Feeds

CIX conferencing system is bought out – again

Veteran online hangout gains a new lease of life

Remote control for virtualized desktops

CIX, probably the oldest surviving online service in the UK, has a new owner, ICUK, which hopes to grow the system and attract new users.

CIX - or the Compulink Information Exchange - started off in the pre-web days of the mid-1980s as a shareware distribution house's Fidonet bulletin board service, but the online community quickly outgrew the shareware business. After spells under the ownership of Norwegian telco Telenor and then PIPEX (itself now part of TalkTalk), followed by a management buyout, it's now been purchased by the privately-owned Croydon-based ISP – which itself was founded and is owned by a CIXen, Leslie Costar.

CIX belongs to a pre-web – and for most private individuals, pre-internet – type of service called a "conferencing system," hosting thousands of both public and private discussion groups. In the early days it was a sort of grown-up version of Prestel's MicroNet, or a more flexible UK rival to CompuServe or the WELL. Running in its current form since 1987, it still has nearly 9,000 users and multiple busy discussion groups ranging from many technical discussions to culture, food, transport and anything under the sun, including its own in-house versions of Freecycle™, eBay™ and online shops – most of which long predate their web-based successors.

Indeed, the CIX conferences spawned many businesses that went on to become household names – Demon Internet began in the "tenner.a.month" conference, for instance, and it was an early haunt of the founders of this mighty organ. Everyone who was anyone in the UK techie community had a CIX address and for a lot of us it was our first private email address – your humble scribe joined in 1991 and is obscurely proud of his 20-year-old address. (Even if it now forwards to Gmail.)

In its often firmly moderated, spam- and graphics-free cloisters, the now grey-haired eminences of the British technology world learned how to write a well-formed email, properly free of formatting and bottom-quoted as the hypothetical deity intended. Even now, few online fora reach the signal-to-noise ratio of CIX or the other conferencing services – as is shown by the new name for what was Byte Magazine's BIX service – now reincarnated as Noise Level Zero.

BIX and NLZero ran on the same back-end software, CoSy, which is now open source and forms the basis for another CIX spinoff, TWIX, which chunters along quite happily as a place for emigrés from the cix:bikers contingent to natter. If you were one of that elite grouping, you'll know where to find it, or who to ask.

These days, CIX has a polished – if slightly retro – Windows client called Ameol, along with web-based conferencing-style and forum-style access – all of which ICUK has stated it will enhance. Here's hoping that CIX lasts for a good long time yet. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
Ofcom tackles complaint over Premier League footie TV rights
Virgin Media: UK fans pay the most for the fewest matches
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.