Jon Postel passes away -- The head of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority developed and maintained the custom suffix system

By Patrizia DiLucchio
December 04, 1998 at 05:00 AM EST

When Jon Postel died on Oct. 16 at the age of 55, of complications following heart surgery, cyberspace lost one of its original wizards. As head of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) at USC’s Information Sciences Institute, Postel developed and maintained the system of custom suffixes — .com, .edu, and the like — that link the Net’s numeric addressing system to its text-based URLs. ”The whole way the Web is designed reflects the highest ideals we have for ourselves,” notes virtual-reality pioneer Jaron Lanier. ”Jon Postel was one of the handful of scientists most instrumental in that design.” Formal condolences, fittingly uploaded to the message boards of the Internet Society, poured in from Nigeria, Bulgaria, Egypt, Brazil, Armenia, Indonesia, the Canary Islands, and all points wired, while more enigmatic tributes floated anonymously through e-mail loops:
Life lived on the Net
Life in virtuality
Death does not reboot

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