About TalkerSource.com

This site’s goal is to maintain an archive of as many talker and related codebases as we can find, to preserve a piece of the Internet’s first purely social ecosystems, before instant messaging and social media took over. While we can archive the source code, we cannot recover the friendships that were lost as servers went offline, one by one.

My name is William (online and IRL), and I joined the talker scene late in its life, around 1997. I was on my way to becoming a decent spod, and I gained wiz privileges on a few sites before I decided to try my hand at writing talker code as a means to self-learn the C programming language. I started with a copy of NUTS 3.3.3 and eventually released several minor versions of TalkerOS. I was honored it found a spot on Neil’s talker family tree while he still maintained it and posted to the alt.talkers.programming Usenet group, but I was a relatively minor player compared to most others mentioned on that tree. I still relied on the generosity of others for hosting the TalkerOS code, website, and my own little-used talker; eventually these went away, like many others, in the early to mid 2000s. Though I was saddened, my contribution was relatively small and still lived on somewhere on the Internet – I thought. Then, sometime in 2009, I realized that I had lost my backup copies of TalkerOS.

For purely nostalgic reasons, I searched the Internet for a copy, expecting to find source code mirrors on talker-related sites. I found a copy, but only the latest version, and in the process of searching I discovered that talker.com was shutting down. This was a big deal; talkers had always been a niche, and in decline as newer Internet communication formats became popular, but this news was a wake-up call. I searched for other codebases; there were signs, too, that the “usual places” to get talker code were rotting, slowly breaking over time. The Web page might be online, but the the source code – often on a separate FTP server – was no longer available.

Beyond the previous two paragraphs describing the origin of this site, TalkerSource.com is not about any one person or codebase. This archive is the result of countless Google searches for different keywords, code names, author handles (and their IRL names); recursive retrieval of entire FTP directories; snapshots of content found in the Internet Archive; and, thankfully, a few contributions from previous spods that stumbled upon the site.

Much of the content hosted and curated by this archive is not the original work of the archive’s maintainer(s). Credit is given and sources are referenced and linked, on a best effort basis, when the archive borrows or rephrases stories, histories, and descriptions found within the source code or from other Web sites. It is hoped that the source code and Web site authors will see the value of this archive as a centralized location, much like a museum, for information on the topic of talkers. It has not been possible to seek advance and express permission in all cases; many e-mail addresses are broken or are not actively checked by their owners. Some code is released with clear license terms for distribution and some not so much. Please contact the archive maintainers if you hold the legitimate rights to one or more works in the archive and have concerns or objections regarding their inclusion here.