1990? Talkers were about a long time before that.
Started conversation Mar 12, 2004
The history of British network talkers goes back at least to 1987 and probably a few years before that.
On JANET (Joint Academic NETwork) in the mid 80's there were a number of bulletin board systems floating around. Mostly ephemeral. Most of these used the guest logins on university computers which were quite common at that time. Some of these used the local chat software for communication between users.
By 1986/87 more sophisticated systems started to be written, such as Honeyboard at Aberystwyth. The talker section of this system transmuted into AberMUD eventually. At UCL Rob Newson, Alec Muffett and myself had the idea of a sort of themed MUD with a combined bulletin board held within a room in the Wombles den. When this got written (mostly by Rob with contributions from various others) it transmuted into a bulletin board with attached multi-channel talker. This was called Bullet.
By mid-'88 these talkers had blossomed with the addition of Monochrome at City University, UNaXcess at Bradford, Olajier at Imperial College London, Milliways at Swansea and ULCERS at Leeds.
More information can be found in an article I wrote here: http://www.earth.ox.ac.uk/~steve/bullet.html
The article has links to various other information though due to its age some of them will have broken by now.
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