[mailhist-discuss] Tops-10 email history (dates to 1973)

Suzanne Johnson fuhn at pobox.com
Thu Jun 28 08:13:23 PDT 2012

Recalling the impact that the distribution tape of Tops-10 email had 
on Intel (it was the company's first email system, and was installed 
on engineering computers in 1978), I've done some checking to get a 
bit more info.

I spoke with Jane Small, who was at DCRT/NIH t the time. and helped 
with the distributions.

According to her memories, the program was written by  Glenn Ricart 
in 1973.  Distribution began informally immediately upon completion. 
DCRT's attitude was very much community oriented...if someone 
requested a distribution or copy of the software, it was sent.

Distribution became more formal in the '80s and continued until about 
1989, when the DEC-10 was being phased out in favor of Vaxes.  Jane 
recalls participation in various DEC User Group meetings  during the 
'80's and possibly incrreased visibility for the software via that 

Glenn Ricart's Wikipedia entry mentions his 1973 work.  I'd like to 
talk with Glenn to get more details, such as language, etc.  If 
anyone on the list has a current email address for him, please 
contact me off list and let me know.

Jane notes that the program did not talk between machines (ours were 
connected by DECnet, and that was not recognized by the program). 
So, it was an email system designed for one computer, which was the 
configuration at the time for DCRT.

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