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
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.