Au revoir Minitel, a system I never knew

I have never used Minitel. I have never seen one in person. However, as a student learning French in the 1990s, I was introduced to the existence of the little machine that people in France had in their homes. It was an one-stop connection to information. It could tell you movie listings. It was a phone book without the book. This may not seem so impressive now. But back then, the idea that a whole country was connected by a home electronic was quite fascinating and very modern. It seemed to be a closer step to the video phone from “The Jetsons.” Now that the internet is available to the masses, the Minitel is no longer necessary. However, it will always have a place in computer history as the precursor to the internet.

Sources:
“France Bids Adieu to Minitel, Its Internet Forerunner” [time.com]
“Europe and the First Mass-Market ‘Webs'” [Computer History Museum]

2 thoughts on “Au revoir Minitel, a system I never knew

  1. Typo in your title, can you find it? ;)
    For the Minitel, don’t worry, you’re not missing out on anything, haha, I imagine there’s got to be one on display at the Computing Museum in Palo Alto though, as it was really a pre-cursor to the internet, the idea at least, kinda sad it did not get more traction.

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