> From: Clem Cole
> first of Jan 83 was the day the Arpanet was supposed to be turned off
Err, NCP, not the ARPANet. The latter kept running for quite some time,
serving as the Internet's wide-area backbone, and was only slowly turned off
(IMP by IMP) in the late 80's, with the very last remnants finally being
turned off in 1990.
> The truth is, it did not happen, there were a few exceptions granted for
> some sites that were not quite ready (I've forgotten now).
A few, yes, but NCP was indeed turned off for most hosts on January 1, 1983.
> From: "Erik E. Fair"
> as of the advent of TCP/IP, all those Ethernet and Chaosnet connected
> workstations became first class hosts on the Internet, which they
> could not be before.
Huh? As I just pointed out, TCP/IP (and the Internet) was a going concern well
_before_ January 1, 1983 - and one can confidently say that even had NCP _not_
been turned off, history would have proceeded much as it actually did, since
all the machines not on the ARPANET would have wanted to be connected to the
(Also, to be technical, I'm not sure if TCP/IP ever really ran on CHAOSNet
hardware - I know I did a spec for it, and the C Gateway implemented it, and
there was a Unix machine at EECS that tried to use it, but it was not a great
success. Workstations connected to the CHAOSNet as of that date - AFAIK, just
LISP Machines - could only get access to the Internet via service gateways,
since at that point they all only implemented the CHAOS protocols; Symbolics
did TCP/IP somewhat later, IIRC, although I don't know the exact date.)
> I rewrote the article on the Software Tools project
An excellent job, Deborah.
> the Software Tools movement established one of the earliest traditions of open source
Would you be open to saying "reestablished"? Open source (not so called,
and in no way portable) was very much a tradition of SHARE in the late
1950s. Portability, as exemplified in ACM's collected algorithms, came
in at the same time that industry moved to a model of trade secrets and
intellectual property. Open source went into eclipse.
I rewrote the article on the Software Tools project and, thanks to Bruce
Borden's efforts to upload, they accepted it within 1 day. You can see
it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_tools_users_group
The Usenix article in Wiki is pretty thin, in case anyone would like to
spiffy it up.
> From: Steve Nickolas
> I thought the epoch of the Internet was January 1, 1983.
Turning off NCP was a significant step, but not that big a deal in terms of
its actual effects, really.
For those of us already on the Internet before that date (since as the number
of ARPANet ports was severely limited, for many non-ARPANet-connected machines
- which were almost all time-sharing systems, at that point in time, so lots
of actual users - there was a lot of value in an Internet connection, so there
were quite a few), it didn't produce any significant change - the universe of
machines we could talk to didn't change (since we could only talk to
ARPANet-connected machines with TCP), etc.
And for ARPANET-connected machines, there too, things didn't change much - the
services available (remote login, email, etc) remained the same - it was just
carried over TCP, not NCP.
I guess in some sense it marked 'coming of age' for TCP/IP, but I'd analogize
it to that, rather than a 'birth' date.
> From: Clem Cole
> Katie Hafner's: Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins Of The Internet
> It's a great read
Yes, she did a great deal of careful research, and it's quite accurate.
It _is_ pointed toward a general readership, not a technical one, so it's not
necessarily the best _technical_ history (which she had the material at hand
to produce, had she wanted to - but did not). Still, very worthwhile.
A nerdy group on an Aussie list are discussing old Unix cracks, and the
infamous "SPL 0" brick-that-box came up. I first saw it in ";login:" (I
think), and, err, tried it (as did others)...
Can anyone reproduce the code? It went something like:
> [ SPL 0 ]
> I only did that once (and you should've heard what he said to me)...
> I'm still trying to find the source for it (it was published in a
> ";login:" journal) to see if SIMH is vulnerable.
The concept was simple enough - fill your entire memory space with an uninterruptible instruction. It would have gone something like:
opc = 000230 ; 000230 is the opcode for SPL 0
sys brk, -1 ; or whatever value got you all 64k of address space
mov #place, sp
. = opc - 2 ; the -2 is to allow for the PC increment on an instruction fetch, which I believe happens before any execution
jsr pc, -(pc)
Ring any bells, anyone?
Dave Horsfall DTM (VK2KFU) "Those who don't understand security will suffer."
> From: Dave Horsfall
> The Internet ... was born on this day in 1969, when RFC-1 got published
I have this vague memory that the Internet-History list decided that the
appropriate day was actually the day the format of the v4 headers was set,
i.e. 16 June, 1978. (See IEN-68, pg. 12, top.)
Picking the date of RFC-1 seems a little odd. Why not the day the first packet
was send over a deployed IMP, or the day the RFP was sent out, or the contract
let? And the ARPANet was just one predecessor; one might equally have picked a
> (spelled with a capital "I", please, as it is a proper noun) ... As I
> said at a club lecture once, there are many internets, but only one
I myself prefer the formulation 'there are many white houses, but only one
White House'! :-)
J. Presper Eckert was born on this day in 1919; along with John Mauchly,
he was a co-designer of ENIAC, one of the world's first programmable
electronic computers. Yes, there is a long-running dispute over whether
ENIAC or Colossus was first; being a Pommie, I'm siding with Colossus :-)
Dave Horsfall DTM (VK2KFU) "Those who don't understand security will suffer."
But in this case, part of the requirement was to pass some standard
simulation tests (in FORTRAN, of course). He was complaining that
these programs had bugs and didn't give the right answer.
This reminds me of an episode during my time at Bell Labs.
The System V folks wanted to make pipes that were streams;
our experience in Research showed that that was useful. We'd
done it just by making pipe(2) create a stream. This caused
some subtle differences in semantics (pipes became full-duplex;
writing to a pipe put a delimiter in the stream, so that a
corresponding read on the other end would stop at the delimiter;
write(pipefd, "", 0) therefore generated something that would
make read(pipeotherfd, buf, len) return 0). We'd been running
all our systems that way for a while, and had uncovered no
But the System V folks were very nervous about it anyway, and
wrote a planning document in which they proposed to create a
new, different system call to make stream pipes. pipe(2) would
make an old-fashioned pipe; spipe(2) (or whatever it was called,
I forget the name) had to be called to get a stream. The document
didn't really explain the justification for this. To us in
Research it just sounded crazy.
Someone else was going to attend a meeting with the developers,
but at the last minute he had a conflict, so he drafted me to
go. Although I can be pretty blunt in writing, I try not to be
so much so in person when dealing with people I don't know; so
rather than asking how they could be so crazy as to add a new
kind of pipe, I asked why they really thought it necessary.
It took a little probing, but the answer turned out to be that
their management insisted that everything pass an official
verification suite to prove compliance with the System V,
Consider It Standard; and said verification suite didn't just
check that the first file descriptor returned by pipe(2) could
be read and the second written, it insisted that the first could
not be written and the second not read. Full-duplex pipes didn't
meet the standard, it was claimed.
I asked what exactly is the standard? The SVID, I was told.
What does the SVID really say, I wondered? We got a copy and
looked up pipe(2). According to the official standard, the
first file descriptor must be readable and the second writeable,
but there was no statement that it couldn't work the other way too.
Full-duplex pipes did in fact meet the standard; it was the
verification suite that, in an excess of zeal, didn't conform.
The developers were absolutely delighted with this. They too
thought it was stupid to have two different kinds of pipes,
particularly given our experience that full-duplex delimited
pipes didn't break anything. They were very happy to have
Research not just yell at them for doing things differently
from us, but help them figure out how to justify doing things
I don't know just how they took this further with management,
but as it came out in SVr4, pipe(2) returned a full-duplex
stream. This is still true even unto Solaris 10, where I just
I made friends that day. That developer group kept in touch
with me as they did further work on pipes, the terminal driver,
pseudo-ttys, and other things. I didn't agree with everything
they did, but we were able to discuss it all cordially.
Sometimes the verification program just needs to be fixed.
And sometimes the developers that seem set on doing the wrong
thing really want help in subverting whatever is forcing that
on them, because they really do know what the right thing is.
Just had a look at RFC-1, my first look ever. First thing I noticed is
the enormous amount of abbreviations one is assumed to be able to
instantly place :-)
So looking up IMP for instance the wiki page gives me this funny titbit
"When Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy learned of BBN's
accomplishment in signing this million-dollar agreement, he sent a
telegram congratulating the company for being contracted to build the
"Interfaith Message Processor"."