shell accounts [was RE: strangest systems I've sent email from]

Tony Aiuto tony.aiuto at
Thu Apr 21 20:30:38 CDT 2016

On Thu, Apr 21, 2016 at 1:45 PM, John Willis <chocolatejollis38 at>

> >
> > > That's another thing I remember and miss from those days... your
> average
> > > ISP would provide NNTP and UNIX shell accounts, as well as a few megs
> of
> > > space to put up a personal web site in ~/public_html.
> >
> > I still read Usenet newsgroups via GNUS under Emacs on my shell account
> on
> > Panix, an ISP located in Manhattan, and have a small web site hosted
> there
> > as well:
> >
> >
> >
> > Some things are too important to relegate to a web browser.

Actually, I don't get this discussion at all. I had a panix account years
ago.About the same time I ran a FULL suite of servers in my basement, DNS,
STMP, HTTP & mailman. Then I realized that was just because I *could*,
rather than I needed to or because it served any interesting historical
purpose. I switched it all to outsourced services and never looked back.

The bottom line is that what i really care about is the beauty of old
hardware and the elegance of software that had to run in that limited
environment. The speed/cost/accuracy tradeoff is the essence of software
engineering. If I read information about it with Lynx rather than a modern
browser, I only penalize myself. I reduce my bandwidth for some abstract
notion of "purity".

Look at it this way. Archeologists care about history, but they are smart
enough to realize they don't have to write their papers in charcoal on cave
walls. Do not conflate the subject matter with the medium to talk about it.
I love ancient hardware, and I will use the best tools I have available to
talk about it. Limiting myself to shell accounts and elm as a mail reader
misses the point. We *live* in 2016. We talk about 1970. Using technology
from 1990 is neither historically accurate, nor useful.

> >                                                                 Rich
> >
> This gives me a thought: I run a similar (but likely much smaller) ISP in
> my neighborhood.
> ISPs like Panix and my own ChivaNet should come up with some common
> branding
> indicating that we support traditional Internet values and services. Some
> way for enthusiasts
> who really care about "the Internet as it was meant to be" to separate the
> wheat from the
> chaff, and be smarter about bandwidth shopping.

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