ERROL MORRIS: So, is this really true? Did Noel invent e-mail?
TOM VAN VLECK: He and I, together, invented e-mail. That’s right. Someone else said, “Let’s have an e-mail,” but he and I were the people who took that wish and wrote code that did it. Now, I don’t say we were the first or the only inventors, because I’m not interested in that. But I know that Noel and I invented it, and furthermore, I know that the e-mail that we invented was the ancestor of the e-mail for the next operating system, Multics, that we worked together on for many years. And that mail command was the ancestor of the mail command for many other systems, Unix, in particular. And so, it influenced all subsequent mail systems. So Noel has a legacy.
I am informed that SDC's Q32 operating system had both MAIL and inter-user messages (DIAL facility) in 1965. We probably knew about this; the timesharing world was very small in those days, and system developers knew each other and borrowed ideas freely.
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