xyzzy, Relay Conferencing before IRC even existed
Posted by jpluimers on 2016/11/28
A while ago, I remembered xyzzy by David Bolen: a VAX/VMS program for the BITNET Relay conference system on BITNET/EARN. Yes, relay chat before IRC. Even ELIZA did operate as a chatbot on BITNET Relay.
I was part of it from the late 80s until the early 90s and vividly remember the chat rooms where at one time you could have smart people from all around the world participating: Asia, Middle East, Europe, North America and other regions.
All people had one thing in common: an enthusiastic vibe as they had immediately recognised what the benefits of near instant feedback were. World Wide before you had the WWW. It was addictive too (:
The most important Dutch relay node was HEARN which was named unlike the HNYKUN patterns at the University in Nijmegen (now Radboud Universiteit, but previously known as Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen hence the KUN in the HNYKUN pattern).
I had an account at HLERUL52 (chemistry department) at first, then later at HLERUL5 as well (computer technology department). Only later I got an SMTP email address email@example.com.
Anyway: based on the list of Bitnet/Earn links and connections below, you’d think you could plot a route. The example is between me and a cyber friends who – in 1992 – I finally met in real life:
- Jeroen Pluimers <PCHPAPL@HLERUL52> / <PLUIMERS@HLERUL5>
- Peter Sawatzki <FE617@DHAFEU11> / <IN307@DHAFEU11>
But that table is not the only one, the actual routing tables were generated from LINKSWT files (see below), which means that HEARN and DEARN had a direct connection collapsing the (expensive) transatlantic steps 3..6 into one.
|o||HLERUL52||HLERUL5||Uni Leiden, Netherlands, NL||JNET||89216|
|1||HLERUL5||HLERUL2||Uni Leiden, Netherlands, NL||JNET||89216|
|2||HLERUL2||HEARN||Uni Leiden, Netherlands, NL||JES2||89216|
|3||HEARN||FRMOP22||Uni Nijmegen, Netherlands, NL||RSCS||89216|
|4||FRMOP22||CUNYVMV2||CNUSC, Montpellier, France, FR||JES2||89219|
|5||CUNYVMV2||CUNYVM||CUNY University Computer Ctr, US||RSCS||89180|
|6||DEARN||CUNYVMV2||EARN Central Node, Germany, DE||RSCS||89216|
|7||DBNGMD21||DEARN||GMD Bonn, Germany, DE||JES2||89216|
|8||DBNRHRZ2||DBNGMD21||RHRZ Uni Bonn, Germany, DE||JES2||89216|
|9||DHAFEU11||DBNRHRZ2||Fern-Uni Hagen, Germany, DE||RSCS||89216|
After I got distracted this far, I collected this set of links with historically relevant information (some are in the Web Archive as the original pages have vanished by now) and had a chat with Fred Melssen:
- BITnet Relay Info:
- Bitnet Relay Home Page.
- RELAY History.
- Relay classes.
- Relay UseGuide.
- The Holland Operators.
- Relay info:
- Relay tools:
- The Relay Personality Page.
- MIT net-directory host-tables:
- ACSNET (link does not work any more):
- Bitnet/Earn links and connections.
- CH-DOM (Switzerland).
- CSNET (mainly USA).
- DE-DOM (Germany).
- DKnet (Denmark).
- FIDONet hosts: the Fidonet Nodelist.
- IN-DOM (India; watch the bang paths through the uunet route)
- JANET (United Kingdom; note the description on how to route mail between EARN and JANET using % and @).
- UNINET (South Africa).
- Network topology:
- LISTSERV 16.0 – LSTSRV-L Archives.
- LINKSWT file: UMASS LSTSRV-L Archives.
- GENROUTS Minutes of the NOG meeting – Amsterdam – 6 October 1989.
- list of US-EUROPE routes in EARNEST #1.
- EARN/Bitnet Easy Node Query
- EBONE – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Book indexes (yes, from the same era as paper based phone books)
- BITNET History – Ira Fuchs, Greydon Freeman, Mailing Lists, Usenet.
- EARN/Bitnet – Everything2.com.
- PSYC – the reason why.
- [ih] Some BITNET history, was bang paths.
- Hints document for getting mail through gateways.
- Archive of BITNET and Internet electronic magazines and related documents.
- File: “LISTSERV LISTS” (fwd)
The top 10 of really interconnected BITNET/EARN nodes:
|0||UCBLILAC||55||U Calif Berkeley, US|
|2||FRMOP22||37||CNUSC, Montpellier, France, FR|
|3||FRORS13||36||CIRCE, Orsay, France, FR|
|4||GWUVM||33||George Washington U Comp Ctr, US|
|5||UCSCVM||26||U Calif Santa Cruz VM, US|
|6||CUNYVM||25||CUNY University Computer Ctr, US|
|7||TAMNET||21||TX A&M U Computing SC, US|
|8||PSUVM||20||Penn State CAC, US|
|9||ICNUCEVM||19||CNUCE – C.N.R. Pisa, Italy, IT|
This entry was posted on 2016/11/28 at 06:00 and is filed under BITNET Relay, Chat, History, IRC, SocialMedia. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.