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About the Civic Network of Milan

The Rete Civica di Milano is a Community Network based in Milan, Italy. It is known by its acronym, "RCM". The network was founded in September 1994 at the Civic Networking Laboratory of the Computer Science Department of the State University of Milan. For an inside look into the RCM, visit the webcam.

The RCM is housed in the university and supported by sponsors and by its members. It is designed to offer a free, effective, and easy-to-use on-line environment to the entire community. This network brings together private citizens, non-profit organizations, local government, and private companies, thus guaranteeing the right of on-line citizenship to all.

To log on to RCM and become a full participant in the community networking experience, you will need to download the FirstClass Client communication software and to become a registered user. You can set the software to connect via modem (+39-0255182133) or via TCP/IP (address port 3004). Almost all the material can also be viewed in your web browser, with read-only access to member conferences for "guests" and read-and-write for registered users, available by clicking on the RCM logo in the Home Page.

It is also possible to register via the FirstClass Client. On connecting for the first time, simply enter a User ID (a fifteen-character string with no constraints, which is accepted if no one else has already used the same one) and a password. Both will be used during any subsequent log in.

The RCM offers registered users the following services:

  • A private mailbox for receiving messages only.
  • Access to conferences managed by the RCM Administrators, where one can find information, ask questions, and discuss matters concerning RCM itself. These also include a subconference to download the FirstClass client and the few free software items distributed by RCM, under the Administrators' responsibility, and an on-line Help subconference.
  • Read privileges for the indices of RCM conferences but not the messages they contain.

In order to read and write in the conferences, one needs to become member of the network, i.e. part of the community, by following a simple three-step procedure which is explained in a message included in the RCM News conference (in Italian):

  • Send a copy of proof of identification (i.e. passport, driver license, etc.) to the DSI Secretary's Office (fax number +39 0254101599).
  • Write a short 'self-portrait' and make it available on-line in order to introduce oneself to the other people on the network (Résumé command in the File->Open menu of the FirstClass client).
  • Send us a message in which you accept the RCM Principles & Etiquette (i.e. our board rules: don't exchange software, don't send advertisements in private users' mailboxes, etc.).

More Information About the RCM

For further information about the RCM and other community networks in Italy and around the globe, here are some papers written by the Civic Networking Lab team that describe the RCM experience.

Discussion in most of the conferences generally takes place in Italian, of course, although there is one conference where most messages are in Milanese dialect. However, messages in English are not only welcomed but encouraged in the Anglofilia conference whose topic is English language and culture.

The English Interface

The English version of the RCM was created in collaboration with a group of students from The Evergreen State College in Olympia Washington.

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