Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(January 1996)

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Subject: Re: How was "-request" coined?
From: woods @ ncar . ucar . edu (Greg Woods)
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 96 9:29:59 MST
To: ala @ LunaCity . com (alyson l abramowitz)
Cc: Brent @ GreatCircle . COM, list-managers @ GreatCircle . COM
In-reply-to: <P84cHD2w165w @ LunaCity . com>; from "alyson l abramowitz" at Jan 7, 96 5:48 pm

> There were many lists before Risks,  Human-Nets,  and SF-Lovers.
> Only they were small and many were manually done.  SF-Lovers was
> the first huge mailing list on the Internet (then the ARPAnet).
> I believe Human-Nets came next.  There were a number of other
> lists that came after that:  Telecom-Digest and WorkS,  come to 
> mind.  I believe Risks came much later on the scene.  SFL,
> Human-Nets,  and Telecom-Digest were already in operation by 1981.

I believe that these were also the intial set of fa.* newsgroups, the
first mailing lists to be gatewayed into USENET newsgroups ("fa" stood
for "From ARPAnet").  Back in ancient times when we actually exchanged
news over long distance UUCP links :-)  Not so ancient, really. The Internet
as we know it really got started in 1987 with the advent of NSFnet, when
for the first time sites that were not defense contractors could participate
in long-haul IP connections.  I actually won a special commendation
for rearranging our long distance newsfeeds to go over this new network,
initially using UUCP-over-TCP and then switching to NNTP which was
brand new then, since when I did that our long distance phone bill
dropped by $1500/month (which was more than enough for the managers
to take notice). So now you have an idea of how much it cost
a backbone site to do news in those days.

Back to the subject at hand, when I came onto the net in
1981, these fa.* newsgroups already existed. My mail address I would
include in postings to those groups was menlo70!hao!woods @
which is how folks on ARPAnet would have addressed me. For the UUCP
groups, net.* at the time, it was ucbvax!menlo70!hao!woods; we
always had to give our address relative to a well-known site and
assume that anyone wanting to reach us would know how to get there. It
turns out that my boss at the time, the sysadmin for the "hao" system,
had some contacts at Menlo Park, hence we had a UUCP link to menlo70.
That's how the net was connected in those days.

As for why "-request" was chosen instead of some other suffix that
might now be less confusing: I challenge you to come up with anything
that won't be confusing to SOMEONE. The truth is, in those days most of
the people on the net were fairly computer literate; the "clueless
newbie" syndrome simply didn't exist. Roger Duffey was innovative but
not clairvoyant.  Most likely, it simply never occurred to him that it
really mattered what name he chose; he just needed something to serve
the function. I also doubt that he really intended to set a standard
when he did that; he was just trying to solve an immediate problem with
one particular list.


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