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Notes From the 30th Internet Anniversary at UCLA 34

mathowie writes "Here's my notes from the 30th Internet anniversary event that took place at UCLA on Thursday. This is a very long, very detailed piece, but worth your time to read if you're interested in learning where the Internet might be heading in the next 5 - 10 years.

A Recap of the 30th Anniversary of the Internet Celebration at UCLA

September 2, 1999 by Matthew Haughey

Thirty years ago today, the first communication between the Interface Message Processor (IMP) and a host computer took place in a Computer Science Lab at UCLA. The ARPAnet was born, with four nodes by the end of 1969. Today amid the current explosion of Internet growth, the pioneers gathered along with the forerunners of the internet revolution to commemorate that first event and talk about where we are today and where we go from here.

As I walked in, I caught Leonard Kleinrock in the lobby being mobbed by reporters doing interviews in front of the original IMP. As you can see in the photo, several local news and radio outlets covered the event. I had hoped to see some of the footage on the 11 o'clock news, but as I write this, it's just after 11:30, and I only saw a few seconds and quick mention on one of the network news shows.

After 20 minutes of mulling around past the original start time, The Chancellor started off the event with a quick welcome and general speech about how the internet has spread and enriched our lives. The Chair of the Engineering School at UCLA spoke next for about 15 minutes, discussing the impact of Leonard Kleinrock's achievements and Len's great rapport with his former students.

Len Kleinrock took the stage and recounted the 20th Anniversary event, which was a symposium held at UCLA, the 25th Anniversary event, which was held in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a recent gathering just a few days ago up in Stanford. Those events, he said, focused on the rich history of how the ARPAnet was built and how it eventually lead up what we call The Internet today. Rather than delve into the past, he went on, today's event was going to center around where the Internet will lead us into the future. I was a bit surprised at first, but relieved that I wasn't going to see a rehash of the history, but a refreshing dialogue between the brilliant set of panelists of what they felt was to come.

Dr. Kleinrock then laid down the ground rules for the day. There would be four panels, and he would act as chair of the event, introducing each moderator. He introduced the first panel, titled "Gorillas", which was supposed to represent the proverbial 900 lb. gorillas of the Internet industry. Joining the moderator, Kipling Hagopian of Brentwood Venture Capital were Christine Hemrick of Cisco, Daniel Rosen of Microsoft, George Vradenburg of AOL, and Ronald Whittier of Intel.

Everyone on the panel was in good spirits and took some gentle jabs from the moderator. When the moderator made a joke about the justice department's crackdown on Microsoft, the representatives of Microsoft and AOL both praised the low regulation of the industry thus far and accredited their rapid and extreme growth with the "hands off" policy of the U.S. government. They also stated their support for ICANN and the deregulation of the Internet's domain namespace.

In response to a question about the growth of Cisco, Christine Hemrick praised openness and non-ownership of industry standards like TCP/IP. Since no one owned TCP/IP, she said, anyone could start a company that based their communications on that protocol. The moderator asked several questions about bringing broadband into the home, and whether cable or DSL would be the key technology. Ms. Hemrick stressed that wireless technologies might surpass the capabilities and availability of cable and DSL very soon, which was a good thing to hear.

The panelists were a sharp group of people. Whenever a question about upcoming technology was posed, they acknowledged the fact that the industry moves so fast that no one knows what we will be using in 5 years for any specific technology. They pointed to the audience several times and said that someone among us could start a new company tomorrow with technology that could blow away anything their corporations had done before. When the panel was asked about the longevity of their large corporations, they agreed that scalability was important, to grow with the industry, but trying to stay as close as possible to customers and continuing to address their needs was also important.

All the panelists talked about how hard it was to stay ahead of everyone, to continue as industry leaders with so many competitors on their heels. When asked about the future, one panelist commented that soon the term "e-commerce" would be meaningless, due to a blurring between conventional commerce and commerce done over the Internet. Someday soon, they said, every business would have some aspect of it that would be Internet related. All in all, the four panelists were charismatic, well-spoken, and a hip bunch, making a few jokes about Al Gore inventing the Internet.

The second panel was for the people behind recent industry successes, titled "Netpreneurs." It was moderated by Willem Mesdag of Goldman Sachs and the panelists were David Bohnett, founder of GeoCities, Eric Brewer, co-founder of Inktomi, Sky Dayton, founder of EarthLink, John Payne, CEO of, and Henry Sameueli, co-founder of Broadcom.

It was amazing that no company represented on the panel was created before 1991, with most of them formed in either 1995 or 1996, yet they all had market caps of at least a billion dollars each. Overall, the second panel wasn't as interesting as the first bunch of panelists, some of their answers sounded like a press release. This was especially true for Sky Dayton, who sounded like he was repeating his radio commercials in response to every question he was asked. When asked how they became successful, each panelist talked about how their company filled a void not covered by a larger company, and how they could move faster than a large corporation. Sky Dayton stressed this, the size of your company compared to your competitors was unimportant. What mattered most was the speed at which you could respond to changes in the industry, economy, and customer base. He said that if you were starting a new company, focus on one specific area of the market, and stick to it. Don't try to be monolithic agencies that can do everything like Microsoft tries to be, he said, just do one thing really well and you can emerge as a market leader. He also pitched his new company for budding entrepreneurs, they are setting up a clearinghouse of new ideas, and intend to fund business plans that catch their eye. When asked about the potential for new companies Dayton said something interesting, he estimated that the development of the Internet as a "thing" was about 20% done at most. That even in 1999, we were just barely scratching the surface of what is possible, he said. Overall the session was enlightening and I came away with a new found enthusiasm to get my ideas out the door.

The third panel was perhaps the most interesting. It was titled "eConsumers" and was moderated by Patt Morrison of the LA Times, who was joined by John Barlow, co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Jeffrey Cole, director of UCLA's Center for Communication Policy, Alan Kay, VP of Imagineering at Disney, and Dan Lynch, founder of Cybercash.

Although the panel was supposed to focus only on consumer issues, the topics discussed ran the gamut, from personal privacy issues to numerous "what if" scenarios of our future ultra-wired world, and the social implications of each. Patt Morrison moderated as a sort of devil's advocate, asking for the panel's reaction to several cynical questions like trusting e-commerce vendors, internet rumors becoming news, and how our lives may be hindered by the burden of technology. Surprisingly, the panel, which had varied opinions on most topics, all found something positive in each question and future scenario. An ebay deal gone bad meant a user could learn to be more careful of sellers, news could not be trusted and should be approached with skepticism, and our lives could be made much better by an increased use of technology by saving us time spent on mundane tasks like paying bills or waiting in lines while shopping.

Intellectual property and copyright issues were discussed, where John Barlow and Alan Kay agreed that intellectual property was dead, and that ideas should be given away freely. Mr. Barlow talked about how every article he's written is freely available online, which allows him to generate revenue from unwritten works. Publishers can see all his writing, he went on, and they pay for new pieces to be written. He said he didn't worry about copyright, because his most valuable ideas were the ones he hasn't had yet. John said it was the philosophy behind the Grateful Dead (whom he wrote songs for); they allowed their shows to be freely taped and exchanged, and they derived revenue from people wanting to see them perform live.

Alan and John also talked about how a lot of intellectual property is meaningless to much of the population, that a technical idea is so complex that few people understand it, regardless of whether or not it is in the public domain. Dr. Kay used Linux as an example of this, the kernel is so complex that one in a million people can understand it all and contribute programming expertise. But with the advent of the Internet, he added, finding that one in a million is easy, and 100 or more people can be brought together to work on it. He praised the development of the ARPAnet because it was open, allowing researchers from all over to contribute to a greater good, and said in today's climate a large corporation would probably try to make much of it proprietary and hinder its development.

When asked how Linux can generate revenue, Alan said that like the Grateful Dead example, giving away Linux meant that large fees could be found in consulting, helping companies use the technology to their advantage. He then mentioned something that dropped just about everyone's jaw: he said that the company with the biggest revenue in the computer industry was not Microsoft, but IBM's consulting business, which he said brings in double the revenue that Microsoft does selling software, just by showing companies how to use technology in their business (which Linux is a part of). Alan Kay stood out as an extremely articulate guy with numerous enlightened answers, and everyone on the panel had great things to say about what the future might be like.

The fourth and final panel, titled "Beyond Today's Internet" was moderated by Stephen Segaller of WNET, the PBS station behind the Triumph of the Nerds series. He was joined by the four pioneers of the original ARAPnet, Vinton Cerf, now with MCI, Robert Kahn, now with the Corporation for National Research Initiatives, Leonard Kleinrock, of the UCLA Computer Science Department, and Lawrence Roberts, now of Packetcom

Along with the theme of the day's event, the forefathers of today's Internet focused solely on the future. Since they all have networking backgrounds, the first question was whether or not the network could keep up with client demands. The four panelists unanimously agreed that the capacity of the network would continue to expand at a rate greater than our immediate needs. They acknowledged the limits of the current IP naming system, and that IPv6 would expand the limit of addresses to near 10^38. Len Kleinrock had a problem with these imposed limits and Vint Cerf joked that 10^38 IP addresses would mean enough for "a web page for every molecule on earth." Len clarified his protest and stated that we should instead design variable length solutions to the problem, solutions that offer unlimited means. When asked about limits of physical devices like routers handling packet switching, they agreed that packet switching would probably be replaced by an unknown technology, and that physical capacities of networks would increase with the increased use of fiber. Len said instead of digital packets traveling through copper wire, in the future, it would just be pulses of light traveling along fiber. They all spoke of the proposed growth of the Internet, to surpass one billion people online in the next decade, and they mentioned something that was discussed briefly on an earlier panel; that someday soon, anything you buy over a certain price, say $25, would offer connectivity to the internet for a specific reason. Not a toaster that checks email, but each appliance would use the Internet for communication purposes.

This was another reason Len used to support unlimited IP addressing, due to the fact that billions of devices would need to access the internet. Questions asked by the moderator were mostly big picture, and the panel discussed them at that level. They talked about distant futures, when billions of people would be interacting with billions of devices, we would see drastic changes in Human-Computer interaction. They even alluded to the similarities between an enormous interconnected network of people and machines approaching the complexity of organic beings. The panel agreed with earlier panels that what were are witnessing is bigger than the industrial revolution. The knowledge explosion, as many called it, was going to fundamentally change how we do everything in the future.

Overall, it was an amazing experience. Among all the speakers and panelists, there were several messages that came across. The mood of everyone thinking about the future was one of optimism and opportunity. The interconnecting of everyone person on earth will trigger a knowledge revolution that will have deep, drastic changes on our lives and those around us. But if these future developments are met with some skepticism, and intelligence, it will undoubtedly be a good thing.

Matthew Haughey September 3, 1999

My photos from the event can be seen here

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Notes From the 30th Internet Anniversary at UCLA

Comments Filter:
  • must be working, 'cause how else could some nobody like myself, communicate (albeit ineffectively) with so many, for almost free. congratulations net.
  • Perhaps the biggest problem I can see , at least in the US, is the very slow broadband deployment. This will limit the introduction of new web technologies, and slow the ability for more complex files/scripts, etc. to be used. I think we will be entereing the golden age of the Internet very soon, but we won't be doing it on 28.8 or even 56k modems.

  • I'm very impressed that Kleinrock was openly skeptical of the 2^128 ipv6 limit. That shows someone with real perspective to look beyond his own perspective and what seems obvious today.

    All limits are broken some time, no matter how strange it seems today.

    /. is like a steer's horns, a point here, a point there and a lot of bull in between.

  • The Internet was developed with technology garnered from a UFO which crash-landed in 1968 just off Mass. Ave. in Cambridge, narrowly missing the Necco Wafer factory and coming to rest a couple of blocks roughly southeast. That thing with the cooling tower isn't a nuclear reactor at all. It's a secret lab built over the remains of the spacecraft.

    Lies, lies, lies. You'll never get the truth from Slashdot, that's for sure.

  • Great info. Thanks for an informative and provocative piece.
  • by Effugas ( 2378 ) on Saturday September 04, 1999 @06:44AM (#1704590) Homepage
    The most pressing problem with IPV6 isn't that there aren't enough addresses--10^38 is a workable amount--it's that, as far as I've seen(and I beg anybody who knows better to correct me) there are no procedures in place to distribute those addresses in correct proportions.

    Back in the early days of the net, Class A addresses with 16 million entries were tossed out. Why not? 16 million out of a few billion is nothing...of course, now with the advent of CIDR and the shortages of address space, those numbers are desperately needed.

    The disturbingly unwieldy sizes of full-length IPV6 addresses would be less bothersome if I actually knew the plan by which those addresses would be distributed. Someone more qualified, please comment.

    One final note--as far as I know, while IPV6 allows IPs to be compressed in presentation(i.e. could compress down to 127::, since the leading zeros can be presumed by subtracting the typed length from the fixed length), the actual packet requires the full spread. Won't this slow down routing to some degree, as the router needs to wait longer before receiving enough data to forward the packet to its destination? For that matter, shouldn't destination preceed source, for that exact reason?

    OK, I'm going to go away now while some encluphonates me thoroughly.

    Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research

    Once you pull the pin, Mr. Grenade is no longer your friend.
  • To mark the event, they could've sent the same first message off to the host... or did the lag from all the skrip kiddies/warez folks prevent that? >G
  • Who is the author of this piece? It had the length of a Jon Katz, but was way more informative. Good job! Thanks for documenting this historic anniversary so eloquently!
  • ( OC3 to the apartment complex and 100baseT to each apartment. Many LAN parties and gamers here. Lots of telecommunters. Many people run servers out of their apartments and if you don't know how to do something with your computere their is almost always someone in the complex that does. But wait, that's not all. There are 4 other apartment complexes in the same town and eventually they will all be one big MAN
  • I went over to a co-worker's place today to pick up an old Mac that they were giving away, and we chatted briefly about their new son. They suggested that he'd probably grow up to be a programmer, but then we hit on the idea that that will probably be meaningless by the time he grows up. Likely, "programmer" will be about as meaningful as "typist" is today. Everyone types.

    This lead us to the thought that computers will likely be unrecognizable by then as well. "Computer? Oh, you mean this?" (points at top button on shirt). Yep, with that sort of a scenario, and the prospect that IPv6 will be given out only slightly less sloppily than v4, I suspect the number crunch will exist again by 2020....
  • uhh, it sez right at the top, Matthew Haughey []
  • heres a brief overview of the specs of the ISP that I'd like to be using.

    -Totally decentralized.
    -Based on fiber, so bandwidth can be added by adding a new wavelength (hopefully dynamic)
    -Addressing is not doled out- it is based on physical location (lat/longitude).
    -Pub/Private key based, using physically verified webs of trust and not a central authority.
    -Noone owns it- I buy a box and connect it to my neighbors (who are in charge of verifying my identity and making sure I dont masquerade packets)
    -Opensourced hardware and software (of course)

    Now obviously its a little ways off, but I think that in the days to come there will arise intentional communities (geekhouses, geekblocks, geekcities) who will use precursors to a system like this and it will grow from there to take over the presently too centralized net.
    In fact- if you would like to come up to arcata, CA (humboldt county) I have a loft (that needs some work) I'd like to use to start a geek house upon this principle and would like to work on starting a cooperative ISP in the area (maybe wireless) The politics around here would be conducive to it, though maybe there are more geeks elsewhere.
  • I doubt if the total number of addresses would be exceeded, but it seems plausible that there would be situations where one would want the freedom to add bits to an existing addressing scheme, in order to gateway it to another network or address system.
    For instance, if you build a whizbang superfast neutrino network in the year 2028, and want to attach it to the existing internet, you could either (a) attach it through a gateway similar to ip_masquerade, where each packet is rewritten (try that at 80 Gbps, or (b) attach it directly to existing routers, with no address translation required, so long as the additional address bits can be appended to the end and forwarded intact. Variable length addressing would be helpful for (b).
  • addressing based on latitute and longitude? oops, there went what little privacy i have left...
    also the difficulty of laptops accessing such a system ( gps? ) would drive prices up... no thanks.
  • Seven computers will be sufficient to satisfy the world's entire computing requirement. And 640 Kbytes is more memory than the biggest PC user will ever need.

    If there's one thing that computer people should have learned by now, it's that limits have a habit of being reached sooner than expected. Len Kleinrock is right to question the lack of extensibility in IPv6 addressing. It *will* bite us one day, and sooner than we think.

    Maybe the more visionary kernel coders should get together and develop a stack for Linux or BSD based on one of the designs for extensible IP addressing. It's still early days for IPv6, and there is still ample opportunity for an upstart alternative design and implementation to make it big and become a de facto standard. And that would be good for us in the long run, which may be a lot less long than we think.
  • RE: 10^38 is enough

    It should be enough however companies like Microsoft have got big slabs of the pie early (i might be mistaken but that was my understanding). Also if we want to get every appliance in the house/garden on the net it might be pushing it, but is an average of 2.2*10^20 addresses per square centimetre overkill?

    RE: Address assignment

    [Taken from: ddress.htm [] ]
    The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) has the responsibility for the management of the IPv6 address space [4], with the advice of the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) and the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG).

    Also from [] it mentions a paper that tells you how to allocate your own site local addresses
  • would drive prices up? how do you figure, its free 'cept for your own hardware.
  • by CmdrTaco ( 1 )
  • The subject line doesn't match the body of your reply: the subject suggests that variable-length IP addresses are already here, but then you clarify in the body that it's only domain names that have variable length.

    Well, that isn't good enough. We have not hit any limits with domain names precisely because they are totally extensible overall and also in each component part, whereas the limits on IPv4 addresses are a daily headache right now, and the limits on IPv6 addressing will be a daily headache for us in the future, sooner than we think.

    The suggestion that extensible IP addresses should be avoided because of the difficulty it might cause router manufacturers is so short-sighted that it's just a joke. If the existing crop of manufacturers can't come up with an efficient routing algorithm for extensible addresses then they should die and leave the profits to newer outfits that are willing to engage a few brain cells to solve the problem.
  • by Anonymous Coward

%DCL-MEM-BAD, bad memory VMS-F-PDGERS, pudding between the ears