January 2006

History of Internet

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It won't be an exaggeration if we say that Internet is one of the greatest inventions of our time. The advent and spread of the Internet has transformed our way of life. Internet has become almost indispensable to perform businesses, to communicate, to retrieve information and for for various other services. The early Internet was used by computer experts, engineers, scientists, and librarians. There was nothing friendly about it. There were no home or office personal computers in those days, and anyone who used it, whether a computer professional or an engineer or scientist or librarian, had to learn to use a very complex system.

Entering into Internet
The Internet was the result of some visionary thinking by people in the early 1960s. They saw great potential in allowing computers to share information on research and development, especially in scientific and military fields. It was J.C.R. Licklider of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), who first proposed a global network of computers in 1962. He envisioned a globally interconnected set of computers through which everyone could quickly access data and programs from any site. In spirit, the concept was very much like the Internet of today. Licklider was the first head of the computer research programme at DARPA, starting in October 1962. Leonard Kleinrock of MIT and later University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) developed the theory of packet switching, which was to form the basis of Internet connections.

Lawrence Roberts of MIT connected a Massachusetts computer with a California computer in 1965 over dial-up telephone lines that showed the feasibility of wide area networking, but, at the same time it showed that the telephone line's circuit switching was inadequate. Kleinrock's packet switching theory was confirmed. Roberts moved over to DARPA in 1966 and developed his plan for ARPANET. These visionaries along with many others are the real founders of the Internet.

The Internet initially was known as ARPANET. It was brought online in 1969 under a contract let by the renamed Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). Charley Kline at UCLA sent the first packets on ARPANet as he tried to connect to Stanford Research Institute on Oct 29, 1969. e-Mail was adapted for ARPANET by Ray Tomlinson of BBN in 1972. He picked the @ symbol from the available symbols on his teletype to link the username and address. The telnet protocol, enabling logging on to a remote computer, was published as a Request for Comments (RFC) in 1972. RFCs are a means of sharing developmental work throughout community. The File Transfer Protocal (FTP), enabling file transfers between Internet sites, was published as a Request for Comments (RFC) in 1973, and from then on RFCs were available electronically to anyone who used the FTP.

Netting the info through net
Libraries began automating and networking their catalogs in the late 1960s independent from ARPA. The visionary Frederick G. Kilgour of the Ohio College Library Centre led networking of Ohio libraries during the '60s and '70s. In the mid 1970s, more regional consortia from New England, the Southwest states, and the Middle Atlantic states, etc joined with Ohio to form a national, later international, network. Ethernet, a protocol for many local networks, appeared in 1974, an outgrowth of Harvard student Bob Metcalfe's dissertation on 'Packet Networks'.

The Internet matured in the '70s as a result of the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) architecture which was first proposed by Bob Kahn at BBN and further developed by Kahn and Vint Cerf at Stanford and others throughout the 70s. It was adopted by the Defence Department in 1980 replacing the earlier Network Control Protocol (NCP) and universally adopted by 1983. As the commands for e-mail, FTP, and telnet were standardised, it became a lot easier for non-technical people to learn to use the Internet. The first effort, other than library catalogs, to index the Internet was created in 1989, as Peter Deutsch and his crew at McGill University in Montreal, created an archiver for

FTP sites, which they named Archie. This software periodically reached out to all known openly available FTP sites, list their files, and build a searchable index of the software. In 1991, the first really friendly interface to the Internet was developed at the University of Minnesota.

In 1989 another significant event took place in making the nets easier to use. Tim Berners-Lee and others at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, more popularly known as CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research), proposed a new protocol for information distribution. This protocol, which became the World Wide Web in 1991, was based on hypertext, a system of embedding links in text to link to other text.

The development in 1993 of the graphical browser Mosaic by Marc Andreessen and his team at the National Centre For Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) gave the protocol its big boost. Later, Andreessen moved to become the brains behind Netscape Corp., which produced the most successful graphical type of browser and server until Microsoft declared war and developed its MicroSoft Internet Explorer.

Internet was originally limited to research, education, and government uses. Commercial uses were prohibited unless they directly served the goals of research and education. This policy continued until the early 90s, when independent commercial networks began to grow.

Impacts of Internet
During this period of enormous growth, businesses entering the Internet arena scrambled to find economic models that work. Free services, supported by advertising, shifted some of the direct costs away from the consumer temporarily. Services such as free web pages, chat rooms, and message boards for community building, growth of online sales for products

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