The origin of the term “internet”

I may have stumbled upon the first use of the term "internet." This might have been in RFC 871, "Perspective on the ARPANET Reference Model," that was written by M. A. Padlipsky back in 1982. Here's what the introducation to RFC 871 says:

Despite the fact that "the ARPANET" stands as the proof-of-concept of intercomputer networking and, as discussed in more detail below, introduced such fundamental notions as Layering and Virtualizing to the literature, the wide availability of material which appeals to the International Standards Organization's Reference Model for Open System Interconnection (ISORM) has prompted many new- comers to the field to overlook the fact that, even though it was largely tacit, the designers of the ARPANET protocol suite have had a reference model of their own all the long.  That is, since well before ISO even took an interest in "networking", workers in the ARPA-sponsored research community have been going about their business of doing research and development in intercomputer networking with a particular frame of reference in mind.  They have, unfortunately, either been so busy with their work or were perhaps somehow unsuited temperamentally to do learned papers on abstract topics when there are interesting things to be said on specific topics, that it is only in very recent times that there has been much awareness in the research community of the impact of the ISORM on the lay mind.  When the author is asked to review solemn memoranda comparing such things as the ARPANET treatment of "internetting" with that of CCITT employing the ISORM "as the frame of reference," however, the time has clearly come to attempt to enunciate the ARPANET Reference Model (ARM) publicly–for such comparisons are painfully close to comparing an orange with an apple using redness and smoothness as the dominant criteria, given the philosophical closeness of the CCITT and ISO models and their mutual disparities from the ARPANET model.

 In any event, I had never heard that "internet" was short for "intercomputer networking," but RFC 871 seems to tell us that that's the origin of the term.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *