• COMMENT 2019-09-19 BY OHI team

    OHI interview with Steve Goldstein: The Internet Pioneer who connected China to the Internet

    OHI project interviewed Steve Goldstein on 19th September 2019 in Washington, DC.
    OHI interview with Steve Goldstein: The Internet Pioneer who connected China to the Internet

    In the late 1980s, Steve Goldstein joined the National Science Foundation (NSF) and served as the program director who took charge of the Internet connection between the United States and the rest of the world. In other words, he was the key person who connected China to the Internet in the early 1990s. Unlike Stephen Wolff who was Steve Goldstein’s boss and also the overall designer of the Internet connections among many countries, Steve was in charge of executing the Internet access projects and he knew more details during this progress. So, if Steve’s stories were missing, then the history of China’s connection to the Internet would be flawed and incomplete.


    However, it was very challenging and difficult to interview Steve Goldstein. For one thing, he lives more than 100 miles away from Washington, DC and it takes about 3 hours to drive. For another thing, I have been searching for his contacts for about two years on line nothing came out. This time, thanks to Steve Crocker, we finally got in touch with him. He replied to a long email with abundant information about our interview invitation and said that he was very happy and honored to be interviewed.


    On 19th September, we set off at 8:30 a.m., after 3 hours of driving, we arrived at the sanatorium where Steve Goldstein stays. He had just finished his club speech about wine-making. We put down the cameras and went to have lunch with him. During lunchtime, we made some small talks and have a good relax. The first impression he made to others was normally his big body, a typical American shape. His body made business trips, which were really a lot due to his work,  the most troublesome things for him since the seat in economy class could not hold his body. Luckily, he successfully lost 1/3 weight,even by doing so, he is not thin and lean.


    The interview began right after lunch,. During his stay at NSF, he connected 25 countries to the Internet, and China was one of them. That was the critical moment for the Internationalization of the Internet (NSFnet).

    Speaking of China, Steve Goldstein said Hu Qiheng, Qian Hualin, Wu Jianping, and Li Xing are his good friends and they used to work together. It suddenly occurred to me that the session under the theme of “50th Anniversary of the Internet” on China National Computer Congress which will be held by me on 19th October in Suzhou, Wu Jianping, Li Xing, Zhang Lixia and I are going to deliver speeches, if Steve Goldstein could shoot a video and play it on the session, it would be extraordinarily fantastic. He gladly accepted my advice and said that although his health condition could not allow him to travel to China to attend the conference, it has been a great pleasure to play his video during the conference.


    There are many stories and mysteries in the history of the Internet connection, some sayings and statements that we have been using so far may not depicting history accurately, we believe it is our mission to respect history and dig out the truth. Our job is like mining gold, the Joy of finding the truth about Internet history is just as happy as the miner discover gold.


    Although it is quite exhausted to travel 3 hours and interview 5 hours in one day, we were all very happy with the priceless reward of fulfillment and we almost forgot the roughness we have gone through. By the time we finished our interview, it was almost 5 p.m., 3 hours of driving under the sunset became another joy for us.



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