History of Ping

Ever wondered where ping comes from? Who wrote it? When was it written? What it stand for?

From the experts to the noobs using it as a basic first line troubleshooting tool, to the non-technical people, just knowing the term appose to what it actually does, I think it is safe to say, that ping has become one of the most widely used terms in computer technology and networks.

Michael John Muuss
Michael John Muuss

MIKE MUUSS,  (pronounced “moose”) ‘A graduate of Johns Hopkins University, Muuss was a senior scientist specializing in geometric solid modeling, ray-tracing, MIMD architectures and digital computer networks at the United States Army Research Laboratory in Maryland when he died.’ –from WIKI–

Mike is the author PING for UNIX, a little thousand-line hack that Mike wrote one evening,  July 1983, from an idea that came about to measure path latency using timed ICMP Echo packets. PING is NOT an acronym, many believe PING is short for Packet Internet Groper, but this is not the case nor was Mike’s intention.

Mike named PING after the sounds a Sonar makes, due to operational simularities, in that ping uses timed IP/ICMP ECHO_REQUEST and ECHO_REPLY packets to probe the “distance” to the target machine. PING is included in every copy of UNIX® and Microsoft Windows®, putting it into nearly every computer on the planet.


Mike  also wrote a number of software packages (including architect of BRL-CAD) and network tools (including TTCP and the concept of the default route or “default gateway”) and contributed to many others (including BIND).

Sadly, Mike was killed in an automobile accident on US route 95 in Maryland, on November 20, 2000. His homepage is still available, a testament to his intellect and indomitable spirit. A true loss indeed.


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