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Byte Information Exchange

Byte Information eXchange[1] (BIX) was an online service created around 1985 by Byte magazine. It was a text-only Bulletin Board System-style site running the CoSy conferencing software running originally on an Arete multiprocessor system based on Motorola 68000s. When that didn't scale well, it was ported to run on Pyramid. When that became too expensive to run, it was ported to a DEC Alpha server. McGraw-Hill also used the same software internally.

Access was via local dial-in or for additional hourly charges, the Tymnet X.25 network. Monthly rates were initially $13/month for the account and $1/hour for X.25 access. Unlike CompuServe, access at higher speeds was not surcharged. Many of the Byte staff were active on the service. Later, gateways permitted email communication outside the system. BIX was acquired by the Delphi online service in 1992.

In the mid-1990s the Internet became more available to the masses and Usenet, mailing lists, and competing services such as CompuServe and America Online were able to offer flat-rate services, which adversely affected BIX membership levels. In the late-1990s, as the Internet became more mainstream, membership and activity plummeted forcing BIX to cut pricing to $40 per year, with no per hour connection charge by using the Internet for access.

Lower prices and full page ads in Byte magazine were unsuccessful in turning the service around. Consequently, BIX was shut down in 2001. Some members created a new service, based on an open-source version of CoSy, called NLZ[2] (Noise Level Zero)[3] where they continue what remained of the service, with many of the same conferences and topics that were active at the end of Delphi's ownership.

Other CoSy-based conferencing systems of the same era still survive including CIX.

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Source: Wikipedia | The above article is available under the GNU FDL. | Edit this article



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