[TUHS] RIP Ray Tomlinson

Clem Cole clemc at ccc.com
Mon Mar 5 08:22:16 AEST 2018

On Sun, Mar 4, 2018 at 4:47 PM, Dave Horsfall <dave at horsfall.org> wrote:

> On Sun, 4 Mar 2018, Paul Winalski wrote:
> [ ... ] I don't know if PLATO's email was capable of transmitting messages
>> between computer systems; Tomlinson may have been the first to do that.
> That's the claim, yes.

​I just finished Brian Dear's 'Friendly Orange Glow" and Plato was after

> But the concept of email goes way back.
> Indeed, it does, but only on the same system.

Some sort of messaging between users was pretty standard on timeshared
systems.   It was in IBM and DEC systems in the late 60s.  But if you
believe the Internet history in Katie Hafner's 'Where Wizards Stay Up Late'
Tomlinson ​extended to the ArpaNet - where is why the @ was important.  The
book is great but the whole chapter on Mail formats is really a fun
read.   ArpaNet
mail had been around a for a few years before any attempt to standardize it
occurred.   This was in part because most of the systems were supplied by
DARPA and thus had some level of commoniality - al buet extensively
modified (TOPS-10 vs TENEX vs ITS).    Brian Reed is quoted in that book
extensively and I remember some of the events described between the
PDP-10's that made up most of the ArpaNet in those days.

I always have gotten a kick out of SMTP being considered 'simple' - but
given then before that email was a hacked on to FTP  and really was a
kludge and after though.

BTW: Paul's comment about DECnet's use of double colon (muchless UUCP's use
of bang) to describe separate 'nodes' is all post ArpaNet and Tomlinson's
original work.    DEC did not even start the work on DECnet, nor IBM on SNA
until long after the ArpaNet succeeded.   In fact, both firms originally
poo-pooed the ideas [again read Katie's book -- a fascinating history].

As for the 'tosser' that is making claims, I am under the impression he
some how succeeded in getting a copyright for it.  How is unclear, but he
did.   And that's his claim for invention based on work he did which he
admits was in 1978 -- which is 7-10 years after the ArpaNet:  [
http://fortune.com/2016/03/07/who-really-invented-email/.]  To me, a
strange part is that he suing people that claim otherwise.  I really don't
see how he can win those, but I'm not a laywer and I guess copyright gives
him certain rights.   O note that, I have been using messaging system - aka
email, pretty nearly ever day since I first start using computers in the
late 1960s.  So I have a very hard time taking this guy seriously.


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