foundations for what would become the ARPANET.

      Will Lewis and Randy Reitz.

The visible results of Licklider's fruitful approach came short after...


    1969: The first LOGs: UCLA -- Stanford

      According toVinton Cerf:
      UCLA people proposed to DARPA to organize and run a Network Measurement Center for the ARPANET project...

        Around Labor Day in 1969, BBN delivered an Interface Message Processor (IMP) to UCLA that was based on a Honeywell DDP 516, and when they turned it on, it just started running. It was hooked by 50 Kbps circuits to two other sites (SRI and UCSB) in the four-node network: UCLA, Stanford Research Institute (SRI), UC Santa Barbara (UCSB), and the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

      According to Knight-Ridder Newspapers:
      The plan was unpresedented: Kleinrock, a pionering computer science professor at LCLA, and his small group of graduate students hoped to log onto the Stanford computer and try to send it some data.
      They would start by typing
      "logwin," and seeng if the letters appeared on the far-off monitor.

        "We set up a telephone connection between us and the guys at SRI...," Kleinrock, now 62, said in an interview.
        "We typed the L and we asked on the phone, "Do you see the L?"
        "Yes, we see the L," came the response.
        "We typed the O, and we asked, "Do you see the O."
        "Yes, we see the O."
        "Then we typed the G, and the system crashed"...

      Yet a
      revolution had began"...

        Source: Sacramento Bee, May 1, 1996, p.D1


    1972: Public demonstration of the ARPANET

    In late
    1971, Larry Roberts at DARPA decided that people needed serious motivation to get things going. In October 1972 there was to be an International Conference on Computer Communications, so Larry asked Bob Kahn at BBN to organize a public demonstration of the ARPANET.

      It took Bob about a year to get everybody far enough along to demonstrate a bunch of applications on the ARPANET. The idea was that we would install a packet switch and a Terminal Interface Processor or TIP in the basement of the Washington Hilton Hotel, and actually let the public come in and use the ARPANET, running applications all over the U.S ....

    The demo was a roaring success, much to the surprise of the people at AT&T; who were skeptical about whether it would work.

ARPA to Internet History:
ARPA Timeline : 1958 - 1991

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Road #2 ( Europe to USA )

Internet at CERN: 1976 - 1990

  • In the beginning was - chaos.
    In the same way that the theory of high energy physics interactions was itself in a chaotic state up until the early 1970's, so was the so-called area of "Data Communications" at CERN. The variety of different techniques, media and protocols used was staggering; open warfare existed between many manufacturers' proprietary systems, various home-made systems (including CERN's own "FOCUS" and "CERNET"), and the then rudimentary efforts at defining open or international standards...


  • The Stage is Set - early 1980's.
    To my knowledge, the first time any "Internet Protocol" was used at CERN was during the second phase of the STELLA Satellite Communication Project, from 1981-83, when a satellite channel was used to link remote segments of two early local area networks (namely "CERNET", running between CERN and Pisa, and a Cambridge Ring network running between CERN and Rutherford Laboratory). This was certainly inspired by the ARPA IP model, known to the Italian members of the STELLA collaboration (CNUCE, Pisa) who had ARPA connections...


  • TCP/IP Introduced at CERN.
    In August, 1984 I wrote a proposal to the SW Group Leader, Les Robertson, for the establishment of a pilot project to install and evaluate TCP/IP protocols on some key non-Unix machines at CERN including the central IBM-VM mainframe and a VAX VMS system....


  • By 1990 CERN had become the largest Internet site in Europe and this fact, as mentioned above, positively influenced the acceptance and spread of Internet techniques both in Europe and elsewhere...


  • The Web Materializes.
    A key result of all these happenings was that by 1989 CERN's Internet facility was ready to become the medium within which Tim Berners-Lee would create the World Wide Web with a truly visionary idea. In fact an entire culture had developed at CERN around "distributed computing", and Tim had himself contributed in the area of Remote Procedure Call (RPC), thereby mastering several of the tools that he needed to synthesize the Web such as software portability techniques and network and socket programming. But there were many other details too, like how simple it had become to configure a state of the art workstation for Internet use (in this case Tim's NeXT machine which he showed me while he was setting it up in his office), and how once on the Internet it was possible to attract collaborators to contribute effort where that was lacking at CERN.

    By Ben M. Segal / CERN PDP-NS / April, 1995

    The Web as a Side Effect
    of the
    40 years of Particle Physics Experiments.
    (the fragments from the email discussion with Ben Segal):


    It happened many times during history of science that the most impressive results of large scale scientific efforts appeared far away from the main directions of those efforts.

    I hope you agree that
    Web was a side effect of the CERN's scientific agenda.
    After the
    World War 2 the nuclear centers of almost all developed countries became the places with the highest concentration of talented scientists.
    For about
    four decades many of them were invited to the international CERN's Laboratories.
    So specific kind of the
    CERN's intellectual "entire culture" (as you called it) was constantly growing from one generation of the scientists and engineers to another.
    When the
    concentration of the human talents per square foot of the CERN's Labs reached the critical mass, it caused an intellectual explosion

    The Web, --
    crucial point of human's history, was born...
    Nothing could be compared to it.
    You wrote the
    best about it: "synergy, serendipity and coincidence"...

    We cant imagine yet the real scale of the recent
    shake, because there has not been so fast growing multidimension social-economic processes in human history...

      Gregory Gromov

    P.S. It is quite remarkable that "Highlights of CERN History: 1949 - 1994" do not have a word about Web. So, it looks like a classic side effect that normally is not be mentioned at the main text of official record...

      Date: Thu, 23 May 1996 08:47:54 +0200
      From: (Ben Segal)
      Subject: Gregory, here are some CERN...

        >I hope you agree that Web was a side effect of the CERN's scientific agenda.

        Absolutely! (And it was not 100% appreciated by the masters of CERN, the physicists and accelerator builders, that such a "side effect" with world shaking consequences was born in the obscure bit of the organization that handled computing, a relatively low-status activity...).

          Ben Segal

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    The Next Crossroad:

      The first web client and server -- built with NEXTSTEP.

      WWW project was originally developed to provide a distributed hypermedia system which could easily access -- from any desktop computer -- information spread across the world.

      web includes standard formats for text, graphics, sound, and video which can be indexed easily and searched by all networked machines.

      NeXT's object-oriented technology, the first Web server and client machines were built by CERN -- the European Laboratory for Particle Physics in November 1990. Since then the Web has truly encompassed the globe and access has proliferated across all computer platforms in both the corporate and home markets.
      NeXT Software, Inc. , 1996

The Web as a NextStep of
PC Revolution.

    From the IT history viewpoint, "in this case Tim's NeXT machine which he showed me while he was setting it up in his office" was a crossroad of the two IT revolutions, or by the other words a symbolic handshake of the two IT revolutions' heroes:

    Steven P. Jobs - a hero of the PC revolution;


    Tim Berners-Lee - a hero of the Web revolution.

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12 November 1990
Proposal for a HyperText Project


    P.G. Innocenti/ECP, G. Kellner/ECP, D.O. Williams/CN


    R. Brun/CN, K. Gieselmann/ECP, R.Ä Jones/ECP, T.Ä Osborne/CN, P. Palazzi/ECP, N.Ä Pellow/CN, B.Ä Pollermann/CN, E.M.Ä Rimmer/ECP


    T. Berners-Lee/CN, R. Cailliau/ECP


    12 November 1990

... document describes in more detail a Hypertext project.

HyperText is a way to link and access information of various kinds as a web of nodes in which the user can browse at will. It provides a single user-interface to large classes of information (reports, notes, data-bases, computer documentation and on-line help). We propose a simple scheme incorporating servers already available at CERN.

The project has two phases: firstly we make use of existing software and hardware as well as implementing simple browsers for the user's workstations, based on an analysis of therequirements for information access needs by experiments. Secondly, we extend the application area by also allowing the users to add new material.

Phase one should take 3 months with the full manpower complement, phase two a further 3 months, but this phase is more open-ended, and a review of needs and wishes will be incorporated into it.

The manpower required is 4 software engineers and a programmer, (one of which could be a Fellow). Each person works on a specific part (eg. specific platform support)....
Tim Berners-Lee , R. Cailliau

W W Why are they green?
"Because I see all "W"s as green..."

Robert Cailliau: Recently I discovered that I'm a synaesthetic. Well, I've known it for a long time, but I did not realise that there was a name for it. I'm one of those people who combine two senses: for me, letters have colours. Only about one in 25'000 have this condition, which is perfectly harmless and actually quite useful. Whenever I think of words, they have colour patterns. For example, the word "CERN" is yellow, green, red and brown, my internal telephone number, "5005" is black, white, white, black. The effect sometimes works like a spelling checker: I know I've got the right or the wrong number because the colour pattern is what I remember or not...

And now wait for it folks: you have all seen the
World-Wide Web logo of three superimposed "W"s. Why are they green? Because I see all "W"s as green...
It would look horrible to me if they were any other colour.
So, it's not because it is a "green" technology, although I also like that...

So, here I am: twenty years of work at CERN: control engineering, user-interfaces, text processing, administrative computing support,
hypertexts and finally the Web.

Copyright CERN

The first 5 years of the WWW

    The Web reminds me of early days of the PC industry. No one really knows anything. All experts have been wrong.
      Steve Jobs, Wired, February 1996

    In the Web's first generation, Tim Berners-Lee launched the Uniform Resource Locator (URL), Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), and HTML standards with prototype Unix-based servers and browsers.

    few people noticed that the
    Web might be better than Gopher.

    In the second generation, Marc Andreessen and Eric Bina developed NCSA Mosaic at the University of Illinois.

    Several million then suddenly noticed that the
    Web might be better than sex.

    In the third generation, Andreessen and Bina left NCSA to found Netscape...

      From the Ether Microsoft and Netscape open some new fronts in escalating Web Wars, By Bob Metcalfe, InfoWorld, August 21, 1995, Vol. 17, Issue 34.

  • How was the Web created?
  • NCSA, Marc Andreessen and first Mosaic -- graphical browser for the WWW
  • WWW Timeline: 1989 - 1995 ...

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    Road # 3 ( USA to Far East).

    The 50 years
    of the
    HYPERTEXT concept's

    WWW Science History and "Living History":

      Part 1. The History of Hypertext

      • Hypertext Timeline

        • 1945: Vannevar Bush (Science Advisor to president Roosevelt during WW2) proposes Memex -- a conceptual machine that can store vast amounts of information, in which users have the ability to create information trails, links of related texts and illustrations, which can be stored and used for future reference.

          • As We May Think
            This article was originally published in the July 1945 issue of The Atlantic Monthly...
            Like Emerson's famous address of 1837 on ``The American Scholar,'' this paper by Vannevar Bush calls for a new relationship between thinking man and the sum of our knowledge.

        • 1965: Ted Nelson coins the word "Hypertext".
        • 1967: Andy van Dam and others build the Hypertext Editing System ...
        • 1981: Ted Nelson conceptualizes "Xanadu", a central, pay-per-document hypertext database encompassing all written information. ...


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      Part 2. The "Living History" of Hypertext.

      Theodor Holm Nelson:

        1960. It occurs to me that the future of humanity is at the interactive computer screen, that the new writing and movies will be interactive and interlinked. It will be united by bridges of transclusion (see below) and we need a world-wide network to deliver it with royalty. I begin.


        February, 1988. Autodesk buys the Xanadu project, which has been bundled into XOC, Inc. Nelson gives up the trademark.

        LATE 1988
        the program designed in 1981 is finished (and dubbed 88.1), then set aside, to begin work on a MUCH FINER design-

        August, 1992. Autodesk drops the project and gives us carfare. Our heroes find themselves out in the street.

        Interesting Times Number Three, October 1994,
        Theodor Holm Nelson , Mindful Press, 1994

      Japanese Embrace A Man Too Eccentric For Silicon Valley

      After a Years Failure in U.S.,
      Theodor Nelson
      Continues His Quest for

      SAPPORO, Japan - Eagger to inspire a creative new generation of computer programmers, Japan hax turned to a U.S. software guru who has been called "one of the great minds of the 20th century" and "the Orson Welles of software."

      So far, it hardly matters that the individual in question, Theodor Holm Nelson, has been called those things by himself . Or that in U.S. he has spent more than 30 years and large sums of other people's money on never finished Xanadu, which has bankrupted one group of programmers and overhelmed several others.

      For Japan has accorded Mr. Nelson a hero's welcom. A group of electronics giants, including Hitachi Ltd. and Futjitsu Ltd., built a 12-person software lab for him on Japan's northernmost island and named it Hyperlab, where he dreamed, desighed and philosophed for a year and half. More recenrtly Keo University has given him a research appointment at its campus near Tokyo, where he plans to continue building Xanadu with companies or students who care to help.

      In Japan, many still revere Mr. Nelson for his 1965 "hypertext" concept -- essentially the system that allows users of the Internet's WorldWideWeb to mouse-click their way from words or pictures in one document to those in another. "He is {part of] the living history of the computer world,"...

      By David P. Hamilton, WSJ, April 24, 1996, p 1, A10.

    Nelson's response to the Web was "nice try."

      This is a pretty seriously
      out-of-context quote.

      I have great respect for the Web and
      personal liking for Tim Berners-Lee.

    Today, with the advent of far more powerful memory devices,

    Xanadu, the grandest encyclopedic project of our era, seemed not only a failure but an actual symptom of madness.

      I find this both gratuitously
      nasty and incomprehensible.

      What is he talking about with these
      "more powerful memory devices"?

      They do
      not change the problem or invalidate the proposed solution of transclusive media.

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    Xanadu Timeline:

    • 1960 Ted Nelson's designs showed two screen windows connected by visible lines, pointing from parts of an object in one window to corresponding parts of an object in another window. No existing windowing software provides this facility even today.
    • 1965 Nelson's design concentrated on the single-user system and was based on "zipper lists", sequential lists of elements which could be linked sideways to other zipper lists for large non-sequential text structures.
    • 1970 Nelson invented certain data structures and algorithms called the "enfilade" which became the basis for much later work (still proprietary to Xanadu Operating Company, Inc.)
    • 1972 Implementations ran in both Algol and Fortran.
    • 1974 William Barus extended the enfilade concept to handle interconnection.
    • 1979 Nelson assembled a new team (Roger Gregory, Mark Miller, Stuart Greene, Roland King and Eric Hill) to redesign the system.
    • 1981K. Eric Drexler created a new data structure and algorithms for complex versioning and connection management.
        The Project Xanadu team completed the design of a universal networking server for Xanadu, described in various editions of Ted Nelson's book "Literary Machines" ...
    • 1983Xanadu Operating Company, Inc. (XOC, Inc.) was formed to complete development of the 1981 design.
    • 1988XOC, Inc. was acquired by Autodesk, Inc. and amply funded, with offices in Palo Alto and later Mountain View California. Work continued with Mark Miller as chief designer. ..
    • 1992 Autodesk entered into the throes of an organisational shakeup and dropped the project, after expenditures on the order of five million US dollars. Rights to continued development of the XOC server were licensed to Memex, Inc. of Palo Alto, California and the trademark "Xanadu" was re-assigned to Nelson.
    • 1993 Nelson re-thought the whole thing and respecified Xanadu publishing as a system of business arrangements. Minimal specifications for a publishing system were created under the name "Xanadu Light", and Andrew Pam of Serious Cybernetics in Melbourne, Australia was licensed to continue development as Xanadu Australia.
    • 1994 Nelson was invited to Japan and founded the Sapporo HyperLab...

      By Andrew Pam, Xanadu Australia

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      Growth of Internet:
      Recent Statistics

    • .... estimated percentage of adults in the U.S. using the World-Wide Web: 7.7

      Number of
      Internet Service Providers, worldwide (July, 1996): 3,054
      Win Treese

    • SIMBA projects that Web user sessions will hit 15.79 billion in 2000, yielding 94.76 billion page views.

    • Number of security incidents reported to the Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Center in 1995: 2412

      Number of
      sites affected by those incidents: 12,000

      Number reported in
      1988: 6
      Win Treese

      The Web Explosion's Stats Trace:




      Jul 96

      . . . 12,881,000

      . . . 488,000

      Jul 95

      . . . 6,642,000

      . . . 120,000

      Jul 94

      . . . 3,212,000

      . . . . 46,000

      Jul 93

      . . . 1,776,000

      . . . . 26,000

        */ The total number of the all types of Domains (commercial -- com.; non-profit organizations -- org.; educational ... --- edu.; ... etc.)
        Data Source: Network Wizards

        As of 19th July 1996, there were 419,360 .com, 28,839 .org, 17,115 .net and 2,686 .edu domains registered.
        InterNet Info

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    Why write a history of the Net?

    It's not enough to say merely that it's never been done.

    • The Net is a unique creation of human intelligence.
    • The Net is the first intelligent artificial organism.
    • The Net represents the growth of a new society within the old.
    • The Net represents a new model of governance.
    • The Net represents a threat to civil liberties.
    • The Net is the greatest free marketplace of ideas that has ever existed.
    • The Net is in imminent danger of extinction.
    • The Net is immortal.

          ...the Internet revolution has challenged the corporate-titan model of the information superhighway. The growth of the Net is not a fluke or a fad, but the consequence of unleashing the power of individual creativity. If it were an economy, it would be the triumph of the free market over central planning. In music, jazz over Bach. Democracy over dictatorship...
          By Christopher Anderson. The Economist Newspaper Limited.

        ... the network is not a computer science concept but a linguistic concept.

      Date: Sun, 20 Oct 1996 21:21:34 -0400
      Subject: Comments to :View from Internet Valley

      Your site is riveting history - but, what are the practical differences between the Internet and the World Wide Web?

      You describe a continuous evolution of a system and I, for one, don't know the
      practical differences between the manmade information links whose terms are commonly bandied about in the press
      Please respond - enquiring minds want to know.


      Bruce D. Clyne

      Dear Bruce,

      . . .
      >what are the practical differences
      >between the Internet and the World Wide Web?

      Internet is a global networks' system that consist of the millions of local area networks (LANs) and computers (hosts).
      So it's a
      tech system that is working according to the basic computer science concepts and rules. It was developed 25 - 30 years ago.

      WWW is only one of the ways of practical implementations of the Internet.

      Some of the other ways are the following ones:
      gophers -- the dispersed system of menu driven subject oriented dBs; ftp -- the files' exchange system; email systems, and so on...

      WWW (that was born 5 years ago) is a method (and system) that provides the members of the Internet's community with historically new opportunity to create and permanently develop the global field of the texts (as well as images, animations, sounds, etc.), all parts of which are able to crossconnected with each others.

      In other words, the
      WWW is a fast growing (millions of authors are adding new pages every day) global field of text that consist of billions of words (as well as sounds, images, animations, ... etc.) all (!) parts (every of billions of WORDs) of which are able to realtime crossconnect and interact with each others.

      As it was mentioned by Alberto Cavicchiolo, "
      the network is not a computer science concept, but a linguistic concept".

      I often quote this definition, even though I do not fully agree with it.
      From my viewpoint the
      network itself is definitely a computer science concept. The Internet is a computer science concept as well as biological concept.

      ... the
      Web (!) only "... is not a computer science concept, but a linguistic concept".

      So my definition of the
      Web is the following one:

      Web is a method (and technology) of the WORDS' crossconnections and interactions (as well as the images, animations, sounds and so on...).

      Web uses the Internet to store, locate and connect the WORDS as some of the others more tradition methods of the WORDS's connection used the stones, skins, papyruses, papers, phone, recorders, radio, TV ...

      The phone teleconferences, some of the radio and TV shows and tele-reportages were partly using the Web's basic
      hyperlink approach.

      hyperlinks concept itself was known for thousands of years . Some of the Bible stories include different source stories inside the main story, and those source stories contane some other sourse stories and so on...

      All those well known attempts to use hyperlinks concept had one
      technical disadvantage: they were based on the static
      , fully prediscribed scenarios of the WORDS' crossconnections.

      There were strong crossconnection
      levels limits
      , link's delay time limits, and so on..

      The WWW has broken any limits for any WORDS' crosconnections.

      After that the "
      chain reaction" of crossconnections was launched...

      For instance, according to the
      Sun Microsystems' statistics "the total number of the Internet's sites crossconnections more than doubled every month". ( Sun press-seminar , January 1995, Mountain View, CA).

      . . .
      Once again, thank you for your interest.


        Gregory R. Gromov

    Epilogue and Prologue...

      The Web 's Way to the WORD's WORLD

        "In the beginning was the WORD"...

      The WWW creates a multidimencional Web of Roads. Those Roads have their beginning at the civilisation that was raised on a concept of a plane BOOK; the civilisation that has existed for thousands of years.

      Hyperlinks -- Roads of WWW -- lead from a BOOK of a plane text to the multidimencional Universe of WORDs, to the WORD's WORLD, which becomes the kernel concept of the next civilisation...

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    Quick Jump:

    Web Influence

    Top 100 Companies | Top 100 Magazines
    WWW Battles: MS vs. NS | CPU War: PowerPC vs. ix86

    Silicon to Internet Valley

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    Auteur Pascal Vuylsteker / Fabrice Gaillard Des questions au sujet du cours ... Pascal Vuylsteker <>
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