Private mission for hk.net
Hong Kong's oldest Internet server served its last Web page on Friday.
When it was switched on nearly a decade ago, the hk.net server was Hong Kong's sole public connection to the Internet.
The server belonged to the SAR's first Internet service provider, Hong Kong Internet and Gateway Services.
At that time, the Internet had fewer than 20 million users and connected just 45 countries. Until then, the closest that Hong Kong's several hundred online users came to the Web was the local bulletin board system, which was largely made up of home enthusiasts with two or three phone lines plugged into their home computers.
Today there are an estimated 580 million users online, with more than 40 million in China.
In an e-mail to customers last week, CPC-Net, which now owns the hk.net server, said Unix mail readers on the server had been disabled. 'Telnet, FTP [file transfer protocol], home directory and Web pages services will be discontinued after August 30, 2002. You are advised to download the files stored at the server before that day.'
Support manager Eddy Ling said the server would stay in operation, but only for private use.
Programmer Enzo Michelangeli, who built the first hk.net Web page, said he would be sad to see it go.
HKdotCom head Maren Leizaola said he would ask CPC-Net to recognise the server's historical role.
'I am contacting CPC-Net to ask them to see if they will reconsider it.
'I really think this machine should not have its access cut. I think it is a historical box and still has a lot of interesting old stuff dating back to 1993-94,' he said.