After reading some of the articles in these newsgroups, I realized that while I have been busy with my mods and fixes, other enterprising hackers have been busy as well, and now fountains, spiders, spiderwebs, and ghod knows how many other things are in use at some sites.

The author of the program seems not to be on the net anymore, at least, there hasn't been any detectable sign of him for at least 2 years. Therefore....

  PROPOSED:       That we (net.hackers) consolidate all our mods to
                  Hack, and....

                  That we release a 1.0.4 version of the game.

-- Mike Stephenson

And so nethack truely begins.

Also a message in that thread mentioned that one of the original authors of hack (Jay Fenlason) was probably not working on it because he was employed by the GNU project. Interesting that GNU could have indirectly caused the formation of the nethack dev team.