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Digex – At the dawn of the commercial Internet Doug Mohney Digex Employee #10 – October 1993 DEFCON 12 – 31 July 2004, 11:00.

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Presentation on theme: "Digex – At the dawn of the commercial Internet Doug Mohney Digex Employee #10 – October 1993 DEFCON 12 – 31 July 2004, 11:00."— Presentation transcript:

1 Digex – At the dawn of the commercial Internet Doug Mohney Digex Employee #10 – October 1993 DEFCON 12 – 31 July 2004, 11:00

2 What will I cover? Digex history circa ’93-’94 Internet history Infrastructure then and now First commercial web servers/service mtv.com cia.gov peta.org (later, ’96ish)

3 Why should you care? “Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it…” Basement startup in 1991 – Literally! IPO’ed in 1996, bought in 1997 IPO’ed AGAIN in 1999 Bought by WorldCom for billions before dot.bomb hit History starting to repeat with WISPs…

4 Digex Significant (early) Contributions First commercial server hosting biz! mtv.com – 1 st entertainment web server The Al Gore Gold Rush cpsc.gov cia.gov peta.org

5 Digex’s founders Doug Humphrey Digex on MIT time-share in ’80s UMD, WATS80, Defcon Tandem engineer Mike Doughney UMD, WMUC radio WorldCom IDB satellite engineer Gulf War I, got home, quit Wanna-be programmer mtd.com, peta.org, Internet name rights

6 Have you seen this man? (picture via Google)

7 Digex Supporting Characters Rob “RS” Seastrom Provided hardware, brought up 1 st dial-up system Later - 1 st commercial Net connection in Japan Rob “Strat” Stratton Provided first build, guru on concepts Went on to UUNet, Wheel Group, In-Q-Tel Richard Butler Provided personal credit, tie-breaker

8 Digex - Pre’93 Incorporated 1990 Was going to be a “exchange” Everyone was an island: AOL, MCI, Compu$erve, Genie, etc…. Internet dial-up biz started as a sideline Need to generate some cash to pay the bills.. First users in Sept 91, 6 phone lines By end of 1993, users, 100+ lines, leased line customers, dedicated SLIP/PPP, web hosting

9 Above the Chinese Restaurant (As the Gods Intended)

10 Now and then – ’94 vs ‘ Kbps modem T-3 (45Mbps) – ANS T3 delivered on fiber Fiber rare, but growing 623 web servers What’s a web page? Pentium Windows 3.1/95 Edu/NSFNet fading out Wired “In,” new Few homes had 2 nd phone lines DSL, cable, 56Kbps OC-48, OC-192/10Gbs Get T3 on copper pairs.. Fiber to Home (almost) 46 million web servers Grandma’s got a web site P4, AMD-64 Linux, Windows XP All commercial Wired mainstream Most homes ditching 2 nd lines for cell phones, broadband

11 Infrastructure snapshot – ‘93 NSFNet, run by ANS – The "Backbone" T3 high-speed network ANS received permission to sell commercial as part of transfer of network ops out of gov’t T1 was Big Deal PSInet, UUnet had nat’l T1 backbones DIGEX got a T1 backdoor deal from ANS Diamond mine program – seed program “Free” T1 for 12 months, then pay Fit in with Digex general rule #1 – “If you want to do business with us, you have to give us something for free.”

12 Two key characters in ’93 Ed Kern One-time doorman for 9:30 Club in DC and ??? Got attention by bitching. Ended up with root and a job Wore sweats, Birkenstocks, rain or shine, snow or summer. Fuck a major vocabulary word Dave McGuire Systems programmer & hardware savant Engineered hardware for 1st commercial web server

13 Ed and Dave

14 Digex in 1993 October 10 people, December nearly 20 RBOCs (ILECs now) didn’t Get It. Had to force Bell Atlantic's hand to get fiber No fiber, no mass dial-tone, no T3s Maxed out all copper in Greenbelt – 40 dial-up lines Local residents couldn’t get 2 nd lines Digex get substandard cruddy lines that were “marginal” Placed 80 line order Sales rep happy, BA engineers not! Small bus – Only sold handful of lines/year Our rep getting T1, 56K, 10s of lines per month No “thank you” notes from the RBOCs… Internet popularity drove 2 nd /3 rd lines into households

15 1993 – DC’s competition PSINet Held NYSERNet for ransom UUNet – people Started as non-profit to distribute software Everyone wanted to “be” UUNet SURANet Regional power, University consortium U of Maryland trick horse

16 First commercial server hosting Summer of ‘93 People wanted net presence, not the overhead Outsource mgmt – No telco, Unix, network! Hardware hack Sun 3/60 workstation board in VME chassis – All Dave McGuire Fit 12 boards into chassis, Ethernet boot, disk access According to Sun "Couldn't be done“ 3/60 boards cheap, Sun dumping Better than dumpster diving Presaged “blades” – Density, fewer plugs, no shelves

17 Why good? PSI & UUNet focused on pipes Web hosting ("Private domains") for people that didn't want to dork with UNIX Generate a lot of traffic, leverage for future Settlements (if they came)  peering Destination, place to be Make money! Low cost of setup, low overhead

18 Initial customers ALAWASH.org – VERY first paying host American Librarian Association – They wanted At that time, “World Wide What?” MTV.COM Very first entertainment host on the Net Freaked the Net Purists out

19 Adam Curry – The Internet Cassandra

20 Adam Curry: Net pioneer (!?!) M-TV VJ, Friday top 20 Video Countdown Closet geek: account on Panix “Cybersleaze” gossip column Done via.PLAN, dragged PANIX to its knees PANIX told him to take a hike; go talk to.... Adam Curry’s AmEx information – Priceless Curry got mtv.com from Viacom Viacom wanted pay-per-view model Agreed to “Experiment”

21 mtv.com early days Academic Uber-Geeks were afraid of "commercialism“ corrupting the purity of the Internet Initial probing of userIDs Bevis & Butthead First day had 50,000 hits Became one of the most popular site on the Net at the time Ultimately put Digex among top traffic-movers on the Net (#5; Walnut CD Unix dist #1)

22 Curry – A man before his time WALKED OFF HIS MTV VJ JOB FOR THE NET! “There are no secrets, only information you don't yet have.” – Adam Curry’s blog site Cassandra of the Internet Music on-line, intellectual property rights Nobody paid much attention… until later Ultimately Viacom got back mtv.com domain Lawsuit, threats, threats, blah-blah Made gobs of money, moved to Amsterdam, married model, lives happily ever after –one of the few blogs worth reading

23 The Al Gore Gold Rush Gore not "father" of Internet, but “Reinventing Government” Exec. branch agencies on Internet by fall of ’94. Rush to get ‘Net presence over summer (Fed FY closes 30 Sept, if I recall..) Big windfall for young Internet companies Digex got-- cpsc.gov cia.gov

24 Agency didn’t want to be (officially) hooked Whois implied they had a T1 via UUNet, ANS(?) Web site would be a hot target Some (not lots) Old Guard vs New Guard DID want a presence to get Al off their back Outsourcing the most logical solution DIGEX only game in town – everyone else did not comprehend server hosting Sun 4 server Security - "Air gap the size of the Beltway.“

25 Mike Doughney (Left, not right)

26 peta.org – Mike Doughney’s crusade (well, one of them) Mike was bored towards end (95-97), registered mtd.com, peta.org domains Set up peta.org People Eating Tasty Animals! PETA got upset, sued Mike Multiyear battle, ultimately got peta.org Vegan Hypocrites! Beef.com this year spoofing beef.org PETA has lots (70+?) parody domains

27 Where did DIGEX go from there? IPO in 1996 Sold to Intermedia Communications in 1997 for $150 million cash – 600+employees Split into leased line, web server units Web server unit re-IPOed in 1999 Intermedia sold to WorldCom for $5 billion Pieces tossed for Digex

28 Digex Chains of ownership Leased line group Digex --> Intermedia/Digex --> Allegiance Telecom --> XO Communications Server group Digex -> Intermedia/Digex -> Digex(IPO) -> WorldCom/MCI

29 Digex, MCI’s property 2004

30 Where are they now? Humphrey Has own SS-7, surplus RN patrol boat Batz Maru “One hundred feet of British Steel” Doughney Stalking “Christian cults” around the country Kern Cisco, was at Cogent for 5 seconds McGuire Freelance consulting

31 Digex - The book? Maybe fall 2004, VON Publishing Cover history from 1990ish - end of 1997, including: VC rounds, (First) IPO process Acquisition by Intermedia Communications Era from not covered (another project): Very complex, soap opera of ownership Intermedia shuffled in Fagan, Shull to head web host Digex Second Digex IPO in 1999; but 60% owned by Intermedia “Independent” but not really…. WorldCom/Bernie Ebbers wanted Digex Ultimately bought Intermedia for $5 billion, threw away pieces of Intermedia to keep the web biz. And we all know what happened to Bernie…

32 A “party” favor Pictures of Digex Christmas Party 1996 I did not take them, I did not post them, I am not responsible for their content or electronic publication. Pictures taken by non-Digex employee Guest with camera – Hmm…lessons learned, anyone? Posted on web site in Sweden URL posted on Orkut/Google forum Public posting of URL, so it’s in the “domain”

33 Personal whoring VON Magazine Will ultimately have pointer to published Digex history Infrastructure, security, some VoIP, Cap Hill & FCC The Inquirer (UK) Security, Internet history, whatever I can sneak by Mobile Radio Technology Wireless, Wi-Fi, FCC, new RF to play with

34 The End Thank you, thank you very much…


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