Rick Adams (Internet pioneer)

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Rick Adams was an Internet pioneer and the founder of UUnet, which, in the mid and late 1990s, was the world's largest Internet Services Provider (ISP).

Rick Adams was responsible for implementing Serial Line IP (SLIP) and founding UUNET, thereby making the Internet widely accessible. In 1982 Rick ran the first international UUCP email link at the machine seismo (owned by the Center for Seismic Studies in Northern Virginia), which evolved into the first (UUCP-based) UUNET. He maintained B News (at one time the most popular Usenet News transport), wrote the first implementation of SLIP (Serial Line IP), and defined the first protocol for running TCP/IP over ordinary serial ports (in particular, dial-up modems). The SLIP protocol was superseded, years later, by the Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP), which is still in use. Rick founded a nonprofit telecommunications company, UUNET, to reduce the cost of uucp mail and netnews, particularly for rural sites in America. (UUNET was founded with a $50,000 loan from the USENIX Association, which was subsequently repaid.) UUNET became an official gateway between UUCP mail and Internet email, as well as between North America and Europe. It hosted many related services, such as Internet FTP access for its UUCP clients and the comp.sources.unix archives. Rick spun out a for-profit company, UUNET Technologies, which was the second ISP in the United States. The for-profit company bought the assets of the nonprofit, repaying it with a share of the profits over the years. The nonprofit has spent that money for many UNIX-related charitable causes over the years, such as supporting the Internet Software Consortium. The for-profit ISP became a multi-billion-dollar company and was merged with MFS (Metro Fiber Systems, a wide-area optical-networking company), MCI, and then Worldcom, rising to challenge the largest telecommunications companies in America. He is co-author of !%@:: A Directory of Electronic Mail Addressing & Networks, published by O'Reilly Books. He is also co-author of RFC-850, the Standard for Interchange of USENET Messages, which was updated to become RFC 1036 in 1987.

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