Reply to post: Re: Net history

Hacked in a public space? Thanks, HTTPS

Michael Wojcik Silver badge

Re: Net history

I'm pretty sure the poster was talking about the underlying protocols (TCP/IP, UDP) whose development indeed was funded by DARPA. Actually ARPA a the time;

The agency was renamed in 1972, shortly before the first TCP/IP specification was published. So if you want to be completely correct, TCP/IP development was funded by ARPA and then by DARPA.

The great achievement of the "one guy at CERN" was making the data on the internet approachable by the average guy, and in a way that scaled up without central control

Actually, we already pretty much had that. For the first couple of years HTTP and HTML didn't do much that Gopher / Veronica / WAIS / etc didn't also offer. HTTP and HTML succeeded for a few reasons: hypertext had better usability than separate documents and menu-style links; even with character-mode user agents HTML offered some basic presentation markup; HTTP (prior to the barbarism that is HTTP/2) is easy to drive by hand for experimentation and debugging.

Most importantly, though, the time was right. Graphical workstations were becoming common enough (helped by academic efforts like the Andrew Project and Project Athena) that it made sense to create graphical user agents. Not many people had NEXTstations, but quite a few had some sort of X11 box, so NCSA Mosaic (and to a lesser extent other early GUI browsers like Erwise, Spyglass Mosaic, and Viola) became a showpiece for the web. It wasn't much more functional than Gopher+WAIS, but it was prettier.

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