Did the computer scientist at Xerox really develop the first LAN, but had no backing from the company to further develop these technologies, later showing this to both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates?

Just for reference, it is in reference to this story.

  • Again, without a definition what consists a LAN in context of this question, there weill be no useful answer. Networks between computers have been available since the 1950s. – Raffzahn Apr 15 at 16:52
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    I think it is false to claim that Xerox did not back Ethernet or that it did not participate in its further development. – Ken Gober Apr 15 at 18:47

Xerox developed ethernet. Was there a local area network preceding ethernet?

There was certainly wide area networking before ethernet, e.g. ARPANET dating from 1969.

There was also local networking even earlier, e.g. the IBM 1401, sold as a small mainframe in its own right, also ended up being used as a peripheral controller for larger mainframes; this arrangement could be called a network. But one feels it was not quite the same thing. So what was novel about the Xerox LAN?

Ethernet was designed to be a purely local network among peer workstations. And I think the Xerox Alto was the first general-purpose workstation in the sense that term came to be used.

So if you use the term LAN in that particular sense, I think the answer is yes, ethernet was the first.

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    ARCNET was developed during the same period as Ethernet and released the same year, 1976. ALOHA was from 1971, predating both. ALOHA directly inspired Ether. ALOHA, however, was not captive to a wire and was very wide area. – Maury Markowitz Apr 15 at 21:03
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    @MauryMarkowitz - this should a an answer - because it is. – Peter M. Apr 15 at 21:43
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    What about DECnet? " Originally released in 1975 in order to connect two PDP-11 minicomputers, it evolved into one of the first peer-to-peer network architectures" (Wikipedia). – No'am Newman Apr 16 at 8:00
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    Phase I was not a LAN, but basically a glorified serial cable.Phase II was a LAN, but was not released until 1978 (the wiki is wrong). IBM's SNA was about the same time too, but I don't know if it was peer-to-peer until later, it was mostly about connecting – Maury Markowitz Apr 16 at 15:46

Xerox developed the Ethernet, which is a LAN, but most likely not the first LAN.

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    Care to discuss what you think was the first lan. – Neil Meyer Apr 16 at 6:45
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    @NeilMeyer The NPL network is an obvious counterexample to Xerox being the first, though I doubt NPL was the first either. – Sneftel Apr 16 at 8:51

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