The History of SunSITE

There was a time when the Internet
was a dark, lonely place. A vacuous world reserved for scientists
and government. Then one day a light shown through the darkness and it was called...

SunSite was created as a mechanism to distribute software to the operators of Sun equipment. Due to the creativity and commitment of a select few, SunSITE quickly became much more. Those involved with computing came to rely on SunSITE for software and support information. Others came to experience the literary and cultural opportunities that were changing the future of the Internet.

From those humble beginnings, SunSITE has grown into one of the most visited locations on the World Wide Web. People from around the world visit us everyday. Our reputation for creative and informative offerings has helped us achieve top ranking in many of the surveys and evaluations of Internet publications.

Before there were browsers there was a SunSITE

SunSITE was started in 1992 as a non-profit exploration in modern communications. This made us one of the first non-scientific offerings available on a network that had not yet exploded with popularity. SunSITE's (Software, Information, and Technology Exchange) official description is:

"a cooperative research effort in wide-area
multimedia information development and distribution."

It was the perfect solution to the needs of a commercial interest and an educational institution. Sun Microsystems was looking for a distribution channel for its software and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was looking for a system that would facilitate the needs of a growing number of prospective Internet users. This marriage of powerful systems and educational resources changed the face of the Internet forever.

The people entrusted with maintaining the servers at UNC saw the potential for more than a new electronic mail system. These administrators were not just computer geeks. They had the vision of a richer, more colorful future for the web. In an atmosphere of ever increasing commercialism and profit seeking on the Web, their vision remains a crucial alternative.

Build it and They'll Come...

Our commitment to provide an eclectic collection of art and information has been rewarded with many different accolades. We regularly come out at the top of online surveys and contests. We believe this is because we have something to offer everyone, whether literary, artistic, political, or scientific. Today SunSITE is home to a vast collection of electronic information, from the unauthorized Elvis home page to the Vatican Library Exhibit. In addition to our "artistic" collections, SunSITE provides valuable political information from around the world in a variety of viewpoints.

We take pride in our diversity and our ability to utilize it. The creative people who have worked here have shared their knowledge and experience with all who visit SunSITE. The variety of talents we bring include computer technology, information systems, poetry, politics, audio engineering, video production, graphic design, and much more. Everything adds up to a visually and content rich experience for all who visit us.

If you would like more information about our history you can check out D-Lib, the Digital Library Magazine. In the February '96 issue you'll find a description of SunSITE as told by its 2 founders, Judson Knott and Paul Jones.

Created Mark C. McCarthy