[ih] Any suggestions for first uses of "e-mail" or "email"?

Miles Fidelman mfidelman at meetinghouse.net
Sat Aug 8 14:29:51 PDT 2015


A good way of summarizing things.  Funny thing, I'm sort of making that 
argument right now, in a business plan, discussing e-commerce 
ecosystems. :-)



Jack Haverty wrote:
> On 08/08/2015 12:42 AM, Miles Fidelman wrote:
>> Granted that the TCP/IP cutover happened 2 years before I got to BBN, so my exposure wasn't quite firsthand -
>> but weren't the battles really between 1822 and X.25, and then TCP/IP vs. the ISO stack?  After all, 1822 and X.25 were both single subnet protocols, with no support for internetworking (and that IP runs over both of them, just fine).
> Miles et al,
> IMHO, its more revealing to view the battles as between competing
> "ecosystems" rather than between protocol or interface designs and
> specifications.
> By "ecosystem" I mean all of the things - technology, processes,
> methodologies, and humans - surrounding the core mechanisms of
> protocols, formats, and algorithms.
> In the Internet ecosystem, we had:
> - a complex distributed multi-computer system that we were building, and
> also using every day while we were building it.  It had to work or we
> couldn't.
> - tools to watch what was happening, diagnose problems, and change
> things quickly to fix and adapt; we built the tools because we needed
> them to make things work which we needed to be able to do our work.
> Things like ping, traceroute, SNMP, XNET, dig, etc., etc.
> - from the early days of the ARPANET onwards, tools for rapid
> collaboration, debate, and dissemination of ideas and results, good and
> bad, with broad reach.  Things like FTP, mail, Gopher, USENET, etc.
> - management who made key decisions, such as to:
> 	- keep the technical details open, readily and broadly available, and free
> 	- create (fund) implementations of core components and make them
> available also.  Things like TCP implementations for many different
> kinds of computers, along with the basic "apps" of mail, remote-login,
> and file-transfer.
> 	- mandate key burn-the-bridge steps.  Things like forcing all of us to
> jump into the deep end on 1/1/1983 when only TCP would be usable on the
> ARPANET.  So we had to make it work.
> 	- force the technology out of the computer research world into other
> scientific arenas.  Things like NSFNet.
> 	- force the technology out of the research lab educational arena and
> into real-world operational use.  Things like making TCP mandatory for
> procurement of DoD systems.
> - an environment in which people who saw a need could take it on and
> "just do it", letting the ecosystem later decide whether or not it would
> endure.  Rough consensus, running code led to Internet Darwinism, not a
> committee vote.
> - people who seized various needs and just did it without much debate or
> discussion.  Dave Mills, for example, focused in on Time, and he and his
> crew created NNTP, which is why your computer on The Internet today
> knows what time it is.
> - people who took on some less glamorous, but crucial, roles.  Jon
> Postel is a good example of this, working in a calm but forceful way to
> keep some discipline in the rowdy crowd.   He organized "TCP Bakeoff"
> events to make sure we were all on the same page.  He made sure
> important things got written down with permanence, even if he had to do
> it himself - perhaps the First Internet Historian.  His iron hand as
> Numbers Czar was something no one else particularly wanted to do.  I
> recall several conversations with Jon (mostly by email of course) to get
> a new Number assigned, when he would patiently explain why it was a bad
> idea and that there was a way to do what I wanted without using up
> Number Space.  The First Internet Bureaucrat, but with a penchant to
> find a solution.
> - by virtue of free and working code, and the core documentation which
> Jon, Jake, and others excelled in making available, universities and
> colleges across the reach of the Internet created a pipeline of students
> who continuously emerged into the workforce with a timely and practical
> knowledge and experience in The Internet Way.  They rarely had any
> similar experience in any other networking system.   I recall managers
> lamenting that they were having trouble hiring people because their
> company wasn't "on the net".
> All of that and more is the ecosystem.
> This is not an exhaustive list, and I mentioned as examples just a few
> of the people I worked with during that era.   There were many more.
> But I hope it conveys the idea of what I mean by "ecosystem".
> I recall clearly when I first realized that the Internet ecosystem had
> won.  In the early 90s I was "Internet Architect" at Oracle, and was
> asked to lead a discussion about the Internet with a group of about 20
> key customers.
> The group was a collection of executive-level managers - CTOs, CIOs,
> etc., from a broad range of industry and government - Banks,
> Manufacturers, etc.  We went around the room asking what networking
> technology they were using at the time, and got the expected range of
> answers.  There were IBM shops, DEC shops, etc., but no "TCP shops".
> However, they all did have TCP in-house somewhere in a testbed environment.
> Going around the room again, they explained their future plans - their
> "roadmap" for their technology.  Every person said the same thing -
> "We're going to TCP as fast as we can."  The reasons?  "It works."  "Our
> new hires know how to use it."  "We can't wait anymore."
> Of course, we subsequently helped them do exactly that.  IMHO, it was
> the TCP-based ecosystem that made it all happen.  Not a particular
> protocol, or interface, or other technical detail.
> The battles in the networking industry may have been between protocols
> and architectures.   But all the end users really cared about was that
> it - the Internet Ecosystem - worked.
> /Jack
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In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
In practice, there is.   .... Yogi Berra

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