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Re: Text of the 'first email ever sent'

2011-01-08 12:59:01

On Jan 8, 2011, at 9:56 AM, Dave CROCKER wrote:


Wikipedia's article on email includes the text:

  The first email ever sent contained the letters "Qwertyuiop".

This is repeated in other articles on the net.

Seems like such a claim should be validated.  I don't recall ever hearing 
about it and would assume that it's incorrect, since I haven't seen any 
definitive agreement on what the first email system was, nevermind what its 
first message contained.

The version I've seen is Ray Tomlinson saying he'd sent several test messages 
between arpanet hosts, and their contents were quite forgettable, "Most likely 
QWERTYUIOP, or something similar". I can see how that'd get misquoted into the 
version on wikipedia.

My understanding is that email was a feature of the first timesharing 
systems, which puts the likely first message in the first half of the 1960s.

If a message can only be sent to other users on the same system, is it still 
email? Two hosts and one network seems like the minimum setup for something to 
be email. If there are no hosts, it's telegraph. If there's no network, it's 
inter-account messaging.

Or is this just my "younger than packet-switching" perspective showing through? 


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