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G'day, folks!

August 27, 1993

I came across this guide while reading "EFFector Online Volume 5 No. 15, 8/20/1993" (A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, ISSN 1062-9424), that is available via comp.org.eff.news and immediately decided to get my hands on it. After browsing through the raw ASCII text file, I thought that such a useful thing, should have a more beautiful "face" (and fewer "bugs").

As Shari points out, the EFF is still "fishing for a publisher." In other words, it's far from being clear when this guide will be available as hard copy, unless you want to print out the "buggy" ASCII file. Thus, I started over to make the bulk a Texinfo document, loosely modelled after Brendan Kehoe's Zen and the Art of the Internet, originally written for Widener University's, Computer Science Department, and later published as:

Kehoe, B.P. (1992) Zen and the Art of the Internet: A Beginner's Guide to the Internet. 2nd Edition (July). Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ. 112 pages. The 1st Edition, (February, 2nd) is still available via anonymous ftp from ftp.cs.widener.edu and many other Internet archives.

It was the first comprehensive book on the Internet available. (Despite the "traditional" postings in news.announce.newusers originated by ex-Net.god Gene Spafford <spaf@cs.purdue.edu> of Purdue University and the news.answers archive maintained by Net.demi-god Jonathan I. Kamens <jik@security.ov.com> of MIT).

Situation has changed dramatically, since. More and more books get into the stores, and hopefully facilitate the life of "newbies" on the Net. Just to mention some IMHO excellent examples:

Krol, E. (1992) The Whole Internet: Catalog & User's Guide. O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., Sebastopol, CA. 376 pages.

LaQuey, T. and Ryer, J.C. (1992) The Internet Companion: A Beginner's Guide to Global Networking. Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., Reading, MA. 208 pages.

Gilster, P. (1993) The Internet Navigator: The Essential Guide to Network exploration for the Individual Dial-Up User. Wiley & Sons, New York, NY. 470 pages.

Hahn, H. (1993) The Internet Complete Reference Osborne McGraw-Hill. 800 pages.

But, "the Net" in its present form would have never been evolved without the hundreds of un-paid voluntary efforts (de facto Internet still is run on voluntary basis), so here are my two cents: The output of several night-shift editing sessions.

"The Big Dummy's Guide to the Internet is now available at your local laser printer..."

See ya on the Net!

p.s.: Although this guide is almost complete, and I really, really, honestly, don't have the time to go over it once again, feel free to report "bugs", or any inconsistencies you find. Drop me "more quotes," further additions, requests for moral support, or "whatever-you-want"... Just an e-mail away.

p.p.s.: I'd like to say a BIG "thank you" to Shari Steele, for her immediate excitement on this project. Adam Gaffin, who generously accepted my changes to his initial ASCII version. Howard Rheingold, who let me include his article, now serving as superb afterword of long-year first hand experience in cyberspace (and yes, I mentioned your new book, Howard ;-)). And, last not least, thanks to Bruce Sterling, who also "gave away" an article for free.

Again, Bernd Raichle <raichle@informatik.uni-stuttgart.de> courtesy of the University of Stuttgart, provided TeXpertize, when TeXpertize was badly needed (see file `specials.texi' for your enlightenment). BTW: Over the past 2 years, we've been doing some such projects, although we haven't met F2F, yet. This is one of the effects of the Net. (It thus should be termed "Net.effect".)

Additional thanks to Brendan Kehoe <brendan@zen.org> for the Texinfo release of Zen, from which I borrowed this and that. FYI: Brendan works on the 3rd editition of his book, and might be able to release the 2nd to the Net, depending on Prentice-Hall's legal attorneys. So keep your fingers crossed.

September 27, 1993

Some more nights have passed, and "GNU Info" format is fully supported, now. You can use either Emacs in INFO mode, or just GNU's info browser (also available as xinfo for the X window system): type `info -f bdgtti-2.2.info' and read "Dummy's" online in hypertextual fashion.

But since edition 1.01, "Dummy's" not only features an "Info" version. It also comes with HTML support, i.e. the HyperText Markup Language format, that is used by the World-Wide Web project (see section Gophers for some more ideas on this). The bdgtti-2.2*.html files can thus be browsed using the WWW tools: from within xmosaic, e.g. load `bdgtti-2.2_toc.html', and there you go!

Finally, some more folks have helped along the way.

Many thanks to Lionel Cons <cons@dxcern.cern.ch> courtesy of CERN, who immediately updated his `texi2html' to make it work for this project. (Note that you need Larry Wall's perl to run this program.)

Ingo Dreß ler <id@germany.eu.net> courtesy of EUnet Deutschland, reserved a place on ftp.germany.eu.net to distribute the European A4 paper edition of this guide. See under `/pub/ books/big-dummys-guide' using traditional FTP, or point the Web to: `ftp://ftp.germany. eu.net/pub/books/big-dummys-guide'. This will be the default server for the European editions.

"The Big Dummy's Guide to the Internet is now available in a variety of easily convertible formats, and at your local laser printer..."

December 17, 1993

Welcome to the Christmas issue of one of the most read books on the Internet! This time, we only fix the bugs that have been reported from most the folks listed below.

From this edition on, the standard A4, and US letter size versions are merged into one directory. Moreoever, has the EFF a new online activist, named Stanton McCandlish <mech@eff.org> who really seems to take care about this project, and has properly set up the EFF's FTP site. So, the "EFF is out of pace" messages from former postings entitled FAQ: Big Dummy's Guide, Life and Everything..., (that also serves as the README file to the Texinfo release), have become obsolete.

A major rework of this guide, including an extensive overhaul of the World-Wide Web chapter, and the HTML version is planned and scheduled for "mid-of-next-year-or-so". I thus recommend not to hold your breath. You shouldn't expect Texinfo edition 1.04 to come out prior to July '94.

Thanks to all of you, who sent bug fixes, made suggestions, or just dropped a Thanks for all the Fish! message.

January 1, 1994

Never say never, folks. Adam Gaffin, released version 1.4 of his ASCII version on December 20th, and I just couldn't resist to get the Texinfo edition back into the game, and move it from 1.03 to 1.4. So here it is. Anyway, the statement from above still holds true, it just needs a little bit of "adjustment."

"I thus recommend not to hold your breath. You shouldn't expect Texinfo edition 1.5 to come out prior to July '94."

February 2, 1994

I know, I know, and I don't have any excuses this time. Here's edition 2.2. Be happy with it!

"However, I still recommend not to hold your breath. You shouldn't expect Texinfo edition 7.0 to come out prior to July 2004. (So God will... ;-)"

In the order the contributors appeared in my mailbox: Shari Steele, Howard Rheingold, Bernd Raichle, Adam Gaffin, Brendan Kehoe, Bruce Sterling, Jonathan I. Kamens, Gene Spafford, Greg Chartrand, Brad Templeton, Olivier M. J. Crepin-Leblond, Ingo Dressler, David Sternlight, Otto Lang, Christopher K. Davis, Iain O'Cain, Lionel Cons, David J. Bianco, Achim Voermanek, Noel Hunter, Martin Schweikert, R. Stewart Ellis, Mark Sanderson, Bo Frese Rasmussen, Chris Varner, Timo Harmo, Rik Harris, James Grinter, Oscar Nierstrasz, Jeremy Payne, David Trueman, Michael P. Urban, Mark Woodward, Iain Lea, David E. Fox, Peter Smulders, Gert C. Van Rooyen, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Robin Evans, Tim Berners-Lee, Helen Trillian Rose Davis, Jon L. Spear, Alan Legatt, Paul Brown, Larry W. Virden, Ted Shapin, Roman Schwartz, TAKADA Toshihiro, Fred Schimmel, Antony Cooper, Lennat Tower, jr., Jon Bell, John Campbell, Ed Moore, Axel Belinfante, Arthur Secret, Jason Schmit, Uri S. Naishtut, Chris Ruprecht, Dan Brown, Keith Bostic, Clemens Schrimpe, Reinhold Tokar, Jeff Dingbaum, Jim Meyering, Otmar Lendl, Warwick Kau-Choon Chai, Pieter Immelman, Joseph Taylor Potts, Reiner Hoenig, Steve Cisler, James Rice, Stephen C. Trier, James E. Burns, Rodrigo Vanegas, Steve VanDevender, Reinier de Vos, Gerald Malitz, David Mason, Volker Kunert, David Beasley, Anthony Rajakumar, Aniekan Akpaffiong, A. Solomon Eaglstein, Jan Adlington, Elaine Jackson, John Sheckler, Larry W. Virden, David Beasley, Dave Rosselle, Cristine Hollinshead, Wolfhang Banzaf, Stoffel Erasmus, Stanton McCandlish, Robert E. Maas, Susanne Spitzer, Bryan D. Boyle, Paul F. Mende, Michael A. Patton, Joseph E. Sacco, Steinar Kjaernsrod, Luis Ochoa Giraldo, Thomas Gellekum, Moritz D. Klingholz, Benedikt Homann, Holger Hoffstaette, Maray Tamas, Forrest Cook, Shmuel Browns, Roland H. Pesch, Richard Stallman, Dawn Cooley, Rob Kabacoff, Andreas Gehmeyr, John O'Hare, George D. Greenwade, Tony Sprinzl, Sean Lally, Roger Lighty.

Special thanks to Naomi Schulman, my "virtual granny" at Stanford, and to my virtual little sisters: Monika, Oggi, Bettina, Gabi, Nora, Claudia, Christiane, Heidi, Marietta, Martina, Angela, Astrid, Kirsten, Ilke, Kerstin, Renate, Rosie, Jenna, Heike, Nicole, Cornelia, Susanne, Davika, and last not least Ute, one of the best things that ever happened to me.

Enjoy the trip!

Jörg Heitkötter
Systems Analysis Research Group, LSXI
Department of Computer Science
University of Dortmund, Germany
26 February 1994

"It's kind of fun to do the impossible."
--- Walt Disney

"If I have seen farther than others,
it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants."
--- Sir Isaac Newton

"A work of art is never finished, only abandoned."
--- Anonymous

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