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  Subject: short history of the internet by bruce sterling bruces@well

THE HISTORY OF THE INTERNET       At the beginning of my speech I’ll explain some special phrases to you. THINK-TANK: Denkfabrik   NODE: Knoten, Knotenpunkt   ARPANET: Advanced Research Projects Agency Network MILNET : Military Network   HOST - A host computer is one, which contains a small part of information in the Internet   REMOTE CONTROL - to run operating systems on another computer far away     Thirty years ago, the RAND Corporation, America's foremost Cold War think-tank, faced a strange strategic problem. How could the US authorities successfully communicate after a nuclear war? America would need a command-and-control network, linked from city to city, state to state, base to base. But no matter how thoroughly that network was protected, its switches and wiring would always be vulnerable to the impact of atomic bombs. A nuclear attack would reduce every network to tatters. And how would the network itself be commanded and controlled? Any central authority, any network central link, would be the target for an enemy missile.

The center of the network would be the first place to go.   In 1964 the RAND - Corporation arrived at a daring solution. The principles were simple. In the first place, the network would have no central authority All the nodes in the network would be equal in status to all other nodes, each node with its own authority to originate, pass, and receive messages.   In 1969, the first such node was installed. In December 1969, there were four nodes on the network, which was named ARPANET, after its Pentagon sponsor.

In 1971 there were 15 nodes in ARPANET; in 1972, 37 nodes.     But in the second year of operation, however, an odd fact became clear. ARPANET's users had warped the computer-sharing network into a high-speed electronic post- office. The main traffic on ARPANET was not long-distance computing. Instead, it was news and personal messages. Researchers were using ARPANET to cooperate on projects and to trade notes on work.

People had their own personal user accounts on the ARPANET computers, and their own personal addresses for electronic mail.   During the '70s, ARPA's network grew. Its decentralised structure made expansion easy.   ARPANET itself remained fairly tightly controlled, at least until 1983, when its military segment broke off and became MILNET. ARPANET itself, although it was growing, became a smaller and smaller neighbourhood in the middle of the vastly growing galaxy of other linked machines. As the '70s and '80s advanced, many very different social groups found themselves in possession of powerful computers.

It was fairly easy to link these computers to the growing network-of- networks.   In 1971, there were only four nodes in the ARPANET network. Today there are hundreds of thousands of nodes in the Internet, scattered over 42 countries.     The Internet is especially popular among scientists, and is probably the most important scientific instrument of the late twentieth century. The powerful, sophisticated access that it provides to specialised data and personal communication has sped up the pace of scientific research enormously.   As this line graph shows the Internet's pace of growth in the 1990s is spectacular.

It is spreading faster than the telephone and the fax machines. Last year the Internet was growing at a rate of twenty percent a month. This graph shows that the number of "host" machines has been doubling every year since 1988. The Internet is moving out of its original base in military and research institutions, into elementary and high schools, as well as into public libraries and the commercial sector.       What is the function of this enormous network and why do people want to be "on the Internet?"   The main functions of the Internet are:   to communicate with other users via E-Mail to transfer data to another Computer to receive data from another Computer Remote Control   One of the main reasons why people are using the Internet is simply freedom. The Internet is a rare example of a true, modern, functional anarchy.

There is no "Internet Inc." There are no official censors, no bosses, no board of directors, no stockholders. Each group of people accessing the Internet is responsible for its own machine and its own section of line. But this fact enables to publish a lot of sex & violence in the net. So you can find a lot of “Nazi - parols” and pornographic pictures and videos and it’s impossible to supervising it.   The Internet's "anarchy" may seem strange or even unnatural, but it makes a certain deep and basic sense.

It's rather like the "anarchy" of the English language. Nobody rents English, and nobody owns English.   Today our economy wouldn’t run without computer - networks, but in the future the necessity of this medium will double and treble. In our century the Internet is indispensable in medicine, science and the economy but in the future it will become indispensable in schools or maybe in our daily life.     SPECIAL PHRASES          THINK-TANK: Denkfabrik   NODE: Knoten, Knotenpunkt   ARPANET: Advanced Research Projects Agency Network MILNET : Military Network     HOST: A host computer is one, which contains a small part of information in the Internet   REMOTE CONTROL: to run operating systems on another computer far away  

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