Was the original Internet architecture designed largely by the Finns?
December 15, 2011 12:49 AM   Subscribe

Did the Finns make a major contribution to the original Internet architecture?

I heard once that Finland made a major contribution to the original Internet architecture, however, I can't find any reference to this online. Can any Mefites enlighten me on this?
posted by Tarn to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
I've never heard that, and none of the BBN guys were Finns, but Norway has the first non-US site on the ARPANET.
posted by russm at 2:11 AM on December 15, 2011

Well, the first popular email anonymizer came out of Finland -- anon.penet.fi.
posted by effugas at 3:16 AM on December 15, 2011 [3 favorites]

I can imagine a layperson conflating the origins of Linux with the origins of the Internet, so my guess is that's the source of the rumor. But Finland and Scandinavia generally participated disproportionately on Usenet, pre-web, so that could be it too. Either way, I don't know that you've heard a rumor well-grounded in fact. :)
posted by Monsieur Caution at 3:27 AM on December 15, 2011

Linux does count as a major contribution to the current internet architecture, being that most servers use it.
posted by LogicalDash at 3:41 AM on December 15, 2011

Here’s a history (PDF) of NORDUnet which has some particulars about early networking & internetworking in the Nordic countries.
posted by misteraitch at 3:51 AM on December 15, 2011

This paper, The “hidden” history of European Research Networking [pdf], has a handful (and only that) of mentions (and only that) of Finland.

It's possible that your rumor is an oblique reference to FUNET^, an early research network that was connected to the internet proper in 1988 -- pretty much after the major architecture of the internet was established.

It would have been difficult for Finland to participate earlier. The Cold War and "Finlandization" meant that, though officially neutral, the Pentagon considered them within a Soviet penumbra and was on the high technology export ban list. According to one history, Nokia superseded this with a secret agreement in which they traded with the USSR but let us know what they were doing, so we had an idea what tech the Soviets were interested in and/or needed to get from the West. Finland officially signed a bilateral agreement with the US in 1987, which it seems likely was a necessary precedent for the internet hookup.
posted by dhartung at 9:54 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Many thanks. I will consider this one of my personal myths busted. As always, Metafilter is top.
posted by Tarn at 9:58 PM on December 15, 2011

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