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

John Willis chocolatejollis38 at
Thu Apr 21 21:04:30 CDT 2016

On Thursday, April 21, 2016, Tony Aiuto <tony.aiuto at> wrote:

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

Good for you? I enjoy doing those things, and don't see what would give you
a reason to belittle someone who enjoys doing something else.

> 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".

I don't think anyone suggested anything like this... I use a number of
highly modern machines every day.

> 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.

So retro internet is less valid as a focus of hobbyist enthusiasm than
retro computers? I enjoy both, as well as modern computing.

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.

How is it historically inaccurate for me to use 1990s technology to relive
the times when I was first getting into computers to begin with? Again, I
enjoy it, so you have no right to be a jerk and judge me for it...

> >
> > >                                                                 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.
> >

*John P. Willis*
Coherent Logic Development LLC

M: 575.520.9542
O: 575.524.1034

chocolatejollis38 at

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