July 25, 2012

The left/right split on the question who invented the internet.

1. President Obama — in his notorious "you didn't build that" riff — said "The Internet didn't get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all companies could make money off the Internet."

2. Gordon Crovitz — in the WSJ — said that's a myth: "The truth is a more interesting story about how innovation happens—and about how hard it is to build successful technology companies even once the government gets out of the way."

3. Farhad Manjoo — in Slate — says: "Crovitz’s entire yarn is almost hysterically false. He gets basic history wrong, he gets the Internet’s defining technologies wrong, and, most importantly, he misses the important interplay between public and private funds that has been necessary for all great modern technological advances."

128 comments:

gemma said...

I thought the case was closed. It was Al Gore who invented it.

Bob Ellison said...

Crovitz is wrong, and Manjoo is wronger. "The Internet" is a big subject, a big invention. Most people interact with it mostly through HTML (not a government invention), email (not a government invention), YouTube (not), FaceBook (not), Flash (not)...enough.

Xerox PARC was a very clever place. I've worked on one of those original GUIs they created. It was just awful. Barely pointed the way toward the Macintosh and Windows.

"The Internet" was created by all of us...but some people, like Marc Andreessen, were more responsible than others.

Robert Cook said...

It's probably silly of me to try to correct those who insist on beclowning themselves, but Al Gore never claimed to have invented the internet. Those who wish to mock him for a claim he never made simply reveal they are either unwilling to do simple fact-checking, or, that they know better but choose to continue perpetrating a lie.

It's really simple to find more accurate information...see?

Chip S. said...

And this has what, exactly, to do with 3.5 years of policy failure and economic stagnation?

Bob Ellison said...

Robert Cook:

Al Gore said it. He didn't say "invent". He said "create".

Sometimes a player on your team is just a jerk, and it helps to admit it to yourself.

cubanbob said...

The internet, that is a connection of computer networks, can only work with having the underlying networks of the telephone companies and cable companies, neither of which was invented by the government. Indeed one can argue that the IBM consent decree keeping IBM out of the phone business and the original AT&T out of the computer industry probably retarded the creation of interconnecting computer networks.

Saying the government created the internet is like saying the Army Corp of Engineers built the interstate highway all the while ignoring the fact that highway system was largely designed and built by private contractors under the auspices of the government. Crovitz is spot on.

Jay said...

he misses the important interplay between public and private funds that has been necessary for all great modern technological advances."

Huh?

Would this bozo call the artifical heart a "great technological advance"?

Robert said...

"important interplay between public and private funds that has been necessary for all great modern technological advances."

There was an interplay of public and private funds when the Wright brother invented the airplane? I missed that.

SGT Ted said...

It certainly wasn't built by community organizers.

JAL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chip S. said...

One thing the government did build was the New Orleans levee system.

Yay government!

Jay said...

he misses the important interplay between public and private funds that has been necessary for all great modern technological advances.

Yes!

All those government grants that brought us the iPod!!!

iPad too, you stuuuuuupid Tea Party wingers!!!

SGT Ted said...

"important interplay between public and private funds that has been necessary for all great modern technological advances."

Thats the lie the collectivists tell to justify taking other peoples money and spending it on themselves.

JAL said...

Watched Bob Ellison's Al Gore link.

Oh we were blessed. So blessed to have been spared a Gore presidency.

What pomposity.

(Of course this latest one makes up for it.)

Wake Up Call! Wake Up Call!

Patrick said...

Robert Cook, based upon the snopes quote, Al Gore is highly mockable for his quote "I took the initiative in creating the internet."

So, I guess he did not say "I invented the internet," but could you explain how what he said is even remotely better?

Jay said...

This post should be retitled to say "The left/right divide over facts and memes" or something similar.

The left needs sweet, sweet, comforting lies in order to justify silly political beliefs.

The idea that "the government" somehow "created" the Internet is one of them.

ricpic said...

Rush did a great riff on this, his point being that without commercial development by the private sector the internet would have gone nowhere.

AJ Lynch said...

Cookie- it is probably silly of you to defend Al Gore for any reason.

Jay said...

he misses the important interplay between public and private funds that has been necessary for all great modern technological advances.

Man's must stunning technological advances, fire and the wheel, came before the Department of Energy & Transportation.

I know this guy may have a hard time believing this, but it is actually true.

PS:
Deanna Archuleta, Obama's deputy assistant secretary of the Interior, in a speech to Democrat environmentalists in Nevada:

“You will never see another federal dam.”


Spare me the bullshit.

garage mahal said...

I think Xerox invented the internet, and out of the goodness of their hearts, just gave it away for free!

/wingnut bedtime stories

K said...

Not all 'government' is the same. If 'government' gets the credit for the Internet, and other "modern technological advances", let's be clear that it's the military that really developed these advances.

The Drill SGT said...

As Cubanbob notes, you have a bunch of different players working on parts of the problem. Cerf and Kahn being the leaders, and they both worked for DoD's ARPA (the word DoD bing very absent in both articles)

TCPIP being needed to allow machines using different protocols to talk point to point without unique translators

Routers and gateways needed to produce a survivable network (the Leftist doest say that this was a nuclear war scenario BTW)

Cerf left DARPA and went to MCI where they produced the first TCPIP based email.

I don't know exactly when FTP, HTML and Gopher were built nor where.

Mosiac at UIC and CERN in 92-93.

The rest is history

Chip S. said...

DoD played a major role in the development of the internet?

Well then, I guess we can just keep on with explosive entitlement programs and trillion-dollar deficits!

cubanbob said...

garage mahal said...
I think Xerox invented the internet, and out of the goodness of their hearts, just gave it away for free!

/wingnut bedtime stories

7/25/12 8:30 AM

You never fail to expose yourself for the fool you are.

Xerox is exactly what Bill Gates had in mind when he said Microsoft must always be run as if there is another Microsoft out there waiting to eat his lunch like he did to IBM's lunch. Without the private sector commercializing the internet it would nothing more than a limited purpose and obscure thing. Nothing is fixed forever in commerce, a lesson both Xerox and Kodak (amongst many dearly departed companies) both learned the hard way. Engineers are great at inventing things but few of them have the commercial vision to create markets out of their inventions and government bureaucrats even less.

Jay said...

garage mahal said...
I think Xerox invented the internet, and out of the goodness of their hearts, just gave it away for free


You have not the foggiest clue what "The Internet" actually is.

But you'll happily prove yourself the dumbest person on the Internet yet again.

edutcher said...

Crovitz, of the three, is probably closer, but, yeah, it's got a lot of moving parts.

Robert Cook said...

It's probably silly of me to try to correct those who insist on beclowning themselves, but Al Gore never claimed to have invented the internet.

No, he claimed to have created the bill that created the Internet.

The rest is sarcasm.

Chip S. said...

[Gore] claimed to have created the bill that created the Internet.

Well, in all fairness, he did vote for that bill, so he could say that he "saved or created" the internet.

garage mahal said...

You have not the foggiest clue what "The Internet" actually is.

A series of tubes.

Freder Frederson said...

his point being that without commercial development by the private sector the internet would have gone nowhere

And completely irrelevant. The government is good at funding and forwarding basic research. Commercially viable products are built on basic research that private industry is often unable or unwilling to fund (because the potential profits are speculative or too far in the future).

Many, if not most of the basic research advances, since WWII were backed by the government. Look at what came out of Bell Labs or the National Laboratory system (both public-private partnerships).

To say the government has never advanced science or technology is simply untrue.

Darrell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Freder Frederson said...

Xerox is exactly what Bill Gates had in mind when he said Microsoft must always be run as if there is another Microsoft out there waiting to eat his lunch like he did to IBM's lunch.

And Bill Gates would haven't had the opportunity to eat IBM's lunch if the federal government hadn't been breathing down the neck of IBM threatening to break them up.

Darrell said...

Al Gore never claimed to have invented the internet.

Bullshit. Sure he did. You just point to the time he didn't exactly say those words. But how many times did he talk about it--in the campaign year and in the years before? I saw him on an afternoon syndicated talk show one day I was home form work sick. The hostess--I can't recall her name, [a thirty-something ex-news reporter, maybe Nancy] gave an intro "My next guest is someone you think you know well but I guarantee that the things we researched for his appearance will albolutely floor you. He invented the internet...The character in "Love Story" was based on his life....blah, blah, blah. She introduced him--he had been a little behind her and to the side when she was talking--and then he went on to take bows for those "fun facts." He didn't correct her. Her didn't try and walk back her statements. Shit like that is just like saying it yourself.

He appeared on other shows and did say it. I know because I used to blow up when he did.

This must fascinate the fucking Left. The last time this came up a couple of months ago I Googled the topic. The results struck me as strange. There are thousands of hits dated 2012, 2011. etc. It must be part of some sort of revision exercise. They all use the same quote and the same "de-bunking."

Colonel Angus said...

Oh we were blessed. So blessed to have been spared a Gore presidency.

Quite a sad commentary for Gore when you consider that even Mondale was able to carry his own state.

Suffice it to say the Internet was a combined effort of public and private collaberation. Not something that should be bemoaned by conservatives but rather an example of how government can fulfill an innovative role.

None of this is relevant to the fact that Obama's statement about the creation of the internet was flat wrong and just another example supporting my contention that he's simply not that intelligent.

Bob Ellison said...

Darrell, be quiet. The science is settled.

Freder Frederson said...

None of this is relevant to the fact that Obama's statement about the creation of the internet was flat wrong and just another example supporting my contention that he's simply not that intelligent.

What is flat wrong about the statement?

DCS said...

I believe Obama wants people to believe that the internet was like the Manhattan Project, and even Manjoo's screed doesn't make that leap. The internet evolved, with many contributing. Of course, some worked for the government, some for private companies, and some for both. I suppose a person could make the argument that, because medical education receives some government support, that without the government there would be no doctors.

Colonel Angus said...

I would prefer to see tax dollars used to advance the type of research funding suggested by Freder rather than wasted on transfer payments to the unproductive in society who seem to only perpetuate a cycle of dependency on government largesee.

Nathan Alexander said...

I think Robert Cooke may be on to something, here.

If we like the internet, we must credit the govt entity that helped create it, cannot slash its funding, and must expand its funding.

That's why Obama, Pelosi, and Reid have never ceased to fight to cut entitlement spending and increase defense spending, right?

Right?

I look forward to Robert Cooke and garage mahal's, et al, vociferous advocacy to cut medicare and SS in order to increasing DoD funding...they are just dishonest partisans, lying for partisan gain, of course.

alan markus said...

Everytime Obama opens his mouth he reveals what a moronn he is. Stupidest President evah.

He talks like one day some people (i.e, government committee) just up & decided to invent the internet. Furthermore, they up & decided to invent the internet so that business could make money off of it.

I was always led to believe (don't claim that this is accurate)that the internet was some effort by academics to facilitate information sharing & the military saw strategic advantages of having a system that could keep functioning even if a part of the network was taken down.

We all know that the internet has "evolved" to what it is today. Funny, here we have a President how doesn't understand evolution, believes in creationism.

Jose_K said...

Drill SGT html Cern 1989.
Mosaic UoI

Bryan C said...

"There was an interplay of public and private funds when the Wright brother invented the airplane? I missed that."

Wilbur once sold a bicycle to a city councilman who then paid him with embezzled public funds. So there.

They'd never even have gotten their flimsy-ass plane off the ground if the FAA hadn't generously issued them a waiver.

Jay said...

Freder Frederson said...


And completely irrelevant.


Yes!!!

The point that commercial development of the Internet would have gone nowhere without the private sector is like totally irrelevant when the left is pushing a meme that the government invented the Internet!

It is!

Idiot.

Jay said...

Freder Frederson said...


And Bill Gates would haven't had the opportunity to eat IBM's lunch if the federal government hadn't been breathing down the neck of IBM threatening to break them up.


You never miss an opportunity to descend into self parody.

Jay said...

Many, if not most of the basic research advances, since WWII were backed by the government. Look at what came out of Bell Labs or the National Laboratory system (both public-private partnerships).


That's great you're flashing back to 1966, freeper.

How about some a more recent example for you to justify the $3.3 trillion dollar federal Leviathan?

Shanna said...

Government research created the Internet so that all companies could make money off the Internet."

Can I just say, whatever the true story is, this comment by the President is so simplistic it's at about the level of a 10 year old's understanding.

Peter said...

OK, so can government take credit for the Global Positioning System?

There were plenty of private companies interested in developing devices and services that utilized GPS. But would any of them, or even a consortium of them, have paid to develop and launch the satellites?

Freder Frederson said...

The point that commercial development of the Internet would have gone nowhere without the private sector is like totally irrelevant when the left is pushing a meme that the government invented the Internet!

Other than the apparently leftist monkeys flying out of your ass telling you this, where has anyone claimed that the internet was entirely developed by the government?

Rob said...

"necessary for all"??????

I don't live in his hyperbolic world. Government is ALWAYS involved today, you can't avoid it. Necessary, no.

Bob Ellison said...

alan markus, on the "Stupidest President evah" question, that's a tough call.

It's been a long time, so maybe we should restrict the examination to Presidents since 1900 or so.

Many (FDR, LBJ, even Nixon) were obviously smart, in various ways, though not always (LBJ, Nixon) in the ways the would best have served them.

Some (FDR, Reagan, Clinton) were brilliant in particular areas, like the ability to assess public sentiment and project leadership.

Obama excels in this latter field. He projects leadership. Unhappily, unlike other Presidents, he does not actually practice leadership.

I think Carter was more stupid. But Obama's catching up.

Darrell said...

When Gore did try to explain himself, he talked about being the first Congresscritter to sponsor legislation about monitoring, regulating, and taxing the internet. He did not claim to have supported technical research.

Think about it. Some fucking politician thinks he invented something because he tried to take control of it and tax it. And that is the reason we should never hear from the fucker again.

EMD said...

Although it is true that Al Gore cannot see Russia from his mansion.

garage mahal said...

We're extremely lucky to have Jay. Where would all the false constructs and strawmen come from otherwise? He built that!

Jay said...

Awww, look at the thin skinned loser in action:

President Barack Obama said Tuesday that he's losing his patience over the Republican attacks aimed at his “you didn’t build that” comment.
“I have to tell you, I generally have patience with what the other side says about me, that’s a requirement of this job,” Obama said during a $5,000-per-plate fundraiser here, according to the pool report.

“And if you don’t like folks talking about you, you probably shouldn’t run for president. The one thing I do have no patience for is this argument that somehow what I’m criticizing is success… I want to promote success," Obama said.


He wants to promote success!

By taxing it, of course.

Colonel Angus said...

What is flat wrong about the statement?

That the internet was created for commercial purposes.

Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”

No, no it wasn't.

Jay said...

Freder Frederson said...


Other than the apparently leftist monkeys flying out of your ass telling you this, where has anyone claimed that the internet was entirely developed by the government?


Hilarious.

Um, the President you voted for, and remember he's like super duper smart, said this:

Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

Also note the headline from the Slate article which this post talks about:

Obama Was Right: The Government Invented the Internet

Again, you never miss an opportunity to descend into self parody.

Jay said...

garage mahal said...
We're extremely lucky to have Jay. Where would all the false constructs and strawmen come from otherwise?


Except you can't list any "strawmen" at all.

Idiot.

Darrell said...

The government couldn't even buy computer systems that would work. By time they made the decision to buy something it was already out-of-date or incompatible with the reat of what they owned. The people in charge knew nothing about the equipment. And as always there was always some other bullshit involved in the purchase--kickbacks, "brother-in-laws," pressure from above.

I don't know if things changed and I would be surprised if they did. And if they did, it is more likely the result of stable technology today, and much-improved compatibility--not the "smarts" of those involved.

The Drill SGT said...

Jose_K said...
Drill SGT html Cern 1989.
Mosaic UoI


My UIC acronymn was meant to be University of Illinois- Champaign/Urbana

I was using Mosaic 1A5 for windows in Dec 93 for an Army customer.

I am a UC grad, BTW :)

PS: University of California, like Cerf

Ken said...

The left/right divide:

1. The right tries to understand reality and often fails.

2. The left lives in a fantasy world, without any inclination to understand reality. Then acts like others are idiots whenever it's pointed out to them that they live in a fantasy world.

Holmes said...

"Every great technological invention..." Really? It's turtles all the way down, I guess.

Christy said...

1974 I spent the summer before my senior year with a teletype machine, remotely moving a fission product program from a GE mainframe to a Westinghouse mainframe. Or vise versa, I don't remember now. Well, it seemed like the entire summer, because I couldn't get it to run on the new system. Turned out to be a formatting error in one input data point that I only found by translating yards and yards of holes in the teletype tape. Ah, good times with FORTRAN! Anyway, to the point. It wasn't just national labs and defence agencies moving programs and data round over phone lines in the early days. And it wasn't government that made it easy. Making it easy created the Internet.

Xerox's business planners had a laser focused vision, they shed more than one world changing idea back in the day.

roesch/voltaire said...

One understand technology and history and the other not so much-- I hope this is not what defines the difference between left and right. The reality is that government funding for war and space exploration has produced much of our current technology. More recently most of the break throughs in genetics, stem cell work etc have been made thanks to government funding combined with private funds, and so it goes.

cubanbob said...

Freder Frederson said...
Xerox is exactly what Bill Gates had in mind when he said Microsoft must always be run as if there is another Microsoft out there waiting to eat his lunch like he did to IBM's lunch.

And Bill Gates would haven't had the opportunity to eat IBM's lunch if the federal government hadn't been breathing down the neck of IBM threatening to break them up.

7/25/12 8:59 AM

Other than the fact that you are 100% wrong yours is an interesting comment and demonstrates lefty thinking. IBM didn't get in the PC business because of government pressure, it got in to the business in a panic which is why they hired Microsoft. You may have missed the part of when Apple PC's were coming in to the market and businesses realized they didn't need very expensive mid-range computers to do a lot of businesses functions like accounting and word processing. Hmm ten grand for an Apple to do accounting and invoicing or $250,000 for an IBM System 36 with all the bells and whistles. IBM got smart, to a point. Xerox didn't. IBM's greatest mistake was not buying Microsoft for a million bucks when it could have. But at least they learned enough to survive.

Michael K said...

"The government couldn't even buy computer systems that would work. "

The FBI had to scrap the $300 million system they designed about 10 to 5 years ago. Government does not do technology. If they are smart, they buy it from private sources but they are usually not smart.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/23/us-usa-fbi-computer-idUSTRE7BM1IQ20111223

Michael K said...

"IBM didn't get in the PC business because of government pressure,"

Actually, IBM was distracted by anti-trust threats when the early days of CPM (which Gates virtually stole) and Apple were warnings of things to come. The government, as usual, was clueless about the coming changes but they did distract IBM when it was harmful.

Bob Ellison said...

roesch/voltaire said "The reality is that government funding for war and space exploration has produced much of our current technology. More recently most of the break throughs in genetics, stem cell work etc have been made thanks to government funding combined with private funds, and so it goes."

No, you have to work harder than that to prove government goodness. What did it actually do that would not have been done without private investment?

For example: the bicycle, the automobile, the computer, the dishwasher, the swimming pool, the cotton gin, the window, the telephone, and other inventions had no government intrusion.

In order to prove that the government is required in such invention, you should first at least try to show how inventions that exist could not have come about without such intrusion. Just pointing to Tang doesn't do the trick.

bagoh20 said...

Nothing is funded by the government. All the money comes from the private sector: the money for the facilities, the equipment, to pay the people, and to educate them in the first place. Government creates no net wealth to fund anything.

So, the money comes from the private sector goes to D.C. where much is siphoned off by people who do nothing but assure that the money keeps coming past their bank on it way wherever others there decide to send it. These others are primarily acting on political motivation to preserve their own power and security, while usually having no expertise in anything related to the use (they're mostly lawyers). They basically take out the profit before using the money regardless of eventual return.

All this "public funding" is taken away from the private sector, and the more successful and capable the private entity, the more they take.

In short, the public funding takes from the most capable and gives to the least capable with no incentive to use it well, where it invariably has to ask private industry to solve the real problem and make it's efforts successful.

The government may be a system to help pool and use resources created by the private sector, but it's clearly not an efficient one, and it's not even intended to be. It's just a way for the drones to get some of the honey produced by the worker bees, and nothing more.

Just like in the hive, we will always need some drones, but they are not the proximate cause of our success, and the more they eat, the less we have for the workers, and the worse off we will be.

bagoh20 said...

In the U.S. the private sector invented it's government, and the thing has been trying to kill Dr. Frankenstein ever since.

Bruce Hayden said...

Will try this again.



And completely irrelevant. The government is good at funding and forwarding basic research. Commercially viable products are built on basic research that private industry is often unable or unwilling to fund (because the potential profits are speculative or too far in the future).

What must be kept in mind here is that by the mid 1980s, TCP/IP was considered obsolete, and the federal government was requiring OSI in most of its major computer purchases. OSI was considered the wave of the future. The fact that most here have probably never heard of it (unless they read my previous posts) is a good indication about how well the government can pick winners and losers. They picked the loser here, and were trying to kill the ultimate winner.

OSI was based on the ISO/OSI model, and was designed by committee, or, maybe more accurately 7 or so committees (at least one for each level of the 7 level protocol hierarchy). Unfortunately, it suffered the fate of products designed by committee - the committees were staffed by academics and vendor staff. The latter were invariably trying to push their own company's technology, while the former rarely had experience networking anything larger than a CS department. In the end, OSI sank under its own weight, esp. since the layers were complex enough that the different vendor implementations never fully communicated with each other.

Throughout the early to mid 1980s, the big explosion was in the size and complexity of proprietary networks - meaning networks built and interconnected by a single vendor, such as IBM, DEC, Sperry, etc. And, yes, they all drew some from the earlier TCP/IP work, but were much cleaner in terms of the ISO/OSI model. And, they could intercommunicate, but only by pretending to be one of the other company's boxes, which had its own set of problems (which I spent a lot of time addressing). And, for the mainframe vendors, there was always the problem that their networks were always mainframe centric (IBM's SNA by far the worst).

This was the situation when TCP/IP was ported to run over Ethernet - the government in the process of shutting that protocol suite down in favor of OSI, and the proprietary networks experiencing significant growth while TCP/IP was languishing on a relatively small number of nodes.

bagoh20 said...

After a certain point, more so than almost anything else ever, the internet actually did invent itself, and continues to.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Freder Frederson,

What's "flat-out wrong" is this:

Government research created the Internet so that all companies could make money off the Internet.

ARPANET was not intended or designed "so that" companies could conduct online commerce. That (and many other things, like this blog) was a happy offshoot of a project begun for national defense purposes.

alan markus said...

The reality is that government funding for war and space exploration has produced much of our current technology.

But when it comes to space exploration, as per NASA Administrator Charles Bolden; he (Obama) wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science and engineering — science, math and engineering."

Bryan C said...

The government no more invented the Internet than it invented microwave ovens, antibiotics, or stone walls.

Erik Robert Nelson said...

What the Internet is today is not what the government helped to create. What it is today was built by a large number of telecommunications companies providing infrastructure for the ideas of a startlingly small number of brilliant individuals. Even when the Web was born in the early 1990s, the Internet had already gone far beyond what limited technology the government had patched together.

Arguing about all this is pointless. Obama's comment was simply wrong. Government did not create what we know today as the Internet, and what little part it played had nothing at all to do with companies making money. It was an idiotic statement, and those defending it only come across as being silly and uninformed.

bagoh20 said...

RV,
There are no "pubic funds" to add to private ones. They take the money from the private sector, keep much of it, and then give it back to who they want. If they never took the money in the first place, all that would change is that less would go to the nonproductive before being utilized, and people would be risking their own money on research and therefore be more careful, and also more driven to succeed with it.

Bruce Hayden said...

Other than the fact that you are 100% wrong yours is an interesting comment and demonstrates lefty thinking. IBM didn't get in the PC business because of government pressure, it got in to the business in a panic which is why they hired Microsoft.

Always keep in mind that it was a fluke that Microsoft was involved in the first place. IBM thought that they made the OS that they were bundling with their compilers. They weren't - Digital Research was. Gates sent IBM down to DR, and they offered them a ridiculous contract - something like a half a million a year for unlimited licenses, when DR was already selling several times as much. So, IBM went back up to MSFT, but continued to negotiate with DR up until the day that the IBM was officially announced. MSFT ultimately supplied IBM with a clone of the DR OS, which at the time was legal under the copyright laws. It would later become infringing as copyright and software continued to evolve together, but by that time, DR had signed a contract with IBM that apparently held both IBM and MSFT harmless for C/R infringement.

BTW - the victors get to write the history books, and in this case, the history was (re)written by Microsoft. Much of the real story has never been told publically - I only know it having read DR founder Gary Kildall's unpublished autobiography and talked several times with his second wife.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

bagoh20,

There are no "pubic funds" to add to private ones.

Depends which Administration we're talking about, doesn't it?

bagoh20 said...

"Depends which Administration we're talking about, doesn't it?"

I don't see why.

Robert Cook said...

"Cookie- it is probably silly of you to defend Al Gore for any reason."

I'm not defending him...I didn't even vote for him. I'm just pointing out that those who mock Gore for having claimed to have "invented" the internet are promulgating a lie.

Here's more information to support Gore's claims that he was instrumental in, if not "creating" the internet, passing legislation that certainly helped in its broad implementation

Freder Frederson said...

The government no more invented the Internet than it invented microwave ovens, antibiotics, or stone walls.

Actually antibiotics werinvented by the government (the British Government). Arthur Fleming was a professor at Cambridge, which of course is a public university, and the mass production methods were driven by the needs of WWII. It wasn't even available to civilians until after the war.

sonicfrog said...

Well, the Drill SGT get the prize for knowing the history.

DARPA = Govt program. The protocols routers still use today were specifically designed with a web based topography so that an attack, nuclear or other, on one major hub would not knock out the entire network. And how robust is the system they were designing over 50 years ago? In the recent past, we have seen many black hat hackers launch malicious code in the form of malware and viruses that were intended to knock out the internet. Every attempt failed. The marvel here is that the designers of the internet had absolutely no idea that someone would even write software to attempt that, yet the system has survived modern attacks with flying colors and just kept going. So this is an example of something the Government built and got right.

PS. I note that many are confusing the internet with the world wide web. The WWW, which IS a more commercial and capitalistic entity, functions on the back of the internet.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

bagoh20,

Ummmm ... which Administrations in recent memory had "pubic funds"?

It's damned convenient for really lousy would-be comedians like myself that "pubic" and "public" are one slip of the typing finger apart.

Colonel Angus said...

There are no "pubic funds" to add to private ones. They take the money from the private sector, keep much of it, and then give it back to who they want.

Let's understand that public funds are taxes that we pay in order to fund what should be the basic services government should provide.

Again I have little issue with taxpayer funding of innovative research because the government can use economies of scale to push research private industry may not initiate because of risky ROI.

Government funding kick started what we know as the Internet but it was private industry that exploited that tech which we benefitted.

Freder Frederson said...

Government creates no net wealth to fund anything.

So the government shouldn't be allowed to lease government land or exploit resources on government land?

bagoh20 said...

Great things have happened with government involvement, and some probably would not have happened without it, but other things would have happened if those resources never went through the government.
The more libertarian minded believe that it's pretty obvious that instead more and better things would have happened with less waste, corruption, and loss of freedoms and vitality among our people.

I think the opposite argument is pretty hard to make, and I don't see it being made here. People are saying "A" happened, government was there, therefore government made "A" happen. Maybe sometimes, but that's pretty simplistic and weak.

Robert Cook said...

"I think Robert Cooke may be on to something, here.

"If we like the internet, we must credit the govt entity that helped create it, cannot slash its funding, and must expand its funding."


Um...what? Dude, I sure hope you didn't take the brown acid, man. Not the brown acid. That's bad shit!

leslyn said...

CERN.

Did I miss it somewhere in the comments?

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Freder Frederson,

Actually antibiotics werinvented by the government (the British Government). Arthur Fleming was a professor at Cambridge, which of course is a public university, and the mass production methods were driven by the needs of WWII. It wasn't even available to civilians until after the war.

You mean penicillin, not "antibiotics" tout court. And obviously Fleming didn't "invent" penicillin; it literally came in through his window.

You think government is primarily responsible for the subsequent history of antibiotic development? (If so, it had better get its doubtless superbly toned ass in gear, because we're nearly back to the pre-antibiotic age, so many nasty bugs having become resistant to everything we throw at them. I read a report of vancomycin-resistant TB somewhere. If true, that's very frightening, because vancomycin was the one antibiotic still effective on TB.)

bagoh20 said...

"So the government shouldn't be allowed to lease government land or exploit resources on government land?"

I said "net". The government is trillions in the hole. They better start leasing our land back to ourselves pretty fast if they ever want to get even.

And who pays for those leases in the end, and where does all the money go?

Freder Frederson said...

The more libertarian minded believe that it's pretty obvious that instead more and better things would have happened with less waste, corruption, and loss of freedoms and vitality among our people.

Of course this is just a statement of faith that cannot be proven or disproven. Y

leslyn said...

CERN was founded by 12 member states, and is currently funded by 20.

In case you don't know what it is, it is the huge particle accerlerator and collider in Switzerland.

Anyway, it really was invented by the government(s).

The Drill SGT said...

leslyn said...
CERN.

Did I miss it somewhere in the comments?


The Drill SGT said...
Mosiac at UIC and CERN in 92-93.

The rest is history

7/25/12 8:36 AM

leslyn said...

Government creates no net wealth to fund anything.

Or charge entry fees at National parks and momuments?

BTW bagoh20, for more info on leases, look up the Bureau of Land Manaagement. They manage leases for grazing, mining, horseland, etc.

bagoh20 said...

"It's damned convenient for really lousy would-be comedians like myself that "pubic" and "public" are one slip of the typing finger apart."

Michelle, maybe you misunderstand me. I thought we were talking about "pubic" funds this whole discussion. I've been addressing the violence inherent in the system of excessive pubic shaving of the public. I'm old school, and find it oppressive and wrong.

Robert Cook said...

"You think government is primarily responsible for the subsequent history of antibiotic development? (If so, it had better get its doubtless superbly toned ass in gear, because we're nearly back to the pre-antibiotic age, so many nasty bugs having become resistant to everything we throw at them. I read a report of vancomycin-resistant TB somewhere. If true, that's very frightening, because vancomycin was the one antibiotic still effective on TB.)"

This has to do with the capacity of bacteria to evolve new strains that develop innate immunity to extant antibiotics, as well as the respective overprescription and overuse of antibiotices by doctors and patients. Doctors, with validity, claim they are acceding to the demands of their patients, who, uneducated as to what antibiotics are, assume them to be cure-all drugs and who want a prescription even where what they want won't help them at all.

Freder Frederson said...

You think government is primarily responsible for the subsequent history of antibiotic development?

Where did I say that. All I did was point out that the first major use and development, including mass production methods, of antibiotics was funded by government. Subsequent development was indeed a joint effort of private industry and government reinforcing the point I have been making all along

rhhardin said...

I've come up with good stuff on government money (cost plus 10% paid to my employer).

Good returns are just very rare on government money. I can't think offhand of any bureaucratically inclined people doing anything that paid back the cost. On the whole it's a colossal waste.

Whoever thought up FIN_WAIT ought to be shot, by the way.

ken in sc said...

A lot of internet technology plus VHS and DVD development was fostered by the porn industry. They should get some credit, at least as much as the government.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Robert Cook,

This has to do with the capacity of bacteria to evolve new strains that develop innate immunity to extant antibiotics, as well as the respective overprescription and overuse of antibiotic[e]s by doctors and patients. Doctors, with validity, claim they are acceding to the demands of their patients, who, uneducated as to what antibiotics are, assume them to be cure-all drugs and who want a prescription even where what they want won't help them at all.

Well, yes, that's exactly what's happening. (Totally orthogonal to my point, but true.) In a just world, prescribing antibiotics for viral infections, or for problems of unknown origin, would be called "medical malpractice," however loudly the patient demanded them. But we haven't got a just world, have we?

Meanwhile, exactly what has government -- you know, the entity that famously introduced antibiotics to the world -- been doing about it?

Bender said...

important interplay between public and private funds

Of course, notice how he qualifies the claim by referring to "public funds," thereby inviting you to conflate funding with actually creating.

When, in point of fact, even if "public funds" were involved in this project or that, it was private companies and private individuals who did the actual inventing and creating and making. If they had taken those same public funds and given them to some government agency to create it with government employees, you would end up with some useless piece of crap like a network of cans connected with string, some that was obsolete years before implementation.

Except for, perhaps, the development of the Bomb, which was run by the Army, every major project has been done by private enterprise. Even the greatest technological accomplishment in human history, going to the moon, was invented by and built by the private companies who created the rockets and computers and launch facilities, even if with public funding.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

bagoh20,

I thought we were talking about "pubic" funds this whole discussion. I've been addressing the violence inherent in the system of excessive pubic shaving of the public. I'm old school, and find it oppressive and wrong.

I don't think there's inherent violence if the shaving is consensual. But it ought to be public as well as pubic, don't you think? Such practices ought not to be conducted behind closed doors. Better that all be open and aboveboard, preferably in the town square.

Methadras said...

Let's get one thing straight once and for all. The government does nothing without tax payer dollars. My dollars, your dollars. Whatever is built by them, they are a proxy and a middle man for its redistribution to have things done in my name and your name. The fact that it gets into their hands is meaningless because they didn't earn it, they didn't generate it. Government has done nothing except take our collective success in the form of taxes and used it to build OUR infrastructure, OUR armed forces, OUR way of life, OUR standards of living. We did it, not them. It is OUR money, it is OUR success, it is WE who built it. Fuck you Obama and fuck you Elizabeth Warren and fuck anyone who thinks like them and believes this repugnant and malignant nonsense.

Bob Ellison said...

leslyn, is the government creating that money? It seems only to be extracting taxes and usage fees.

bagoh20 is correct: government creates no wealth. None.

bagoh20 said...

"The more libertarian minded believe that it's pretty obvious that instead more and better things would have happened with less waste, corruption, and loss of freedoms and vitality among our people."

Freder:
"Of course this is just a statement of faith that cannot be proven or disproven."


As does the belief that government at many times the size it once was is a net benefit, and getting even larger would be more netter benefit.

Yes, both a bit of faith, but look at what you have faith in, and what it has wrought. You are just too religious for my taste.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

On the subject of roads and bridges, Mark Steyn. (I was hoping someone had excerpted this story and put it online, and there it is.)

Here.

That, of course, is New Hampshire. I think that citizens of small, rural states with hostile climates do get used to doing stuff themselves, however tempting the "free" goodies. Although given the response of NYC to last October's snowstorm and DC/Delmarva to the recent storms, better strike "small" and "rural."

chickelit said...

The Hoover Dam is a great example of a Public Work that generated plenty of wealth.

cubanbob said...

Next Obama and the lefties are going to claim the west could not have been settled if the settlers didn't have the interstate highways to cross the continent in their Conestoga wagons and the Pilgrims had to first pass customs and immigration at port located at Plymouth Rock.

Joe said...

People are missing a more significant part of Obama's subtext. The government funded ARPANET, but that's as far as their involvement goes. The development wasn't done by government employees.

Politicians of all stripes, but especially Obama, see funding as the same as innovation and construction. A road is built and a politician claims that he built it.

Obama's comments about the killing of Osama Bin Laden is relevant; he kept saying that he killed Bin Laden by virtue of giving the okay. This goes way beyond misspeaking; Obama clearly believes that giving the okay to something and/or funding it is the same as actually doing it.

Obama is that person every company has (and usually more than one) who sits in meetings, says little, and then when the product is done, presents it as his own ideas and implementation.

The views Obama expressed in his now infamous speech were startling honest. I totally agree with Romney that "the context is worse than the quote."

Bruce Hayden said...

PS. I note that many are confusing the internet with the world wide web. The WWW, which IS a more commercial and capitalistic entity, functions on the back of the internet.

I would prefer the terminology of the WWW being an application utilizing several high level protocols (HTTP, HTTPS) on top of the Internet, instead of on the back of, though you may have the same idea here. Other applications include email (POP, IMAP, SMTP protocols), File Transfer (FTP), Time (Daytime), Ping (Echo), etc. Here is Wikipedia's List of TCP and UDP port numbers (UDP is the datagram or session-less peer to session based TCP).

In data communications protocols, higher level protocols are higher up, and closer to the user, than lower level protocols in the OSI model. Lower level protocols are further away from the user. Thus, the WWW is an application (or, suite of applications), communicating with, for example, the HTTP protocol engine, which in turn utilizes the TCP protocol engine, which utilizes the IP protocol engine, which utilizes maybe an Ethernet protocol, which sits on top of a low level modem interface. TCP/IP (and UDP/IP) is thus a set of intermediate protocols that transmits blocks of information wrapped by HTTP/HTTPS protocol between WWW browsers (e.g. IE, Firefox) and servers (e.g. Apache) on a session basis.

Michael said...

General Motors is trading at a new low. $18 and change. Went public in the $30s.


Govt. is great at this.

chickelit said...

The Hoover Dam is a great example of a Public Work that generated plenty of wealth.

But the Dems won't dare use it because nowadays it's watched over by a poignant reminder of operation enduring freedom.

Michael said...

Joe: Spot on. The "you didn't build it" speech is much much worse when you watch it than when you read it. There is no mistake that Obama has contempt for the people foolish enough to think their own brains got them where they are. The sad sub text to the speech is that he was comforting the howling crowd by suggesting that it was by pure luck that they aren't rich given their hard work and their profound intelligence. The applause lines are chilling and the applause is of the sort that accompanied the bullshit back in his original campaign. He loved giving that speech in Virginia because he gave it well, the crowd ate it up and he believed every single word he uttered. The tone of his voice said it all.

Q said...

"The internet" is not a thing, it's a collection of things. No one person, or one group, "invented" the internet.


DARPA = Govt program. The protocols routers still use today were specifically designed with a web based topography so that an attack, nuclear or other, on one major hub would not knock out the entire network. And how robust is the system they were designing over 50 years ago?



The internet is not the protocols routers still use today. The internet is not TCP/IP.

TCP/IP was not "created" or "invented" by the government. Scientists - non -government workers - came up with the concept of TCP all on their own. They then mentioned their ideas to government, which coughed up the money to build the hardware for the first functioning computer network. Which was not "the internet".

You can say that the government/DOD provided financial assistance in building a part of the internet. But that's all you can say.

Freder Frederson said...

Next Obama and the lefties are going to claim the west could not have been settled if the settlers didn't have the interstate highways to cross the continent in their Conestoga wagons

I doubt it would have without the Homestead Act or the fact that the Army kindly evicted the former residents.

Q said...

The Hoover Dam is a great example of a Public Work that generated plenty of wealth.


There's no question that some public projects have been very beneficial.

It's just that "the internet" is not one of them.

The US government has done a lot of funding of aeronautics research, from WWII on. This has led to many improvements in aircraft design and construction. It does not follow that the US government created or invented aeroplanes.

Q said...

ARPANET was not intended or designed "so that" companies could conduct online commerce. That (and many other things, like this blog) was a happy offshoot of a project begun for national defense purposes.


That's a bit like saying that the modern automobile is a happy offshoot of the development of synthetic rubber.

leslyn said...

bagoh20 said,

more netter benefit.

Is that the netter benefit of pubic funds?

Dante said...

Other times, Crovitz strays into what seems like intentional intellectual dishonesty. He mentions offhandedly that “Vinton Cerf developed the TCP/IP protocol,” but he skips over both the gravity of this development and the government’s role in it. TCP/IP is the Internet’s defining language, the only reason that any two computers, anywhere, can send a message to one another.

Of course, this is wrong. As I pointed out in a previous post, Xerox created both a network layer (equivalent to IP) and a transport layer (equivalent to TCP).

This was used as the basis of IPX and SPX at Novell, and the basis for TCP/IP. Now, as it turns out, the TCP protocol's one advantage is a sliding window protocol, which means a lot more data can be sent over slow lines, as opposed to the Xerox and Novell single packet transport.

Other than that, the Xerox protocol and IPX at the network layer were vastly superior to IP, because they got one thing wrong. They didn't imagine IP connecting a world wide network, so they didn't make enough addresses. There are less IP addresses than telephone numbers. That's why the whole thing eventually has to be replaced.

Meanwhile, at one time there were vastly more nodes running IPX than there were IP via Netware. What it missed was a network to connect them together.

Meanwhile, DARPA, in my view, IS a very good use of government money. They are constantly stimulating and tapping into creative minds, like Vint Cerf's to do amazing things.

Meanwhile, the routing protocol that the internet uses, was built by John Moy at Proteon, a private company. This was heavily influenced by work done at DEC, done by Radia Perlman with IS-IS and others. The other important element is BGP, border gateway protocol, which allows different internet providers to connect together. This was developed by Yakhov Rekhtor while he was at IBM research labs in New York.

I'm certain all these important facts are lost on people like Al Gore, and Obamao. All they did was fund some links. The real work was almost ALL done by private companies. I will say TCP was a vast improvement over the transports of the time, which included HDLC (IBM had a heavy hand in this).

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Freder Frederson,


I doubt it would have without the Homestead Act or the fact that the Army kindly evicted the former residents.


You're writing as though the Army had "kindly evicted" Amerindians from Western territory before pioneers moved into it. Not so. The Army wasn't in a position to do any such thing, for starters.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Q,

That's a bit like saying that the modern automobile is a happy offshoot of the development of synthetic rubber.

But both are true, aren't they? (Well, for "synthetic rubber," read "vulcanized rubber.") ARPA wasn't about commerce, or blogs, or social media; those were just the private-sector developments of what began as a DoD communications-hardening project. When the President said that " Government research created the Internet so that all companies could make money off the Internet," he, er, misspoke. The government part of this had exactly zero to do with enabling commerce. The enabling-commerce part had to do with people, well, already engaged in commerce. I know. So sordid, isn't it?

wv: 10 heldeat. "Heldeat" ought to be a word. It looks like it belongs in Beowulf somewhere.

Nathan Alexander said...

There's a little too much sophistry going on from Robert, Fred, et al, regarding what the meaning of "govt money" and "govt created" (the current equivalent of what the meaning of "is" is) for this conversation to have any meaning going forward.

Bottom line: the govt doesn't provide good value for its costs at its current size.

Freder Frederson said...

Bottom line: the govt doesn't provide good value for its costs at its current size.

Well, I guess that settles it then. Nathan has spoken, no further discussion is necessary.

Astro said...

Okay, for a real video discussing the internet, let's ask The IT Crowd. Take it away, Jen:

I give you--The Internet!

I think Obama and his friends were there, nodding, just off to the left edge of the picture.

Big Mike said...

I see that Drill SGT and sonicfrog got it right, and nearly everybody else is making the same basic mistake. What we today call the "Internet" is really the World Wide Web. Packet switching and TCP/IP were invented using DoD money to solve a DoD problem -- build a robust mechanism for interconnecting disparate, autonomous, and widely geographically separated computers.

But when my wife says she's getting on the Internet, she means that she will use a browser (not invented with government funds) to access the World Wide Web. The World Wide Web rides atop packet switching and TCP/IP, but in theory at least the entire Web could be ported over to some other protocol and do just as well.

What Al Gore did through what he called the "Information Superhighway" was a key step towards today's Web, because two of the key concepts that came out of the "Information Superhighway" were (1) the concept of "universal service," meaning that anyone would be able to access the entire Information Superhighway, i.e., it would not be limited according to who your service provider was; and (2) "open access," meaning that anyone would be able to offer services. While he didn't really create the modern Internet, I think that Tim Berners-Lee's vision of the World Wide Web would have been stillborn without these two concepts.

So Bob Ellison is right. Crovitz is wrong, but Manjoo is much more wrong.

And Robert Cook is never right, because he's always way out on the left.

Hope you all took notes; there will be a short quiz.

sonicfrog said...

Bruce... I ping what you said. And at least you didn't bring up token rings or the OSI model... And no people, that has NOTHING to do with Steve Austin, Oscar Goldman, or Jamie Summers! :-)

Bob Ellison said...

Big Mike, thanks, and nice summary. It's difficult explaining the Interwebs to everyone. And BTW, I'm right even when I'm the only one left.

Joe said...

Imagine if the internet was done with token ring. OMG.

sonicfrog said...

Oh... And hippies... A token ring is not what you think, either! :-)