The MIT Student Information Processing Board (SIPB) maintains its own version of the Linux operating system. I personally happen to like Linux. The computer that this pages is on is donut.mit.edu, my personal computer at home. donut runs Linux.
Many MIT students apparently also run Linux. Those that need help turn to SIPB, which maintains a linux-help mailing list. I read linux-help, though I generally do not actively respond. In listening to the problems that people have, I have found several disturbing things about the SIPB attitude towards Linux:
mit::101:be present in /etc/group, but not be the last line in this file. Another strange bug prevents anyone with a local account from logging in. I admit that I haven't researched this thoroughly; it may be related to groups (again, since I'm not a member of group mit) or perhaps is a deeper bug. I responded to one person's description of the initial problems with a longer list of related symptoms; nobody from SIPB hinted at being able or willing to fix the actual bug.
From warlord@ATHENA.MIT.EDU Tue Oct 15 23:06:09 1996 Date: Tue, 15 Oct 1996 12:18:07 EDT From: Derek Atkins <warlord@ATHENA.MIT.EDU> To: David Z Maze <email@example.com> Cc: linux-help@MIT.EDU Subject: Re: Xlogin: gee, thanks! > Can these problems be fixed? Is a functional non-RedHat Athena system > possible? I dont know how old your system is. I dont know how old the Linux-Athena software you are running is, either. (1) Right now, Redhat-Athena is the only supported system. That doesn't mean you couldnt load the Athena software on something else; it only means that it isn't supported and hasn't been tested, and bug reports may fall on deaf ears. (2) Just remember that Slackware is no longer supported, and the Slackware installation server has been removed. There has been some interest in supporting Debian Linux in addition to Redhat, but there has been no progress in that direction. -derek
The footnotes (mine) are as follows:
(1) The software I'm running was installed out of the sipb-athena locker on Athena. What this means is that it is the source code the SIPB people use (so I am led to believe) to build their Athena stuff.
(2) So they don't really care whether the stuff they keep online is right or not; it's just there. Whatever problems I have with it are therefor my fault.
Admittedly, I'm not using the Official Supported Version of Linux for Athena Systems. I don't want to; I really want to run David's Personal Linux. (Once upon a time, I dreamed of building a system entirely from source code.) But SIPB's "we'll give you this stuff, but we don't care whether or not it actually works" attitude bothers me more than anything else I've heard about SIPB.
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