Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Who invented email?

So who did invent email? Conventional wisdom (and Wikipedia) state that Ray Tomlinson sent the first email in 1971 between two DEC computers on the ARPANet. He is also credited with inventing the use of "@" symbol to designate "a user" @ "a host". However, a recent article in the New York Times claims that Noel Morris and Tom Van Vleck invented email around 1965 at MIT.
Tom Van Vleck writes in: The History of Electronic Mail:  "Ray [Tomlinson] is famous for "inventing electronic mail." In fact, electronic mail had existed for years when he wrote his programs, which became widely distributed among ARPANet users." So it would seem that Tomlinson is only really famous for using the "@" symbol, not "inventing" email.