[ih] what is and isn't the web, was Rise and Fall of the Gopher Protocol

Dave Crocker dhc2 at dcrocker.net
Mon Aug 22 07:12:58 PDT 2016

On 8/22/2016 6:31 AM, John Day wrote:
> I always heard that Telnet stood for "telecommunications network.”

Well, I meant to be a bit ironic, but didn't work hard enough at it (or 
proofread well enough.)  Over the years, I've repeatedly heard that the 
origin of the word was lost and that people debated it's meaning.

My own inclination is to be that it really did mean telephone network, 
since it directly replaced terminal dial-up service.  Besides that, 
something like 'telecomunications network' strikes me as more cumbersome 
terminology than folks were using for naming on Arpanet stuff.[*]


[*] And 'cumbersome naming' triggers a memory of some naming games 
played at the UCLA project in the late 60s, which did an o/s, somewhat 
comparable to Tenex.  And since my morning caffeine hasn't kicked in 
enough yet, residual disinhibitions lead to this recitation: The team 
building it included Vint, my brother Steve, Jon Postel and others. They 
decided on an 'urban' model for naming. One day my brother asked our 
father for help naming one item they were stuck on, describing it as the 
component that allocated time to a process and ended the allocation when 
the time was up. With no hesitation, our father said "that's the madam". 
  I'm told that one member of the team got quite irritated by the 
continuing effort to come up with clever names and demanded "Let's call 
a spade a space".  So the team renamed the effort the Spade Working 
Group.  The computer they were building for was an XDS Sigma 7, so the 
operating system became the Sigma Executive, with the obvious acronym. 
When I got hired, one of my tasks was to document this effort.  The 
result was the SEX Manual. The system was always memory bound and the 
team located some additional memory for sale, asking ARPA for the money. 
  Instead ARPA said we should get an access computer -- the first 
versions of ANTS and ELF were available -- and use resources around the 
net.  The version 2 efforts for both access systems were problematic in 
various ways, but eventually we installed a new o/s that came out of 
Bell Labs.  So ARPA took our SEX away and gave us Unix.  Predictably the 
initial superuser password was indeed eunuchs.


   Dave Crocker
   Brandenburg InternetWorking

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