Squidge.org started as a place for mailing lists in 1994, and was one of the very first fandom webhosts on the Internet. While the World Wide Web was in its infancy, Squidge.org was there to offer homes for people in fandom. And it has continued that mission in the years – DECADES – since!
The History of Squidge.ORG
Squidge.ORG came about in 1994, when the Internet was still not quite caught on for most folks. A group of folks, spun off of the main X-Files mailing list because of their fetish for actor David Duchovny, went in search of a home of their own. After trying a couple of mailing list hosts, the list (known as The Duchovniks) was left in the hands of Walter Hopgood, one of the only male Duchovniks at the time.
Being a bit of a geek, Walter went out and secured a domain name that “fit” the group well, squidge.org. The first machine was an old laptop computer running OS/2 and a free list-server piece of software. Other lists were requested, and Squidge.ORG outgrew it’s initial computer. In Spring, 1995, Squidge.ORG became an early adopter of Linux, running the Slackware version of the product, over a dialup line. The server was connected up partially, the dialup connection going up and down many times during the day, to process and route email.
The success of Squidge.ORG was showing, and it’s popularity grew wildly. Soon, it was running ten mailing lists, and upgraded the connection to a full-time dialup connection in the Fall of 1995. The system was now running an updated version of Slackware, with the SmartList add on to ProcMail as it’s mailing list management software piece.
As the popularity of the Internet grew, so did Squidge.ORG. With the implementation of DSL in it’s “backyard”, Walter upgraded Squidge.ORG’s connection to a true, full time digital connection in early 1996. And with a full digital connection, came Squidge.ORG’s foray into website and email hosting. Many slash sites needed a home, thanks to the TOS’ing (Terms Of Service) that many large website hosting providers decided to implement. The number of hosting clients Squidge.ORG helped grew greatly.
With the large number of mailing lists and websites being hosted, Squidge.ORG went through some more growing. With the popularity of web interfaces, Squidge.ORG abandoned open-source software for its mailing lists, and purchased a software package called Lyris. Though adequate, it required more resources than normal software systems. When a free alternative that was open-source became available in 2000 (Sympa), Squidge.ORG upgraded to it, along with an integrated “one server” approach for webhosting and mailing list software.
As of this writing, Squidge.org exists in multiple ways. Currently everything is hosted in a personal datacenter on a symmetrical gigabit Fiber Internet connection. The servers and services are:
- Squidge.org – The primary home for webhosting, email account and mailing list hosting, and IRC server hosting
- Squidge Images – Free image hosting from Squidge.org
- SquidgeWorld Archive – The former home of Peja’s Wonderful World of Makebelieve, and soon to be the host for other abandoned archives. SquidgeWorld Archive (SqWA) is a clone of The OTW’s software that runs AO3.
- Various other servers – Multiple servers that run behind the scenes that are responsible for things like database servers, etc.
Squidge.ORG In the Future
As of April 2023, Squidge.org has received IRS 501c3 non-profit status from the Internal Revenue Service. This means that Squidge.org is officially a non-profit, and will soon be able to take donations.
Why put this here? Because now that Squidge.org is a non-profit, we also have a Board. This means Squidge.org is no longer “just one person.” Squidge.org is a group of people in fandom that are here for fandom. And if something happens to one of us, Squidge.org will continue to remain.