[ih] Why TCP?

Jack Haverty jack at 3kitty.org
Wed Aug 31 16:29:06 PDT 2016

Hi Vint,

Wow, a great list of names from the early days.  I know they all 
supported the ARPANET and Internet, especially by directing funding in 
the right direction.   But I was curious about who made the decision to 
make all of the work open and freely available.

There were several companies and organizations back in the 80s 
developing their own way of interconnecting networks - Xerox, IBM, 
Novell, Banyan, etc.  As far as I remember, all of them made it 
difficult for others to use or evolve their technology, with various 
techniques of secrecy, patents, licenses, etc.  They naturally wanted to 
protect their investment and competitive advantage.

The government, and especially the military, with its understandable 
tendency to keep things secret, usually had such work also kept even 
more private for all sorts of reasons.   Development plans of a new 
fighter jet, or the specifications of the capabilities of a new tank, 
and other such technology infrastructure work, was (I think) usually 
kept very secret.

But in the case of computer networking technology, the work we now know 
as The Internet was (mostly) done in a very open and collaborative 
fashion, much more so than any company or organization I can remember.

I have for a long time wondered who made that decision...IMHO it made a 
huge difference.  I've also wondered if they, or their successors, now 
regret it.

IMHO, networking technology has started regressing from that openness. 
Protocols are less open (so how exactly does Netflix/whatever work...?) 
  Core functions are no longer universal and compatible (so many 
different ways to send messages inside various closed gardens of Social 
Media).  Etc. Etc.

It's interesting to look back at the 40 years or so of networks, but 
it's hard to see where it's going, and how the loss of openness will 
affect things.  But that's for internet-future, not internet-history.


On 08/31/2016 03:35 PM, Vint Cerf wrote:
> On Wed, Aug 31, 2016 at 5:43 PM, Jack Haverty <jack at 3kitty.org
> <mailto:jack at 3kitty.org>> wrote:
>     Someone (I wish I knew who) made the decision to do all of this work,
>     and spend all of that money, in an open environment, and make the
>     technology freely available and standardized for anyone to use.  None of
>     the competing Internet architectures (Xerox, Novell, DEC, IBM, ISO,
>     etc.) did that.  So when the rest of the world discovered that the
>     military TCP/IP technology not only worked but also could solve their
>     problems, the ascension of the Internet was natural.
> Bob Kahn, Larry Roberts and Dave Russell are probably the closest to the
> deciding parties
> at the IPTO level but one has to credit George Heilmeier and Steve
> Lukasic as DARPA
> Directors for their strong support for ARPANET and then Internet.
> v
> --
> New postal address:
> Google
> 1875 Explorer Street, 10th Floor
> Reston, VA 20190

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