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NSF and the Birth of the Internet LAN Interconnects incl (DCS Token Ring)
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2008 18:17:56 -0400

Begin forwarded message:

From: Miles Fidelman <mfidelman () meetinghouse net>
Date: August 19, 2008 5:38:16 PM EDT
To: dave () farber net
Subject: Re: [IP] Re:  NSF and the Birth of the Internet

A few tidbits I obtained by pinging some of my former BBN colleagues, who's memories of those days are a bit clearer than mine, and they pointed to some very early LAN interconnections, including:

- the BBN "Fibernet" and "PTIP" networks


- Xerox PARC (obviously)

- a token ring network that was a collaboration between BBN and "Dave Farber's group at UC Irvine"

- a MITRE network that was based on RF over their institutional CATV network (remember "broadband ethernet"?)

- and an interesting tidbit that the old ARPANET IMPs, in their X.25 flavor, "had a facility that enabled an X.25-connected host to exchange IP traffic with an 1822-connected host

All of these were in the 1970s.

Re. Gopher: maybe a pain, but I ran a few rather large gopher sites back in the day. It sure beat managing files by hand. This included a little exercise we (my old Center for Civic Networking) conducted for the Federal Trade Commission. They were doing a rulemaking on consumer protection for online transactions (in those days, focusing on Compuserve and AOL), and we convinced them that they really needed to reach a larger audience than the DC lobbyists - otherwise they'd end up with rules that were onerous for all the small business folks who were just starting to find larger markets via network. We ended up OCRng every comment that came in (no allowance for electronic submission in those days), and putting them up on a gopher server. It was amazing how many people accessed the site, and the volume of comments that came in - and the resulting rules ended up pretty reasonable. As far as I can tell, this is the first time any portion of a Federal rulemaking was put online.

We were also automatically gatewaying some email lists into gopher- supported archives. Also beat managing things by hand (before easy-to- use archiving software).

We hosted with a little hosting outfit on Sherman Street who was providing gopher support for some very large publishers (I should remember names and details, but they escape me). They shared the building with O'Reilly publishing.



In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
In practice, there is.   .... Yogi Berra

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