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Daniel C. Lynch, founder of Major Computer Exhibition, dies at 82| GuyWhoKnowsThings


Daniel C. Lynch, a computer network engineer whose presentations on networking equipment helped accelerate the commercialization of the Internet in the 1980s and 1990s, died Saturday at his home in St. Helena, California. He was 82 years old.

His death was confirmed by his daughter Julie Lynch-Sasson, who said he was suffering from kidney failure.

In the mid-1980s, when the Internet was still the domain of academia and government, Lynch was a computer facilities manager who played a key role in the early years of data networking. Although the Internet was very small and restricted to non-commercial use, Lynch was convinced of its maximum commercial potential.

Daniel C. Lynch in an undated photograph. He sold his company, Interop, to Ziff Davis in 1991 for an estimated $25 million.Credit…The Lynch family

Friends of his had recently founded companies such as Cisco Systems and Sun Microsystems. “And I'm like, Wait a minute, I can do this too,” he said in a video recorded for his 2019 Internet Hall of Fame induction.

In 1986, Lynch decided to hold a workshop to train vendors and developers in configuring equipment to route traffic over the Internet. The goal was to get teams from different manufacturers to work together and demonstrate the uses the Internet could have for businesses. The first event, attended by 300 vendors, was largely run by volunteers, who ran cables across the room and programmed specialized computers called routers, which were barely commercially available, to communicate with each other.

“His idea was that you couldn't be there unless you were willing to network with everyone else,” said Vinton G. Cerf, vice president and chief Internet evangelist at Google. Lynch asked attendees to respect TCP/IP, a language spoken by computers connected to the Internet that was quickly becoming the industry standard.

“Basically, he was helping to spread the word in every way possible that the Internet was not just a flash in the pan,” Vinton G. Cerf, a Google executive, said of Lynch. Credit…The Lynch family

Lynch began calling his event Interop in the late 1980s. Within a decade, there were become one of the largest computer exhibitions in the world, helping to create a global community of specialists capable of supporting a networking standard that made it possible for all the world's computers to share data. One computer industry analyst called it “the plumbing expo for the information age.”

Interop also published ConneXions, a monthly technical magazine focused on data networks. The current market for Internet-related equipment is estimated at $30 billion.

“Basically, I was helping to spread the word in every way possible that the Internet was not just a flash in the pan or just a research experiment, that it was a real thing, worthy of attention and investment,” Dr. Cerf said. . And he was right.

In 1991, Lynch sold Interop to Ziff Davis, a large computer magazine publisher, for an estimated $25 million.

Daniel Courtney Lynch was born on August 16, 1941 in Los Angeles. His father, Thomas Allen Lynch, was a public relations executive and his mother, Irene Elizabeth (Courtney) Lynch, was an educator.

Mr. Lynch received his undergraduate degree in mathematics and philosophy from Loyola University (now Loyola Marymount University) in 1963. That year, he married Bernice Fijak, a recent graduate of Mount Saint Mary's College (now Mount Saint Mary's University) in The Angels. Two years later, he earned his master's degree in mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles.

In 1965 he entered the Air Force and worked as a computer programmer at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico until 1969.

In 1973, Lynch was hired as director of computer science at the Stanford Research Institute. Arpanet, the precursor to the Internet, was in its first years of operation and the institute was the second node (or connection point) of the nascent network.

Lynch moved to Los Angeles in 1980 to work at the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute, another early Arpanet node, as a computing facilities manager.

He left the institute in 1984 “because things were happening and I wanted to get involved in a startup of some kind,” he said in the 2019 video. He financed the first workshop on networking equipment with a Mastercard, a Visa and a $50,000 loan.

After the sale of Interop, Lynch opened a vineyard in Napa Valley and, in 1994, co-founded CyberCash, one of the first Internet-based payment services for e-commerce. The company declared bankruptcy in 2001.

Mr. Lynch's first marriage ended in divorce in 1976. In 1978, he married Georgia Sutherland; the marriage ended a year later. His third marriage, to Karen Dement in 1980, ended in divorce in 2003.

In addition to his daughter Julie, Mr. Lynch is survived by five other children (Christopher, Eric, Zachary, Katherine and Michael) and seven grandchildren.


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