Patrice Lyons: Greetings. I see so many familiar faces and so many memories over the years. Bob drove me to the airport Friday, and he presented me with a little statement to make to convey his wishes. But I personally would like to thank the Internet Society for the great honor that they’re doing to Bob in recognizing his contributions. And I think this is such an important endeavor that you’ve undertaken, and I applaud your efforts here. So thank you so much.
Just a personal note. I have followed the evolution of first the ARPANET, and then they had the two packet networks, the packet radio, packet satellite. And then the interconnections through the TCP/IP protocol. And Bob often got the same question you did, Steve. “Did you envision that then, everything that happened now?” And he used to give a very serious answer at first. And then after a while he started to joke about it. “Oh, sure we could see all this. Absolutely.” So then he went establishing—actually founding the Internet Society in the hopes of socializing and making the Internet more accessible to people.
But then of course there was the Internet Engineering Task Force. And when he left government and Vint joined him as Vice President at the Corporation for National Research Initiatives, they undertook to stand up the IETF Secretariat, to actually have a formal way to move the Internet forward. And then you got into the commercialization of the Internet, and the expansion to other countries. So many things, so many tales to tell.
Bob couldn’t make it today. I talked to him just before I came. And if he could teleport here—I mean that’s technology for the future—he would have been here this evening, but he continues to pursue his vision of improving connectivity among people, and communications environments that enable that.
He’s recently developing over the last years his digital object architecture, which is a much more flexible way of managing information on the Internet. And he is actually working with the National Archives in Washington. And tomorrow morning there’s going to be a large gathering there, and he’s the chair of the technical group to try to improve their record management structures. So when he heard about the honor, it was hard for him to just say, “No, I’m sorry. You’re having this meeting but I’m your chair but I can’t come.” So he sends his regrets.
But he specifically wanted me to acknowledge certain certain people in his life. First he wanted to thank you, Larry Roberts, for the role you played in getting him into networking on both the national and international stage. He always remembered that if you hadn’t gotten him involved at that time, his career plan after he had gone to BB&N to work on the ARPANET and do the specification for the ARPANET was to go back to MIT and pursue an academic career because that had been his goal. But you lured him into DARPA. And DARPA of course, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, played a very big role in starting all this—very big.
He also wanted to acknowledge the friendship of so many others in this group that ISOC is honoring today. And giving the limited time, let me just mention a few. Vint Cerf, with whom he has found a personal and technical kinship early on, and with whom worked so closely on the Internet and Internet-related matters for so many years.
And Danny Cohen who was here yesterday with his son Dakota, and I’m hoping that he’s okay. But he wanted to thank Danny, whose imagination and spirit were a continual source of inspiration and energy for innovation.
Steve Crocker, whom he worked with on the early ARPANET developments. And Peter Kirstein. Peter’s here, I think. I saw him coming in? Peter’s here? Well, Peter Kirstein. Louis Pouzin; I saw Louis yesterday. And Len Kleinrock, whose contributions are well known and whose friendship, among other things, has stood the test of time.
He would probably want to cite everyone in the room and congratulate all of them since their efforts were so essential to the development of the ARPANET and/or the Internet, because a lot of people played roles on both sides. And on his behalf he wanted me to thank you all.