[mailhist-discuss] Segments of email history

Suzanne Johnson fuhn at pobox.com
Tue Apr 10 10:36:26 PDT 2012

>On 4/10/2012 7:34 AM, Craig Partridge wrote:
>>  I think we're miscommunicating, so let me try again.
>>  DNS made it possible to adopt hierarchical names in the Internet.  It also
>>  provided a possible template for hierarchical naming elsewhere.
>>  The decision by other networks to adopt not just hierarchy but the DNS
>>  hierarchy, and for the Internet folks to respect subdomains created by
>>  other networks, made it seamless -- and that was done at a meeting chaired
>>  by Jake Feinler at SRI in January 1986.  The other networks had to develop
>>  their own lookup mechanisms internally.

do you recall if this meeting included attendance by  cc:mail folks? 
While there were eventually gateways to smtp from cc:mail, the naming 
conventions in cc:mail supported use of spaces.  At Intel at this 
time (approx 1986-87), most of the business side of the corp was 
using cc:mail with names including spaces.  Those folks could not be 
reached by mail from the Internet.  cc:mail also seemed to have had a 
deleterious effect on network architecture, especially for a 
world-wide organization.  Imagine a world-wide bridged network with 
odd instabilities caused by the mail system.  The first router for 
general purpose use came into Intel for use in upgrading the CSnet 
connection from PhoneNet.

>  >
>>  It was entirely possible, and indeed, gently threatened at that meeting
>>  that the networks would adopt some other hierarchical scheme.
>Well, this definitely underscores the importance of operational choices, as
>opposed to technology "invention".
>I always highlight a critical contribution of NSFNet as forcing support for
>multiple IP backbones (resulting in the creation of BGP).  Prior to NSFNet,
>there was officially only the BBN backbone, with tidbits of other unofficial
>backbones, but they were supported in an entirely ad hoc manner. 
>NSFNet forced a
>serious solution.
>While I knew that CSNet was the first time Arpa delegated authority for adding
>new sites to the net (albeit through indirect connections, initially) I hadn't
>thought about the emerging set of independent email services as composing
>multiple backbones that were being integrated.  You reference to "threat"
>highlights the reality of this.

After a period of dual mail system use, some senior engr. mgs at 
Intel pressed the IT folks who were implementing cc:mail on why it 
was easier and more reliable to send email half way around the work 
on the Internet than to send email to another corporate site via 
cc:mail.  Encounters such as this led to a large internal effort to 
decide on a single network architecture and move forward to 
standardizing on it.  Internet architecture won out (approx 1992). 
These experiences also helped to facilitate the inclusion of native 
TCP/IP support in the PC, rather than having to purchase 3rd party 
hardware and software.

>What 1-3 word tag would you use for this 'consortium' decision in 
>email history?
>   Dave Crocker
>   Brandenburg InternetWorking
>   bbiw.net
>mailhist-discuss mailing list
>mailhist-discuss at emailhistory.org

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