Mitra Ardron's archive of early APC material
Including GreenNet and IGC (PeaceNet, EcoNet etc) materials
I was the founder of GreenNet, England's fourth ISP in 1985. It pioneered the use of email by the Environment, Peace and Social Justice movements at a time when few businesses were communicating electronically.
In 1987, together with Mark Graham of IGC, we co-founded the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) to spread our model of nationally operated non-profit networks to other countries.
This is a collection of material from those times.
I'd appreciate any more documents or links to add to it, and links to alternative versions of this history. Email them to
- Mitra was volunteering with a number of organisations including Greenpeace while consulting to companies on their use of email, the possibilities were obvious, and in May 1985 a BBS was setup in the hallway of his flat to link environmental groups.
- July 85: Mitra visited San Francisco to research other organisations working in this field, during the trip he met Mark Graham who with a group of other people was discussing creating PeaceNet, and with (name?) at the Farallones Institute who were running EcoNet on some donated space on Tymnet.
- Late 85: PeaceNet went live on the Ontyme system of Tymnet
- Jan 86: GreenNet moved - along with Mitra to Mackeson Road
- early 86: Mitra negotiated a deal with GeoNet allowing for GreenNet to be moved from the BBS to their system.
- 1 Sept 86: PeaceNet went online on its own unix machine
- October 86: GreenNet was brought under the non-profit Earthlife umbrella, and moves into 10 Belgrave Square, London between the Libyan and German embassies.
- gn_press_87_earthlife.pdf: 87: Earthlife magazine article on GreenNet
- Early 87: Earthlife runs out of money. GreenNet spun out again and moved back to Mackeson Rd, bringing Jeremey Mortimer as technical director
- July 87: EcoNet was brought together with PeaceNet and called Institute for Global Communications (IGC)
- gn_appleconcourse.pdf: 87?: GreenNet worked with a team at Findhorn to develop a graphic interface to the conferences for an online service for Apple Computers. This is the brochure.
- 87: Disscussions with IGC deepened as we tried to figure out how to better support our users and in particular their need for cheap international communications and information sharing.
- Early 87: We were introduced to Peter Gabriel and Steven Van Zandt who had raised money through a concert in Japan to support computer networking for Peace. Unfortunately by that time they had already committed to work with the United Nations University for Peace on the project, who had selected an unworkable technology, but discussions on collaboration continued.
- July 87: Mitra and Mark travelled to New York to meet with Peter Gabriel, Steven Van Zandt (Musicians for Peace), Hart Perry (video producer), Danny Schechter (the news dissector), and Buddy Roberts (Costa Rica), at the meeting, in Peter's hotel room, the name "Association for Progressive Communications" was decided on.
- In the end the UNUFP program got the bulk of the money (US$50,000 if I remember right) and didn't produce anything usable with it.
- costarica_hurricaneirene_jul87.pdf: July 87: Announcement of Hurricane Irene showing
- costarica_inforpeace_87.pdf: 87, longer announcement of July event
- costarica_ufp_87.pdf:87, article about the concert and Global Computer Network
- costarica_emails_aug87.pdf: August 1987: copy of some email between Mark and Mario of UNUFP (United Nations University For Peace) trying to work out some details of the memo of understanding to the joint project.
- October 87: GreenNet moved into Underwood Street, sharing space with Friends of the Earth, who became one of its largest customers
- igc_87_homeonet_quickstart.pdf: Oct 87: Homeonet quick start guide for "non-computer-nerds"
- gn_rates.pdf ~Oct 87: GreenNet's tarif's, notice how storage charged at UKP10/Mb/month, and connection at UKP5.40/hr.
- costarica_objectives_nov87.pdf: Nov 87, Definition of Objectives of GCN
- costarica_ufpconcepts_87.pdf: 87, Concepts of University for Peace
- costarica_upgcn_intro_87q.pdf: 78? introduction to UPGCN
- costarica_upgcn_presentation.pdf: 87? A presentation on the UPGCN and the technology, IBM mainframes and "Golden Gate PC" that they were proposing to use to implement it. The technology turned out to be completely unworkable as predicted by IGC and GreenNet.
- November 87: Scott Weikart came to GreenNet bringing a suitccase sized hard disk loaded with the IGC software which was installed on a donated Plexus minicomputer and in November 87 the conferences were networked between IGC and GN
- gn_conferenceguide 1 2 3: 87? An annotated guide to the conferences on GreenNet after networking with IGC, 3 versions at different times.
- gn_conferencesupport.pdf: A leaflet promoting GreenNet's services in connection with conferences and events
- Xmas 87, Ted Turner gave us an hour of prime-time on the US cable TV network "TBS" for a broadcast of the Hurricane Irene video which showcased IGC and GreenNet and ended with contact information for PeaceNet
- igc_econet_qkref.pdf: 88: EcoNet quick reference card
- igc_econet_leaflet.pdf 88?: EcoNet brochure
- igc_econet_leaflet2.pdf 88?: Another EcoNet brochure
- igc_peacenet_leaflet.pdf 88?: PeaceNet brochure
- igc_conferenceleaflet.pdf: 88?: IGC Leaflet on using conferences
- gn_press_jan88_independant.pdf: Jan 88: Article in the Independant
- costarica_response_feb88.pdf: Feb 88, Response to enquiries after the TV showing, telling people to contact the APC via PeaceNet
- apc_ica_1988.pdf: May 88: A short paper on the APC presented to the International Communications Association conference by Mitra Ardron and Debbie Miller.
- gn_press_may88_linkup.pdf: May 88: Article in LinkUp magazine
- gn_press_summer88_risk.pdf: Summer 88: Article in Howard Jone's Risk magazine on GN support from Greenpeace
- brazil_fondgaia_jun88.pdf June 88: Enquiry from Fondacaeo Gaia to join GreenNet
- brazil_proposal_jul88.pdf July 88: IBASE proposal ready to send to UNDP for funding
- July 88: Geoff visited Brazil to lay the ground work
- brazil_report_aug88.pdf: Aug 88: UNDP commentary on the proposal, includes a description of some other brazilian networking initiatives
- gn_databases.pdf: Aug 88: GreenNet leaflet calling for databases to be hosted at GreenNet
- gn_nan.pdf: Sept 88: A leaflet promoting GreenNet to a North Atlantic Network conference. It was during this conference that we recruited Viv Kendon who became GreenNet's director after Mitra left.
- gn_convoy.pdf: Sept 88: The story of GreenNet's involvement in coordinating rapid response to an accident involving a nuclear missile transporter which place during GN's participation in a NAN conference.
- gn_sept88_macarthurgrant.pdf: Sept 88: Part of a proposal to MacArthur for GreenNet, including participation in the "International Expansion Program", funded for US$25,000
- apc_igc_funding_proposal.pdf: Sept 88: IGC funding proposal for the "International Computer Network"
- gn_press_oct88_grnteacher.pdf: Oct 88: Green Teacher article on GreenNet
- gn_press_oct88_freepress.pdf: Oct 88: Article in "Free Press"
- gn_press_oct88_greenparty.pdf: Oct 88: Article in Green Party magazine
- gn_press_nov88_computertalk.pdf: Nov 88: Article in Computer Talk - quotes Peter Gabriel
- gn_press_nov88_computerweekly.pdf: Nov 88: Article in Computer Weekly - quoting Peter Gabriel
- gn_leaflet.pdf: ~88: GreenNet's leaflet
- gn_leaflet2.pdf: ~88: A slightly later leaflet from GreenNet
- gn_whatis gn_whatis1.pdf or gn_whatis2.pdf: ~88: More information about GreenNet - two slightly different versions - this evolved in '89 into gn_furtherinformation.pdf
- gn_usercomments.pdf: ~88: One page of comments from GreenNet's users and from Gen John Singlaub
- October 88, Mitra Ardron moved from GreenNet to work on the APC, starting a year on the road
- gn_oct88_coordjobdesc.pdf: Oct 88: Job Description for coordinate for GreenNet to replace Mitra who was moving on to the APC
- apc_oct88_techpriorities.pdf: Oct 88: Definition of technical priorities (Mitra)
- apc_oct88_intlpriorities.pdf: Oct 88: Definition of International priorities (Joanne. Scott), note how at this point the name was "on hold" and IGC at this time was refering to the APC with words like "The international project".
- apc_oct88_budget_xls.pdf: Oct 88: APC budget
- brazil_phase2_dec88.pdf: Dec 88: Carlos's request for information for a funding application to join the APC
- apc_88_orgsmembers.pdf: 88 ?: A list of organisations on APC nets and the member accounts
- apc_88_techspec.pdf: 88 ?: A technical specification for APC software, and hardware and interconnections.
- apc_dec88_organisations.pdf: Dec 88: A list of organisations with accounts on APC networks
- apc_proposal.pdf: end of 88 ?: This is an interesting document with my (Mitra's) thinking on the APC, its structure and priorities. In particular note how I am proposing here that the APC needs to be a seperate organisation, and of the need to sign the constitution BEFORE bringing on board the emerging networks, as I would worry that it would cause a lot of delays if it wasn't signed first.
- gn_growth.pdf: Dec 88: Graph of GreenNet's exponential growth from Apr 86 - Dec 88
- gn_services.pdf: 88 ?: One page sheet about GreenNet's Services, notice how we still give GeoNet and Dialcom email addresses
- Jan 89: SFMT launched, provided email between Russia and the US, operating over IGC's system via X.25 and later running its own machine through the assistance of Pandora
- sfmt_feb89_nyt.pdf: Feb 89: New York Times front page article on SFMT
- sfmt_leaflet_eng.pdf: 89?: SFMT brochure - english - russian
- sfmt_mar89_rates.pdf: Mar 89: SFMT rate card.
- gn_jan89_budget.pdf: Jan 89: GreenNet Budget
- apc_jan89_intlbudget_xls.pdf: Jan 89: International Budget spreadsheet
- apc_jan89_intlbudget.pdf: Jan 89: International Budget for 6 months, for funding proposals etc
- gn_jan89_cashflow.pdf: Jan 89: GreenNet cash flow
- apc_jan89_intlworksheet_xls.pdf: Jan 89: International Worksheet, includes list of hardware to be bought, staff etc
- Feb 89, Mitra went to Canada for three months to help the Web integrate their systems, and organisation into the APC
- gn_press_popularcomputerweekly_feb89.pdf: Feb 89: Long article in Popular Computer Weekly
- apc_setup_notes_1mar89.pdf: Mar 89: Notes for people condsidering setting up APC nodes (Mitra)
- gn_press_mar89_independant.pdf: Mar 89: Long article in Independant
- sovam_guardian_mar89.pdf: Mar 89: Article on SFMT in the Guardian
- April 89: Web Networks comes online - Phillippines, Nicaragua, Brazil, Sweden, Kenya, Costa Rica in the pipeline.
- apc_apr89_netmap.pdf: Apr 89: A description of the net, and a map showing technologies being used, and planned, to expand the net.
- gn_press_may89_spiegel.pdf: May 89: Spiegel article on GreenNet (photos of Mitra, Viv, Jeremey and Udo Schacht who later started Comlink
- apc_may89_undp_proposal.pdf: May 89: Proposal to UNDP for funding. I know we didn't get all this funding, but I'm pretty sure we got some financial help, and I know we got a lot of in-kind assistance from UNDP.
- Jeremey Mortimer went from GreenNet to help create PeaceNet Sweden which launched in January 1989
- gn_furtherinformation.pdf: April 89: A 12 page handout with more information about GreenNet and the APC, including graph of number of users; lists of organisations and conferences; APC diagram; history; tech specs
- Scott Weikart and Joanne Scott went from IGC to Nicaragua to help create Nicarao which joined the APC in June 1989
- Steve Fram went from IGC to Brazil to help IBase create Alternex which launched on 18th July 1989
- Mitra and Mark Graham left the APC to start Pandora Systems (pandora_systems_videotex.pdf)
- gn_news_july89.pdf: July 89: GreenNet newsletter, including first mobile phone connection
- August 89, Param left GreenNet, eventually landing at Pegasus in Australia
- brazil_report_sept89.pdf: Sept 89: A report by Alternex on their progress
- Mike (the wind) Jensen went from the Web to help create Pegasus in Australia which launched on 1st September 1989
- brazil_brochure_89.pdf: 89: Alternex brochure
- gn_press_dec89_im.pdf: Dec 89: small article in EEC's I'M magazine (notice how they use the Dialcom address!)
- apc_late89_news.pdf: Late 89: A newsletter detailing the new members, the second page lists all the staff in all 7 countries, note that Mark Graham is still listed.
apc_gateway.pdf: June 90: In the early days of email each system was an island, providers had the strange idea that their customers only wanted to talk to each other, and used this as a way to ensure that you had to join their service. IGC and GreeNet were among the first non-academic email services to be gatewayed to just about any other email service, in some cases without the other service's knowledge! This list shows the connectivity, and the charges we had to make to cover the costs. Note on the top of page 2 the list of APC networks
- Chasque Uruguay; Comlink Germany; GlasNet Russia; Nicarao Nicaragua; NordNet Sweden;
- apc_90_brochure.pdf: 90 ?: The APC brochure
- igc_spring90_netnews.pdf: Spring 90: IGC's Netnews magazine, announces conflictnet
- igc_confguide.pdf: July 91: IGC's conference guide
- 1990 or 1991?: GreenNet moved to Bevenden Street
- gn_news_winter92.pdf: End of 92: A newsletter listing some new conferences, participation in TOES 92, and announcing 9600 baud dial-in access and databases coming online.
- Gnprez.ppt: And scrolling forward to October 2005, a tongue in cheek presentation
- Do you remember.ppt: A collection of front pages, pulled from archive.org
Recent articles from Mitra's blog