In a week when those in Congress are contemplating messing around with the it (I had stronger language but thought better, I'm pissed), my partner Albert lays out a great post on the architecture of the Internet and the history of wide area networking protocols.
The work Bob Kahn and Vint Cerf did back in the 70s laid the groundwork for all that we have today:
This idea was first put forth in the early 1970s byBob Kahn. After setting out crucial core principles of “open-architecture” such as no global network control (i.e., a distributed system) and only requiring best effort (i.e., no guarantee of delivery), Kahn worked with Vint Cerf on coming up with a protocol. Their incredibly productive collaboration results in a first version of what became known as the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) that allowed for reliable information transmission and still adhered to the core principles of an open archtiecture.
A short while later they realized that TCP was too comprehensive and it was broken up into two pieces which became widely known as TCP/IP where the IP stands simply for Internet Protocol. The Internet Protocol defines what an address for a computer on the network looks like and how those addresses are used to route packets from one computer to another along a path of potentially many intermediary points. Those addresses are known as IP addresses.
Vint Cerf is now at Google and he spoke out on the bills in Congress yesterday:
"Even our own government is beginning to go overboard in the protection of copyright"
“The open ability to develop new applications and try them out has been vital to the Internet’s growth and to the space in which we currently operate. It has interesting ways of enhancing both sides of the equation.”
“Remember, governance is a big word that includes human rights, freedom of speech, economic transactions on a worldwide basis — it touches everything. It’s everywhere, and that’s why Internet governance is topic A in many corners.”
Topic A here too at AVC. More to come. I'm still pissed.
UPDATE: Just saw this letter dated today to Congress from many of the largest Internet companies in the US.