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snopes 23 July 2012 11:10 PM

Who Really Invented the Internet?
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.

Latiam 23 July 2012 11:25 PM

I thought CERN had something to do with it.

Steve 23 July 2012 11:43 PM

That's the World Wide Web, which is different than the internet.

Latiam 23 July 2012 11:51 PM

Right, right. Now I remember.
I first learned that in a Dan Brown book, but I got actual confirmation somewhere else. Here, possibly.

Brad from Georgia 24 July 2012 12:18 AM

I invented the Internet. Because I'm Spartacus.

Steve 24 July 2012 01:31 AM

Xerox: Uh, We Didn’t Invent the Internet
Xerox maintains a decade-by-decade list of its technological accomplishments on its website. And while it’s eager to take credit for Ethernet, the graphical user interface, and the PC, Xerox doesn’t take credit for the internet.

Why not? “Robert Metcalfe, researcher at PARC, invented Ethernet as a way to connect Xerox printers and the Alto computer,” Xerox spokesman Bill McKee said on Monday. “But inventing Ethernet is not the same as inventing the internet.”

In other words, don’t confuse a network of computers with the birthplace of TCP/IP and lolcats.

crescent 24 July 2012 01:49 AM

WSJ mangles history to argue government didn't launch the Internet


Confuses Ethernet, Internet, and the Web—and even misunderstands blockquotes.


Crovitz is right that Vinton Cerf, along with Bob Kahn, invented the TCP/IP protocol that is the foundation of the modern Internet. But he neglects to mention that Cerf's early work on the protocol was funded by the US military through its DARPA program.

"Hyperlinks" are not the Internet, and Tim Berners-Lee didn't invent them. Nor is the World Wide Web the Internet, although the Web has become such a popular Internet application that many people confuse the two. But more to the point, Berners-Lee was working at CERN, a research organization funded by European governments, when he invented the World Wide Web in the early 1990s.

BoKu 24 July 2012 01:54 AM

I propose that the question itself is interesting, but the answer is not. With the development of the personal computer, the Internet was pretty much an inevitability.

Bobcat Warrior 24 July 2012 02:19 AM

You, mean Al Gore didn't invent the internet? :(

BW :lol:

BrianB 30 July 2012 01:59 AM

No credit for Uncle Sam in creating Net? Vint Cerf disagrees


Q: In his Wall Street Journal column, Gordon Crovitz writes that the federal government's involvement in the creation of the Internet was modest. Does that jibe with your recollection?

Vint Cerf: No. The United States government via ARPA started the project. (Bob Kahn initiated the Internetting project when he joined ARPA in late 1972. He had been principal architect of the ARPANET IMP (packet switch) while at BBN.

JoeBentley 30 July 2012 02:43 AM


Originally Posted by Steve (Post 1646881)
That's the World Wide Web, which is different than the internet.

This. Because in modern parlance the "Internet" and "The World Wide Web" are the same thing this gets lost.

The Internet was developed from the Department of Defense's ARPANET program, which yes was in part designed as robust communications network that could survive a nuclear attack.

The World Wide Web was developed at CERN a few years later.

ganzfeld 30 July 2012 03:28 AM

The part about surviving a nuclear attack is not true, Joe.

damian 30 July 2012 03:38 AM

According to the Olympic opening ceremony, Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, and I have no reason to doubt them.

ganzfeld 30 July 2012 04:49 AM

That OP gets almost everything wrong except the UL about the Internet being made to be robust during a nuclear attack. That part is indeed myth. The other parts are awful. He confounds Internet with Ethernet and the world wide web, among other things... The gist of his argument is that the government played an insignificant role but the only quote about the ARPANET is the one that debunks the nuclear war UL. The quote he used also correctly states that the ARPANET wasn't an Internet. But it did became the Internet with numerous government and government-supported participants. The writer of this piece must have had to do a lot of picking to find this cherry of a quote, which doesn't even mean what the writer seems to think it means. Robert Taylor (who is quoted) was well aware of both the role of the government and the central role of ARPA in creating the Internet, for example, as he wrote in the preface to In Memoriam: J. C. R. Licklider 1915-1990:

In 1962, Lick was asked by the Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) to join the agency to create and manage a program for funding research. Although its annual budget was greater than the total amount of money allocated to computer research by all other government supported agencies, it was one of the smaller programs within ARPA. This program led the way to commercial time-sharing in the late 60s and to networking in the mid-70s.

The computer establishment criticized Lick’s ARPA program. Most computer manufacturers and directors of computer centers argued that timesharing was an inefficient use of machine resources and should not be pursued. But Lick had the courage to persevere.
Courage, yes, but also government capital, resources, and status. Notice he doesn't say "had a small role in..." He simply states the fact. This program led the way to networking. Period.

videoguy 30 July 2012 06:46 PM


Originally Posted by damian (Post 1648759)
According to the Olympic opening ceremony, Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, and I have no reason to doubt them.

On CTV (a Canadian station) the announcer said he invented the internet.

Brad from Georgia 30 July 2012 10:38 PM

No, I invented the Internet. Because I'm Batman.

Lainie 31 July 2012 12:49 AM


Originally Posted by BoKu (Post 1646916)
I propose that the question itself is interesting, but the answer is not.

Unless your agenda in asking the question is to provide an incorrect answer reinforcing your position that government is incapable of innovation. :)

ganzfeld 31 July 2012 01:36 AM

I've heard a lot of back and forth on whether Berners-Lee invented the WWW (which is the question if one doesn't confuse the Internet with the WWW). I don't think it should be controversial really. Insofar as Edison, Graham-Bell, Fleming and so on invented the things they're credited with inventing, Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web with Robert Cailliau. He was the first person to set up an http server and client and to try it out. That's what we're using right now. (I noticed that chillas said it was "a technically inaccurate, but spiritually correct statement". Well, I disagree, chillas. It is technically correct that he invented the Web.)

He did it at CERN, which is a government supported agency. So, no it wasn't the wheels of industry making these strides.

Troberg 06 August 2012 10:05 AM

No one invented it, or, rather, a lot of people did. It's an evolotionary process, and the internet we see today is built on many, many different technologies and protocols, and with great network building efforts by many organizations and people. As it's evolutionary, we can't really single out any central technology and say "This is the internet", neither can we take away technologies due to the complex interdependencies that has evolved between them.

Not one inventor, thousands!

Dasla 16 September 2012 09:24 AM


Originally Posted by Brad from Georgia (Post 1646900)
I invented the Internet. Because I'm Spartacus.


Originally Posted by Brad from Georgia (Post 1649101)
No, I invented the Internet. Because I'm Batman.

Make up your mind, Brad from Georgia. Are you Batman or Spartacus. :p

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