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Xerox PARC and its Internet Discovery

Updated on July 23, 2012

The myth is cemented into the IT infrastructure, that the U.S. government created something called "Internet" in 1960's for communication in case of a nuclear attack. The government was trying to connect the diverse communications networks globally. That is a myth. Part of the myth is that the Pentagon Advance Research Projects Agency Network (ARPA) was a key player in creating the Internet. That is not true. In 2004, the man who ran the program stated that the agency was simply trying to create a connection between two or more computer networks. The concept of the Internet began in 1946, when a WW2 scientist published a research paper talking about "Memex" , where documents could be published with links to other documents.

The key players in the Internet are Vinton Cerf, who developed the backbone- TCP\IP , the backbone of the Internet, and Tim Lee, who developed hyperlinks. But, it was not until the 1970's that Xerox wanted to develop a Ethernet so its office workers could communicate easily and offices could link and share copiers. Nearly all copiers then were Xerox.

Enter Steve Jobs in 1979. He needed investment money for his startup computer called, Apple (naming it after The Beatles' own Apple Records, which Steve had). He went to Xerox and the two reached a deal for one million dollars. Part of the terms allowed Steve to learn about all of Xerox PARC innovations. When Steve saw what Xerox had, he would later comment, " Xerox had no idea what they had". From that, Steve went on to develop his computer based on the concepts Xerox had shown him.

By 1995, all government role in the Internet ceased. The Internet was entirely private. This is just when the WWW was starting to boom and more of the public was able to access it. So, for 30 years, the government had a protocol for transferring information that simply loitered around in a sense, not really being developed.


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