The History of the FidoNet World according to John Summers

Well, Tom Jennings, Myself and several other "local" SYSOP's sat in an East Bay Pizza joint and bemoaned the fact that whenever we wanted to send messages to each other we either had to manually call each others BBS and leave a message to the SYSOP or hope that one of us would call whichever BBS and leave a message and then call back for the reply. (whew, that was a long sentence - local at the time for me was San Francisco and the Bay area)

About 2 weeks later several of us got a file uploaded to try. Compared to the BBS program that we were then running (RBBS) it was slow, the menu's looked funny and in general it was a "DOG"!!! We sent our collective comments back to the Author (Tom Jennings) telling him what a dog it was and the very next version that came out was called FIDO.

The one thing that this BBS program did that none of the then available BBS programs did was stop being a BBS at a preset time and send E-Mail to other BBS's that were listed in a "Nodelist".

Little did any of us realize that this would develop like it did. By August of 1986, we were approaching a built in 1200 node limit world wide and people were very concerned because it appeared as though Tom Jennings had no desire to change the code to make the number of nodes "unlimited"!

During the two years that the software had been out, Tom had enlisted the aid of a couple of programmers at McDonnel/Douglas in St. Louis. One was Ben Baker and the other name escapes me at the moment - Ken something or other I think. During the 4th of July of '86 Diana and I spent the weekend in St. Louis and the day (4th) at Ben's having a picnic with the fledgling St. Louis Net.

In August of '86 the first (some say second counting the pizza party in Hayward as the first) FIDOCON was held in Colorado Springs. There was a BIG turnout and people came from Europe and all over the United States. Diana and CJ And I made the trek to Colorado Springs and truely had a good time. ALL fidocons after that went downhill for the most part and there seemed to be a loss of interest about the time of the last one (hosted by Net 124 thanks to the efforts of Henry Clark, Ron Bemis and to some extent myself). There hasn't been one since.

My original node number was 7. Then later I was 124/7 (and 124/0). From the original Node number in San Francisco to the 124/7 node number I kinda lost track of things for a short time. I was traveling and working in New York and later in Houston before arriving in Dallas.

Well, there were several things that came from the Pizza Parties that I originated -
FIDO
Echo Mail (Jeff Rush of Net 124?)
OPUS (Wynn Wagner)
Elections within FIDO (John Summers 388/0)

We are and have been the leaders in FIDONet and continue to be. The one thing that brings us together more than any other Net is the Pizza Party. A lot of us have been meeting each other face to face for many years and that personal relationship makes all the difference in the world!!!

Since I believe this very strongly, Net 388 has had semi regular meetings and Net 115 has also had these monthly meetings. I was NC of Net 388 and a member of Net 115 while I was RC of Region 11.

(not trying to brag but) For a bit of trivia - who has been NC and RC of more nets and regions than any one else in the WORLD? Answer - Me!!! I have been NC of Net's 124 and 388. I have been RC of Region 11 and 19.

John