Asthenosphere Project: History

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A history of the Asthenosphere Project, as written by some anonymous people, back in 2000...

Once upon a time, there were no Linux machines at the University Of Toronto Schools?, and all the students were forced to use computers which had a mysterious virus named Microsoft Windows 95, the very name of which strikes terror into- ... we digress, let's save this story for another time. Our story begins in May of 1999, with a moderately new club called the University of Toronto Schools Programming Club. Now this Programming Club was run by three daring individuals: Gordon Chiu (Ardant), Jenn Tsai (Jaelle?), Karl Knechtel (Zahlman).

Now, these three just happened to be walking through the UTS 313 Lab one day when they discovered a 486 about to be tossed into the garbage. "Wouldn't it be great to have a Linux machine?" thought Ardant. "Yes it would!" said Zahlman. "I thought I thought my question in my head..." said Ardant. "Yeah, you did, but remember, we're telepathic," said Jaelle?. Then three then proceeded to practice their powers of telekinesis and levitated the 486 three feet into the air where it glowed and- wait, now you're telling me that didn't happen?

Anyway. Upon getting a hasty approval from the computer department, Ardant then proceeded to take out his Red Hat Linux version 5.1 CDs and installed Linux on the 486 DX2/66 with 8 megs of RAM. Christened Arnica after the strange smelling herbal salve whose odour was later found lingering in the lower hallway, the stand alone Linux machine worked. But then the Summer holidays arrived, and the three quickly disappeared.

September came. Programming Club was now run by Ardant, Sanjay Patel (spatel), and Sam Chapin (sam). With their acolytes Jonathan Lung (jlung), Jacob Baskin (jacob), Brian Yau (byau), and the ever-present-never-leaving ex-execs, Zahlman and Jaelle (now first year students at the University of Toronto, woohoo!), help was never far away. Unfortunately, Arnica was delegated to keeping the power outlet in the closet warm, and entertaining guests at U of T Day with /usr/games/rain.

Eventually jlung and spatel found /usr/lib/xbill, and Arnica found a new purpose, namely entertaining the pair during their multitudes of spares. And Ardant tried to configure the network connection, but in vain (little did he know the 3c509 card was faulty). So for several months Arnica was delegated to closet duty.

In December of 1999, various people slaved away at fixing the computers in the 313 lab. With the number of computers at 13, we quickly turned our attention away from installing Microsoft Virus 95 and spent our time microwaving AOL CDs. But that soon got boring, so we decided to setup a few more Linux machines. We left a little space on a few computers and installed Linux partitions, which were great for compiling, but not so great for hosting. But we left the school for the Christmas holidays, and forgot about the linux computers totally.

Now, Ardant (who always has the good ideas) said one cold day in January: "You know, it would be really great if we had a Linux server." So we scrounged around for a box on which we could use. We quickly came to the conclusion that breaking into the server room and formatting the NT server would not put us on the best of terms with the computer people. All the eyes (six to be exact) in the room fell upon Arnica.

An hour later, after getting a new network card, Arnica was up and running. After a few rescue disks and a couple "System Halted. All fixed? ;-)". All we needed now was a name. Names were tossed around, including Arnica, lai (Ping Lai!), ardant (unfortunately, the other people didn't think this was such a good idea). So Ardant went up to another machine in the lab and typed "host". The name was asthenosphere.

On January 5th Asthenosphere booted for the first time. Ardant soon found a home for it in the closet, as well as a Cat5 cable long enough to reach the network drop. Asthenosphere is now a server. :) Then on the first day our webpage got 24596 hits, and then Microsoft offered us fourteen million dollars and we told them to- Well, let's save that for another day. Anyway, back to our saga...

We soon got wonderful users like qing, dfreeman, allan, nconway... And the Asthenosphere Project's webpage got a huge facelift care of the Web Admin? group. :)
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Last edited December 5, 2005 11:12 pm (diff)