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Great points in Usenet history 428

no_nicks_available writes "An article on The Register points to some of the highlights of Usenet history. " First mention of Microsoft, GNU, Madonna, the Compact Disc, and more. It's worth a look if only to read the first kibo post to alt.religion.kibology.
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Great points in Usenet history

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  • What I wonder is... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Beowulf_Boy ( 239340 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2001 @09:25PM (#2696721)
    How big is the original first few years of Usenet?
    Couldn't of been bigger than a few megs.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 12, 2001 @09:27PM (#2696729)
    The end of the world as we knew it ended on Sept. 11. 1989 []
  • by ryusen ( 245792 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2001 @09:27PM (#2696730) Homepage
    i think the weirdest message i ever remember from my old usenet days was
    "new group found: do you wish to subscribe to '' ?(y/n)"
    • Within the last few months, Wired magazine ran an article about Japan, and in that article was a picture of an official "Hello Kitty" vibrator. Apparently, Sanrio (owner of the "Hello Kitty" franchise) allows such things. They do require that nothing be sharp or potentially injurious, so you won't see any "Hello Kitty" knives or box cutters.

      We now return you to the current on-topic discussion....
  • Deja ... (Score:4, Offtopic)

    by Osty ( 16825 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2001 @09:27PM (#2696733)

    Hrm, haven't we seen this [] already? Okay, so now the Register has an article, but it adds nothing. Woo. Go Slashdot. Bah.

    • The evidence:

      1. Unoriginal headlines!
      2. Repeated Stories
      3. VA Linux --> VA software
      4. Editors dont even bother reading the homepage
      5. Editors dont post anymore
      6. Threats of subscription
      7. Threats of more intrusive advertising

      --and finally, the real killer--

      8. The trolls are becoming really quite imaginitive, original and funny.

      Seriously though, for every duplicate story i'm sure there is a real peach missed. /. really need to sort this out pronto. Even if the editors dont bother reading there own website, the could at least have the decency to search the archives from the last couple of weeks for duplicates before posting.
  • "5 years from now everyone will be running free GNU on their 200 MIPS, 64M SPARCstation-5.": Andy Tanenbaum : comp.os.minix : 1992-01-30

    Creativity is no substitute for knowing what you're doing

    Oh yeah .... google has been promoting this archive for a while.
  • by pwagland ( 472537 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2001 @09:32PM (#2696762) Journal
    This [] is the first reference in a newsgroup to MS windows that Google has found, 12th November 1983. This is before we even came up with the concept of microsoft bashing. And here is what they had to say:
    This is the first I've heard of this, which appears to be Microsoft's answer to Lisa(tm Apple) and VisiON (tm Visicorp). (MS-* are tm's of Microsoft)
  • sure hope /. is just as available and searchable in 20 years time - its one of few very few repositories of opinion that'll give the geeks perspective on the society they helped make.
  • by Satai ( 111172 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2001 @09:34PM (#2696771)
    I found this hilarious.

    I wish Lucas & Co. would get the thing going a little faster. I can't really imagine waiting until 1997 to see all nine parts of the Star Wars series.

    I wonder if that e-mail address still works so I can let him know that Episode 1 wasn't worth it...

  • by webmaven ( 27463 ) <webmaven@co[ ]et ['x.n' in gap]> on Wednesday December 12, 2001 @09:36PM (#2696785) Homepage
    ... On Usenet [] on November 4th, 1997.
  • The runon tag is the BOFH article. :)

    Just can't keep a good Bastard down!
  • Early Usenet Fact (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rlp ( 11898 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2001 @09:38PM (#2696798)
    In the early days of UseNet (early 80's) UseNet was "transmitted" to Australia via a 9 track mag tape in the mail once a week! Saved on telecom charges (early UseNet ran over analog telco lines via dial-up modems and UUCP).
  • by dimator ( 71399 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2001 @09:39PM (#2696806) Homepage Journal
    When he announced [] his project:

    I can (well, almost) hear you asking yourselves "why?". Hurd will be out in a year (or two, or next month, who knows)

  • Duh! (Score:4, Informative)

    by mwalker ( 66677 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2001 @09:40PM (#2696813) Homepage
    But they forgot the most important one!

    first post to mention Slashdot [].

    First post to mention []

    The fools!
  • First Usenet Troll (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Gorobei ( 127755 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2001 @09:43PM (#2696822)
    Here's the earlier troll I know of: posted Feb 1982 []

    It's quite well composed: starts out slowly with a nod to the endless chocolate chip recipes, then builds towards more interesting "foods."

    • more like first Flame.....he is complaining, not trolling. trolling is where the person posts a comment that is used get people to respond and has no logical argument to back it up.

      a Flame is very close to this except the person usualy has a valid complaint but gets overly inflamitory and offensive. he/she can back up the statment with an argument, and there is usualy som ewell though out reasoning involved.

      this post was a flame not a troll.

      the troll version would be.....

      "you are all a bunch of rip off hacks who could not tell the end of a spoon from their own ass"

      see the diffrence.

      flaming is usualy more effective at stiring emotions because it has all the elements needed for an argument...which is mostly substance.
      • Troll. He was angling to get a response of indignant, horrified "How can you possibly suggest such a thing" responses.

        That, or he was being funny. Sometimes it's hard to tell.

        Wasn't a flame. A flame would be "you are all a bunch of rip off hacks who could not tell the end of a spoon from their own ass."
  • by Ryu2 ( 89645 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2001 @09:45PM (#2696831) Homepage Journal
    Should the USENET archives be made something of historic record, to be preserved by some non-commercial, non-governmental independent entity as a permanent record. Yes, there are privacy issues, but certainly, we have found that other forms of communication play an important role for the historian.

    It seems that USENET and other digital online forums are becoming as important records of history as more traditional, non-digital means like books, newspapers, etc.

    Posts, especially ones, like the Challenger, Berlin Wall, etc should be treated just like other media. In the future, and even now, historians will be using digital writings as primary sources.

    Should we have a backup of this archive somewhere, before people start "removing" their own posts, etc?
    • by artemis67 ( 93453 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2001 @10:10PM (#2696926)
      The scary part is that many people (including myself) have posted many, MANY messages to USENET, not realizing that 20 years later those same messages would be staring us back in the face.

      Many tech employers do a web search of candidates they are considering hiring... in many cases, it tells you a lot more about the person than the person is willing to reveal in the formal interview process. At least on a web page of your own creation you have the ability to tear it down and recreate it as you see fit. Newsgroups are forever. If you posted strong opinions to a political forum or to a religious forum under your own name (probably before you realized there were spambots or USENET archives), then those messages will very heavily influence that HR person's opinion of you.

      Similarly, there are many support groups on USENET. People with medical problems have posted to medical support groups in good faith. Granted, you already know that you are posting private information in a public forum, but probably nobody who does expects to see it archived for all eternity and for the curious to be able to pull it up decades later.

      I did a little vanity surfing on Google's USENET archives, and it was both amusing and frightening. Amusing because it was a voice from the past reminding me exactly of who I was at the time. Frightening because there are many posts where I express a strong point-of-view.

      Bear in mind, also, that the logistics of maintaining a recent 6 month archive of newsgroups back in 1995 was daunting for any ISP; I never dreamed that the entire USENET would be archived from 1981 because the storage costs were enormous. Now we've reached a point where storage costs are trivial.

      OTOH, I can imagine what a tremendous resource this will be for future generations doing geneological research... but only partially so. Much of the internet community has wised up and now only post under psuedonyms.

    • Interesting remark. There are efforts already to preserve computer hardware from ages past (look at the National Museum of American History [] and the Computer Museum []). But I'm not aware of any efforts to preserve computer software. Or at least the software hasn't been given as much emphasis as the hardware. This can be started with the preservation of USENET materials. Other stuff that I can think of: the source code of the original PDP/11 UNIX [] and Linux. Hopefully, as time goes on, companies will be willing to donate the source code of their obsolete commercial software.
  • Microsoft promises (Score:5, Insightful)

    by deander2 ( 26173 ) <public@kered . o rg> on Wednesday December 12, 2001 @09:45PM (#2696835) Homepage
    I find it interesting that the very first mention of Microsoft talks about what they've promised in a future release of their software. :-)

    additionally, they are
    going to add a fair amount of hardware error recovery (bad block
    handling, parity and power fail interrupts, etc.), as well as record
    handling, shared data segments, synchronous writing, improved
    interprocess communications, networking, and languages: Pascal, BASIC,

    Wow, if they add all that, it sounds like it would be just what their customer needs!
  • If only spammers still left all of their personal information in a signature :)
  • Waiting until 1997! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by deander2 ( 26173 )
    The release date for us humans that want to see it is
    still the summer of 1983. I guess it takes that long to score
    all the music, do all the film-editing, prepare all the promo
    material, and all that junk.

    I wish Lucas & Co. would get the thing going a little faster.
    I can't really imagine waiting until 1997 to see all nine parts
    of the Star Wars series.

    MAN! It's 2002 almost - and we only have 4 of them out! Anyone care to predict when all 9 will be available on SuperVH-DVDRUS holographic cubes? Remember, do not think about the movie plot outside the specified viewing time or MS-AOL-DISNEY-AT&T-USGOV-TIME-WARNER will zap your brain for violating the DRM EULA!
    • Actually, hasn't Lucas said that there will only be 6 of them, not 9? I guess that's for the best; I'd rather have the good movie/shitty movie ratio be 1/1 than 1/2.
  • It's a shame we are all here on Slashdot and not alt.slashdot - think how this will be lost someday when Va Linux or whatever they are called today shuts it's doors...
    • Without it's centrally-controlled frontpage and the moderation-system, /. would never have grown as large as it is now so alt.slashdot wouldn't have been nearly as interesting as The strength of usenet is also it's problem; by making it open to everyone there's also no central control left.
  • with tremendous fortune, I've never said anything horribly stupid or incriminating on Usenet, under my real name.

    That you could be held accountable for things that you thought dropped off the end of a bbs server into nothingness after about one week, is scary.
  • Nothing like ego surfing old messages... you get to find out how smart you were/are/weren't.
    • Re:Ego Surf (Score:2, Insightful)

      Yes, we all know we did it. I bet we all had that thread (or threads) that we look back at now and think, "How could I be so stupid, so immature, so... so.. what was I thinking." You can also check out friends and family members. For me it was rather sad. I found where someone posted the news that my father had died. I had no idea he was that active on newsgroups.
  • by Dyolf Knip ( 165446 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2001 @10:12PM (#2696932) Homepage

    From: Vincent Weaver (
    Subject: NT 5.0
    Newsgroups: um.wam
    Date: 1997/11/18

    I just saw at (an intersting news site) that it was
    announced at Comdex that Windows NT 5.0 won't be shipping until 1999. I
    find that sort of amusing. Linux will probably be at revision 3.0 by then
    ;) Seriously though. Often when I complain about a NT4.0 "feature" I get
    told "just wait 5.0 will have that fixed and more..." but I guess MS is
    falling behind...

    Anyone have a slightly more revised estimate?
    • Re:Linux versions (Score:2, Informative)

      by zmooc ( 33175 )
      Had Linux chosen the same version-numbering-system as Windows, it would even have been at 4.x. Instead Linux chose to do 1.0->1.2->2.0->2.2.
  • by crivens ( 112213 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2001 @10:19PM (#2696964)
    Did anyone else notice how well those posts were written? No "teh", no "ur", no using the number eight to represent the sound of "ate" and no "all your base are belong to us" comments?
    • Wonder if we could find the first use of "teh" on there.... now that's a milestone!
      • First "teh" [] ... surprisingly, Jerry Pournelle, in Space digest V2#108.

        First true Usenet post using "teh" [] -- a post to rec.cook, about brewing, "When the must is cool, (70 - 75 degrees F) add teh pectic enzyme and wine yeast."
      • First use of "teh" (Score:2, Interesting)

        by grepMeister ( 37303 )
        It seems there's not a single article indexed from 1981 that contains "teh" -- the earliest that comes up in a search is as follows:

        Message-ID: <anews.Aucbvax.6208> Newsgroups:
        X-Path: utzoo!decvax!ucbvax!space
        From: ucbvax!space
        Date: Thu Feb 18 03:58:17 1982
        Subject: SPACE Digest V2 #108
        X-Google-Info: Converted from the original A-News header

        >From OTA@S1-A Thu Feb 18 03:27:49 1982

        SPACE Digest
        Volume 2 : Issue 108

        [Ed. cut many lines of geeky space banter]

        Date: 15 February 1982 03:59-EST
        From: Jerry E. Pournelle <POURNE at MIT-MC>
        Subject: Lunar colony and SPS plan
        To: REM at MIT-MC
        cc: SPACE at MIT-MC

        The L-5 Society, using member talent including Dr. David Criswell and other lunar experts, plus SUNSAT people, plus some architects, plus human fctors types, will begin a "Project Deadalus"-like design of a Lunar colony as part of the L-5 Space Citizens conference at teh Hyatt Los Angeles Airport over weeken of 2-4 April.

        What's interesting about this isn't just that it was posted by Jerry Pournelle, but also that he manages to leave the 'd' off of "weekend" and the "teh" after "over." Among other glaring tyops. Of course, it was four in the morning.

        Wow. Goodbye Nethack, hello prehistoric USENET archives...

    • That's easily explained by the act that most people prior to 1995 were college educated, and at the very least above 18... Most folks around that time were, amongst other things, expected to have some semblance of a level of literacy... Consider too, that people who could afford a computer, as well as net access, were as most would call it by the economic standards at the time "rich"... Nobody thinks about how commonplace computers have become, or how much such has been taken for granted... Now anyone below average intelligence can easily obtain even the most basic of computing equipment...

      And before anyone comments, I learned reading phonetically in the early 70's, and typing was self taught on a typewriter (you younguns wouldn't know of such, it used paper, and *you* were the printer, prone to jamming, often a clunky process with lots of whiteout and smudging)...;)
      • That's easily explained by the act that most people prior to 1995 were college educated, and at the very least above 18... Most folks around that time were, amongst other things, expected to have some semblance of a level of literacy.

        also b4 95 not as mny ppl had carpal tunnel probs.
    • by bonzoesc ( 155812 ) <> on Wednesday December 12, 2001 @11:05PM (#2697125) Homepage
      That's because we didn't have Lowtax [] and his merry [] men [] to teach us to speak like retards.

      First Derek Smart post [] - scroll down to see the first anti-Derek Smart flame.

  • ...How to find the very first posts of a newsgroup? As in, how does one track down the first post to (I suspect it's the mkgroup command... so maybe I'll want to see the first dozen posts to

    Wish I could remember my student ID from a dozen years ago...
    • Perhaps this works: it's Gene's announcement that he's gone off and created the group...

      Creation of Alt.Sex []

      Goodness, what unnecessary controversy!
    • LOL! I think I found the first "typical" message ... after a bunch of admin messages and cries that the world would come to an end if the group were propagated, and so on... we get the first posting from someone talking about sex, and he gets flamed to death immediately!


      In article writes:
      >I had What is called wet dreams when I
      >was younger. If I was dreaming of a
      >sexual encounter and I actually put
      >it into the woman in the dream I would
      >cum in my pants. I always woke up just

      [35 lines of my entire follow-up to Elizabeth A Lear's article deleted]

      That's very nice. I am glad you told us this. We really, REALLY care.
      But why the fuck didn't you (a) SIGH your article, (b) make sure that the
      quotes included in your article are somehow bracketed and (c) delete or
      attribute *MY* article?!

      Please learn how to use your editor and your NEWS reader. If it helps, I
      will e-mail VI short reference guides, RN news reader sources and references
      to widely available books that teach how to use VI and NEWS to RONIE, other
      PORTAL users who insist on their inability to use a NEWS reader and editors
      and, more important, the PORTAL management and administration.

      "No regrets, no apologies" -- Ronald Reagan

      Oleg KiselevARPA:,

      DISCLAIMER: I speak for myself only.
  • From this post: []

    I must strongly protest the discussed removal of the Macintosh related groups. I use the groups for my WORK which, among other things, involves looking into the feasiblity of using the Macintosh as an inexpensive graphics terminal IN THE UNIX ENVIRONMENT.

    Add about fifteen years, and you have Apple putting the Mac look-and-feel on top of a *nix core.

    I really wish Google would add a "First mention" search button, or at least allow you to reverse the order of display.
  • Challenger Post (Score:5, Interesting)

    by skroz ( 7870 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2001 @10:26PM (#2696990) Homepage
    It seems that everyone from my parents' generation believes that Kennedy's assasination was the "defining" point of their generation. Other notable events like Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, the Hindenberg, and the Apollo landing were important and extremely emotional events for other Americans of different generations. People from that time remember not only the events, but where they were, who they were talking to... even the clothes they were wearing and other seemingly unimportant details. We're all familar with the phenomenon. These events had impact.

    For the "current" generation, those people that are children now, September 11th and Oklahoma City will likely be such defining events. The impact is staggering in the mind, and children today will realize the impact more heavily than those that are appreciably older or younger.

    For me, that defining moment, that point that will always stick with me, was the Challenger disaster. I remember every detail of the moments surrounding the explosion, and even the briefest mention of those events brings those memories back in force.

    That usenet posting, a simple pure description of what one person knew just moments after the explosion, brought it all back more clearly than ever before. Any footage I see today is part of a documentary, any account is a recollection by someone remembering something that happened 15 years ago. But that post was pure. There was no commentary before or after about what it meant, and it was untainted by reflection or further consideration. It just showed what one person knew.

    I won't go on to talk about the importance of the internet or compare it to other media; there are other forums for that. But I can say only that I appreciate what google has done by capturing and bringing back a real history of the last 20 years.
  • That should read "First Usenet post from someone *admitting* to having an AOL account"
  • This list is nice, but incomplete. It would nice to see a *COMPLETE* "Great Moments in Usenet History" list, including:

    First alt.binaries porn image

    Birth of alt.wesley.crusher.die.die.die

    First use of the word "pr0n"

    First appearance of "31337"

    First reference to Bill Gates as the anti-christ.

    I'm sure my list is incomplete as well, but it's a start.

  • SPISPOPD (Score:4, Insightful)

    by shogun ( 657 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2001 @10:35PM (#2697021)
    Oi the first mention about SPISPOPD (Smashing Pumpkins Into Small Piles Of Putrid Debris) in isn't listed! For any old school gamers its a significant event. I've been searching the google archive lately for it though, and can't actually find the first post about it, anyone out there had any luck?
  • by neema ( 170845 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2001 @10:36PM (#2697024) Homepage
    "Because you can't see the person who is sending you electronic mail you are sometimes uncertain whether they are serious or joking. Recently, Scott Fahlman at CMU devised a scheme for annotating one's messages to overcome this problem. If you turn your head sideways to look at the three characters :-) they look sort of like a smiling face. Thus, if someone sends you a message that says "Have you stopped beating your wife?:-)" you know they are joking."

    And then you answer "Yep, I gave a break to her since she's still choking on her blood. ;-)"

    And then you both have a huge laugh.

    Man, people from the 80s are weird.
    • This brings up an interesting point about prior art and trademarks/patents. You could do a search through the archives to find the first occurence of something. Isn't there a company out there that was trying to trademark :-)? I seem to recall a story a while back.

    • The "Have you stopped beating your wife" question is a classic no-win paradox based on verbal ambiguity that goes back at least to the 1930s, probably earlier. If you say "yes," that means you had been beating her at some point in the past. If you say "no," it means you haven't stopped--and are therefore guilty of domestic abuse. The unstated third option is "no, because I never started," but the questioner typically demands a simple yes-or-no response.

      The fact that it is a Bad Thing to admit is part of the poignancy of the paradox, since our perceptions of truth are, in law (and in every other walk of life), tainted by the very way we ask questions. This example was most likely used because geeks are into verbal and logical paradoxes, not because they like to make light of domestic violence.

      (On a related note, if I make a joke about Schrodinger's cat, it doesn't mean I think animal cruelty is funny. It's just a shared piece of geek culture that I'm sure a lot of Slashdotters would recognize.)

  • by Col. Klink (retired) ( 11632 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2001 @10:40PM (#2697035)
    They missed this milestone, the second post from AOL:

    From: (
    Subject: Re: Is America Online Connected to the Internet or Not?
    Newsgroups: comp.dcom.telecom
    Date: 1992-05-05 13:45:06 PST

    > I have read many postings about America Online and the Internet in
    > this newsgroup. Since some of the information has been not quite
    > right I figured I should make a posting to clear up any misconseptions
    > that might exist. There is an America Online gateway to Internet. It
    > is now going into 'open' beta testing. To send mail to an America
    > Online, Promenade or PC-Link user you need to know the user's screen
    > name. The only way to get a user's screen name is to contact them by
    > other means (ie there is no name server). Once you know a user's
    > screen name remove any spaces, make it lower case, and append
    > For example to send to the screen name A User you would
    > address your mail to
    > To send mail from America Online to the Internet you simply put the
    > Internet address in the To: field on the regular mail form. In a
    > previous post the question was posed as to whether or not there are
    > 'special' gateways for Compuserve, MCI Mail etc. The answer is no,
    > there are not. For some of the more popular services abbreviations
    > have been created; for example to send to a Compuserve user you can
    > use the address 123.4567@cis. Additional information can be found on
    > America Online by using the keyword InetBeta. There is no additional
    > charge for using the Internet mail gateway. Mail is limited to around
    > 27k bytes in both directions. If you notice any problems with this
    > gateway please send mail to from the Internet or
    > inetbeta from America Online.
    > George Browning Programmer/Analyst
    > ** BETA TEST MAIL Report bugs to **

    me too
    • classic... i remember those days. Some threads got REALLY bad with a string of 20 "me too"s posted by various AOLers. Then there were the classsic AOL debates, where someone would state what a bunch of retards AOLers were, then they would get into a flamefest.

      it may be stereotyping, but back in those days, AOLers as a whole were "not quit up there" with the other folks on the net.

  • The earliest Hacker's Dictionary Posting [], compiled by Compiled by Guy L. Steele Jr., Raphael Finkel, Donald Woods, and Mark Crispin.

    Not sure who posted it, some guy named hansen, I guess (houxs!hansen). They had pretty wacky email addresses back then. What's up with that?
    • Bang-path addressing (Score:5, Interesting)

      by hearingaid ( 216439 ) <> on Wednesday December 12, 2001 @11:58PM (#2697293) Homepage
      They had pretty wacky email addresses back then. What's up with that?

      UUCP email specified the full route. The email address of the poster, in full, was: utzoo!decvax!ucbvax!mhtsa!ihnss!houxi!houxs!hansen which means this:

      The news server this message was retrieved from is utzoo. The message came to utzoo from decvax, and from there from ucbvax, and from there from mhtsa, and from there from ihnss, and from there from houxi, and from there from houxs which was directly connected in some manner to hansen (perhaps hansen is a user on houxi; the important thing though is that houxi knows what hansen is).

      so, if you want to send hansen email, and you're currently using ucbvax, then you send email to mhtsa!ihnss!houxi!houxs!hansen for example. If you're on a system that isn't in the bang-path, then you have to know the way to a system that is.

      This is why MX-type Internet email got very popular very fast. However, sendmail still supports UUCP delivery, though most sane people compile it out.

  • Yah, I went there too when Slashdot carried the story.

    The thing that bugged me is they were emphasizing first posts and asking for additional topics to add to their timeline, but they didn't have an "oldest first" sort option. (Like Slashdot...)
  • "Teh" (Score:2, Redundant)

    by jspey ( 183976 )
    The first use of the not-word "teh":

    ...conference at teh Hyatt Los ... [] , from the group.

    Mr. Spey
  • Kibology (Score:4, Informative)

    by stox ( 131684 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2001 @11:09PM (#2697135) Homepage
    Kibology predates alt.religion.kibology by quite some time. Find the first postings to alt.religion.subgenius, for a true beginning. James "Kibo" Perry was quite a presence back then, along with the legendary Henry Spencer from utzoo.
  • by the_2nd_coming ( 444906 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2001 @11:21PM (#2697165) Homepage
    From: MOUSEKETEER (12588)
    Subject: RE: Copy Perversion Hall of Shame (Re: Msg 12585)
    Date: 8-SEP-20:43: Bugs & Features

    I've tried my best to avoid Copy Perverted software, but I have a few around.
    My own gripe is Think Educational Software for MacEdgeII, a program for drills
    in math, etc. I would think that a program which is best used by sitting the
    kid in front of the Mac for an hour or so to fend for himself would be easily
    backed up. Kids do the darndest things, after all, and can erase a disk at
    twenty feet by looking at it sideways. This sucker is so rigged, though, that
    making a copy is very difficult (i.e. you need H D Utility), and the program
    still only gives you the choice to "Eject" rather than "Quit", meaning a full

    I guess you have to look at it from their standpoint, though. I expect there
    are millions of little kids out there with Macs...."Hey, Bobby, wanna copy of
    this nifty math study program? Boy, talk about fun!"


    P.S. While we are on the subject, I noted today in the GMUGazette (St. Louis
    Gateway Area Mac Users Group) that after reprinting an article title "Freeing
    Excel" which gave the patch for a particular MS program, it was pointed out
    to them that "to defeat copy protection, even for registered owners, is

    If only they knew :-/
  • by the_2nd_coming ( 444906 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2001 @11:25PM (#2697176) Homepage
    The edlin editor remains a classic of cruftiness. It still crashes on
    files without carriage returns. In the same article Bill Gates said:
    "There's really a lot of dirty software on the market now; we'll have to
    educate the developers about how to write better software." Judging by
    DOS 2.0, edlin, and Microsoft Pascal, it would appear that Microsoft
    will have to look outside their organization for suitable teachers.

    they knew MS made crapy software back then too!!!!
  • by pete-classic ( 75983 ) <> on Wednesday December 12, 2001 @11:30PM (#2697199) Homepage Journal
    Hmm, the first BOFH immediately follows the first AOL post.

    Coincidence? You decide.


    PS: Please feel free to not post "BOFH is about an operator, and since you obviously don't even know what a real computer was in those days . . .".

  • by bani ( 467531 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2001 @11:41PM (#2697237)
    ... those were truly classic, groundbreaking posts ...

    BTW has anyone ever positively identified b1ff?
  • I couldn't find the earliest J. Michael Straczynski postings about Babylon 5. I see some articles from 1992, but they sound as if he's been there for quite some time already.

    I am really glad to see these (in particular, and many others in general) available again!

    (P.S.: I always tried to live by a policy of being the most reasonable person in any discussion, especially online. Thank goodness; I don't appear to have any past sins to worry about from this newly available archive.)
  • Yay! Prior Art! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Zeinfeld ( 263942 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2001 @11:53PM (#2697277) Homepage
    I just found prior art on three patents currently in litigation.

    I wonder if we can force the USPTO to look at the USENET archive?

  • by Russ Steffen ( 263 ) on Thursday December 13, 2001 @12:56AM (#2697474) Homepage
    would have to be this [], a posting of remarks by a certain US Senator John Ashcroft. Included in his comments are a plea to lift the ban on the export of strong crypto from the US, that US Citizens should always have the right to use strong crypto free from government key escrow, and that laws pertaining to copyrights and the internet must balance the needs of content creators with the rights of end users.

    Man, 1997 was a different world.

  • by ajs ( 35943 ) <ajs.ajs@com> on Thursday December 13, 2001 @01:06AM (#2697519) Homepage Journal
    I found RMS' GNU article interesting:
    To begin with, GNU will be a kernel
    ...Hurd still in the works...
    plus all the utilities needed to write and run C programs: editor[
    EMACS], shell[bash], C compiler [GCC, probably GNU's largest contribution to the world], linker [GNU ld, an undersung hero], assembler, and a few other things. After this we will add a text formatter [groff, another great program, a YACC [bison], an Empire game [heh, who could have forseen where we'd end up], a spreadsheet [Anyone remember sc?], and hundreds of other things. We hope to supply, eventually, everything useful that normally comes with a Unix system, and anything else useful, including on-line and hardcopy documentation.

    GNU will be able to run Unix programs, but will not be identical to Unix. We will make all improvements that are convenient, based on our experience with other operating systems. In particular, we plan to have longer filenames [heh], file version numbers [does any modern filesystem do this?], a crashproof file system [many years later, but it wasn't GNU that did it], filename completion perhaps [built into the shell], terminal-independent display support, and eventually a Lisp-based window system through which several Lisp programs and ordinary Unix programs can share a screen [I sense a bias ;-)]. Both C and Lisp will be available as system programming languages [The world might be a simpler place if those were the choices]. We will have network software based on MIT's chaosnet protocol [heard many good things about that, wonder how it compared to IP?], far superior to UUCP [double heh]. We may also have something compatible with UUCP [Honey-Dan-Ber UUCP was, of course, free].

    It's interesting to look back through this post. UNIX has come a long way (baby....)

A consultant is a person who borrows your watch, tells you what time it is, pockets the watch, and sends you a bill for it.