network, the

n. 1. The union of all the major noncommercial, academic, and hacker-oriented networks, such as Internet, the old ARPANET, NSFnet, BITNET, and the virtual UUCP and USENET `networks', plus the corporate in-house networks and commercial time-sharing services (such as CompuServe) that gateway to them. A site is generally considered `on the network' if it can be reached through some combination of Internet-style (@-sign) and UUCP (bang-path) addresses. See bang path, {Internet address}, network address. 2. A fictional conspiracy of libertarian hacker-subversives and anti-authoritarian monkeywrenchers described in Robert Anton Wilson's novel `Schr"odinger's Cat', to which many hackers have subsequently decided they belong (this is an example of ha ha only serious). In sense 1, `network' is often abbreviated to `net'. "Are you on the net?" is a frequent question when hackers first meet face to face, and "See you on the net!" is a frequent goodbye.