More than two decades, in fact, though most of the earliest stuff was on borrowed accounts–I don’t think I had my own email address until twenty years ago _next_ year.
The funny thing is that there are people I know from my very earliest ventures on the ‘net with whom I still cross paths.
In no particular order:
“Steven Grimm”:http://www.facebook.com/sgrimm, who is now a member of Facebook’s infrastructure team working on memcached (which we use very extensively at Ironic Design) was “very active in the Atari ST community”:http://groups.google.com/groups/profile?enc_user=UASgvBQAAACx55dwHhwEwRiGqT1dtGCz6ByVaTvQhk5i4n6ZEwWJug back when I was first getting on the net.
“Howard Chu”:http://highlandsun.com/hyc/ was, if I remember correctly, responsible for both the largest FTP repository of Atari ST freeware up at terminator.cc.umich.edu (for which I used to know the IP address, because DNS was not reliable in those days), as well as handling the porting of the Gnu C compiler to STOS. This is what I learned to write C in. These days, he is the primary coder on the OpenLDAP server (which we use very extensively at Ironic Design).
“David Parsons (orc)”:http://www.pell.portland.or.us/~orc/ was part of the community when I started reading newsgroups, and worked on the STadel port of the Citadel BBS software to the Atari ST. I ran across a reference to his C reimplementation of the Markdown text-processing language.
Now my current connection to orc is more tenuous than the others, but the idea that these people I have known of for twenty years are still involved in software that I used and depend on on a daily basis…it’s kinda weird.