[SIGCIS-Members] Tomlinson's quote on email invention - authenticated

Dave Walden dave.walden.family at gmail.com
Tue Mar 8 10:57:47 PST 2016


I think rereading Craig Partridge's paper on The Technical Development 
of Internet Email could be useful.  It shows many steps in the long 
progression of what we now know was email even though the period it 
covers stops with many steps to go.  It was in the Annals in the 
April-June issue of 2008.

On 3/8/2016 12:47 PM, Thomas Haigh wrote:
> I wouldn't call Ray Tomlinson, or anyone else, THE inventor of email. As you
> can see below, in 2012 I got Tomlinson to confirm the authenticity of the
> nice quote floating around the internet with his name on it: "Any single
> development is stepping on the heels of the previous one and is so closely
> followed by the next that most advances are obscured. I think that few
> individuals will be remembered."
>
> That is not false modesty on his part, but Tomlinson's own 1971 contribution
> was certainly one of the most significant of the many steps leading towards
> the Internet mediated standards-based email infrastructure over which you
> are receiving this message.
>
> Tom
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ray Tomlinson [mailto:RTomlinson at bbn.com]
> Sent: Monday, March 05, 2012 3:29 PM
> To: Dave Crocker
> Cc: Thomas Haigh <thaigh at computer.org>
> Subject: Re: Pre-release draft of email history article to the Washington
> Post.
>
>>> I do have a question for Ray. I am planning to use the quote from
>>> http://www.nethistory.info/History%20of%20the%20Internet/email.html
>>> that "Any single development is stepping on the heels of the previous
>>> one and is so closely followed by the next that most advances are
>>> obscured. I think that few individuals will be remembered."
>>> Did he really say this? Is it being quoted from an earlier source.
>> Yeah.  Great quotation.
>>
>> Ray?  Fess up!
> Yes. I did say something like this. I believe it was in the context of
> comparing internet advances with earlier advances like Bell's telephone.
> I don't remember to whom I said it and I can't find any email record. It may
> have been by telephone.
>
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