A History of Virtual Access

VA is not a new product: it's roots go back to the late 1980's and a DOS application called Query. The first Windows product shipped with Windows 3 as a 16 bit application; the first 32 bit product was released about a month after Windows 95. Virtual Access is now on its fifth full release and is generally deemed a stable product.

Originally written as an off-line reader for the UK's CIX implementation of the University of Guelph's CoSy conferencing system [now released as another Sourceforge Project - keyword = cosy], Query was essentially not much more than a bunch of scripts to run on top of a communications program such as Telix. Almost from the very begining the code supported more than one local user, and very rapidly grew from its single service support for CIX in the UK to support several other closed systems - including Caucus, Compuserve, Delphi and BIX. By the early 90's it was also supporting NNTP [internet newsgroups] and standard internet POP3 email services. During its early life as a windows product it was marketed as WigWam [single user] or PowWow [multi-user]: in 1995 the two products were merged and rebranded under the new name of Virtual Access.

Until the begining of April 2002 the intellectual property rights in and trademark of the product were owned by Atlantic Coast Plc, and marketed under their Brown Bag software label. Atlantic Coast agreed to release the product and its trademark as open source under a modified BSD licence. The work of managing the release process is being handled by Imagineering Technologies Ltd with the able co-operation of a volunteer team of developers and writers, many of whom contributed to or participated in the development of VA during its commercial lifetime.

Once the release process is complete The Foundation will take on the entire responsibility for managing the Open Source development: all copyrights and trademarks relating to Virtual Access are vested in The Foundation.

For those who may still be interested in the old version of Virtual Access, it is still available from the downloads page.