The Internet Turned 40


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The Internet Turned 40

  1. 1. The Internet turns 40! - Royston Olivera The Internet turned 40 last week. Its been more than 2 yrs now that I have been a web developer and that makes the Internet the source of my bread and butter. I have now been a part of teams that have built some of the best websites on the net. But i would like to make an confession here, untill today, I did not know how the Internet was born and how it evolved over the years and am even sure 9 out 10 developers too wouldn’t know even a bit of the history. So lets take a look on how the internet was born and how it has come of age. Birth and Naming… The research and development of the Internet spanned over 10 years and hence no exact date can be attributed to its birth, but the day October 29, 1969 stands as the first 2 nodes of what became ARPANET were interconnected between UCLA’s School of Engineering and Applied Science and SRI International in Menlo Park, CA on this day. Based on ARPA’s research packet switching network standards were developed in the form of X.25 by ITU. Later on UUCPnet was developed with the idea of using simple Bourne Shell scripts to transfer news and messages on a serial line. TCP/IP unified the different network standards and became an important communication protocol for the internet. The term “internet” was coined in the first RFC published on the TCP protocol in 1974(5 years later) as an abbrevation of the term “internetworking”. To keep it simple “any network using TCP/IP was internet“. The first steps… The progress in the 1st 12 years were really slow with only 213 computers being connected to the ARPANET network. From the mid 70’s to the mid 80’s Internet’s technologies spread world wide and many new applications(Email, telenet, compuserve etc.) were developed for it out of the interest of many researchers in wide spread networking. Email became the most important and highly looked up application as it reached 16m users in 1985. Although most of the basic application that made the internet were developed, it was still used mostly by techies, geeks in research labs and had not gained much public face. Getting Young and Dynamic… As the internet grew, many people realized the increasing need to be able to find and organize files which lead to projects like Gopher, WAIS, FTP archive list etc. but all these fell short of full filling the scaling requirements. In 1989, Tim Berners Lee invented the network based implementation of the hypertext concept via his project named World Wide Web. With the advent of the WWW things started moving faster and till today there has been no limit to the way the Internet is growing. With the arrival of web browsers and not to forget the browser wars that still goes on we had 500m+ users online by 2001. Fast Forwarding to Today… Today the internet has over 1.7 billion users most of whom cannot think of life without emails, social networking, chatting, gaming etc. Today it is more like a virtual but required addition to the basic necessities list of food, clothing, shelter and education of most developed countries. I cannot think of a day without access to the internet; if not on the PC then from my mobile. The Internet has change the way people interact and socialize, thanks to social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter etc. When the web was born it was just about digitizing content; web2.0 was driven by socializing, sharing content and has become the platform for the concept of linked data. Now
  2. 2. concepts like Real-Time Web and Internet of Things are driving us into the Web3.0 generation. I doubt 40 years ago anyone would have imagined that the successful connection between 2 nodes would go on to become one of the major and fastest growing platforms in the field of technology. I would love to see how the internet evolves in the next 40 years but wouldn’t dare to imagine coz whatever it may be, it will surely blow our imagination from today’s standpoint.