[mailhist-discuss] TOPS-10 MAIL

Suzanne Johnson fuhn at pobox.com
Mon Jul 9 09:13:29 PDT 2012


I heard from Glenn Ricart concerning his work on Tops-10 MAIL while 
he was at DCRT/NIH.  His note is below.   I hope to speak with him 
later this month to get more details.

I believe that the timing and extent of the distribution of  this 
software makes it a candidate for inclusion in the timeline. 
Perhaps even some sort of recognition is due NIH and Glenn for this 
work.  The effort speaks so much of the quiet,  community minded 
efforts that helped to bootsrap others into use of computer mail.

    --Suzanne


At 5:09 PM -0600 7/7/12, Glenn Ricart wrote:
>We shipped out 450 reels of tape of "MAIL" for TOPS-10 from NIH. 
> Some places then did a further re-distribution (like Australia). 
> We had PDP-10 (KA-10) serial number 19 at the NIH.
>
>I had written a predecessor "MAIL" system in 1972 with limited 
>capacity and only basic features.   It was originally intended to 
>help coordinate communications among the people working on the 
>PDP-10 who had different shifts.   It was so popular,at first among 
>the systems staff and later among the users, that the mail system 
>you received a tape of was a completely re-written second generation 
>email with most of the features we take for granted today except for 
>multi-part graphical e-mail and the ability to send e-mail between 
>computer systems.  (I think we have Ray Thomlinson to thank for the 
>latter.)  The e-mail you used was written in 1973-74 and had strong 
>distribution demand especially during 1975-1981.   If I remember 
>correctly, we sent out about 450 copies and it was my "best-selling" 
>software.   (The FIle Utility Routine (FUR) was second highest.)


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