Alan Emtage: I would like to thank the Internet Society. I am hon­ored and hum­bled by this hon­or. I am told by the sec­re­tari­at that I am the first Barbadian and the first per­son from the Caribbean to be an inductee into the Hall of Fame, so I’m proud of that. As I look across the assem­bled crowd here tonight it’s grat­i­fy­ing to see how diverse this is par­tic­u­lar­ly, and how that has changed over the last thir­ty years.

There are a cou­ple of things I’d just like to say. The Internet nowa­days peo­ple think of as being this incred­i­bly com­pet­i­tive and com­mer­cial mar­ket. For those of us who worked on it thir­ty years ago, and for whom com­mer­cial activ­i­ty was actu­al­ly for­bid­den, this is quite a change. And while the spir­it of altru­ism still con­tin­ues to exist on the Internet (much of the Internet works on open source soft­ware which is con­tributed freely by pro­gram­mers and engi­neers across the world), that spir­it of altru­ism start­ed very ear­ly on. And it is… Well, with­out blow­ing my own horn, the Internet as we know it today would­n’t exist were it not for the fact that a lot of the orga­ni­za­tions and indi­vid­u­als who worked on it back then freely allowed the fruit of their work to be dis­trib­uted for free.

So, CERN owned the World Wide Web, released that soft­ware into the pub­lic domain. That was Tim Berners-Lee. Brewster Kahle did a sim­i­lar thing at Thinking Machines and WAIS. Mark McCahill and Gopher. And our­selves, we… I’ll read a lit­tle sto­ry here. I had a con­ver­sa­tion with Vint Cerf prob­a­bly thir­ty years ago. And he jok­ing­ly said to me, Why don’t you patent the tech­niques that you’re using in Archie for the search engine?”

And we thought about it. We thought about it long and hard and we decid­ed that to do so would sort of stran­gle the baby in the crib. That it would restrict the abil­i­ty of peo­ple to use what we had learned and to expand on it. So, the pri­ma­ry ques­tion I get is why am I not a bil­lion­aire. And I’m quite hap­py not to be a bil­lion­aire. That’s fine with me. But it was done in the spir­it of coop­er­a­tion and real­iz­ing that while we were work­ing on some­thing that was big and was going to change the world. I don’t think any­body back then real­ly knew how much it was going to change and how pro­found a change it was going to be.

Two peo­ple I’d like to men­tion here, and thank for me being here. One is my busi­ness part­ner back then, my boss and busi­ness part­ner was Peter Deutsch, who did a lot of work to bring Archie into the wider world. And some­body else that a lot of the old-timers here will remem­ber and who was instru­men­tal in what we call the user ser­vices lay­er of the Internet when I first got to the IETF back in 1991. It was just—it was a lot of engi­neers and there was­n’t a lot of atten­tion paid to the users. And the per­son would be Joyce Reynolds. Joyce Reynolds, who is unfor­tu­nate­ly no longer with us, worked hand in hand with Jon Postel and real­ly nur­tured the user ser­vices group in the IETF. And she has a huge hand in the Internet that we know and love today. So I real­ly would like to acknowl­edge her. So thank you. I’m most hon­ored.

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