The RPCNET network, entirely designed in Italy, built between 1970 and 1976 and later having moved on to the service phase, had a great success among CNR and University users. However, after the first years of operation the problem of its evolution was posed. RPCNET was in fact implemented on IBM computers, so it excluded the networking of computer centers equipped with hardware not produced by that manufacturer.
To overcome this limitation, in 1982 the CNUCE proposed the launch of the OSIRIDE project (OSI on Heterogeneous Italian Data Network) adopting the OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) architecture to interconnect the Italian CNR and University computing centers. This architecture, designed within the international context of ISO (International Standards Organization) by computer manufacturers, telecommunications operators and the scientific world, was an alternative to Internet architecture.
At that time, the choice of OSI seemed obvious, in line with the decisions that many other European and non-European nations were preparing to make. However, despite the fact that the OSIRIDE software had been successfully tested on the computers of the main manufacturers, the OSIRIDE network was never activated because in the early 1990s it became clear that the Internet would eventually prevail over OSI.
Carlo Giovanni Giuliano