I was assigned a Fidonet node number tonight. That will mean almost nothing to anyone, but to me it’s an accomplishment. It took me 3 days of hacking around to get this thing set up.
Fidonet was the predominant pre-Internet message network which was created in 1984 and had an initial 12 nodes (BBSes), peaking in 1996 with ~40,000 nodes and down to about ~2,000 now.
I’ve been a Linux hacker (the good kind) all my adult life and have therefore been surrounded by other hackers of varying degrees of competency. Through those people I’ve learned that anyone can run a script, but the true mark of a craftsman in any trade is the ability to apply abstract knowledge to new situations.
I consider bringing up 20 year old tech in a day when almost nobody understands that tech any more to be the true mark of a craftsman. There’s almost nobody left who knows how to do this so you have to rely heavily on intuition and experience to get the pieces working right.
Since day one, Fidonet Sysops have always had to prove their skills. The only way to join Fidonet is to set up a Fidonet capable BBS and then send a Fidonet netmail to your network coordinator asking for a node number. The node number is the only way to become part of the Fidonet network and asking for it via netmail proves you have your system set up correctly. Even today, the network coordinator in charge of my area is happy to help me set things up via Internet email or voice, but will STILL only issue me a node number if he receives my request via old school netmail.
I am now Jon Watson at node 1:249/207