A Brief History of the Internet
Early developers of the Internet (c. 1970,
photo courtesy of BBN Systems and Technologies via the page to which it is linked).
The Shaping of Ideals
ARPANET was the first network of computers. It was developed in a cooperative effort between the military and research institutions across the nation. The main task of ARPANET, once the system was set up and running smoothly, was to research the use of computers in government in order to see how to better implement the computer technology into which the government had invested millions. In order to succeed in such a massive task, the head developers perceived a system that had to be completely open. All of the protocol, code, and software had to be freely and openly distributed to anyone who wanted access. At that time, personal computing was just a vision, so the only people interested in ARPANET were the government and research institutions. This ideal of openness became the staple of the Internet and has persisted for nearly thirty years. But with the dramatic expansion of the World Wide Web and graphical information, this ideal has come under attack. Open access to information on the Internet is still prevalent, however, this ideal is on the verge of change.