Guy Who Pretends He Invented Email Whines At Every Journalist For Writing Obit Of Guy Who Actually Helped Create Email

from the give-it-up-shiva dept

Over the years, we've written a few times about Shiva Ayyadurai, a guy who's basically staked his entire life on the misleading to false claim that he "invented" email. Every couple of years he pops up again as he's able to fool some reporters into believing him. In 2012, he fooled the Washington Post and, astoundingly, the Smithsonian. In 2014, he was somehow able to get the Huffington Post to publish a multi-part series claiming he had "invented" email -- though after we called them out on it (and after they stood by it) -- those stories were eventually deleted. Ayyadurai also threatened to sue us for calling out his false claims, but there's been no lawsuit yet.

In those previous stories, we've explained why his claims are false in fairly great detail. Here's the quick version:
First off, no one denies that V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai -- an apparently very bright 14-year-old at the time -- wrote an email software program for the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) in 1978. By all accounts, it was a perfectly decent email system that allowed the UMDNJ staff to send electronic messages. Further, no one doubts that, in 1981, Ayyadurai registered the copyright on his program, which was called EMAIL. The problems are that (1) email was invented long before 1978, (2) the copyright is merely on the specific software code, not the idea of email, and (3) while Ayyadurai may have independently recreated the basics of email (and even added a nice feature), none of his work was even remotely related to what later became the standards of email. What's most sickening about this is that as part of this new PR campaign, Ayyadurai is ridiculously arguing that the reason no one believes him isn't because he's simply wrong, but because they can't stand to believe that "a dark-skinned immigrant kid, 14 years old," invented email, and that it was done in "one of the poorest cities in the US" rather than at a famous university.

Again, that might make for a nice story line if there were some factual basis behind it, but there isn't. The history of email is well-documented from multiple sources and it began way, way before 1978. And while early versions were somewhat crude, by 1978 they had basically everything that Ayyadurai claims to have invented (it is entirely believable that Ayyadurai, as a bright kid, independently came up with the same ideas, but he was hardly the first). There was a messaging system called MAILBOX at MIT in 1965. You can read all the details of it here, including source code. Ray Tomlinson is frequently credited with inventing the modern concept of email for the internet by establishing the @ symbol (in 1972) as a way of determining both the user and which computer to send the email to. By 1975, there were things like email folders (invented by Larry Roberts) and some other basic email apps. As is noted, by 1976 -- two years before Ayyadurai wrote his app -- email was 75% of all ARPANET traffic.
There's also the fact that even if Ayyadurai had done something different at that dental school (and there's no evidence he really did), that had no impact at all on the growth and success of email. No one else built out email systems because of what they saw Ayyadurai build. Email came and grew out of all of that other work (most of which pre-dated Ayyadurai). Hell, just look at RFC 733 from 1977 (before Ayyadurai started working at the school), which basically lays out all of the features of email.

Despite all of this, Ayyadurai refuses to give up his claims. Part of the way he's tried to get around this is to redefine email to include an increasingly long list of features, most of which are not at all necessary for email. The list changes over time and grows -- basically every time someone points out that all of the things he had on earlier lists were found in programs pre-dating Ayyadurai's own program. Ayyadurai also totally misrepresents what a copyright is, and insists that his copyright is just like a patent, because you couldn't patent software back then. That's basically not true. It is true that most software was not considered patentable back then (even though some was), but that still doesn't make the copyright the equivalent of a patent.

Throughout all of this, Ayyadurai and the weird collection of supporters he's built up -- bizarrely including Noam Chomsky and PR guru Larry Weber -- seemed to keep targeting Ray Tomlinson as some sort of evil mastermind behind the racist plot to take down Ayyadurai, because Tomlinson worked for Raytheon, and Weber, Chomsky and Ayyadurai could spin this bizarre and totally made up story of a big American defense contractor wanting to rewrite history to write out someone with "brown skin."

Tomlinson, as you probably have heard already, passed away this weekend, and received tremendous praise across the internet. Many referred to him as the "inventor of email" even though Tomlinson himself had long insisted that was not true either. Instead, he (unlike Ayyaudurai) long admitted that the growth and success of email involved many people working in pieces, building on each other's work successfully to build out the tool that we all use today. Still, Tomlinson actually does deserve tremendous credit for making email what it is today. The most notable claim -- and the one that everyone rightly talks about -- is his decision to make use of the @ symbol as a part of email addresses, in order to send email messages across networked computers, rather than just on a single machine (as had been done previously).

But, much more importantly, Tomlinson was actively engaged in setting the standards for email, such as in RFC 561 in 1973 (five years before Ayyadurai did anything), in which he and others laid out the standards for email headers.

Given all this, you'd hope that Ayyadurai could let Tomlinson's passing go in peace, and let people celebrate all of the work he did to actually bring email to the world. But, nope. That's not what's happening. Instead, Ayyadurai has gone on a Twitter rampage, tweeting at basically every journalist who has written about Tomlinson, and calling them liars. This is only a small snippet of about 3 hours worth of his tweets.
Most of those are pointing to his "correction" posted to his website, claiming that anyone claiming Tomlinson invented email is wrong. He repeats the false claims about how it only qualifies as email based on his totally arbitrary list of features and also that people who say he's wrong are simply backing up Raytheon trying to deny him his rightful due because he's "not white." And, amazingly, he's actually convinced some publications to write about his claim, with very little fact checking. Meanwhile, when some point out that he's lying, Ayyadurai yells at them that they're repeating "racist lies," despite the fact that all of the evidence is well-documented.

Once again, to Shiva Ayyadurai: you were almost certainly a very bright kid, who created a nice software program as a teenager at the school where you were employed. That's great. And you should be proud of your accomplishments. But you did not invent email. You had nothing to do with the invention of email. And to continue to claim otherwise makes you look petty and silly -- especially at a time when everyone is celebrating the very real accomplishment of Ray Tomlinson.

Reader Comments

The First Word

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2016 @ 11:49am

    Playing the race card.

    I'm getting so sick of that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 8 Mar 2016 @ 11:56am

    Many referred to him as the "inventor of email" even though Tomlinson himself had long insisted that was not true either. Instead, he (unlike Ayyaudurai) long admitted that the growth and success of email involved many people working in pieces, building on each other's work successfully to build out the tool that we all use today. Still, Tomlinson actually does deserve tremendous credit for making email what it is today.

    "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." This has always been the truth in real progress. Some people, like Isaac Newton and Ray Tomlinson, are even honest enough to admit it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kalean, 8 Mar 2016 @ 12:17pm

    Also...

    If you're looking at RFC 561, you'll find that it's also credited to Abhay Bhushan, an Indian fellow that happens to be the author of FTP.

    But I'm sure it's still racist, somehow.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ehud Gavron (profile), 8 Mar 2016 @ 12:21pm

    Ray Tomlinson RIP

    Ray and others like him and from that time contributed a lot to get a network of IMPs to become a network of IP processors to an ARPAnet backbone, NSFnet backbone, and eventually the commercial Internet.

    Through it all email evolved but several things stayed:
    1. Ray's use of the @ to separate man and machine. (Bitnet's broken % sign did not last long...)
    2. Email as envisioned by many people has persevered and improved.
    3. No 14-year old indian poser kid invented email

    It's amazing how many people believe his story despite reality and factual proof to the contrary.

    E

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2016 @ 12:23pm

    Claiming to have invented email is like claiming to be the first person to have discovered masturbation. You may not have needed any help - but you can rest assured somebody beat you to it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    aethercowboy (profile), 8 Mar 2016 @ 12:25pm

    What's next?

    He'll be claiming to have invented grave robbing?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John (profile), 8 Mar 2016 @ 12:39pm

    What we have here is proof that "Doth protest too much" is valid criticism.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Andrew (profile), 8 Mar 2016 @ 12:47pm

    When I heard about Tomlinson, I wondered what Shiva the Destroyer of fact was going to say about it, and was waiting for this story.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rich Kulawiec, 8 Mar 2016 @ 1:29pm

    Ray did more than just work on email

    Let me quote Craig Partridge (another long-time key contributor to the Internet):

    "Ray Tomlinson had been at BBN since 1967. He?s best known for inventing the concept of sending email over a computer network and choosing the @ sign as the way to split the mailbox name from the host name. But that?s a fraction of his amazing contributions to our field. Ray was one of a four person team that created TENEX, the first operating system to support virtual memory using paging. He wrote one of the first implementations of TCP and, when he found data being duplicated in the received stream, devised methods to ensure that sequence numbers were not duplicated that remain fundamental to TCP/IP implementations today. He worked on the first object-oriented distributed system and early multimedia email systems. And I'm sure I'm forgetting at least half a dozen other ways Ray made our world better."

    Let me also quote Vint Cerf, whose name I presume everyone here knows:

    "I knew and worked with Ray Tomlinson during the development of the ARPANET and its host protocols and benefited, as have billions, from his seminal work on networked electronic email. More important, from my personal perspective, was his work with Bill Plummer on the first PDP-10 TENEX implementation of TCP (and later TCP/IP). In 1975, he discovered that the TCP as specified in December 1974 had flaws that led it to fail to detect duplicate packets and, together with Yogen Dalal, developed the three-way handshake and initial sequence number selection method to solve this problem. As Craig Partridge summarizes, Ray was a long-time and creative contributor to the Internet, operating systems, and many other highly practical applications in the computer science and communications domains. He was a self-effacing and humble man and extraordinary performer in our online world. I will miss his thoughtful, low-key and always helpful counsel."

    Ray left a legacy of a long, LONG line of developments and innovations. Perhaps the biggest tribute to what he did is that so much of it just works -- even today -- without anyone having to think much about it. (Your operating system, at the behest of your web browser, just did the three-way TCP handshake referred to above so that you could read this page.) And yet he so often demurred when folks tried to give him credit, preferring to cast himself just one of many building on each others' work.

    Which, mostly, he was, as are nearly all of us. But there is no doubt in mind that he came up with the concept of networked email. His fingerprints are all over it, and it fits right in with the rest of his extensive history: in order words, it's exactly the sort of thing Ray would do. And did, many many times.

    And to Shiva Ayyadura: how DARE you use the sad occasion of Ray's death to engage in even more self-aggrandizing fabricated PR. That's not only bullshit, it's vile.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      klaus (profile), 9 Mar 2016 @ 9:58am

      Re: Ray did more than just work on email

      "And to Shiva Ayyadura: how DARE you use the sad occasion of Ray's death to engage in even more self-aggrandizing fabricated PR. That's not only bullshit, it's vile."

      +1 Couldn't have said it better myself...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    JEDIDIAH, 8 Mar 2016 @ 1:32pm

    Noam jumped the shark a long time ago.

    We like some of his ideas. We stole them and used them for our evil purposes over in the CS department.

    HOWEVER, beyond some contributions to linguistics he's a total fruitcake. I am not at all surprised that Noam Chomsky might choose to champion the plight of this poser.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Paraquat (profile), 8 Mar 2016 @ 6:00pm

      Re: Noam jumped the shark a long time ago.

      Noam Chomsky was a big apologist for the Khmer Rouge during the 1980s. Even as reports of the genocide kept filtering in, Noam insisted it was all just a smear campaign by the USA imperialists. After the release of the movie "The Killing Fields" and the fact that the genocide was too obvious to ignore, Noam essentially disappeared from public view, totally discredited.

      He then re-emerged with 9/11 and has been going ever since as The Big Mouthpiece. Always looking for an issue to attack the horrible racist USA, and Israel, his two objects of loathing. So I'm not surprised he'd jump into this too, this it "proves" that America is racist.

      Many young people - too young to remember Noam's Khmer Rouge lovefest - just believe everything this creep says. Noam spits out book after book, all saying pretty much the same thing, it's how he makes his living. He leaches off of well-meaning liberals who don't realize they are being had.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Mar 2016 @ 6:00am

        Re: Re: Noam jumped the shark a long time ago.

        Chomsky's actual biography certainly has enough crackpottery to go around (starting with the subject of this very article), so why the need to make up stuff like that:


        Noam Chomsky was a big apologist for the Khmer Rouge during the 1980s. Even as reports of the genocide kept filtering in, Noam insisted it was all just a smear campaign by the USA imperialists. After the release of the movie "The Killing Fields" and the fact that the genocide was too obvious to ignore, Noam essentially disappeared from public view, totally discredited.

        He then re-emerged with 9/11

        - Chomsky didn't claim the Cambodian genocide was a smear campaign. He claimed that western media was showing an intentional bias by staying mum on the cruelties committed by the (US-backed) Suharto regime in East Timor, while at the same time extensively reporting on cruelties by the (communist) Khmer Rouge. Which has at least some truth to it, YMMV on the whole "international imperialist media cabal" thing but there is little denying that the Indonesian occupation of East Timor was neglected until well into the 90s.

        - Accordingly, his supposed disappearance until 2001 never happened. Several of his most successful works (like "Manufacturing Consent") appeared in that era.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Isma'il, 9 Mar 2016 @ 10:28am

        Re: Re: Noam jumped the shark a long time ago.

        Your assertion that Noam is out to get the "racist" USA and Israel is a bit misleading, given a few of the misdeeds of both.

        With regards to the USA:

        1. The CIA, under direction of Kermit Roosevelt, fomented a coup d'etat against the democratically-elected Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh of Iran in 1953 to effect regime change back to the Shah of Iran. The Shah was "friendly" to UK and US oil interests, while Mossadegh wanted to make the Iranian people the beneficiaries of their own oil profits.

        2. The US, through private business interests, sponsored the overthrow of democratically-elected Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954, because Arbenz was elected on a platform of giving land-rights back to the people much to the chagrin of the United Fruit Company. UFC controlled the banana production and abused their monopoly to the detriment of Guatemalan society.

        3. In 1981, Jaime Roldos of Ecuador was assassinated because of his stance similar to Mohammad Mossadegh, in that Ecuador's oil revenues should be used to help the people, instead of prop up US oil interests. Many believed that the assassination was sanctioned by the US government and carried out by corporate-sponsored hitmen.

        4. Panamanian President Omar Torrijos was suspiciously removed from office after successfully renegotiating the Panama Canal Treaty in 1977 to allow the canal to be transferred to Panamanian sovereignty, despite the wishes of major US corporations that had an interest in the canal zone remaining under US control.

        All these facts are not in dispute and can be verified through multiple sources, including John Perkins' book Confessions of an Economic Hitman.

        With regard to Israel:

        1. There was little Jewish interest in the lands of Palestine until the Zionist movement began in the late 1800s. At that time, Zionist interests began one of the biggest land-grab schemes in modern history: Buying up vast tracts of land on the cheap, expelling the original residents, and then putting up Jewish settlements. This process accelerated the years immediately following World War 2, allowing the partition of the British Mandate of Palestine.

        2. The UN resolution of 1947, creating separate "Israeli" and "Palestinian" zones didn't last very long as Zionist interests continued their land-grab policies, leading to the situation we have today.

        3. The State of Israel today is a de facto apartheid state, with regard to Israeli occupation and subjugation of the Palestinian people and the land that was once rightly theirs.

        Why would society tolerate Israeli aparteid whilst condemning former South African apartheid at the same time?

        Again, these are not in dispute and can be verified through different sources, not the least of which is http://ifamericansknew.org

        Let's be clear here: I am not saying that I don't like the USA or that Israel doesn't have a right to exist, rather I'm saying that both have enough blood on their hands such that it disqualifies them from being a moral authority.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Sc0tty, 9 Mar 2016 @ 9:44am

      Re: Noam jumped the shark a long time ago.

      Noam is a wolf is sheep's clothing, and anyone who buys into his propaganda is a lemming sheeple, period.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 8 Mar 2016 @ 2:02pm

    Liar!

    Shiva Ayyadurai did not invent email.

    I did.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), 9 Mar 2016 @ 2:43am

      Re: Liar!

      No.... I'm Brian! And so is my wife!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Socrates, 10 Mar 2016 @ 12:03pm

        Re: Re: Liar!

        No.... I'm Brian! And so is my wife!

        Self-ownership is a human right,
        you are alive, you are Brian, everything is owned
        thus Life of Brian belongs to you!

        QED


        The holy grail is redress, or at least a gold+white dress?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 9 Mar 2016 @ 6:19am

      Re: Liar!

      No you didn't. I sent vibrations to Mr Ajavdurai (can't spell that thing) and he spiritually received and transcribed into his software before I was born!

      Your turn!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2016 @ 2:03pm

    He invented "EMAIL", not electronic mail in much the same way that Microsoft invented "Windows" not the windowed gui (although his implementation was vastly less successful than Microsoft's)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      aethercowboy (profile), 8 Mar 2016 @ 2:30pm

      Re:

      I thought Microsoft invented that thing where you have a hole in the side of your house that you can't exactly walk through, but you sure can see through.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        pIXELATION, 8 Mar 2016 @ 2:39pm

        Re: Re:

        Actually, Microsoft invented the Blue Screen Of Death.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2016 @ 5:43pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          The screen might not have been blue, but I think guru meditation errors offer a bit of prior art there...

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Socrates, 10 Mar 2016 @ 12:41pm

          The ailment of Windows

          The "Blue Screen Of Death" outside predates Bill Gates, I'm sure of it. It have something with Rayleigh scattering, UV, and cancer.

          If you have Windows in your home you are at risk. Windows with a interface directly to the outside world necessitates protection.

          Use sunscreen?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          RMycroft, 12 Mar 2016 @ 12:51pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          In Windows 10, they've improved that to the Blue Keyboard Screen of Death. When the bootup glitches and fails to see your keyboard, it puts up a screen prompting you to select a keyboard type, using the non-existent keyboard. *sigh* reboot.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That Anonymous Coward (profile), 8 Mar 2016 @ 5:30pm

        Re: Re:

        paraphrased but close...

        But we here at Microsoft believe that OS/2 is the operating system of the 90s.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ehud Gavron (profile), 8 Mar 2016 @ 3:41pm

      Microsoft "successful" at Windows (was Re: )

      > ...his implementation was vastly less successful than Microsoft's

      The first Microsoft Windows was barely a crosshatch pattern on an ASCII screen. It competed UNFAVORABLY against AmigaOS which had true multitasking and MacOS which has true graphical windows. In every single measurement Microsoft's implementation of Windows sucked.

      It took Microsoft from 1993 to 1996 (Win95) to 2001 (Win2K) (and using the kernel they stole from DEC's VMS) to be able to actually have usable windows doing different things. that's 13 years after Amiga and Mac had it down pat.

      However, what Microsoft did was ensure that "everything runs Windows 3.1 software" so they left all the old cruft in, which made Microsoft Windows the least secure and most easily pwn3d operating system in the world -- ever -- on any platform -- ever -- in all of history.

      So to compare them and include the word "successful" is a slap in the face of "success."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2016 @ 4:09pm

        Re: Microsoft

        Like them or not, Microsoft is still a multibillion dollar business and made the founders very wealthy. It's hard to argue they weren't successful

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2016 @ 6:01pm

          Re: Re: Microsoft

          Like them or not, Microsoft is still a multibillion dollar business and made the founders very wealthy. It's hard to argue they weren't successful

          In the same way a lottery winner is a "successful businessman".

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Ehud Gavron (profile), 8 Mar 2016 @ 11:29pm

          Re: Re: Microsoft

          > It's hard to argue they weren't successful

          Yes, there are always people who fail high school debate because they can't argue their way out of a paper bag. It doesn't make the argument strong... just the arguer weak.

          > Microsoft is still a multibillion dollar business

          So's Amway. Both sell crap. Lots of crap makes for multibillion dollar business. Still crap.

          Best of luck with your "they sell lots and I can't argue" philosophy. I can't argue with incompetence.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 9 Mar 2016 @ 6:32am

          Re: Re: Microsoft

          "It's hard to argue they weren't successful"

          That entirely depends on how you define "success".

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            trollificus (profile), 9 Mar 2016 @ 7:17am

            Re: Re: Re: Microsoft

            Conceded: Windows was, mostly has been (Win2K, 98 eventually and WinXP almost from the get-go, were okay), and currently is, a piece of awful, insecure bloatware; acquired by dubious means and promulgated through pure evil business practices.

            Contested: That said, it was OPEN (both bug (security) and feature (user access!)), and, by whatever evile means 'twas done, established a standard OS which accelerated the march of home computing. This was a good thing, even if it was only ever a side-effect of making them filthy rich.

            So yeah, the definition of "success" is even more complex than a simple "great product"/"got rich" dichotomy.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              JoeCool (profile), 9 Mar 2016 @ 10:06am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Microsoft

              Windows has never been "open" as there have always been secret APIs that MS apps could (and did) use that no one else had access to. They even lost one side of a lawsuit over that very issue.

              The "success" of MS was in coercing OEMs to exclude anyone else from the market with secret agreements that eventually came to light, but too late to help anyone else. MS finally lost in court altogether, but managed to buy themselves a slap on the wrist.

              MS didn't accelerate the OS market, they held it back during the key parts of the early years, and managed to set back the market more than a decade, giving them a chance to catch up to other, better OSes.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Jeff Leiker, 8 Mar 2016 @ 6:13pm

        Re: Microsoft "successful" at Windows (was Re: )

        Raise your hand if you read this comment on an Amiga then tell me how they were successful and Windows (the most ubiquitous desktop OS on earth) was not successful. Was betamax also more successful that VHS just because it had technological advantages?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Ehud Gavron (profile), 8 Mar 2016 @ 11:33pm

          Re: Re: Microsoft "successful" at Windows (was Re: )

          > Raise your hand if...

          Raise your hand if the way you judge reality is by how many people raise their hand. Popularity contests are awesome for high-school cheerleader but not so much for news.

          > Windows the most ubiquitous desktop OS

          You made that criteria up. Now go read up like someone who is responding to a previous posting and see that wasn't the criteria at all. Good boy.

          Microsoft wrote crap. The fact that they sold it to everybody (and his dog) is good salesmanship but it doesn't make the crap any more eadible. Amiga and Mac had better OSs and they didn't sell so well at all. Still better mousetrap.

          > Was betamax[sic] also more successful
          Again if you define success to having the better mousetrap then sure. If you define it as taking the market and running away with it [see various international lawsuits against Microsoft for unlawful behavior] then yeah that too.

          That wasn't the point. The point was that looking at Microsoft was a bad choice. It still is.

          E

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 9 Mar 2016 @ 12:44am

            Re: Re: Re: Microsoft "successful" at Windows (was Re: )

            The fact that they sold it to everybody (and his dog) is good salesmanship


            Their best sales trick, getting PC manufacturers to pre-install windows, so that it is very difficult to avoid buying a copy when you buy a PC.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 9 Mar 2016 @ 3:20pm

        Re: Microsoft "successful" at Windows (was Re: )

        So to compare them and include the word "successful" is a slap in the face of "success."

        How are you defining success?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    12 monkey man, 8 Mar 2016 @ 3:05pm

    what is important

    is that you all understand that I inventerd commenting systems

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DB (profile), 8 Mar 2016 @ 3:43pm

    A message system limited to the known users a single machine isn't email. Calling it EMAIL doesn't make it email.

    It's closest physical analogy is a single cork bulletin board with thumbtacks, or a wall of named cubbyholes, not the postal system.

    Someone can send mail to a person in Eagle Alaska, even if they didn't know that there was town with that name until a few seconds ago. They don't need to know where Eagle is, or the directions to that address. The mail can get by truck, train, boat, plane or dogsled (and if to Eagle, perhaps all of those).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Socrates, 10 Mar 2016 @ 1:49pm

      RIP

      A message system limited to the known users a single machine isn't email. Calling it EMAIL doesn't make it email.

      It's closest physical analogy is a single cork bulletin board with thumbtacks, or a wall of named cubbyholes, not the postal system.
      This is a very important point. I also wonder if he were clueless to that extent that he didn't understand that a mail system (physical as well as electronically) would extend beyond a single place or computer? Or perhaps he's just so hung up on the name he selected that he didn't even understand that the name were a misnomer? His behavior patterns suggests ignorance or malice, or both.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Theoden, 8 Mar 2016 @ 4:07pm

    Give him a TV Show

    Somebody needs to give him a TV Show that chronicles his life, a la Scorpion.

    They can get the same hack writers who have tuned Walter O'Brien into a total joke to do the same for his email claims. After the first few episodes, NO ONE will ever take him seriously again.

    If they ever did in the first place...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kronomex, 8 Mar 2016 @ 4:20pm

    "Tomlinson, as you probably have heard already, passed away this weekend..." and there's the reason, it's the old wait until they are dead and can't fight back. Ayyadurai comes across as a vain (extremely vain)narcissist who can't stand the idea of being "ordinary". Grow up!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    tqk (profile), 8 Mar 2016 @ 5:35pm

    Every program expands in complexity until it does email.

    He was just bulldozed by, or found himself riding the current of, a natural trend he'd neither anticipated nor much understood, but claimed it for himself in case it might be worth something some day.

    Keep your "EMAIL", if it makes you happy. It means nothing to me. Yes, you're a handsome man, which also means nothing to me.

    I hate racist jerks like this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Mar 2016 @ 6:29pm

    What an asshole

    Shiva Ayyadurai has proved that assholes exist in all races, including brown skinned people.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Nutella, 9 Mar 2016 @ 1:31am

    Conman

    This is a case of NASSCOM getting caught red-handed buying a PR story in the cover of TIME so that India could beef up its image but it went wrong and they thought every American would believe it. India got caught red handed once again trying to take credit for what others created and now the conman is furious he was exposed.

    Par for the course for India.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Mar 2016 @ 1:54am

    Mr. Ayyadurai,

    You are seen as a pompous idiot, because you ARE a pompous idiot. Attributing it to your skin colour adds "pathetic" to the mixture.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 9 Mar 2016 @ 2:05am

    In the 38 years since he thinks he invented e-mail, what has he done?

    Your entire life & promise boiled down to a single event. Sure it played well in some circles, and you can even drum up support playing the racism card but you wrote a program that couldn't exist without the hard work of others you seek to discount.

    38 years... your single claim to fame is a lie that consumes your every waking minute trying to force reality to accept your fantasy.

    38 years... you now hock an ebook.
    38 years... you have some connection to a tv star.
    38 years... you spend hours a day tweeting into a void.
    38 years... and you haven't created anything of value.
    38 years... and your will always be that fuckwad who claims he invented email.

    Awesome legacy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    trollificus (profile), 9 Mar 2016 @ 4:15am

    More than creating a clever piece of software at an early age, I will credit him with having a mountain of cynical brass. Also, of course, with a paltry character.

    But I thought those things when I first heard of him. The latter aspect (lack of a human soul) is only now reinforced though, with this ugly, racist, disrespecting of a dead man.

    Self-aggrandizement, seeking undeserved credit, those are not that uncommon, here or in India. Nor is doubling down on a lie when caught out. Cynically playing the race card for personal gain and attacking the recently deceased? Nah, that's reserved for the lowest of the low.

    And if I were one of his Indian compatriots, I'd be backpedaling away from this guy top speed and claiming "He must've absorbed the decadent values of the West." (but then, the BJP is somewhere to the right of Marie Le Pen and racist as the KKK)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Mar 2016 @ 5:42am

    "I named my software “EMAIL,” (a term never used before in the English language)"

    really?

    " The company was incorporated in New South Wales on 30 November 1934 as Electricity Meter & Allied Industries Ltd; it adopted the Email name (an acronym) on 20 October 1951. Email's original and longest running business is the manufacturing of electric, gas and water meters. At one time there would have been few houses in Australia which did not have an Email meter."

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Email_Limited

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 9 Mar 2016 @ 6:10am

    Mr Avaydurai,

    I'm still trying to spell your name and have been trying since last article I saw you. But a simple search and 5 minutes of reading tells me you are full of bullshit (even if you are - or were back then - a smart guy).

    Also, repeating a lie doesn't make it the truth.

    Regards.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    aethercowboy (profile), 9 Mar 2016 @ 7:27am

    Wait... I thought Maxwell Sheffield invented Email.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ed (profile), 9 Mar 2016 @ 7:55am

    Is "Ayyadurai" the Hindi translation of "Trump"?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Stephen Q. Pickering (profile), 9 Mar 2016 @ 8:17am

    Older e-mails are on record.

    Mail from USC-ISI rcvd at 8-APR-76 1202-PST
    Date: 8 APR 1976 1110-PST
    Sender: STEFFERUD at USC-ISI
    Subject: MSGGROUP# 314 Welcome Richard Stallman (RMS@MIT-AI)
    From: STEFFERUD at USC-ISI
    To: [ISI]Mailing.List:
    Message-ID:

    Please add RMS@MIT-AI (Richard Stallman) to your MsgGroup mailing
    list, or obtain a new copy form [ISI]Mailing.List;56.

    Richard and Ken Harrenstien (KLH@MIT-AI) have been perusing the
    MsgGroup Proceedings and have raised a number of issues that I
    think are well worth discussion.

    So, Welcome to MsgGroup. Enjoy. See you in the discussions,
    Stef

    Begin forwarded message
    --------------------
    Mail from MIT-AI rcvd at 7-APR-76 2256-PST
    Date: 8 APR 1976 0155-EST
    From: RMS at MIT-AI
    To: msggroup at USC-ISI

    1) I would like to enter your mailing list.
    2) On the subject of mail systems, can't there be set up
    a name which when mailed to automatically forwards to all the
    people on the mailing list? ITS has that feature, and I have
    heard that TENEX is getting it. It would be much more convenient
    than copying the file to ones own machine.
    3) I maintain this system's mail reader, called RMAIL. It is
    designed for display consoles, unlike most. It is documented in
    the file .INFO.;RMAIL ORDER on this machine (I guarantee you will
    be surprised to find out what language it's written in).
    Our FTP server does not expect you to log in; our system is
    not paranoid the way most systems are.
    -------

    --------------------
    End forwarded message

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 9 Mar 2016 @ 10:16am

    The guy is a modern genius

    First, he figured out the idea "people will believe a lie if you repeat it often enough".

    Second, I'm sure he's figured out that way too many online media sites don't do research, either because they're too busy or too lazy. They see an e-mail from a guy who has a huge blog saying he invented e-mail so that's good enough. The site has a deadline so they write a framing story around the guy's blog, add a click-bait title like "You won't believe who invented e-mail? This will blow your mind and restore your faith in humanity." and call it a day.
    Then that site gets used as an accurate source by aggregator sites like BuzzFeed and the lie gets even deeper.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 10 Mar 2016 @ 12:12am

      Re: The guy is a modern genius

      Wait till he gets to step 3 - most people actually don't care who invented email. People tech-savvy enough to want to research it will quickly find out all the debunking of his claims. He's mainly getting press because many "journalists" who don't do any research find the underdog story interesting, but nobody reading Buzzfeed is going to care who really came up with email.

      He's essentially trying to fool a population who don't care enough to research the subject that he's the important one. Yet, all he's really doing is compiling a portfolio of how much of an asshole he is, even in the face of the death of someone who is documented to have been more important to email before he hit puberty.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Mar 2016 @ 9:56am

    Based on what this 'doctor' (and there are some suspicions that his doctorate is fake) did and how he gets SO angry when anyone asks for evidence, it's highly probable he didn't even invent his OWN software and simply copied code from someone else's system.

    Usually those caught in a lie scream yell and pound the table to cover up the fact that they have no defence.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ashwin, 19 Apr 2016 @ 3:02am

    Total Racist

    You Americans are totally racist!!!!.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Caution: Copyright
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.