[mailhist-discuss] Beginning to record the timeline: a very rough draft

Suzanne Johnson fuhn at pobox.com
Fri May 18 11:26:25 PDT 2012

In the article Dave Crocker wrote for the Washington Post, the 
collaborative nature of email development was emphasized.  While I 
would usually prefer brevity for an exercise like a timeline, I 
believe that may leave out the richness of the collaboration that led 
to the development and evolution of what we (mostly) take for granted 
today.  The types of dates cited by John Vittal tend to demonstrate 
the cross organizational efforts that gave rise to rapid development 
and dissemination  of the capability.

I feel the more complete we can make this collection of information, 
even if all can't be shown on a timeline,  the easier it will be for 
folks in the future to understand the collaboratively complex 
evolution of email.

    --Suzanne Johnson

>On 5/11/2012 7:52 AM, John Vittal wrote:
>>  My initial reaction is that I think that the "when" column needs some
>>  more information, or (at least) two columns (e.g. when developed, when
>>  put into service, when publicly released).
>>  For example, MSG was developed in 1974.  My friends at ISI, PARC, and
>>  Arpa were using it then.  But, it was "announced" to the "public" via
>>  MSGGROUP in 1975.
>>  Also, for example, 733 was released in 1977, but its development started
>>  in 1975
>John's highlighted an inherent challenge in an exercise like this.
>My own view is that and entry should have only a single date, for
>simplicity.  To the extent that more detail is helpful, we should cite a
>document providing it.  The chart is already larger than one might wish
>for and I think we need to strive for as much simplicity as we can get
>away with.
>Unlike intellectual property legal debates, we can afford to be
>approximate.  The date chosen matters, and we need to be clear about the
>meaning of a date, but I think we should make our lives and the effort
>of readers as easy as we can while still being useful.
>Here's my own current thought on what specific action should inform the
>date we provide:
>     *  Invention -- first demonstration.
>        An implementation made a capability real.
>     *  Standard --  initial publication
>        The details were stable and had relevant consensus.
>     *  Commercial -- initial release
>        The product or service was real and the company committed to
>        its use.
>As John's note makes clear, these dates come potentially long after the
>investment began.  At a minimum this distinguishes between first having
>an idea versus later having a capability.
>We can slice this up many ways.  What do the rest of you think?
>   Dave Crocker
>   bbiw.net
>mailhist-discuss mailing list
>mailhist-discuss at emailhistory.org

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