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Before the mid 90s and the invention of the Internet and the World Wide Web, if you were British and living or travelling abroad, it was very difficult to find out what was happening in your home country. If you were lucky then you might buy an English newspaper and read news that was two or three days old.

By the early 1980s, Digital Equipment Corporation (aka DEC or simply Digital) had created a worldwide network of minicomputers for its employees. DEC employed many, very innovative software engineers. Some relocated from England to New England in the north east of the USA and missed news of home.

One such engineer, Richard De Morgan, started sending UK news to his colleagues in the USA and called it the VOGON News Service or VNS. This became a global news service, circulated within DEC and often forwarded outside of DEC. It ran for some fourteen years between 1981 and around 1995.

At its peak in 1991-1992, VNS had over 8,000 direct email subscribers within Digital, over 4,000 readers using DEC VTX and an unknown number outside of Digital.

The menu choices above allow you to read a history of VNS and to read about the innovative software technology that enabled it to work.

The sidebar on the right shows a selection of issues. Note that VNS was produced in the days of text-only terminals. This selection uses a mixture of images and PDFs to give the flavour of VNS and to show some of the content of selected issues.

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