The Cassandra Project – History
David Johnson started the “Foxboro News & Comments” email that evolved into The Cassandra Project and the mailing list Foxboro@Freelists.org sometime in late 1994 at Globe Elastic Co. in Tuscaloosa Ala. It was started primarily as an experiment to see if the Foxboro user community was, in fact, a community. The idea was to see if it was possible to generate something like the WELL, which David was reading about. David would either makeup I/A questions as though they were submitted, viciously bash Foxboro, or write parodies of the email itself. Among the more famous mailings were the one his “secretary” wrote and the one that incorporated Beatles lyrics into each question and answer.
Initially, people on the list were almost exclusively in the Southeastern I/A Users Group because these were the people that David met or that the local Foxboro reps, Wayne Flippo and Bruce Venable, met on their travels. In the early days, there might not be enough (or any) questions to get answered in a week. In a desperate attempt to maintain continuity, Once the list hit the Gulf Coast Users Group (many thanks to Bo Stear and Diane Harris), the subscriptions poured in. This influx added Alex Johnson (Foxboro) and Winston Jenks (Cape Software) to the list, who both brought a tremendous amount of knowledge for David to call upon and added immense value to the list.
Sometime in early 1996, David had to purchase an actual bulk email program to keep from being blacklisted by his ISP. And he knew he had arrived when he would get emails from around the world wanting to know where the email was, if it was a day late, or a week was missed. After a few years of this — “you try coming up with something interesting to say every week for a few years!” David said with mock exasperation —
He tried to set up an email list on his own (this was to be the very obscure failure, firstname.lastname@example.org). Still, Warren Michelsen, an I/A user who also operated a hosting web service in Page, Arizona, marvelously stepped in and set up a list server in 1997 — foxboro@lists.MDCCLXXVI.com — which was to become email@example.com in May 1999. For a long while, both the “Foxboro News & Comments” email and the mailing list foxboro@lists.MDCCLXXVI.com (and firstname.lastname@example.org later) co-existed. Having invested a lot of time and effort to get the list going, David was worried that it would lose its personality and become just another dry technical message board.
In 1999 David went to work for Premier System Integrators and, as a result of this, did less and less with the emails as the listserv picked up more and more of the traffic. Finally, “Foxboro News & Comment” was dropped altogether in 2001, and the listserv continues today.
In early 2000, in a famous call to arms, while invoking Richard Stallman’s name and the Free Software Foundation, David challenged the small I/A community to start a project to share our know-how in the form of scripts and utilities we all had in our toolkits to manage our respective I/A systems. The fledgling collaboration was grandly tagged with the name The Cassandra Project. Winston Jenks suggested the title after the mythical Cassandra of Greek mythology. Cassandra had the gift of prophecy, but for spurning Apollo’s love, she was cursed so that no one would believe her. She was right, you know, but nobody would listen—like our Unix campaign.
In February 2000, Duc Do shelled out 30 bucks to register the domain thecassandraproject.org. Warren Michelsen has been hosting the listserv-style mailing list foxboro@MDCCLXXVI.com on his webserver since 1997, so we talked him into hosting the Web site thecassandraproject.org. At about the same time, due to the imminent retirement from his I/A day job, Warren yielded the list admin baton to Duc Do.
There were several shortcomings with the software Warren used for list management (LetterRip), most notably the inability to filter messages based on some headers, which forced us to search for possible upgrades. Just as luck would have it, freelists.org has been in operation since mid-2000, and their charter (free mailing lists for technology-related discussions) happens to fit our purpose, so Duc, as list admin, signed up for a list.
In September 2001, the Foxboro list was moved to freelists.org to become email@example.com.
In June 2004, the Web site thecassandraproject.org was moved from Warren’s server to a Linux box sitting outside Premier System Integrators, Inc. network and used its internet connection. Jeremy Milum is the de facto sysadmin for the Linux box. And we added this nifty new thing called a Wiki.
Current Admin dosn’t know much about this time (Please Fill me in)
The mantle of System admin was handed over to one of David’s Subordinates. Still, in college, the Coop did his best to rebuild the website from the ground up. He was using the fantastic tool known as the Wayback Machine to recover some missing content. But some Scripts still eluded him.
Now a full-time employee of EOSYS the Site administrator had a dilemma on his hands. The Software firm that developed a few mandatory components and extensions of the site went out of business. But not first locking out their editor on their way out. After many days and nights, the New Cassandra Project is reborn. The new initiative for the project is Data preservation. We are striving to find lost scripts, and tools and to expand our current catalog.