famous barbecue at which the alt net was created was held at G.T.'s
Sunset Barbecue in Mountain
View California on May 7, 1987. John Gilmore and I were both unhappy with the
decision making process of the 'ordinary' net. John was distressed
wouldn't create rec.drugs, and I was distressed because they wanted to force
me to adopt the name 'rec.food.recipes' for my recipe newsgroup. Gordon
Amdahl also sat with us. He had no specific beef or goal, but he wanted to help.
John's home computer was 'hoptoad'; my home computer was 'mejac'. We
set up a
link between us, and each of us set up a link to amdahl, and we vowed to pass
all alt traffic to each other and to nurse the net along. In those
days one sent
out numerous newgroup messages in the hopes that one would 'take'; by the end
of May the groups alt.test, alt.config, alt.drugs, and alt.gourmand
At the time I also managed 'decwrl', so I quietly added 'alt' to the list of
that it carried.
a year later, there was a vote taken about 'soc.sex' and although it passed, Gene
Spafford refused to create it. I therefore created 'alt.sex' on April
3, 1988, and sent the following message to the USENET 'backbone' cabal:
Date: 3 Apr 1988 1754-PST (Sunday)
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com,
Subject: Re: soc.sex final results
Gene Spafford / Sun, 03 Apr 88 18:22:36 EST.
To end the
suspense, I have just created alt.sex.
That meant that the alt network now
carried alt.sex and
alt.drugs. It was therefore artistically necessary to
alt.rock-n-roll, which I have also done. I have no idea what
sort of traffic it will carry. If the bizzarroids take it
over I will rmgroup
it or moderate it; otherwise I will let
T5 (5th thoracic)
is the name of a vertebra (the 5th thoracic vertebra). This was my attempt to
remind these people that I was an official voting member of the backbone.
the time I sent that message I didn't yet realize that alt groups were immortal
and couldn't be killed by anyone. In retrospect, this is the joy of the alt network:
you create a group, and nobody can kill it. It can only die, when people stop
reading it. No artificial death, only natural death.
don't wish to offer an opinion about how the net should be run; that's
an opinion about how salamanders should grow: nobody has any control over it,
regardless of what opinions they might have."
- Brian Reid; in Hardy, Henry's The History
of the Net; 28 Sept 1993.