The Internet at 40: History Began With Its First Crash

Why do we today celebrate today--October 29--as the ? Because on this day in 1969, what would later became known as the Internet was used for the very first time--and crashed.

Here is what happened: The first network had four nodes, the first at UCLA, and the second at Stanford Research Institute. The other two--at the University of California-Santa Barbara and the University of Utah were not yet installed.

That network was funded by the , a program of the U.S. Department of Defense, created in the aftermath of the Soviets beating the U.S. into space.

On October 29, 1969, a graduate student named Charley Kline used a terminal at UCLA to contact SRI. When Kline typed the "G" in "login" the network crashed. And for some reason, we are today marking that as the "birth of the Internet."

Who says geeks don't have a sense of humor?

Fortunately, the connection was made on a later attempt and if you forget the crash, the proto-Internet was born. You can see the log of the test at the Internet timeline.