After leaving university I spent a year living in a flat on Chesterton Rd. It wasn't great, so when Steve said he was buying a house and funding it by letting rooms to his friends, and was I interested, I jumped at the chance.
We thought it would be good to have a house domain name. The name came from the fact that the house was on Green End Road:
Subject: Domain names Date: Fri, 10 May 96 14:35:05 +0100 (BST) Guys, Steve and I decided last night that it would be a good thing to have our own domain name (and /24 network and ... but that's later). We provisionally chose the name greenend.org.uk though I don't see why this should be cast in stone; indeed I think we could do better.
In the end we didn't come up with a better name and I registered the domain through the company I worked for at the time, who did a variety internetish products and services. The delegation came through in June:
Date: Tue, 11 Jun 1996 16:55:10 +0100 From: Radha Bilimoria <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Cc: email@example.com Subject: Re: UK Delegation Requests [automatic] Domain.Register@www.nic.uk wrote: > > Subject: UK Delegation Requests [automatic] > Date: Tue, 11 Jun 1996 13:02:56 +0000 > From: Domain.Register@www.nic.uk > Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org > To: email@example.com > > X-Note: These domains have expired on the naming committee. > > ; Greenend > greenend.org.uk. NS dns0.elmail.co.uk. > NS dns1.elmail.co.uk. > > --------------------------------------------------------------- > reply The above delegation has been made and the changes will take effect at approx 6:00pm today. Radha (FAOBO HOSTMASTER)
Shortly after I got email to greenend.org.uk working:
From: Richard Kettlewell <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: greenend.org.uk Date: Wed, 12 Jun 96 17:21:02 +0100 (BST) OK, greenend.org.uk mail seems to work. Not polling very often right now though. ------- start of forwarded message (RFC 934 encapsulation) ------- Received: from post.elmail.co.uk by mojave.elmail.co.uk (ElectricMail-MESSAGE-2.0-GAMMA) id QAA00787; Wed, 12 Jun 1996 16:55:07 +0100 Received: from sfere.elmail.co.uk by post.elmail.co.uk (ElectricMail-MESSAGE-2.0-GAMMA) id QAA19645; Wed, 12 Jun 1996 16:52:46 +0100 Received: from post ([18.104.22.168]) by sfere.elmail.co.uk with smtp id <m0uTsEY-0002PCC@sfere.elmail.co.uk> (Debian /\oo/\ Smail22.214.171.124 #29.37); Wed, 12 Jun 96 16:53 BST Received: by ElectricMail-MESSAGE-DGW-GAMMA Received: by ElectricMail-MESSAGE-DGW-GAMMA Received: from muskogee.elmail.co.uk by post.elmail.co.uk (ElectricMail-MESSAGE-2.0-GAMMA) id LAA15377; Wed, 12 Jun 1996 11:09:03 +0100 Received: by muskogee.elmail.co.uk id <m0uTmtf-00032vC@muskogee.elmail.co.uk> (Debian /\oo/\ Smail126.96.36.199 #29.33); Wed, 12 Jun 96 11:11 BST Message-Id: <8NLFvi2oM@muskogee.elmail.co.uk> From: Richard Kettlewell <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: to email@example.com Date: Wed, 12 Jun 96 11:11:30 +0100 (BST) ------- end -------
(Yay for Smail spiders in the Received fields!)
Meanwhile my friend Ian was in need of a hostname. Chiark had been around a while by then and had the rather unusual distinction within the University of Cambridge of being a student-run machine with a mail domain, specifically chiark.chu.cam.ac.uk. But when he moved out of college at the end of the September 1996 he was going to lose that name, so I agreed to let him use the name chiark.greenend.org.uk instead. (I've still got the emails but I'm not going to publish them without permission.) Although the details of its connectivity and geography have changed a number of times since then it has always maintained the same name.
At the time of the above my employer didn't sell full internet connectivity, though we did provide it to employees - hence the reference to the /24 above. It was a while before this part of the plan came off though - until the following year we had a single public address and used an RFC1918 network internally. However, ElectricMail were busy turning ourselves into a proper ISP (albeit never a particularly large one), and Greenend became an early user.
From: Richard Kettlewell <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: LAN dialup Date: Wed, 15 Jan 97 11:54:06 +0000 (GMT) I'll be testing sfere against LATTIS some time this evening; this will mean a number of changes. Your IP address will change to one within 188.8.131.52/28. Your default route will be through 184.108.40.206 - i.e. sfere - which will also run a name sever you can point your resolvers at. sfere already has packet forwarding turned on. Note that the /28 means you want a netmask of 255.255.255.240 for the local network. Be sure to get this right. [...]
If you look in the right place you can still see fossils of this.
In June 1998 we gained a web presence, www.greenend.org.uk. It was hosted on chiark, which would be a return of the favour of a stable name if chiark hadn't long since been far more useful to all of us than the mere cost of a domain name registration.
In October 1998 I moved out of Green End Road, to share a house with Ian, Mobbsy and not long after LNR. I maintained ownership of the domain, however, though in early 2001 I left ElectricMail, or NetConnect as it was by then, following a takeover; I see they've renamed themselves since then. The last ever Greenend party was in March 2003, not so long before Steve sold the place in order to spend more time with his pubs.
These days the Sinister Greenend Organization mainly means the ill-defined social network that extended well beyond a particular household and has now survived its demise.
Now, those who've had contact with the UK Internet may recognize from the dates above that greenend.org.uk was founded before Nominet was created to take over management of .uk domains. And that's why I'm writing this now: Nominet have finally got round to normalizing the status of the domains they inherited from naming committee, and the signed declaration saying greenend.org.uk is mine is in an envelope ready to be posted tomorrow morning.
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