Message-ID: < bnews.floyd.885>
Date: Tue Nov 30 02:12:37 1982
Subject: Re: USENIX/Unicom USENET BOF or Panel Di - (nf)
References: < bnews.pur-ee.696>
Posted: Mon Nov 29 10:56:31 1982
Received: Tue Nov 30 02:12:37 1982
Here's my review of the Santa Monica USENET BOF, because
You Asked for It!
(Originally printed in ;login: in early 1982)
The USENET BOF session was much like the USENET itself; some useful
information, some flames, some hilarity; too much information to digest
in one sitting. We were forced to move the large audience from a BOF
room to the main conference hall, for lack of space. Mark Horton
(cbosgd!mark) of Bell Labs Columbus took his usual dictator's stance
behind the lectern, and did a fair job of controlling the madding
Mark held a short "name the net" contest, no one seemed to have much of
a preference, and USENET was voted upon as the official name.
Mark suggested the prospect of net., pers., and ug. newsgroups, for
network, personal (netplay?), and underground (ugly?) newsgroups
respectively. These distinctions would separate news that is strictly
work related from news that is more frivolous from news that is
downright vulgar. We concluded that we should not make these
distinctions until we felt a pressing need. Argument from the
pro-morality and pro-choice lobbyists was postponed until the session's
Rob Kolstad (uiucdcs!kolstad) and Ray Eissick (uiucdcs!eissick) of
University of Illinois - Champaign/Urbana gave the most entertaining
(though long) presentation of the conference on their replacement for
the fledgling Netnews B system. Their system is based on the PLATO
Notesfile system, and has a nicer terminal interface and saner message
ordering than Netnews B. The audience seemed pretty impressed with the
description of the Notesfile system, but the implementation is brand
new and there were murmurs of skepticism.
Matt Glickman (ucbvax!glickman) of UC Berkeley talked about Netnews B.
This new version of netnews is running in gamma test all over the
continent and has been doing a respectable, if not bug free job. I
consider it a public relations faux pas to have revealed both
debutantes at the same ball.
The last part of the session became the much anticipated "Battle of the
Network Stars." Lauren Weinstein (ucla-s!lauren) alluded to ancient
horror stories of the ARPANET concerning censorship of wine and phone
phreak newsgroups, and how an ounce of prevention would be worth a
pound of cure. Andy Tannenbaum (floyd!trb) of Western Electric stood
in defense of free speech, truth, justice, and the American Way; a
network divided will not stand, and all that. Andy also gave an
impassioned testimonial about how great netnews is and how it has
brought the quality of his life to hitherto unimagined heights. There
was much screaming, laughter, and gnashing of teeth. No conclusions
were reached; after all, the participants were netnews readers. A good
time was had by most.