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The origins of high-tech's made-up lingo

The origins of high-tech's made-up lingo

From blog, byte and browser to software, wiki and World Wide Web

ROUTER: No one individual seems to be responsible for picking the word, but many Internet pioneers of the TCP/IP community in the 1980s had been calling the equipment "gateways" and Cisco at one point even called them "terminal concentrators." But in part to differentiate from other types of equipment also called gateways (such as e-mail gateways), the early developers began adopting the term "router." Noel Chiappa, who started work on the multi-protocol Proteon router in 1980, points out that even IETF RFC #1009 ("Requirements for Internet Gateways") in June 1987 used the term "router" throughout. At that point, the transition from "gateway" to "router" was officially underway.

SOCKET: The earliest use of the networking use of the word "socket" is found in IETF RFC33, dated February 12, 1970, by Stephen Carr, Steve Crocker and Vint Cerf. According to the Computer History Museum, Crocker wrote: "The elements of the name space are called sockets. A socket forms one end of a connection, and a connection is fully specified by a pair of sockets." The Museum adds: "This is about a dozen years before BSD sockets showed up."

SOFTWARE: Instructions executed by a computer as opposed to the physical device on which they run, hardware. Term coined in 1958 by John Wilder Tukey, statistician, Princeton University professor and AT&T Bell Laboratories researcher, who also coined the word "bit" (abbreviation of binary digit") 12 years earlier. (See biography of John Wilder Tukey)

WIKI: Ward Cunningham said the inspiration for the name WikiWikiWeb for the software he developed in 1995 came after a trip to Hawaii where he learned of the word "wiki," which means "quick" in Hawaiian, while riding on a shuttle bus called the Wiki Wiki Bus. WikiWikiWeb was shortened to "Wiki," and today a "wiki" refers to a collaborative Web site that lets multiple authors contribute and edit content, with the most famous being Wikipedia.

WORLD WIDE WEB: Father of the Web, Tim Berners-Lee describes his early work with the Web in notes on the World Wide Web Consortium site. "The first web browser -- a browser-editor -- was called 'WorldWideWeb,' as after all, when it was written in 1990, it was the only way to see the web. Much later it was named 'Neus' in order to save confusion between the program and the abstract information space, which is now spelled 'World Wide Web' with spaces."

Special thanks on this project go to Alex Bochannek, curator with the Computer History Museum in California; IBM; the World Wide Web Consortium; and pioneers such as router designer Noel Chiappa who helped the Internet get going.


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