Sockets were invented in Berkeley around 1983, but how did networked computer programs work before this? These days, pretty much everything uses sockets, so it's hard for me to imagine how else programs could communicate and Google turned up nothing.

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    Before sockets in 1983, there was only "Sock it to me"
    – Neil
    Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 14:35
  • Digging up in history, the specification for IP can be found in RFC 760 published in '80. TCP is in RFC 761. UDP is from RFC 768. Looking at the refs for these, you see things such as "Cerf, V., and R. Kahn, "A Protocol for Packet Network Intercommunication," IEEE Transactions on Communications, Vol. COM-22, No. 5, pp 637-648, May 1974."
    – user40980
    Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 14:53

1 Answer 1


Berkeley socket was just an API that was invented then. The technology that sockets abstracts away was there before; ARPANET and TCP/IP stack was invented in the 70's and there were computer networks even before that.

Technically you can connect two computers with a serial cable an make them communicate over it.

  • 1
    +1, Ports, for example, predated the socket API. I think TCP (1974) always had the concept of ports.
    – Jamie F
    Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 14:45
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    SLIP - Serial Line Internet Protocol, a common dial up technology back in the day.
    – user40980
    Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 14:56
  • Lots of game development for the 8-bit machines (C64, ZX Spectrum) was done in just that fashion - coding was done on a PC or similar and then sent to the 8-bit machine via serial comms.
    – Alan B
    Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 15:57
  • The P in TCP is Protocol. There were other protocols before and competing with that one, it's an abstraction over UDP which came before it. Again P in UDP being Protocol; it had competitors as well which were different from UDP. Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 16:37
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    many other protocols 4.bp.blogspot.com/-_QYe53VP8rU/UAaSiPL8aQI/AAAAAAAACbs/… Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 16:40

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