Douwe Osinga's Blog: Internet history

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Internet history

The Internet doesn't forget that easy. Especially on Usenet, the original discussion forum of the Internet predating the web, there are some interesting first posts, things that became much bigger later.

Searching a bit around, I found the following monumental posts. Geeks announcing something that was at the time a tiny experiment but would become a revolution:

  • One Richard M. Stalman has a bright idea: free unix. From these humble beginnings GNU grew on which a lot of Linux is based.

  • Talking about which, one Linus Benedict Torvalds posts about a pet project he had, trying an OS for some old hardware he had lying around.

  • Then there is of course that other pet project of Tim Berners-Lee, something he called the WorldWideWeb project, as if the hacking of one guy had a chance of making it world wide.

  • Followed by a post of Marc Andreessen about a browser called Mosaic, which was to be followed by Netscape, which started the Internet boom in earnest.

  • Lawrence Page asks how to set the User-Agent-Field in a java app he wrote. That app later became Google.

Of course there are many more posts, mostly of people who didn't make it (yet). Usenet used to be this big platform bubbling with ideas. People would post, other people would respond and something good would happen. Today blogging has taken over that process. May be in ten years or so, there'll be a page[?] with links to very old blogs who where the beginning of something great.