Pssst: Al Gore didn’t invent the internet … here’s who did.

The Orator-in-Chief touched a nerve with his remark “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

Let’s explore another aspect of the Roanoke Reveal.

One of Obama’s points-of-proof: there wouldn’t be an internet (or internet companies) without the government.

“The Internet didn’t get invented on its own.  Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”

Great piece in the WSJ debunks that assertion.

It’s an urban legend that the government launched the Internet.

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.

For many technologists, the idea of the Internet traces to Vannevar Bush, the presidential science adviser during World War II who oversaw the development of radar and the Manhattan Project.

By the 1960s technologists were trying to connect separate physical communications networks into one global network—a “world-wide web.”

The federal government was involved, modestly, via the Pentagon’s Advanced Research Projects Agency Network. Its goal was maintaining communications during a nuclear attack, and it didn’t build the Internet.

Robert Taylor, who ran the ARPA program in the 1960s has set the record straight: ” The Arpanet was not an Internet. An Internet is a connection between two or more computer networks.”

If the government didn’t invent the Internet, who did?

Vinton Cerf developed the TCP/IP protocol, the Internet’s backbone, and Tim Berners-Lee gets credit for hyperlinks.

But full credit goes to  Xerox.

It was at the Xerox PARC labs in Silicon Valley in the 1970s that the Ethernet was developed to link different computer networks.

Xerox PARC researchers realized they couldn’t wait for the government to connect different networks, so they would have to do it themselves.

It’s important to understand the history of the Internet because it’s too often wrongly cited to justify big government.

It’s also important to recognize that building great technology businesses requires both innovation and the skills to bring innovations to market.

More details in the article.

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