Internet Hall of Fame opens ... on the Web

Cerf, Gore, Torvalds, Berners-Lee among the big names honored by Internet Society

Thirty-plus Internet pioneers, innovators and "global connectors" -- yes, even including Al Gore -- have been inducted into the first class of the Internet Hall of Fame.

The hall, which lives on the Web, is the creation of the Internet Society, which describes itself as a nonprofit outfit "dedicated to ensuring that the Internet stays open, transparent and defined by you." The society, celebrating its 20th anniversary, is holding its Global INET 2012 conference in Geneva this week.

The Hall of Fame is the latest in what is becoming a crowded field of forums through which the tech industry recognizes accomplishments, as outlined last year by Network World in an extensive collection of stories [see "Whirlwind tour of computing & telecom's top honors, awards and prizes" and "Gold medals, knighthood and $1M cash prizes: Being a tech pioneer is a real honor"]. Other techie halls of fame include the Inventors Hall of Fame and the Computer History Museum's Hall of Fellows.

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Among the 33 people making up the inaugural Internet Hall of Fame class are "pioneers" such as Internet inventors Vinton Cerf [read about his take on winning so many awards], Robert Kahn, Larry Roberts and Leonard Kleinrock, plus the likes of Internet and networking legends such as Jon Postel and Paul Baran.

Former Vice President Al Gore was inducted as a "global connector," along with a Bush, but not one of Gore's former political rivals. Randy Bush, founder of the Network Startup Resource Center, is among the other inductees, along with Brewster Kahle (Internet Archive), Toru Takahashi (instrumental in bringing the Internet to Japan) and others.

Those dubbed Innovators who enter the hall include Linux kernel creator Linus Torvalds (fresh off being named a finalist for Finland's Millennium Technology Prize), DNS guru Paul Mockapetris, TCP/IP stack pioneer Van Jacobson, Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee and Craig Newmark of Craigslist fame.

Internet Society President and CEO Lynn St. Amour stated, "This historic assembly of Internet visionaries, innovators, and leaders represents an extraordinary breadth of vision and work. While the inductees have extremely diverse backgrounds and represent many different countries, each individual has an incredible passion for their work. We all benefit from their outstanding contributions to a global Internet, making it one of the greatest catalysts of economic and societal development of all time."

Bob Brown is too modest to list his awards here, but you can track his award-winning thoughts about network research via his Alpha Doggs blog and Facebook page, as well on Twitter and Google +.

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Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.