The history of the Internet is always being written. However the story of DNS and X.500 is a very interesting beginning because it marks the separation of the Internet from the U.S. Government, and the ensuing issues of governance.
If you want a good take on what happened with DNS, read Mueller’s book above to get filled in on what took place when the NSF originally funded both DNS and X.500 until the grant ran out in 1997. At that point DNS and building the WWW put everyone in the beginning of the dot com gold rush.
Yet by 1997-1998 Wall Street found out about the Internet as well as the Government, and until the later crash of the dot com boom, it seemed anything Internet related could get venture capital funding and make lots of money for the founders in an initial public offering.
The music stopped when it turned out the books had been cooked in one of the largest frauds at that time, Worldcom. PSINet got swept up in the crash also, but was blameless.
And everyone who had thought they were in on the next big thing, realized that the boom was over about the time that Clinton left and derivatives were the next scam when gutting the banking laws started a new cycle of exploitation based on real estate.
Back in 1996 I had realized that the PSINet White Pages X.500 Directory was entirely generic. A story needed to be created, and I borrowed from the concepts of the X.500 Inca Quipucamayocs which were already part of the Directory back story and came up with a new story to breathe life into a dying technology, and make it relevant when everything revolved around emerging web services.
I updated c=US with Hopi creation myth,the Sipapu.
And like in an Indiana Jones movie, somewhere deep and far away, ancient stone wheels turned and clicked into place and a console lit up that had long been dormant.
The myth had awoken something conceptually profound, but also something that had always been there in terms of advanced technology that Kille had thought up in his dorm room at UCL in the 1980s
X.500 for the Internet back in 1993 was simply was too advanced to understand, and the computers at that point could barely run it. But people in the 1990’s thought the Internet was a temporary fluke and that ISO like X.500 protocols would prevail because they were far more secure. However back in the early 90’s
Of course running a web browser like NCSA Mosaic was also enough to eat up most of the memory on a Sun Workstation when it first started out.
I was stunned by the brilliance of the people who had designed the Directory and protocols and how well it was documented. I was so impressed up to the point when the NSF cancelled the Directory project, that I implored PSINet, (which was doing well at that point) to continue the project on it’s own. Then I was approached by the GSA and they said they wanted to run it, to which I agreed for governmental security, but reserved the commercial rights for the time when people would essentially “get” the reason why the Directory was useful.
However, they ended up not willing to invest in the software that would have taken us into Y2K so when I left PSINet in 1998, I started Cequs Inc. to realize the benefits of the c=US Directory (that had subsequently moved to GSA to manage X.509v3 cross certificates to create a trust hub between Certificate Authorities). Around 2009, I realized that the Directory was a perfect fit for helping solve the burgeoning costs of healthcare and began to work on those specific requirements, This is the result.