"Because I have responsibility. For Walled City. Distributed Processing."
With that line in a book from 1996 by William Gibson an idea was born. It settled and percolated over time. Other ideas rose. New technologies were devised. The net grew.....
In 1984 William Gibson gave the world his vision of a networked future. Within it he coined a term ... CyberSpace. No one knew what cyberspace was, but within a few years it had become a reality for the masses. At the time William Gibson wrote his seminal work the internet was mainly a place for universities and the government along with a few chosen contractors.
1957 the USSR launched a small insignificant satellite into orbit and changed the world. The space race was on, followed closely by the nuclear arms race. In 1969 DARPA/ARPA had devised an idea to connect data centers to protect them from nuclear attack. Run permanently connected lines between the data centers. Then the cold war started to wind down. By 1973 international universities were being connected and Bob Metcalfe proposed the ethernet protocol in his PhD thesis. 1980's.... the personal computer is born, large companies use services like GENIE to send electronic mail, community colleges are connected to the internet backbone through the universities and the first internet virus strikes shutting down ARPA Net. The mid-1980's brought the rise of the BBS system, and networks like FIDO Net and InterLink start passing message back and forth between systems outside of the government networks. 1988 Los Nettos network created with no federal funding, instead supported by regional members (founding: Cal Tech, TIS, UCLA, USC, ISI) and sets the tone for other network connections. Los Nettos in effect becomes the first ISP. By the late 1980's FIDO Net is connected to the net to allow the exchange of mail. MCI Mail and Compuserve follow close behind.1991 Tim Berners-Lee develops the WW W and PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) released by Philip Zimmerman. NSF Net, the follow up to ARPA Net upgraded to T3. In 1993 the United Sates White House comes on line and Mosaic, the first graphical browser released - internet usage jumps an amazing 341,634% in one year. 1994 sees the first CyberBank - First Virtual - open. The NSF Net returns to a research network - the internet now officially exists outside government control. 1998 Internet users get to be judges in a performance by 12 world champion ice skaters on 27 March, marking the first time a television sport show's outcome is determined by its viewers. 1999 a forged Web page made to look like a Bloomberg financial news story raised shares of a small technology company by 31%. First large-scale Cyberwar takes place simultaneously with the war in Serbia/Kosovo. The Web becomes the focal point of British politics as a list of MI6 agents is released on a UK Web site. Though forced to remove the list from the site, it was too late as the list had already been replicated across the Net. 2000 - A massive denial of service attack is launched against major web sites, including Yahoo, Amazon, and eBay in early February. The European Commission contracts with a consortium of 30 national research networks for the development of Géant, Europe's new gigabit research network meant to enhance the current capability provided by TEN-155.
During this time other innovations were happening that showed the seeds of the distributed world. Two games take the player world by force - Quake and Unreal. These two games offer a first person perspective of a three dimensional world. Not only that, but players could use editors and create their own words which they could share with their fellow gamers. To make the circle complete, the game developers add the ability to play network games an servers are set up across the globe.
SETI brought us distributed computing to solve a task, followed by Distributed.net designed to harness spare cycles around the globe to solve ciphers - those in space or those in government encryption.
"Information wants to be free" - this oft quoted phrase brought about a group of programs with one intent - to share data. Music, graphics, any type of data. Music really got things started with the appearance of Napster. Gnutella followed closely, and the FreeNet project brought some of the other pieces. Distributed computing..........
Which brings us to what this is designed to be..... a place to help the ideas merge into that vision from Gibson's Idoru - the Walled City.