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Creativity and
Coincidence:
CERN, the Web and the Internet
Ben Segal / CERN, Geneva
[email protected]
Originally delivered at the:
3rd International Festival of Science, Gothenburg, May 2-9, 1999
Ben M. Segal / CERN:
Linkoping University, Sweden.
October 24, 2001
1
Creativity and Coincidence
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Speed of Change
Computer & Network Standards
Some Prehistory & Coincidences
Some Ancient History
Inside CERN
Some Paradoxes
Some Accidents
Birth of the Web
Recommended Reading
Ben M. Segal / CERN:
Linkoping University, Sweden.
October 24, 2001
2
Speed of Change
3 YEARS = 1 GENERATION...
so:
• 30 years ago is PREHISTORIC
• 20 years ago is ANCIENT HISTORY
• 15 years ago is START OF CIVILIZATION
And the process is
ACCELERATING:
the generation time used to be around 5 years but
will soon be closer to 2 years !
Ben M. Segal / CERN:
Linkoping University, Sweden.
October 24, 2001
3
Computer Standards
20-30 years ago we had:
USER CHAOS
and:
PROPRIETARY PARADISE
Many Companies (+ own Operating Systems):
IBM, DEC, CDC, Cray, HP, GE, DG,
Burroughs, Univac, Norsk Data, ICL, Bull, GEC, etc....
Only 15 years ago:
The UNIX Operating System
just began to appear from the research environment...
... and the UNIX vs Proprietary
Operating System battles began.
Ben M. Segal / CERN:
Linkoping University, Sweden.
October 24, 2001
4
Network Standards
20-30 years ago we had:
USER CHAOS
and:
PROPRIETARY PARADISE
Many Network Standards:
• Each company had (at least) one !
• CERN had its own ("CERNET").
• ARPANET was very little known.
Only 15 years ago:
TCP/IP (Internet Protocols)
just began to appear from the research environment…
... and the ISO/OSI Protocol Wars began.
Ben M. Segal / CERN:
Linkoping University, Sweden.
October 24, 2001
5
Some Prehistory
(& Coincidences)
• 1968:
"Packet Switching" invented
simultaneously in the UK, France and USA.
• 1969:
"ARPANET" (1st Packet Switched Network) and
"UNIX" (first open source Operating System)
invented simultaneously in the USA...
... but did not come together for ten more years ...
Ben M. Segal / CERN:
Linkoping University, Sweden.
October 24, 2001
6
Some Ancient History
• 1970:
"Email" invented (Ray Tomlinson) ==> LISTS and GROUPS:
+ with "RFC's" (1969) created the
DYNAMIC DESIGN STYLE of the Internet.
• 1974:
Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn: first paper on "TCP/IP".
• 1978:
UUCP added to UNIX ==> "USENET"
worldwide email & news network.
• 1979:
UNIX and ARPANET combined,
leading to rapid spread of UUCP and
Internet Protocols on WAN's and LAN's!
Ben M. Segal / CERN:
Linkoping University, Sweden.
October 24, 2001
7
Inside CERN
The Political Order:
• PHYSICS
• ACCELERATORS
• THE REST (includes computing)
Order in Computing (1985-95):
• BIG MAINFRAMES (IBM, etc)
• BIG HARDWARE (Tape robots, etc)
• THE REST (includes desktop, networking, etc)
Order in Networking (1980's):
• EXTERNAL (ISO-X.25, DECnet, SNA)
• INTERNAL (CERNET, Ethernet)
• TCP/IP: "special" + illegal outside!
Ben M. Segal / CERN:
Linkoping University, Sweden.
October 24, 2001
8
Some Paradoxes
• A very hard problem…
To connect heterogeneous INFORMATION
on heterogeneous COMPUTERS
via heterogeneous NETWORKS
all over the world...
• ...was solved by a:
Small, Non-official, Open
approach, by a team with:
"No Resources"
Ben M. Segal / CERN:
Linkoping University, Sweden.
October 24, 2001
9
More Paradoxes
• CERN created the Web:
but from its weakest part
and using "underground" resources.
• Probably a good thing:
Had to be kept Simple
and:
Had to use outside resources
(so went faster)
Ben M. Segal / CERN:
Linkoping University, Sweden.
October 24, 2001
10
Some Accidents
• RPC [email protected] (from 1984):
Tim Berners-Lee ("TBL") learned the tools
he needed to solve a difficult
heterogeneous networking problem.
• NeXT [email protected] (from 1987):
TBL in 1989 was able to use "NeXT Step"
to prototype WWW in just 3 months !
(The NeXT was "unauthorized" at CERN...)
• [email protected] (from 1987):
This "nonstandard" IP router was used
to increase security of a Cray supercomputer.
Visiting CERN, D. Karrenberg of EUNet
learned that a Cisco could run IP over X.25
This led to the European IP network,
which TBL could use at CERN from 1989.
Ben M. Segal / CERN:
Linkoping University, Sweden.
October 24, 2001
11
Birth of the Web
• What is WWW?:
"HTML": Hypertext Markup Language
"HTTP": Hypertext Transport Protocol
"URL": Uniform Resource Locator
+ a Client ("Browser") and a Server.
ALL INVENTED AND PROTOTYPED
by Tim Berners-Lee (1989-91).
• 1993:
Mosaic browser written at NCSA, USA:
causes "explosion" on the Internet but for two years "the Web" is called
"Mosaic"!
• 1995:
Tim B-L leaves CERN:
Founds W3C to guide the worldwide development of Web
technologies.
Ben M. Segal / CERN:
Linkoping University, Sweden.
October 24, 2001
12
Recommended Reading
• Published 1999:
"WEAVING THE WEB"
Tim Berners-Lee.
(Orion Business Books)
The Past, Present and Future of the
World Wide Web by its Inventor.
• Published 2000:
"HOW THE WEB WAS BORN"
James Gillies / Robert Cailliau.
(Oxford University Press)
History of the Internet, History of CERN,
and the Politics and the People behind the WWW.
Ben M. Segal / CERN:
Linkoping University, Sweden.
October 24, 2001
13