Sunday, December 11, 2005

Internet History

I've been reading back issues of 2600: The Hacker Quarterly, and just read the April 1985 issue. They are fascinating historical documents. The last two pages of that issue contain the ARPANet hosts file as of September 27, 1984, listing the hosts by geographic location. This was shortly after the ARPANet/MILNET split and about the time of the introduction of the domain name system. The ARPANet hosts used the 10 network (which is now private IP space--it's not publicly routed and can be used by any individual or organization for internal numbering) and MILNET used the 26 network ( is still assigned to DISA, the Defense Information Systems Agency).

Arizona at that time had two hosts: YUMA-SW ( and YUMA-TAC (, both on MILNET. The TACs (Terminal Access Controllers) were systems that allowed telephone dialup access to the network; they essentially played the role of a terminal server. The MILNET TACs developed a system for user authentication called the TAC Access Control System, or TACACS, which allowed a user to authenticate to a given TAC without the actual credentials being stored on the TAC. This protocol was enhanced by Cisco into XTACACS and then TACACS+, which is still used today, mainly on Cisco routers and switches. (The original deployment of TACACS meant that ARPANet users could not login using MILNET TACs--this is something that led to author and computer enthusiast Jerry Pournelle being kicked off the ARPANet in 1985 when his account on MIT-MC was shut down.)

There were a number of Multics systems on the net, including MIT-MULTICS in Cambridge, Massachusetts (, through which I got access to ARPANet mailing lists back then), HI-MULTICS (, the only host in Minnesota, belonging to Honeywell), USGS2-MULTICS in Colorado (, belonging to the U.S. Geological Survey), and RADC-MULTICS (, at the Rome Air Development Center in Rome, NY). The only hosts outside of the United States were MINET-RDM-TAC (, in the Netherlands), MINET-HLH-TAC (, in Scotland), FRANKFURT-MIL-TAC (, in Germany--along with about 10 other hosts in Germany), three hosts in Italy, two in England, and three in Korea--all on military bases.


cowmix said...

Holy crap.. I have a few back issues.. but not from that early.

How did you pick those up?

Jim Lippard said...

I recently bought their "all back issues, three T-shirts, a hat, and a lifetime subscription" deal.

They also were offering the same deal to whoever could identify the most Easter Eggs in the "Freedom Downtime" DVD, and had no entries!