And the latest revision:
Things Every Hacker Once Knew.
This time: The Break key. uuencode/uudecode. Why older Internet protocols only assume a 7-bit link. The original meanings of SO/SI. WRU and station ID on teletypes. BITNET and other pre-Internets.
There is one respect in which working on this is changing my historical perspective. The section now titled “WAN time gone: The forgotten pre-Internets” started out just being about UUCP but has gradually expanded to include the BBS scene, commercial timesharing, and academic networks in the period 1978-1996 (and especially 1981-1991).
At the time those of us exposed to more than one of these networks saw mostly differences – differences in capability, differences in addressing schemes, differences in underlying protocols.
Now, twenty years later, I’m finding that it’s the similarities that look more significant. These experiments were all evolving in parallel, offering services that converged over time.
Wide-area TCP/IP was the eventual winner, of course. It’s not hard to see why: being designed for internetworking and not being gated by proprietary IP gave it two insuperable advantages.