In July 1991, Carl Malamud flew out from Boulder, Colorado, a place he describes as “closer to Kansas than I’d like.” He had just finished writing Stacks, which we were distributing as The INTEROP Book to conference attendees, and wanted to present us his latest proposal.
He met me at breakfast and presented me with a pith helmet plastered over with Interop logos. “What Interop Company really needs,” he explained, “is an Official Internet Explorer.”
His proposal was to fly three times around the world, visit as many sites as possible, and write what he was calling “a technical travelogue.” The catch, of course, is he wanted me to foot the bill for travel expenses.
Exploring the Internet is the result of this odyssey. This book demonstrates what many of us have long felt: the worldwide network is here. Interoperability is not some imaginary goal at vendor briefings, but a concrete part of networks all over the world.
This book is more than just a series of case studies - it is truly a technical travelogue. As we read about the worldwide spread of the Internet, we get to appreciate its diversity and its usefulness to millions. This is not some experimental research environment, some academic toy, it is a real tool used by real people.
At that breakfast in 1991, Carl confided his hidden agenda. After going on about “global infrastructures” and other nice phrases designed to impress my senior managers, he turned to me and gave me the executive overview. “Actually, this is a very simple project,” he explained. “Buy my airplane tickets and I’ll try to get into as much trouble as I can. Then I’ll write a book.”
Here it is.