How the Web was Won

Vanity Fair has an in-depth look at how a Cold War defense project somehow led to MySpace and YouTube. The 50-year history of the internet, told by the people who made it happen.
Bob Taylor: There were individual instances of interactive computing through time-sharing, sponsored by arpa, scattered around the country. In my office in the Pentagon I had one terminal that connected to a time-sharing system at M.I.T. I had another one that connected to a time-sharing system at U.C. Berkeley. I had one that connected to a time-sharing system at the System Development Corporation, in Santa Monica. There was another terminal that connected to the Rand Corporation.

And for me to use any of these systems, I would have to move from one terminal to the other. So the obvious idea came to me: Wait a minute. Why not just have one terminal, and it connects to anything you want it to be connected to? And, hence, the Arpanet was born.

When I had this idea about building a network—this was in 1966—it was kind of an “Aha” idea, a “Eureka!” idea. I went over to Charlie Herzfeld’s office and told him about it. And he pretty much instantly made a budget change within his agency and took a million dollars away from one of his other offices and gave it to me to get started. It took about 20 minutes.

It took a bit longer (and a lot of people) to design what we have now, but the stories are fascinating. Link -via Boing Boing

(image credit: Christian Witkin)

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