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BITNET-NJE has had a long and productive life, providing many years of networking services to higher education and research and helping prove the value of networking to higher education. Our debt is great to the volunteers whose vision started it, and whose contributions and dedication have nurtured it. Their efforts are an example and inspiration for future collaborative initiatives in higher education.

The Internet has now grown, with the support of many of the same volunteers who made BITNET successful. It encompasses most of the BITNET services that CREN members have prized, and its connectivity far exceeds that of BITNET. The resources required to continue supporting BITNET can now be put to better use than the continuation of a second network whose work is completed.

CREN therefore recommends that its members terminate their dependence on BITNET-NJE by December 31, 1996 (with the possibility for continuation beyond then if needed). The following memo discusses:

Support of NJE Infrastructure Through Dec. 31, 1996

CREN and TERENA (the successor to EARN, which has taken over responsibility for BITNET-NJE support in Europe) have agreed to support the BITNET-NJE infrastructure through December 31, 1996, collecting the necessary data and distributing BITEARN NODES and the corresponding Routing Tables.

TERENA and the GUMNCC management (responsible, through contract with TERENA, for the generation, coordination and distribution of the NJE infrastructure tables) are working on a proposal for continuing global support of the NJE infrastructure beyond the end of 1996, as may be necessary to avoid loss of global connectivity. CREN shares this objective and will work with TERENA and the GUMNCC to ensure that global NJE connectivity is wound down in a graceful manner. CREN members desiring continued NJE support after December 31, 1996 should contact CREN by sending e-mail to as soon as possible, to be included in and kept informed of plans to extend service beyond the end of this year.

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The Importance of BITNET-NJE and Those Who've Contributed To It

BITNET-NJE has played an important role in providing many years of increasingly widespread networking services to higher education and research. It has also played a major role in laying the groundwork for the widespread acceptance and use of the Internet by research, education, and the rest of society for an even broader array of services. BITNET proved the value of networking to higher education and motivated that community to take a leadership role in establishing NSFnet and the Internet. We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to those whose vision started and nurtured it 15 years ago, and to the many individuals and organizations whose contributions and dedication have helped it grow and become increasingly useful during the intervening years. The volunteer efforts of the individuals and organizations that have sustained and developed it are an example and inspiration for future collaborative initiatives in higher education.

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Carrying NJE Traffic At Least Until the End of June

Because of rapidly declining participation in BITNET-NJE worldwide, CREN recommends that all its members eliminate any remaining dependence on NJE traffic as early as possible during this year. Members are nevertheless urged to continue their NJE connectivity and to pass NJE traffic at least until the end of June, in order to facilitate the orderly migration of other institutions from NJE to the Internet.

CREN members still using BITNET-NJE should obtain the file "LEAVING BITNET" as described in the next paragraph, and should begin now to follow the steps described therein for an orderly termination of their participation. CREN members who are not passing NJE traffic to lots of other BITNET participants are encouraged to submit, during June, if possible, the final changes to their BITEARN NODES entries that are necessary to terminate their participation.

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Some Steps for a Smooth Transition

As the first and most essential step in removing any campus dependence on NJE, the institution should determine if any of its component organizations are not providing Internet access to all of their faculty, staff, and students, and should make immediate arrangements for the provision of Internet access to all individuals throughout the organization. For example, if a mail host computer is not connected to the Internet, it should be provided with Internet connectivity (at least a month, preferably more, before disconnecting it from BITNET-NJE, in order to provide continuity of e-mail services).

List addresses should be converted to use the Internet address of the mail host by adding a "newnode" tag to that computer's information in the BITEARN NODES file as described in the document LEAVING BITNET which is available in plain text from, and in plain text, PostScript, and RTF via anonymous ftp from (as /bitnet/doc/leaving.bitnet,, and ...leaving-bitnet.rtf, respectively).

The BITNIC, and any organizations receiving their BITNET connectivity through a node scheduled for removal from BITNET, should be given as much warning as possible (preferably several months) of the pending termination of any node through which other organizations are connected to BITNET-NJE. That will allow those organizations time to make the necessary transition to the Internet or to seek another BITNET connection. And, of course, any people who will be switched from BITNET to the Internet should be given adequate warning and provided with the necessary software tools and with training in the use of the Internet!

If these steps are taken early, any disruption which might otherwise arise from termination of BITNET services will be minimized for both your organization and those who may be depending on you for their BITNET-NJE connectivity and services.

BITNET-NJE has had a long and productive life and has earned an important niche in the history of networking. Its passing will be a nostalgic moment for many networking pioneers.

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