Email has become one of the most commonly used communication methods in the world. It has made it possible to send messages to multiple people at different times in different locations. It provides the ability to view and respond to messages when it is most convenient. The creation of the email has improved how people communicate and has led to more advancements. Its unplanned development has drastically changed the Internet.
Before the implementation of email, messages could not be sent from computer to computer. Users were limited to sending messages electronically on one machine. In order to send a message between different machines, the only other capability that existed allowed messages to be sent if the sender knew the password to the recipient’s computer and if the sender had an account on the recipient’s computer (Barlas). It would require a person to set up an account on other computer. The problem lies when a recipient is at another location or there are multiple recipients. It was not a realistic system. While Ray Tomlinson was working for BBN known today as BBN Technologies he discovered a solution to this problem.
After graduating from Massachussetts Institute of Technology, Ray Tomlinson began to work for Bolt, Beranek, and Newman in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1967. At the time, Bolt, Beranek, and Newman had a government contract to work on the ARPANET, the precursor to the Internet (Cavender). Tomlinson was assigned to help develop the TENEX operating system, which had the ability to support a large virtual memory size. While working on the project in 1971, Tomlinson received a proposal about sending messages between computers where the message was sent to a numbered mailbox and the recipient could read the message after printing it out. Tomlinson believed that a recipient should not have to print out the message in order to read it and decided to find a better solution.
Tomlinson developed his own program, SNDMSG, that told the computer to gather multiple messages without writing over them. Tomlinson initially wrote SNDMSG to allow programmers and researchers working on ARPANET’s early computers to leave messages for one another (Internet Hall of Fame). He then combined his program with an experimental file transfer protocol called CYPNET that was used to transfer files between linked computers within ARPANET (Campbell). Tomlinson explained, “The idea occurred to me that CYPNET could append material to a mailbox file as readily as SNDMSG could” (Campbell). CYPNET was written to send and receive files but one could only overwrite the file, not add to it. By adding details to the protocol, Tomlinson was able to reformat CYPNET to use SNDMSG so that it could deliver messages to mailboxes on remote machines through ARPANET.
In addition, Tomlinson was responsible for furthering the advancement of email. He was lead in developing the services associated with email which include defining a location for inbound mail on a user’s machine,...