He Network N. 1. Historicaslly, The Union Of All The Major Noncommercial

HomeFortune CookiesJargon File

the network n.

1. Historicaslly, the union of all the major
noncommercial, academic, and hacker-oriented networks, such as
Internet, the pre-1990 ARPANET, NSFnet, BITNET, and the
virtual UUCP and Usenet `networks', plus the corporate
in-house networks and commercial time-sharing services (such as
CompuServe, GEnie and AOL) that gateway to them. A site is
generally considered `on the network' if it can be reached
through some combination of Internet-style (@-sign) and UUCP
(bang-path) addresses. See Internet, bang path,
Internet address, network address. 2. Follo
mass-culture discovery of the Internet in 1994 and subsequent
proliferation of cheap TCP/IP connections, "the network" is
increasingly synonymous with the Internet itself (as it was before
the second wave of wide-area computer networking began around 1980).
3. A fictional conspiracy of libertarian hacker-subversives and
anti-authoritarian monkeywrenchers described in Robert Anton
Wilson's novel "Schrödinger's Cat", to which many hackers
have subsequently decided they belong (this is an example of ha ha only serious

In sense 1, `the network' is often abbreviated to `the net'. "Are
you on the net?" is a frequent question when hackers first meet
face to face, and "See you on the net!" is a frequent goodbye.