Intranet.org is the legacy of Iain O'Cain. The domain was purchased and maintained by him until his death in 2004.
The online community he fostered and nurtured lives on.
Iain was a technologist at heart. He was fascinated by technology in part for its own sake, but more importantly for what he believed it could do for people. He was long fascinated with MUDs as a place for creativity and socializing, as well as networking games such as NetTrek. He was active with the pioneering public access Unix dialup community M-Net, and in 1991 participated in forming a non-profit group to run M-Net that eventually merged with Arbornet (the merger was largely due to Iain's involvement in both systems).
While working on contract at Ford in Dearborn, MI, he proposed using a new technology called the World Wide Web in 1994, which he had to fight against several other proposals for sharing documents to get it adopted. He won an award for getting the WWW adopted in Ford.
Since Iain was a huge fan of online communities, he was interested
starting one. Together with Chris and Jennie, they decided on the
intranet.org domain name, which was registered on February 28,
1995. For hardware, Iain and Chris went in together to purchase a
double-height hard disk drive for $1,000, plus the rest of a
machine. The system included an email server, pine and elm for
the "party" real-time chat program popularized on M-Net, trn for usenet
news, and of course the Apache web server. They gave out accounts
to friends, most of whom would dial their ISP on a 28.8K or 56K modem
log into intranet. Many of them still rely on intranet as their
primary email address and/or web site.
Iain had many ideas of possibilities for services to include on intranet. He was interested in running a conferencing / message board system, similar to PicoSpan or Yapp. He was also interested in providing a web mail client (an effort which has been attempted and abandoned a couple of times). As time went on, he became more interested in virtualization, and hoped to be able to provide virtual machines to friends that wanted to have a machine on the internet. Unfortunately, the technology was not ready at the time to make it happen reliably. Many of the desires he had for intranet were later commercialized to great success by Google (gmail), VMWare (virtualization), and LiveJournal (journals / conferencing).
Some photos of Iain. If you have photos you'd like to share, please send an email to dulcie AT intranet.org.
Help support Intranet.org by donating.
We've set up a Paypal account to help pay for the associated costs of running Intranet.org. Please use this donation button: