Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Gordon Crovitz: Who Really Invented the Internet?

Crovitz, Gordon. "Gordon Crovitz: Who Really Invented the Internet." The Wall Street Journal, July 22, 2012.

From the article: "It's an urban legend that the government launched the Internet. The myth is that the Pentagon created the Internet to keep its communications lines up even in a nuclear strike. The truth is a more interesting story about how innovation happens—and about how hard it is to build successful technology companies even once the government gets out of the way.

For many technologists, the idea of the Internet traces to Vannevar Bush, the presidential science adviser during World War II who oversaw the development of radar and the Manhattan Project. In a 1946 article in The Atlantic titled "As We May Think," Bush defined an ambitious peacetime goal for technologists: Build what he called a "memex" through which "wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear, ready made with a mesh of associative trails running through them, ready to be dropped into the memex and there amplified."

That fired imaginations, and by the 1960s technologists were trying to connect separate physical communications networks into one global network—a "world-wide web." The federal government was involved, modestly, via the Pentagon's Advanced Research Projects Agency Network." Read more 

See also
McMillan, Robert. "Xerox: Uh, We Didn’t Invent the Internet." Wired, July 23, 2012.
Hiltzik, Michael. "So, who really did invent the Internet?" Los Angeles Times, July 23, 2012.