TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: More on Internet and Patent History

More on Internet and Patent History
3 Apr 2007 20:51:58 -0700

Per our ongoing discussion, I recommend the book, "Computer: A history
of the Information Machine" by Martin Campbell-Kelly and William

One thing the book covers is the famous patent/copyright battle
between Apple and Microsoft over the "look and feel" of Windows Version
2; Apple lost.

It also details some of the pioneering thoughts of today's Internet.
Some of it was conceived by the inventor of the analog computer,
Vannevar Bush, who wrote about information supply machines in 1945 and
later. It discusses the various cultural, economic, and social issues
that led to the pieces that eventually became the Internet, some
planned, some unplanned and unexpected.

ARPA devised "TCP/IP" protocol. Was it patented? Did IBM patent
their Bi-Sync and later SNA protocols? Did Bell patent its early
dial- up handshaking? Does JCR Licklider, director of a ARPA computer
defense project in 1962, hold to sponsor any patents? The book says
he produced "a stream of new technologies of wide applicability".

Interestly, Bell Labs was a subcontractor to write the software for
Multics, an early time sharing system for APRA. Normally Bell Labs
would not be allowed to do such a thing (as discussed previously, it
was strictly restricted to the telephone and defense business only).

Time sharing required a facility known as "Dynamic Address
Translation". I wonder if this was patented. IBM chose not to
include it in its original System/360 line in 1964 and not support
timesharing, but General Electric did and their machines were used for
early timeshared computers. IBM later added this to its System/360
model 67 and its System/370 line. Time sharing proved to be a lot
harder to implemented than first predicted; it was a heavy CPU and
meory drain which was a problem on the technology of the 1960s.

Some in the early 1960s predicted time sharing would allow
"democratization" of computer services, by allowing acess by anyone
through a terminal to an expensive computer. Some of these published
predictions described the Internet as we have it today [in 2007] as
being available in 1990, it took another full decade for that to come
to fruition.

The book also covers various other aspects of the computer and
information processing industry.

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