ftp archives disappearing?

Andrew Back andy at smokebelch.org
Wed Mar 14 15:33:13 CDT 2007

On Tue, 13 Mar 2007, Brent Hilpert wrote:


> Ohhh noooo ... OSI and X.400 ... For a good portion of the 80's I worked on a
> project developing an X.400 mail system & OSI stack. X.400 received a lot of
> attention back then as it was supposed to be (or become) the international
> standard for email transfer. I was out of that by the late 80's when the
> Internet was 'opened' and rolled over everything. I now think of that period
> as the era of the protocol wars.

Well, X.400 still gets used in certain applications. I think the UK 
military use it a lot, and gets used for transporting EDI messages between 
in supply chain stuff. Also the basis for the Air Traffic Services (ATS) 
Message Handling Services used in ground-ground comms between airports to 
exchange flight plans etc. This is new, actively developed and not legacy.

> arcarlini at iee.org wrote:
>> HEPNET was an OSI network at one point wasn't it?
> In the mid 80's I think it was mostly DECNET and SNA, reflecting the
> machines/systems installed at the participating organisations. Some of those
> orgs/nodes used our X.400 system, so there was some OSI in there. I have no idea
> what happened after 1988 or so, though, although I wouldn't be surprised if they
> always had it in mind to migrate to international standards.

Commercial implementations of X.500 still being developed. It's just that 
they play down the X.500 bit due to the stigma attached and position their 
products more as top end LDAP with standards based shadowing, chaining and 
access control etc.

> Andrew Back wrote:
>> Would be nice to be able to play around with this stuff though, and
>> properly use the X.400 MTA & X.500 DSA you get licensed via OpenVMS
>> Hobbyist.
> On a similar note to Francesca's message about one's old data turning up years
> later, a little while ago I asked a friend working at a local university if
> they had any 9-track tapes still kicking around as I could use some
> spares/scratch tapes. He took me to a storage room filled with a several
> shelves of them and said take your choice. Looking over the reels I saw a
> distribution tape from 1987 for the X.400 system I worked on, complete with
> source code. (There were also some BSD unix dists from the 80's in there.)
> So if I ever get a system to read the tape and run the X.400 system, and if
> there is a common network level to agree on we could do some old-school
> international-standard email networking ... <pause> ... on the other hand I'm
> not entirely sure I want to go (back) there.

Cool. That would be good as the only other implementation generally
avilable is an old ISO-DE release. Do it :o)


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