A Brief History of Computing
- Internet and Networking

© Copyright 1996-2005, Stephen White

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1969 ARPANET Started by the US Dept. of Defence for research into networking. It is the original basis for what now forms the Internet. It was opened to non-military users later in the 1970s and many universities and large businesses went on-line. US Vice-president Al-Gore was the first to call it the Information superhighway.
1969 - April 7

The first RFC, RFC0001 published. The RFCs (network working group, Request For Comment) are a series of papers which are used to develop and define protocols for networking, originally the basis for ARPANET there are now thousands of them applying to all aspects of the Internet. Collectively they document everything about the way the Internet and computers on it should behave, whether its TCP/IP networking or how email headers should be written there will be a set of RFCs describing it.

1972 The first international connections to ARPANET are established. ARPANET later became the basis for what we now call the internet.
1973 Ethernet developed, this became a vero popular way of connecting PCs and other computers together - to enable them to share data, and devices such as printers. A group of machines connected together in this way is known as a LAN.
1977 Historically Arpanet computers had communicated via a 'Network Control Protocol' but this protocol was inadequate and had serious problems, especially when dealing with busier networks. TCP was first outlined in a paper by Bob Kahn (from Standford) and Vinton Cerf (from DARPA) in 1974. In 1978 the IP header was split off from TCP, allowing network routers to deal with just the (much simpler) IP protocol. On January 1 1983 the internet was defined as the collection of computers communicating via TCP/IP.
1983 - January 1 TCP/IP became the official protocol of ARPANET (which became the Internet). TCP/IP still forms the basis of the Internet today.
1984 DNS (Domain Name Server) introduced to the Internet, which then consisted of about 1000 hosts.
1989 World Wide Web, invented by Tim Berners-Lee who saw the need for a global information exchange that would allow physicists to collaborate on research (he was working at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory in Switzerland, at the time). The Web was a result of the integration of hypertext and the Internet. The hyperlinked pages not only provided information but provide transparent access to older Internet facilities such as ftp, telnet, Gopher, WAIS and USENET. He was awarded the Institute of Physics' 1997 Duddell Medal for this contribution to the advancement of knowledge. The Web started as a text-only interface, but NCSA Mosaic later presented a graphical interface for it and its popularity exploded as it became accessible to the novice user. This explosion started in ernest during 1993, a year in which web traffic over the Internet increased by 300,000%.
1993 Commercial providers were allowed to sell internet connections to individuals. Its use exploded, especially with the new interface provided by the World-Wide Web (see 1989) and NCSA Mosaic.
1994 Netscape 1.0 was written as an alternative browser to NCSA Mosaic.
1995 - December 28 CompuServe blocked access to over 200 sexually explicit sites, partly to avoid confrontation with the German Government. Access to all but 5 was restored on Feb. 13 1996.
1995 - December JavaScript development announced by Netscape.
1996 - January Netscape Navigator 2.0 released. First browser to support JavaScript.
1998 - April A U.S. court has finally banned the long-running game of buying domain names relating to trademarks and then at selling them for extortionate prices to the companies who own the trademark. The case was based around a man from Illinois who bought www.panavision.com in 1995 and has just tried to sell it for $13,000. The current going commercial rate for domain name registration is around $100.

© Copyright 1996-2004, Stephen White My homepage - email:swhite@ox.compsoc.net