On the day Ray Tomlinson’s death hogged media limelight with the deceased being credited with inventing email, a Mumbai-born US scientist has claimed that the real inventor was still alive.
Dr VA Shiva Ayyadurai has been fighting for the legitimacy over his claim of having invented the email for years.
According to Ayyadurai, Tomlinson was just the inventor of “simple text messaging” and not email as we know it today.
He says that as a 14-year-old research fellow at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), located in Newark, New Jersey, he had invented email in 1978.
Quoting the excerpts of his email, Indian Express reported, “I had been assigned to create a software system that duplicated the features of the Interoffice Mail System, which was simply a manila envelope that physically circulated around a workplace. The envelope contained the Interoffice Memo with Attachments, and comments from various recipients on a given topic. I named my software “EMAIL,” (a term never used before in the English language), and I even received the first US Copyright for that software, officially recognising me as The Inventor of Email, at a time when Copyright was the only way to recognise software inventions, since the US was not recognising software patents.”
Dr Ayyadurai says that Tomlinson’s idea was just to send text messages between two computers but that wasn’t email.
“Since email, as we all know, is a system that includes features such as Inbox, Outbox, Drafts, Folders, Attachments, Carbon Copies. Groups, Forwarding, Reply, Delete, Archive, Sort, Bulk Distribution, and more.”
He claims this full system was his invention.
The India-born scientist took to twitter to blame the lack of credit to his ethnicity and colour of skin.
— Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai, M.I.T. PhD. Inventor of Email (@va_shiva) March 7, 2016
He received plenty of support to his claims on twitter while media including jantakareporter.com was duped into believing that it was Tomlinson who had invented the email.
Here are some examples:
Ray Tomlinson is attributed with "@" and many other achievements but Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai @va_shiva has the copyright on email. R.I.P Ray.
— Arvind Gupta (@buzzindelhi) March 7, 2016
@va_shiva Thank you for your contribution, Dr. Ayyadurai. The truth will ultimately triumph. I pray you get justice. God bless you.
— James George (@jamesgeorge) March 7, 2016
— Sandy Fox (@SandyFoxWorld) March 7, 2016
— Fran Drescher (@frandrescher) March 7, 2016
— Alexandrya❂ (@AlexandryaSun) March 7, 2016