RTPnet Timeline

Also see News clippings


  • 1988-89: The Emergence of the Triangle, history of Research Triangle Park, article in magazine Park Guide


  • October 16, 1989: Overview of Proposed System: The system would be a computer bulletin board/forum (BBS) serving the towns of Chapel Hill and/or Carrboro, and possibly Orange County, to enhance communication between government and the citizens, and empower both with new information and communication abilities

  • December 1989: PIN: Proposal for a Public Information Network for Orange County, North Carolina: The Public Information Network (PIN) is a proposed computer information system available to citizens and local government. The PIN would be accessed through terminals located at public sites...


  • February 12, 1990: Public Information Network Working Group Proposal presented by William R. Hutchins to the Carrboro Town Council: The packet contains a description of how PIN would work and clippings about Santa Monica's Public Electronic Network (PEN). Similar packets were submitted to the Town Council of Chapel Hill and Commissioners of Orange County.

  • March 26, 1990: Town of Chapel Hill Council Agenda: A resolution authorizing the evaluation of alternatives for a citizen's computer bulletin board. Manager recommends adoption.

  • March 1990: System description (.pdf)

  • Several news articles February through April

  • July 1990: Narrative Description of Planned Activities — ... enable computer access by the general public to information of public interest. Financial support from grants and foundations.

  • August 1990: Bylaws, latest revision May 5, 2004 — HTML, MS Word

  • August 14, 1990: Articles of Incorporation for Public Information Network, Inc. certified (.pdf)

  • October 11, 1990: Employer Identification Number (.pdf)

  • October 30, 1990: Status of the Public Information Network Project: The original volunteer group (Public Information Network Working Group, PINWOG) continues to meet and is a focal point for volunteers and as an information resource. Three committees: Funding, Data, Technical



  • January 8, 1992: Email to Tom Grundner regarding Peoria video, Free-Net software, RTPnet prototype, and WAIS — HTML, MS Word

  • April 1, 1992: Request for funding from SAS Institute ($10,000) — HTML, MS Word and summary of that meeting HTML, MS Word

  • April 27, 1992: Email NPTN "All Hands" Message, new organizing committees: Champaign-Urbana Free-Net Organizing Committee and Public Information Network, Inc.

  • July 15, 1992: A "Free-Net" for RTP? — HTML, MS Word

  • July 23, 1992: UseNet newsgroup triangle.freenet set up

  • August 14, 1992: Email list rtpfreenet@gibbs.oit.unc.edu operational with about 100 people on it and cross posting to newsgroup triangle.freenet

  • August 20, 1992: Computer users are invited to meeting, Chapel Hill Herald

  • August 25, 1992: Organizing Meeting: Triangle Free-Net (see RTPnet Meetings)

  • September 1992: Donation form available — "I support the Triangle FreeNet..."

  • November 17, 1992: Triangle Freenet: Initial Business Plan

  • December 1992: Campus-Wide Information Systems, Judy Hallman, AARNET conference, Brisbane, Australia — Video Part A and Video Part B, about 30 minutes each — demonstration using precursors of gopher and World Wide Web, formatting and maintenance issues, at end World Wide Web, Free-Nets, Youngstown Free-Net —


  • April 5, 1993: Guide to LaUNCHhpad: by Mary Johnson — LaUNCpad is an extended bulletin board service (EBBS) and development project of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • April 5, 1993: The Development of the Triangle Area Free Network: Triangle Free-Net: by Mary Johnson

  • April 6, 1993: Meeting: A tour of current Free-Nets

  • April 22, 1993: Certificate of Assumed Name, Triangle Free-Net, Book 1100, Page 248, Time 4:27:09

  • May 1993: Presentation Transparencies — HTML, MS Word

  • July 6, 1993: Use of the Internet by 6th and 7th graders: Email from Barbara Pedersen and her letter to Governor James Hunt enthusiastically describing her use of the Internet, including Academy One, in the classroom

  • Fall 1993: System administrators: Lou Sortman and Matt Pardo

  • October 5, 1993: Status of Triangle Free-Net, Handout for NC CAUSE — Running gopher on launchpad.unc.edu and developing our own system on our HP9000/360 workstation, UNC-Chapel Hill student projects (designing system and user interface), statewide status, description of discussion lists and COMMUNET (A Community and Civic Networks Discussion List) — HTML, MS Word

  • October 22, 1993: Committees — data, funding, interface, publicity, technical

  • November 16, 1993: Status of Triangle Free-Net, Handout for Microcomputer Users Group for Libraries in North Carolina (MUGLNC) — HTML, MS Word

  • December 8, 1993: Triangle Free-Net electronic-mail discussion groups, rtpfreenet@unc.edu, triangle.freenet (news group), tf-data@unc.edu, tf-fund@unc.edu, tf-ops@unc.edu, tf-pub@unc.edu, tf-tech@unc.edu, tf-k12@unc.edu, run on listserv@unc.edu — HTML, MS Word

  • 1993 equipment donations: Hewlett Packard 9000/360 work station (used to develop Triangle Free-Net), five Apollo Domain work stations, miscellaneous components


  • January 10, 1994: Triangle Freenet Nettiquette Guide, by Gary Bishop

  • February 2, 1994: Status — Gopher, elm mailer, and pico editor, and telnet access at tfnet.ils.unc.edu, UNC-Chapel Hill student projects (system administration, design Triangle Free-Net, calendar), drafted netiquette guide, grant proposals submitted to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Greater Triangle Community Foundation Grant, request for funding from Raleigh City Government — HTML, MS Word

  • February 15, 1994: History of Triangle Free-Net

  • March 21, 1994: New User Packet, by Casey Gregg

  • March 29, 1994: With North Carolina Central University, submitted proposal to the National Science Foundation/Networking Infrastructure for a planning grant to develop a program whereby school children will help build and maintain community information systems as after school "for pay" work — HTML, MS Word

  • April 27, 1994: National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) Hearing, Durham, NC, "Meeting the Information Needs of All Americans" — Hallman testimony HTML, MS Word

  • June 20, 1994: Received a grant for $2,000 from Orange County, letter from Orange County (.pdf)

  • July 24, 1994: Orange County regional landfill and recycling information online, Burlington Times news article (.pdf) and Herald Sun article (.pfd)

  • August 16, 1994: Position of Executive Director created and Judy Hallman appointed Executive Director; Triangle Free-Net projects include find home for the Free-Net computer, define policies and procedures for users to install information in the gopher, define acceptable use policy, define registration policies and procedures, bulletin boards started with ask-an-astronomer Usenet news group, install FreeWAIS, install Web server, implement calendar software written by UNC Comp145 class, upcoming Free-Net teleconference for NCLA September 15

  • August 1994: Renewed organizing agreement with National Public Telecomputing Network

  • September 15, 1994: Freenets Teleconference: Co-sponsored by NC Library Association and Interpath: Speakers: Dr. Thomas Grundner, "Freenets and Beyond..."; Steve Snow, "Charlotte's Web"; Judy Hallman, "Triangle Freenet"; John Annen, "Forsyth County Freenet Project"

  • October 3, 1994: Status — Running gopher, World Wide Web server available, UNC-CH Library Science students deloping software and procedures, calendar software developed by Comp145 students being implemented, policies and procedures being defined, a Free-Net volunteer drafted a netiquette guide and a Durham Tech student prepared a new user packet that includes the netiquette guide, Triangle Free-Net encourages people to get commercial accounts for Internet email and to access the Free-Net

  • October 5, 1994: Quarterly Report to Orange County: Donated computer workstation(Hewlett-Packard 9000/360) installed at UNC-CH, accessible by dialup through the UNC data switch (962-9921, select 16 from the menu, type "tfnet.ils," login as "freenet"; Orange County data in the system includes the text developed for a kiosk in University Mall and the Orange County Statistical Abstract

  • November 25, 1994: Copy of IRS application attached to letter to Peter Harter, NPTN


  • January 11, 1995: Quarterly Report to Orange County: Converted to World Wide Web software, considerable amount of Orange County data in the system

  • February 5, 1995: Policies and Procedures drafted for Access, Registration, User Agreement, Complaints

  • February 25, 1995: "A Regional Free-Net and Internet Access," by Judy Hallman, published in The Internet Initiative: Libraries Providing Internet Services & How They Plan, Pay, and Manage, ISBN 0-8389-0668-0 — "Internet Access" HTML or MS Word, "What is Triangle Free-Net?" HTML or MS Word, files

  • March 3, 1995: "Welcome to Triangle Free-Net: A new User's Guide to the Research Triangle Area's Non-Profit World Wide Web Home Page," by Jack Miller-King

  • July 25, 1995: Meeting: Design/content and request for volunteers

  • July 25, 1995: Third and Fourth Quarterly Reports to Orange County

  • August 1995: MBA Practicum Proposal to Kenan-Flagler Business School, UNC-Chapel Hill: Project to develop a strategic business plan

  • Fall 1995: Status: Running a development system using World Wide Web on HP9000/360 housed at UNC-CH Library Science; negotiating with local businesses who have offered to house the machine, focus on developing system and database, working on policies and procedures, getting ready to "Go Public," projects list

  • September 16-24, 1995: Moved the HP9000/360 to The Internet Center in Raleigh, Internet address changed from tfnet.ils.unc.edu to rtpnet.intercenter.net while waiting for rtpnet.org, service name changed from Triangle Free-Net to RTPnet, The Internet Center providing physical space and Internet connectivity, Northern Telecom is providing an ISDN line

  • November 8, 1995: List of about 75 RTPnet Data Providers, many on servers other than rtpnet.org. Those hosted on RTPnet include: Raleigh Astronomy Club, Banjo in the Hollow, Chapel Hill Church of the Holy Family, Hammered Dulcimer on the Web, Internships International, Literatura Peruana, NC Herpetological Society, NC Peace Corps, Orange County Government, Triangle Area Chinese American Association

  • November 29, 1995: Meeting: Policies and procedures

  • Registration form 1995-6


  • January 5, 1996: IRS Letter, 501(c)(3) status still in effect

  • January 22, 1996: Memorandum from Town Manager to Town Council, Chapel Hill: "We believe that providing this new service during the 68 hours that the library is open would require $26,600 for 50 additional hours of trained staff ... $3,260 to initiate and about $34,950 annually to maintain ... the resources needed to establish and maintain a public use terminal in a public building would be better used to support other on-going services."

  • January 30, 1996: First and Second Quarterly Reports to Orange County: Computer at The Internet Center (an in-kind contribution over $5,000/year), Web address http://www.RTPnet.org, over 100 accounts for information providers, menus of links to information not stored on its computer.

  • January 30, 1996: Meeting: Public terminals, started working with Birchwood Heights in Durham

  • February 20, 1996: Meeting: Training

  • March 26, 1996: Meeting: Public terminals and training

  • January 25, 1996: Presentation to NC Press, includes history of the Internet, basics of World Wide Web, demo of Triangle Free-Net

  • April 1996: Help Browsing the World Wide Web (Lynx and Netscape); Ethics

  • Spring 1996: Funding from Orange County ended; $4,000 over two years

  • May 11, 1996: Purchased a pentium computer to be used as a public access terminal in Orange County Public Library, $1,746.88

  • May 31, 1996: Purchased a pentium computer to be used as a backup for the RTPnet server (HP9000/360)

  • August 11, 1996: What is RTPnet? by Ken Dietel, a compilation of information about RTPnet and National Public Telecomputing Network

  • August 1996: Classes taught in Orange County Public Library for local citizens who wish to use the public terminal (news article .pdf)

  • August 1996: MBA Practicum Proposal to Kenan-Flagler Business School, UNC-Chapel Hill: business description, project to develop a strategic business plan — HTML, MS Word

  • Annual report: January - December 1996, about 180 userids and 160 organizations, started providing some support for the Birchwood Heights project


  • May 27, 1997: Registration Procedure; Help for newcomers

  • Spring 1997: System administrator: Joe Morris

  • June 1997: System moved from HP9000/360 HPUX system to Pentium PC running RedHat/Linux

  • June 1997: Several additional system administrators working on system improvements

  • July 1997: RTPnet started charging a membership fee of $50 per year; commercial and personal users asked to move to a different site

  • August 1997: Received a Smallwood Foundation grant for Birchwood Learning Center

  • December 1997: System administrator: Errol Casey; Charles Hall backup and support

  • Annual report: January - December 1997


  • Spring: Assisted in conducting a program for teenagers to learn life skills and computer skills and earn money for doing so at Birchwood Learning Center

  • August 1998: Received a second Smallwood Foundation grant for Birchwood Learning Center

  • Membership fees were used to purchase five new computers (300 mhz, 64 meg ram, 6.4 gig harddrive) to establish a public learning center in the Hargraves Receation Center in the Northside Community in Chapel Hill

  • Started a computer self-help Web page

  • Joined the Association For Community Networking (AFCN) as a charter member and also joined the Community Technology Centers' Network (CTCNet)

  • Email list services using Majordomo; messages can be archived into Web pages, using MHonArc

  • Web Server statistics available, using Analog

  • FreeWAIS installed for searching

  • Matt Wright's WWWBoard installed

  • The RTPnet computer was moved from The Internet Center to Deltaforce Technologies

  • Annual report: January - December 1998




  • February 2001: Hired two Americorps VISTAs, one to provide technical support to Triangle Area community technology centers and one to promote community participation in Birchwood Learning Center

  • March 24, 2001: Second conference on bridging the digital divide in the Research Triangle area

  • August 2001: Hired an Americorps VISTA to provide technical support and training support to the Riley Hill Community Technology Center (RHCTC), Wendell, NC

  • September 20, 2001: Regional conference, coordinated by Terry Grunwald

  • November 2001: Hired an Americorps VISTA to identify assets and needs for Community Technology Centers, developing a database of Triangle area community technology centers, and assist the president of the CTCNet board of directors

  • Annual report: January - December 2001









  • Elon MBA students conducted a study of ways to expand RTPnet's hosting service business.

  • June 10, 2009: Triangle Net Tuesday/501 Tech Club renamed to NCTech4Good. (NCTech4Good History)


2011 2012 2013 2014
  • June 5-6, 2014: 5th Annual NCTech4Good Conference. Beth Kanter presents workshop and keynote.

  • Fall 2014: NCTech4Good.org is converted to WordPress and hosted on Dreamhost.

  • December 31, 2014: RTPnet.org hosting services shut down.
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