A bit OT - Urban Myths?

Paul Richards paul at freebsd-services.com
Wed Jul 16 10:50:49 BST 2003

On Wed, Jul 16, 2003 at 09:51:29AM +0100, Paul Robinson wrote:
> On Tue, Jul 15, 2003 at 04:30:49PM +0100, Paul Richards wrote:
> > Well, to be fair to what he was thinking at the time, it must have
> > been Compuserve that he really was looking to compete with since
> > the Internet barely existed.  I don't have figures to hand but the
> > number of internet sites was probably still in the thousands at
> > the time that he was writing that book.
> Not quite true. The Internet had been around for some time. Demon was
> offering ISP services back in 1992, and MSN was being touted around the time
> of Windows 95, so call it mid-1995. The Road Ahead was written after that. I
> seem to remember seeing it around late '95. By that point in the UK, there
> had been at least two TV series about the Internet, three internet related
> magazines were being distributed and Internet Explorer was well established
> as a browser. It was hardly "just born" - it was mainstream.

Depends when you decide the Internet as we know it today started. That's
hard to put a precise date to. Demon had been around a few years but it
was still a relatively niche thing, mostly it was people like us using
the servive, the average person in the street hadn't yet caught the
internet bug.

Also, remember that shop dates are not the development dates.
Windows 95 and the Road Ahead would have both been designed and
most likely completed before 1995 to have been published in that
year. Did you buy the book in hardback? If not then you need to go back
another 6 months :-)

> > time the JANET was still on X25 and the LANs were Novell IPX.  The
> > TCP/IP protocol was still predominantly a "Unix thing" and the
> > "Internet" was still mostly made up of University computing depts
> > who ran Unix. The web was something just starting to break out of
> > these depts, the Internet as we know it today was just being born.
> No, sorry but I think you're out a bit here. :-) A few weeks back me and my
> friends had a "google for the first evidence of your net presence"  
> competition. Earliest I could find was '95, but a friend who was working at
> UMIST could prove 1993, but his recollection was that UMIST was fully hooked
> up in 1991. At the time, mail was UUCP only, but it was there.
> To be fair, Manchester is not a good example. Even today, as it was back 
> then, it's pretty much the core of the bleeding-edge JANET stuff and even 
> the former polytechnic (now MMU, where I work) has gigabit to every 
> department directly hooked up.
> However, it's fair to say that in 1995, when Gates was going to try and take
> on the world with MSN, every University except the very poorest ones, were
> hooked up to the net.

Anyone have a definite date of when JANET switched to TCP/IP?

Some universities had their own Internet connections, for instance in
Cardiff the Computing dept had internet access from the first day I
started, which would have been 10/86 but the rest of the uni only had a
connection to JANET. All mail went through Nexor and out on X25, there
were no SMTP servers running the uni mail at the time.

When I moved from computing to engineering I lost my internet access. It
wasn't until we moved into a new engineering block in (I think) 93 that
I got proper internet access again i.e. TCP/IP across a LAN to my desk
that I could connect to the world through. I think by that time the
whole college was on SuperJANET.

This is just universities of course, *very* few business had network
connections back then, doing business via email was not yet something
that had caught on. Virtually no-one had internet access at home, and I
mean as a percentage of the population not as a percentage of hackers.

Anyway, this isn't directly related to the original discussion, but I
think it's surprising how short a time the internet as we know it today
has actually been around. I'm not that old, but I find it surprising that
I can remember working with computers when connecting them together was
something only Universities really did. In fact, I'd probably have spent
even less time in college if it wasn't for the fact that I could access
the internet when I was there.

Tis a wise thing to know what is wanted, wiser still to know when
it has been achieved and wisest of all to know when it is unachievable
for then striving is folly. [Magician]

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