Raymond Tomlinson was cited who died over the weekend, as the “inventor” of email, but out in the cold in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Shiva Ayyadurai bothered for the right frame of recognition to the right person.
Even G-mail was guarded, tweeting, “Thank you, Ray Tomlinson, for inventing email and putting the @ sign on the map. #RIP.”
So what is the truth? The facts are that Shiva Ayyadurai does have the first US copyright for Email, or “Computer Program for Electronic Mail System,” in 1982.
Numerous awards and honors recognize his work, from a “Westinghouse Science Talent Search Honors Award for creating EMAIL” in 1981 to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History accepted his code, papers and artifacts demonstrating his work on Email. And while he may not have written the first email program or code, he is recognized in some quarters as the first to devise the form closest to today’s email – on commission from the Brookhaven National Laboratory.
After a few hours of Tomlinson’s death, referring to the deceased man’s employer, best-known as an armaments company, V.A.Shiva took over the twitter raging tweet that “I’m the low-caste, dark-skinned, Indian, who DID invent #email not Raytheon, who profits from war, death and lies.”
Later to make the thought very clear, V.A.Shiva took it on his website and wrote an open letter having the title “CORRECTION: THE INVENTOR OF EMAIL IS STILL ALIVE” outlining that the inventor of simple text messaging has passed on.
He expresses that on the occasion of Ray Tomlinson’s passing, I want to express recognition for his innovations in online communication, such as the introduction of the @ sign for internet addresses.
At the same time, in a spirit of proper respect for both Ray Tomlinson and for myself, I want to make it clear that I am the inventor of email, not Ray Tomlinson, despite what others might say for reasons of their own.
The truth is, I invented email in 1978 when I was employed as a 14 year old research fellow at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), located in Newark, New Jersey. I had been assigned to create a software system that duplicated the features of the Interoffice Mail System, which was simply a manila envelope that physically circulated around a workplace. The envelope contained the Interoffice Memo with Attachments, and comments from various recipients on a given topic. I named my software “EMAIL,” (a term never used before in the English language), and I even received the first U.S. Copyright for that software, officially recognizing me as The Inventor of Email, at a time when Copyright was the only way to recognize software inventions, since the U.S. Supreme was not recognizing software patents.
He states very clearly that I have no doubt that my origin and ethnicity have strongly influenced controversy over my invention of email. This has also influenced the withholding of recognition for that invention, and for personal and racist attacks directed against me. Such attacks have been facilitated by Raytheon (Tomlinson’s employer), one of the largest military contractors, which profits from spending millions, as we are seeing right now, to deliberately rewrite history as it serves to enhance their brand in the lucrative cyber-security market.
In many ways, I just did not fit the mold of a 1970s high-tech innovator. I was not white, I was not working for the military or for a defense contractor, and I must have seemed too young and too naive to stand up for the truth, he explained.
Whatever be the reason for putting out controversy against Shiva Ayyadurai but let the truth prevail globally proving the fact that giving the proper recognition is an important principle working in any environment.
No politics and conspiracy can demean the achievements of one’s own and what is more surprising is Gmail, the most used portal for the E-mail service has already greeted Tomlinson for the invention but when we Google it, it states that inventor of E-mail is Mr. Shiva Ayyadurai.
On the other note, sincerely, thank you, E-mail.
I read. I write. A threat to humor, if one liners could kill. Twitter: @profylayush
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