Tuesday, June 10, 2008

"How the Web Was Won"

Description: "Fifty years ago, in response to the surprise Soviet launch of Sputnik, the U.S. military set up the Advanced Research Projects Agency. It would become the cradle of connectivity, spawning the era of Google and YouTube, of Amazon and Facebook, of the Drudge Report and the Obama campaign. Each breakthrough—network protocols, hypertext, the World Wide Web, the browser—inspired another as narrow-tied engineers, long-haired hackers, and other visionaries built the foundations for a world-changing technology. Keenan Mayo and Peter Newcomb let the people who made it happen tell the story."

Comment: This is a very interesting article, very well selected from a large number of interviews with people who make major contributions to the development of the Internet. A few things stand out. First, the Internet has had an amazingly great inpact in a very short time. The first browser, which make the World Wide Web the second killer ap after email, was only created 15 years ago. Second, the decisions that resulted in the Internet and World Wide Web protocols to be a common property, and the openness of the Internet were crucially important. Of course, if there had not been an installed infrastructure of personal computers and telecommunications, the Internet could not have been so important so quickly, I was also impressed by how many of the key innovations came out of universities and how many came out of entrepreneurial types from the financial sector. JAD

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