back to article The internet celebrates the Big Four-O

Today, the internet celebrates its fortieth anniversary. Or at least one of them. On September 2, 1969, at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), a team of engineers led by Professor Leonard Kleinrock attached the first two machines on the first node of the ARPAnet, the Defense-Department-sponsored computer network …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    This can't be true....

    because everyone knows that Al Gore invented the internet!

    Black helicopter because this is obviously part of some vast right-wing conspiracy to keep Al from his rightful role as the font of all that is good....

  2. TheOtherMe

    Happy Birthday(ish)

    Amazing isn't it, just a few weeks in and the first Denial of Service via buffer overload occurs, no wonder we are still plagued by such things (-;

  3. Anonymous Coward

    AT&T provided the 50kbps connection

    My how things have changed! I am currently waiting to leave work as Windows 7 tries to copy 1000 small files over 48mbps WIFI at 120kpbs.

    "About 9 minutes remaining"

  4. Hud Dunlap

    It was Al Gore

    You Fools!!! It was Al Gore who invented the internet! Don't you remember his speeches?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Buffer Overflow?

    So happy to hear that the first message to pass over the Internet caused an overflow and so was also the first remotely exploitable vulnerability. Good days...

  6. Anonymous Coward

    This reminds me of all those years ago when

    I put together my first ever computer.

    I bought all the basic parts in PC World and carefully assembled it at home - Wow, I was so nervous that I'd break something. But the monitor, printer, main unit, keyboard, mouse, and speakers fit perfectly.

    I switched it on and waited 20 minutes while it booted up into Windows (Millennium Edition). Within a few weeks I had managed to connect it to the Internet and soon my computer uttered its first words:

    "You gay loser kill ass c*nt dead fail douchebag b*tch f*cker I kill you"

    Happy birthday, Internet!

  7. John 104

    I remember using..

    Daisy wheel printers.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    50kps? Madness!

    surely no human could ever comprehend data sent at such a speed

  9. Frumious Bandersnatch

    synonymous with buffer overflows, eh?

    Still, kudos for building a complete TCP/IP stack in isolation and having it almost work on the first try.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Al Gore urban legend idiots

    I know you think you're giving the world the absolute height of humor, there, and I hate to burst your bubble - but it's never been true, and it wouldn't STILL be funny even if it WERE true. Yeesh...

  11. Adrian Esdaile

    The first letters L... O....

    I think you'll find the third letter was actually 'L' and the next thing planned to be sent was an amusing daguerreotype of a cat.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    40 years later I can switch on a tiny PC at home, check the news, the weather and every minute I can be bombarded with 1.5M viruses, 75 malware attacks, 17 email messages promising me "expansion" pills for $19.99 a bottle and ads for every major social networking site with a bouncy, happy go lucky graphic artist and an average membership age of 12!

    What a wonderful age we live in, thank Dawkins for the haven that is The Reg!

  13. Andy Barber


    My first modem was 1200/75 & connected to Prestel!

    To non UK readers, it was like Teletext, 40 characters per line.

  14. micheal

    Such happy days

    Now we have mega bandwidth, trillion more time CPU power, mega memory.....and computers are still as slow as that first log-in

    bring back the Altair!!

  15. Ken Hagan Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    @Frumious Bandersnatch

    "Still, kudos for building a complete TCP/IP stack in isolation and having it almost work on the first try."

    Nit-picks, TCP/IP was a long way off, the "IMP" referred to is/was roughly analogous to a network card in a modern PC, and you can be sure that they tested each end in isolation, so the actual achievement here is that they wrote drivers for two network cards and managed to get them inter-operating on the second attempt.

    Still, that's *more* impressive than it sounds.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    40 years and ...

    its still broke!

    Yeah they were just some college kids that created a degree project - and its been running our world now for past 20 years.

    Can I get the one where the professionals build it?

  17. andy gibson

    Lo = Lo and Behold?

    I thought it was short for hello = L - O?

  18. Arthur Coston

    Large operational networks already existed in the real world

    The DARPA work 40 years ago, while important, was just one of many networking projects, many having begun much earlier and were already in daily operation. Even the "packet switching" aspect was included in some of these already-existing systems. BBN, which implemented the IMPs, was one of many suppliers of timesharing and related networks. If I remember correctly, the initial IMPs were based on existing designs already in use for TS work.

    For a personal example, forty years ago here in North Carolina, the TUCC network supported the three primary universities (UNC, Duke, NC State), IBM, several other businesses, and a total of 45 colleges around the state through the NCECS network. While some of these schools might have just remote card reader/printer sites and a few had little more than a few Teletype terminals, other locations had extensive computer-to-computer networks.

    While most of the connections were typical of 1960's time-shared or batch operations, there were a number of specialized devices on these networks (e.g. CalComp plotters). In 1968, I added support for a bit-mapped graphics device (the CC-30) -- quite slow over a modem and not very good resolution either. (That was using BTAM on 2701 controller; in 1969-70 I did animations on a CC-30 channel-attached to a PDP-8.)

    Read about timesharing (e.g. DTSS) and networks (e.g. Burroughs Poll-Select/Contention) and you might be surprised at what existed in the late 1960's. You might even find email and markup languages long before HTML.

    So enjoy the "birthday", but keep it in perspective. Now you kids get off my lawn!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ofcom - Internet is still a demo!

    There is an Ofcom consultation out on NGNs. The gist is that BTs original plan for 21C NGN has largely failed and the re-focus is on delivering better access, which we hope will include a simple and transparent high capacity data transport layer.

    This I believe is good news for customers and shareholders, as after 5 years BT switch from attempting to control the Internet with its NGN to just giving us high speed access we need.

    Ofcom disagree. Internet is still a demo, IP cannot carry voice and thus cost recovery will continue on call conveyance for the next 4 years and NGNs may take 10 years to emerge.

    No mention of the Universal Broadband Service. no mention how the spectrum allocation will be integrated into creating a common data transport layer.

    And these good people will be in charge of network investment. Help!

  20. Anonymous Coward

    @AC "Can I get the one where

    ... the professionals build it?"

    Yes you can! It's called IPv6.

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