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Home > Quick Reference
Brief Timeline of the Internet

When we talk about the Internet, we talk about the World Wide Web from the past four or five years. But, its history goes back a lot further; all the way back to the 1950s and 60s.

"Where was I," you ask, "while all this was happening?" Well, it's quite simple really: the Space Program. America was so fascinated with sending men into outerspace, hundreds of miles away, it never saw what was being invented to bring everyone closer together -- eventually.

So, just in case you missed the development of the Internet, I've composed a brief timeline highlighting some of the major occurences over the past 41 years. For more extensive info, you'll find links to other timelines at the bottom of this page.

1958 President Eisenhower requests funds to create ARPA. Approved as a line item in Air Force appropriations bill.
1961 Len Kleinrock, Professor of Computer Science at UCLA, writes first paper on packet switching, "Information Flow in Large Communications Nets." Paper published in RLE Quarterly Progress Report.
1962 •J.C.R. Licklider & W. Clark write first paper on Internet Concept, "On-Line Man Computer Communications."
• Len Kleinrock writes Communication Nets, which describes design for packet switching network; used for ARPAnet
1964 Paul Baran writes, "On Distributed Communications Networks," first paper on using message blocks to send info across a decentralized networktopology(Nodes and Links)
Oct. 1965 First Network Experiment: Directed by Larry Roberts at MIT Lincoln Lab, two computers talked to each other using packet-switching technology.
Dec. 1966 ARPA project begins. Larry Roberts is chief scientist.
Dec. 1968 ARPANet contract given to Bolt, Beranek & Newman (BBN) in Cambridge, Mass.
Sept. 1, 1969 First ARPANet node installed at UCLA Network Measurement Center. Kleinrock hooked up the Interface Message Processor to a Sigma 7 Computer.
Oct. 1, 1969 Second node installed at Stanford Research Institute; connected to a SDS 940 computer. The first ARPANet message sent: "lo." Trying to spell log-in, but the system crashed!
Nov. 1, 1969 Third node installed at University of California, Santa Barbara. Connected to an IBM 360/75.
Dec. 1, 1969 Fourth node installed at University of Utah. Connected to a DEC PDP-10.
March 1970 Fifth node installed at BBN, across the country in Cambridge, Mass.
July 1970 Alohanet, first packet radio network, operational at University of Hawaii.
March 1972 First basic e-mail programs written by Ray Tomlinson at BBN for ARPANET: SNDMSG and READMAIL. "@" sign chosen for its "at" meaning.
March 1973 First ARPANET international connections to University College of London (England) and NORSAR (Norway).
1974 Intelreleases the 8080 processor.
• Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn publish "A Protocol for Packet Network Interconnection," which details the design of TCP.
1976 Apple Computer founded by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.
•Queen Elizabeth II sends out an e-mail.
•Vint Cerf joins ARPA as program manager.
1978 TCP split into TCP and IP.
1979 Bob Metcalfe and others found 3Com (Computer Communication Compatibility).
1980 Tim Berners-Lee writes program called "Enquire Within," predecessor to the World Wide Web.
1981 IBM announces its first Personal Computer. Microsoft creates DOS.
1983 Cisco Systems founded.
Nov. 1983 Domain Name System (DNS) designed by Jon Postel, Paul Mockapetris, and Craig Partridge. .edu, .gov, .com, .mil, .org, .net, and .int created.
1984 •William Gibson writes "Neuromancer." Coins the term "cyberspace".
•Apple Computer introduces the Macintosh on January 24th.
March 15, 1985 becomes the first registered domain.
1986 5000 hosts on ARPAnet/Internet.
1987 • 10,000 hosts on the Internet.
• First Cisco routershipped.
• 25 million PCs sold in US.
1989 • 100,000 hosts on Internet.
• McAfee Associates founded; anti-virus software available for free. Quantum becomes America Online.
1990 ARPAnet ends. Tim Berners-Lee creates the World Wide Web.
1992 "Surfing the Internet" is coined by Jean Armour Polly.
1993 Mosaic Web browser developed by Marc Andreesen at University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.
• Web grows by 341,000 percent in a year.
April 1994 Netscape Communications founded.
• Jeff Bezos writes the business plan for
Java's first public demonstration.
Dec. 1994 Microsoft licenses technology from Spyglass to create Web browser for Windows 95.
May 23, 1995 Sun Microsystems releases Java.
August 24, 1995 Windows 95 released.
1996 Domain name sold to CNET for $15,000. Browser wars begin. Netscape and Microsoft two biggest players.
1997 sold for $150,000.
1998 US Depart of Commerce outlines proposal to privatize DNS. ICANN created by Jon Postel to oversee privatization. Jon Postel dies.
1999 •AOL buys Netscape; Andreesen steps down as full-time employee.
• Browsers wars declared over; Netscape and Microsoft share almost 100% of browser market.
• Microsoft declared a monopoly by US District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson.
•Shawn Fanning creates Napster, opening the possibilities of peer-to-peer file sharing and igniting a copyright war in the music industry.
January 10, 2000 •AOL Merges with Time-Warner. AOL shareholders take 55% stake in newly formed company.
February 2000 A large-scale denial of service attack is launched against some major Web sites like Yahoo! and eBay, alerting Web sites to the need for tighter security measures.
July 2001 A federal judge rules that Napster must remain off-line until it can prevent copyrighted material from being shared by its users.

For a more extensive time-line visit Hobbes' Internet Timeline and Nerds 2.0.1 Internet Timeline.

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