[TUHS] Steve Bellovin recounts the history of USENET

George Michaelson ggm at algebras.org
Thu Nov 21 18:56:13 AEST 2019

uk.* and eu.* seem to be unfindable. Stuff from before the great
USENET re-org is mostly unfindable. cross posting to lists, only
partially visible.  I've tried to find my own rants, its like I was
born into the world in 1996. What happened to 1982-onward? It just ..

If things have improved, I'd be happy to wish it true, but what I
recall is the archives were bootstrapped from tapes held by people who
felt it was the best they could do, in a time where people didn't
really keep ephemera, and alas, the stuff wasn't all, it was the view
of all. which some people saw.

I think uk.* never left the island.  Maybe this is one of those
definitions things: we used the A and B news protocol, we used UUCP,
we were on USENET, but if we weren't in the backbone cabal, its like
we didn't exist.

People love to talk about shebang addressing (me too, and VMS a::b::c)
but Honey-Danber, was the shizzle. They made the world so much
simpler, by doing the obvious flattening of the pathspace into
namespace, with path dealt with elsewhere. moving to a at somewhere was
god-given help to morons. Shebang paths sucked.

(It would not surprise me for a hk.* and jp.* and su.* and the like to
say: "brother, you have no idea")

On Thu, Nov 21, 2019 at 11:28 AM Larry McVoy <lm at mcvoy.com> wrote:
> On Thu, Nov 21, 2019 at 11:18:10AM +0800, George Michaelson wrote:
> > there is a big US bias in the archives of USENET. All I could find
> > preserved (before Google deleted it) was my updates to the maps for
> > York.ac.uk. In collecting history, the US erased most of Europe and
> > Asia basically.  Our timelines are artificially compressed into the
> > modern era.
> Can you explain this a bit?  When I was on Usenet, 1980-1990 or so, it
> was very small, my guess is maybe 10,000 people that posted, maybe less.
> My memory is I could post a question to comp.arch or where ever, and I'd
> wake up in the morning and someone from Australia or some other place
> over the pond had an answer.  It was usually a grad student or a prof
> or someone really smart.
> So is this an archive thing?  Because in my memory, it was not a Usenet
> thing, smart people from all over the world posted.
> As an aside, I remember being on a canoe with my dad, a physics researcher
> and prof, and trying to explain Usenet to him.  I said something like
> "it is so cool Dad, so many cool people, everyone should be on it".  And
> then AOL happened and it went to shit.  If my thoughts helped that along
> I am _so_ sorry.  It was awesome when it was small.
> This list is sort of like early Usenet, smart people, people who know the
> history.  Lets keep it small but Steve should be here.
> --lm

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