Grant Taylor cctalk at
Wed Oct 7 19:52:52 CDT 2020

On 10/7/20 5:50 PM, Chris Zach via cctalk wrote:
> CC:Mail could run in two ways. For the longest time it was just a shared 
> file on a network server that all the clients pointed to. Well, a 
> directory, and this is part of the reason it got corrupted as hell. 
> Rebuilding CC:Mail usually required shutting down the PO (writing a file 
> that told the clients to go away) and rebuilding. That's why the gateway 
> systems worked, they just talked to the same folder and stuck files in 
> the input and output directories. The SMTP tool required a unix box to 
> send mail (it was too stupid to really do it by itself) and to CC:Mail 
> it looked like a "foreign" post office.
> I think at the end they had a true client-server model, but by that time 
> Notes was a much better solution.

See my reply at 6:13 for comments about cc:Guardian / IMAP / POP3.

> The other fun email system at the time was WordPerfect Office.

Was that (the precursor to) GroupWise?  Or something independent?

> That one ran as an NLM and once again it was file based from the 
> client but corrupted a lot less. And once again SMTP was a foreign PO, 
> and in fact Crystelcom was founded as a way to use the Wordperfect 
> Async Gateway to hook up to a modem to the client's server that would 
> call my house every hour and deliver internet mail to my post office 
> which also had a copy of Wordperfect plus a SMTP gateway. And pick 
> up their mail, at 14.4kbps with compression it was pretty quick. A 
> pair of Sun 386i's (beaker and bunsen) then served as DNS servers for 
> the client's domain as well as smtp servers for outbound and inbound 
> mail. I did the same thing for Microsoft mail, but it sucked more 
> and to be honest that was why I was loathe to support CC:Mail.

Why were you loathe to support cc:Mail?  Did Microsoft Mail and / or the 
WordPerfect Office thing produce more income?

> For $100 a month it was a steal for a lot of small companies and 
> nonprofits to communicate on the Internet. And for me it was simple as 
> dirt, I just needed a pair of phone lines to handle the incoming calls 
> and mail would queue up. Outbound internet was a Trailblazer modem to my 
> ISP of the time running ppp from one of the 386i's.

For the time, and the service you were providing, I'd say that was a 
good price.

> If two clients called at the same time one would get a busy and would 
> call back later (5m). If the mail server crashed mail would just queue 
> and be delivered when I rebooted it. It was literally a "open mailbox, 
> hello check" and paid for a good chunk of the down payment on the house.
> Oddly enough the most valuable thing was that companies registered their 
> domains (through me) years before the great rush. This is why a lot of 
> small non-profits have domain names that reflect their initials as 
> opposed to crap. I never charged a transfer fee when they finally got 
> their T1 lines, that would have been evil.
> Ultimately closed it down when the web got popular. I thought of getting 
> big by going into massive debt and hooking in T1's to the customers but 
> the company was profitable, simple, it served its purpose and I was ok 
> with letting it go. Probably a wise decision, my ISP actually made a 
> profit :-)
> Ah those were the days.

Interesting story.  Thank you for sharing.

Grant. . . .
unix || die

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