The Team That Put the Net in Orbit

As a young NASA engineer during the 1980s, Milo Medin liked to irritate his managers by building scientific computer networks using freely available Internet software that outperformed more costly commercial systems.He was a member of a rebel generation of engineers and scientists that created what would become the commercial Internet during a tumultuous decade. And this group did so by ignoring conventions and adopting a cooperative spirit that turned into the hallmark of the open source software movement.Some 220 of the original Internet pioneers met here at the end of November to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the NSFnet, the scientific data network that was originally constructed to tie together the nation’s five supercomputer centers and that would ultimately explode into today’s Internet. By the time the academic network was shut down in 1996, it connected 6.6 million host computers and extended to 93 countries.

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