1993-03-26 - there ain’t no usenet “backbone”

Header Data

From: gnu (John Gilmore)
To: cypherpunks@toad.com, gnu
Message Hash: 5e5fb7d2fa68504e771135cce086240de18c085bef7746d42578d42f1a933734
Message ID: <9303260851.AA15506@toad.com>
Reply To: <9303260835.AA25644@soda.berkeley.edu>
UTC Datetime: 1993-03-26 08:52:02 UTC
Raw Date: Fri, 26 Mar 93 00:52:02 PST

Raw message

From: gnu (John Gilmore)
Date: Fri, 26 Mar 93 00:52:02 PST
To: cypherpunks@toad.com, gnu
Subject: there ain't no usenet "backbone"
In-Reply-To: <9303260835.AA25644@soda.berkeley.edu>
Message-ID: <9303260851.AA15506@toad.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

"Backbone" actually used to mean something, in the days when most of the
news moved cross-country and to Europe over dialed telephone calls.  It
meant that those sites that made the calls were paying big bucks and were
hard to replace.

At one point when the "backbone" wouldn't carry a newsgroup on drugs,
Brian Reid, Gordon Moffett and I created a nationwide "alt backbone"
that carried the alt newsgroups (including alt.drugs, the first).  The
alt backbone was needed for more than a year, til the creation of
alt.sex and its subsequent popularity caused a large proportion of the
net to pass alt groups around.

Nowadays when hundreds of sites on each coast have leased T1 lines
that all connect to each other (it's called the Internet), it's not a
big deal.  Any such site can manage a full news feed to any other such
site.  These sites can manage ten full news feeds if they want high
redundancy or fanout.  Even people with 56K leased lines (like
toad.com) have no trouble with multiple redundant feeds to get around

There is a single site `backbone' now -- uunet -- which has a stated 
policy of passing all traffic.  (Why not?  They get paid by the minute.)
It's still important for the thousands of UUCP sites, especially those
that are in the boonies, far from local Internet nodes.

The idea of the backbone needs to die.  Let's solve the real problems
and skip the strawmen.

John Gilmore                gnu@toad.com  --  gnu@cygnus.com  --  gnu@eff.org
  I agree it is a very good document, and I envy it - the country I live
  in doesn't have such a constitution.  I just wish you guys would _use_
  it.  Your assertion about "the freest country" fails because you don't
  - it would perhaps be true if the system would work according to the
  constitution.  But it does no good to have such a document just
  rotting away locked up somewhere, after even banning the material it's
  printed on.  				//Jyrki Kuoppala, jkp@cs.HUT.FI