Chapter 0-02 


A Brief History of the Internet 

Web site by Gifcom.

Flashback

In either case, he was probably one of the first 100 on a
fledgling Net and certainly the first to post information
of a general nature for others on the Net to download; it
was the United States' Declaration of Independence.  This
was followed by the U.S. Bill of Rights, and then a whole
Etext of the U.S. Constitution, etc.  You might consider,
just for the ten minutes the first two might require, the
reading of the first two of these documents that were put
on the Internet starting 24 years ago:  and maybe reading
the beginning of the third.

The people who provided his Internet account thought this
whole concept was nuts, but the files didn't take a whole
lot of space, and the 200th Anniversary of the Revolution
[of the United States against England] was coming up, and
parchment replicas of all the Revolution's Documents were
found nearly everywhere at the time.  The idea of putting
the Complete Works of Shakespeare, the Bible, the Q'uran,
and more on the Net was still pure Science Fiction to any
but Mr. Hart at the time.  For the first 17 years of this
project, the only responses received were of the order of
"You want to put Shakespeare on a computer!?  You must be
NUTS!" and that's where it stayed until the "Great Growth
Spurt" hit the Internet in 1987-88.  All of a sudden, the
Internet hit "Critical Mass" and there were enough people
to start a conversation on nearly any subject, including,
of all things, electronic books, and, for the first time,
Project Gutenberg received a message saying the Etext for
everyone concept was a good idea.

That watershed event caused a ripple effect.  With others
finally interested in Etext, a "Mass Marketing Approach,"
and such it was, was finally appropriate, and the release
of Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan signalled beginnings
of a widespread production and consumption of Etexts.  In
Appendix A you will find a listing of these 250, in order
of their release.

Volunteers began popping up, right on schedule, to assist
in the creation or distribution of what Project Gutenberg
hoped would be 10,000 items by the end of 2001, only just
30 years after the first Etext was posted on the Net.

A Book by Michael Hart