A Brief History...

A Brief History of EngSoc

The idea to for the CSES to run a linux machine had been around for quite a long time. The idea first came to Alex deVries while working for the Office of the Dean of Engineering in the summer of 1993. At that time, he was looking for ways to put the CSES exam library in an electronic format. At that point, the WWW was just beginning, so the chosen method was to be a gopher site. Alas, there was too much else to do (like creating what is now the TAZ Novell NetWare server), and this project was put aside.

In the summer of 1994, Vanier Kethireddy was starting work on what was the Aurora project. The idea was this: to create a Linux machine to enable users to learn a little bit more about Unix. That same summer, plans were announced to offer CHAT accounts to every undergraduate student. At the time, the plans were to put what is now the CHAT menus on top of a unix shell, so that users could access the shell if they needed to. By the time that deVries heard that the unix shell access had been scrapped, there was not enough time to enlarge Aurora to accomodate all the engineering students and give them shell access.

In early March of 1995, because of the massive number of complaints the CHAT system was generating, deVries proposed on various Carleton newsgroups the creation of a Linux system that would have a very specific mandate: to properly represent the CSES electronically, and to have the goal of eventually offering a UNIX account to every engineering student. The response was overwhelming, and there were soon more than 20 volunteers helping us with this project.

On June 20th, the results of an elected Board of Governors were presented. The first BOG consisted of James Carriere, James Chow, Alex deVries and Joshua Lamorie.

In late June, the Engsoc project received a donation from the Faculty of Engineering. The 16MB SIMM donated, which was quite large at the time, was to be used to launch a second machine, auk.carleton.ca. Also, discussion with the Library had begun with respect to a possible donation of their Pyramid MIS machines.

In September of 1995, EngSoc bought a Pentium 90 with 48MB of memory and a 3GB disk. This machine was called Lager. It was funded completely by CUESEF donations.

By December of 1995, EngSoc had 500 users.

There is an early picture of the EngSoc office here.

This document was originally written by Alex deVries and modified by Matt McParland.