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BITNET, Bitnet, BITnet, BITNet? The variations from seemingly reputable sources are staggering. Grier and Campbell, in their scholarly social history of BITNET, consistently use Bitnet, but CREN, the closest thing we have today to a successor to BITNET, consistently uses BITNET. So, I've standardized on BITNET. Logically, "BITNet" makes to most sense to me, but I've never seen that version anywhere. ;=) Bill 17:07 26 Jun 2003 (UTC)

I used BITNET in the mid-1980s, and I never saw it written as BITNet. I believe BITNET was the prefered form, with Bitnet a possible acceptable alternative.
IBM had a history of ALL-CAPS ACRONYMS, so this might be why BITNET is the common form.
One point on BITNET as store and forward -- I belive BITNET also allowed one to PASSTHRU (rlogin/telnet) from one machine to another on the network. I am also sure that a form of instant messaging from one node to another was possible. Perhaps BITNET was only store and forward for email. --Zippy 06:39, 19 Apr 2005 (UTC)
When I was using it in the early 90s, I referred to it as BITnet, as did most of the other munchkins with which I was associated. --I. Neschek | talk 17:04, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Store and forward - not a network property, but a software one?[edit]

BITNet supported interactive protocols like sending messages (via the CP/CMS command smsg, I think) to remote nodes. I remember also being able to use the PASSTHRU command to get to interactive logon screens on other nodes. So I believe the claim that it was "store and forward ... unlike the internet" is incorrect.

That said, I'm not sure how to reword the section. Any suggestions? --Zippy 19:16, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

CP SMSG was a variant of the CP MSG command that did not show up for regular users but could only be received by applications who explicitely registered for it. I used that ability to find out which users linking my disk were running my peer-to-peer chat client. Yeah we weren't allowed to run daemons at our university after some other guys made a game that crashed the mainframe. Sorry, just felt like some historic offtopic talk here. Back on topic: Yeah go ahead with whatever.  :) Store & Forward was the thing concerning e-mail and file transfers, but I guess for remote logins and messaging that can't have applied. I remember the RSCS virtual machine involved in this, but not the details on the protocol. --lynX

PassThru used separate links and thus isn't part of the RSCS (which stands for Remote Spooling Communications System see IBM form SH24-5219-03). You're correct that the "oneliners" aren't stored. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) April 21, 2010

BITNET had two physical networks of landlines - the RSCS one and a smaller and separate one for PassThru. Very few nodes had PassThru links, a limited subset of the VM nodes (PassThru didn't exist for any other platform). In fact, most BITNET site reps and users were unaware of the PassThru part of the network. RossPatterson (talk) 16:05, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

BITNET: Dead or what?[edit]

The article is all in the past tense, but doesn't give any definite information on either "the end of BITNET" or "BITNET today". Can someone please clarify this? -- Writtenonsand 16:14, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

In 1996, CREN ended their support for Bitnet. The individual nodes were free to keep their phone lines up as long as they felt like it, but as nodes dropped out the network splintered into parts that were inaccessible from one another. I'd be surprised if any universities were still maintaining their nodes today. Sources: [1] (for the exact year) and personal recollection (for the aftermath). -- Heath 05:27, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Interchat Relay Network[edit]

Relay was not "the network's instant messaging feature", it was the chat. "SEND" was the instant messaging. And don't forget "PHONE", the split-screen, real-time (and I mean keystroke real-time) tool. (talk) 19:21, 20 March 2011 (UTC)


I was on Usenet via BITNET in the early 1990s. Any citations known for this? Allens (talk) 19:02, 12 December 2011 (UTC)