ARPANET pioneer Jack Haverty says the Internet was never perfect, adding that many patches should have been applied, but never been


Jack Haverty, one of the pioneers of the ARPANET, considered the precursor to the Internet as we know it today, said recently that the revolutionary infrastructure for packet communications was never completed. According to Haverty, the initial structure of the Internet, which was considered experimental, has not changed over the past 50 years. Also, prior to his retirement, he reportedly came up with a list of fixes that should have been implemented, but no changes have been made to the network yet.

The ARPANET (US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency – DARPA) network was the first packet-switched computer network. It was first used in 1969 and was eventually decommissioned in 1989. ARPANET was used primarily for academic and research purposes. Many of the protocols used by computer networks today were developed for the ARPANET, which is a precursor to the modern Internet. In fact, the Internet was born out of a desire to extend the ARPANET to the general public, an initiative greatly facilitated by the creation of the Web at CERN in Europe.

Jack Haverty was a sponsor of Professor JCR Licklider (Joseph Carl Robinet Licklider, American computer scientist) in the early 1970s, when he was working on the new ARPANET. He is specifically responsible for the development of the File Transfer Protocol (FTP), the RFC format still used by Internet standards and one of the first email systems in the world. Contemporaries of Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn, Haverty later joined Oracle in the 1990s and worked with the likes of Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the web, to create connections between web servers and databases.

According to Haverty, creating the ARPANET was a completely “messy and sloppy” process, in which many ideas were dropped along the way without warning and others remained unchanged. On Monday, Haverty delivered a keynote speech at the Asia Pacific Regional Internet Conference on Operational Technologies (APRICOT). He noted that the Internet as we know it began in late 1981, when interest shifted to network exploitation and the development of communication technology, interconnection capable of providing reliable service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

During one of the quarterly meetings, Vint Cerf came and threw a bombshell at us: “He said TCP has become a standard.” Our immediate reaction, or at least our reaction, was to say, “Wait, it’s not done yet. We have a long list of things that we still have to work out,” Haverty recalls in his speech. According to him, the technology got out of the hands of developers even before they felt ready to part with it. He explained that the teams he worked with always expected to correct and refine their work, not build on what he called “experience”.

“There are all kinds of operational issues that we have looked at and developed, but we haven’t moved into the real world,” he said. At Oracle, Haverty worked to add flexibility to TCP, which at the time interpreted slow data transfers as unwanted redundancies. Since leaving Oracle, he’s become, in his own words, a simple user. Now I’m just one of billions of users. So I don’t really know what’s going on inside the networks today and I literally haven’t paid attention to it for decades,” Haverty said.

After a friend asked for his help with a malfunctioning app, Haverty began studying how the modern Internet works. We’ve found, to my surprise, that tools like TCP dump, Wireshark, Ping, Traceroute and all those tools I used in the ’80s and ’90s, still work.” However, what’s interesting about what Haverty says is his friend’s problem: the data being transferred over distances. Long arrives at varying speeds, which disrupts the application’s launch.This is the same problem he encountered in Oracle.

My conclusion is that the Internet is amazing. None of us thought it could last that long or grow so long. As it was 50 years ago, the Internet should only work, but in reality it still does. Haverty added that there is still a long list of things to do. Some of these improvements, such as improvements to the TCP protocol, which were close to its heart in the 1990s, remain unresolved.

And you?

What do you think about it?
What do you think of Jack Haverty’s comments?
Do you think the internet needs improvement? If so why?

See also

50 years ago, the Internet was born in Room 3420 in Boelter Hall at UCLA, and the first message sent was “LO” from a computer at UCLA to another computer at Stanford Research Institute

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Tim Berners-Lee Thinks We Can Still Save The Web, WWW’s 30th Anniversary, And He Would Like To See It Come Out Of Adolescence

Tim Berners-Lee launched Contract for the Web, a plan to prevent the web from descending into a digital dystopia, incorporated into nine different principles

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