A key figure in the development of the Internet in Europe and the Netherlands, Kees Neggers found himself at the center of the so-called "Protocol Wars" of the 80s and 90s.
Neggers’ strategy at that time was to focus on what worked, collaborating with a host of agencies around the globe with a “win-win” philosophy. In this way, he would lead the effort to create the first Internet Service Provider (ISP) backbone in Europe. "Global networking needs global collaboration,” he asserted when, in 2013, he was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame.
"I was able to bridge technical people and policy people all over the world,” he told the Internet Hall of Fame in a recent interview. “In doing so, I always focused on creating organizational structures that would last, that would create win-win situations."
Neggers' involvement began as deputy director of the Computer Centre at the Catholic University of Nijmegen (now Radboud University), which became the Dutch node for IBM's European Academic and Research Network (EARN).
He became EARN director for the Netherlands. "As a result, I was involved in all areas of networking—local, national and international," he said.
The country was in an economic slump in the early 80s, when academic computer centers were focused mostly on mainframes. “There was not enough...
The Guardian’s ‘Chips with Everything’ podcast has launched a four-part series that explores the United Nation’s July resolution that considers Internet access to be a basic human right.
The issue has been debated in the UN General Assembly going back as far as 2009, and finally passed last month as an extension of Article 19 of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
From the podcast series introduction: “While the decision may seem straightforward, with the complex nature of human rights law considered, the resolution is far from simple. To investigate, we talk to United Nations’ special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye; the co-creator of the Internet, Vint Cerf; and the human rights lawyer and founder of rightsinfo.org Adam Wagner.”
Part two of the four-part series is available now. Follow the Internet Hall of Fame blog to find out when parts three and four are published.
Thirty years ago, a visionary effort by Dr. Glenn Ricart to interconnect the computer networks of all the departments at the University of Maryland, College Park, wasn’t very well received.
It was the first time computer networks on a college campus had been “interconnected,” and while this may have sounded valuable in theory, the real-world application didn’t show as much benefit in practice as Dr. Ricart – the university’s academic chief information officer at the time – had hoped.
“It turns out that the philosophers didn’t really want to talk to the chemical engineers or the business school professors. And the business school professors didn’t want to talk to the philosophers or to the engineers. They wanted to talk to the business professors at other schools,” Dr. Ricart recalled.
This was an “ah-ha” moment for Dr. Ricart – one that set the stage for a series of events that would lead first to the slightly surreptitious networking of colleges and academic organizations across the U.S. (more on that later), and then to the addition of commercial institutions to that network.
Dr. Ricart will tell you these events were accidental or lucky. “Half of it is being in the right place at the right time,” he asserted. But this is only partly true. At every turn – at every obstacle or perceived misstep – Dr. Ricart seized the opportunity to adapt and adjust his vision.
“The focus of my work during the 1980s was interconnecting people and the...
2013 Internet Hall of Fame inductee Dr. Glenn Ricart continues his pioneering work to enable greater Internet access and development through the non-profit, US Ignite. Formed by Dr. Ricart in 2010 and announced at the White House on June 14, 2012, the organization brings together corporations, universities and federal agencies to develop applications and services designed for the next generation of the Internet.
These applications are meant to have a profound impact on the way Americans work, live, and learn. “We’re developing applications that take advantage of an Internet that is fast enough to be in sync with the real world,” Dr. Ricart said.
The technology is focused in six areas: healthcare, clean energy, transportation, education and workforce development, public safety, and advanced manufacturing. Applications are designed to be open and sharable, spurring business growth, the development of software-defined networks and ultra high-speed broadband.
The concept for US Ignite began when Thomas Kalil of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy asked Dr. Ricart a relatively simple question: “What’s going to happen next with the Internet?”
“When Tom asked, I really didn’t know. So I talked to academics and corporations and others and eventually developed a point of view on what the next generation of the Internet might look like,” said Dr. Ricart. “Then we began to talk...
In our modern, fast-paced world of e-commerce, smartphones and social media, it’s hard to imagine – or remember – life without the Internet.
In reality, it took half a century of hard work and innovation to bring the Internet about, with contributions from a global network of individuals, institutions and organizations—each with a story to tell.
There are numerous sources designed to chronicle the resulting history of the Internet—each offering a somewhat unique perspective—and we’ve compiled a few our favorites here.
The Computer History Museum is an information-packed source for Internet history and the history of just about everything related to computers.
The website regularly shares articles, exhibits and educational videos, including seminars and spirited panel discussions hosted by the museum. Visually-pleasing and easy to navigate, the site scores big points for free lesson...