> low cost technology
KnoopPunt: Low Cost Technology
Learning Internet without Internet
Het grote probleem was dat we alle dagen het net opnieuw moesten uitvinden. Gelukkig had ik
veel internatioanale contacten (Antenna, Hactic en APS in Nederland, Greennet in Engeland)
waar ik veel van geleerd heb, maar het was elke dag opnieuw een ander probleem
oplossen en hun advies was steevast RTFM (Read The Fucking Manual). I did.
We asembleerden niet alleen onze computers zelf, maar ook systeemsoftware moesten we zelf
gaan schrijven, want toen was Bill Gates nog lang niet geïnteresseerd in Internet,
dat ging toch niks worden volgens deze grote profeet.
Voor onze modems moesten we zelf de drivers schrijven. Ik herinner me nog de
befaamde fossil driver waarvan je hier een stuk de
source ziet in C++.
We werkten op verschillende platformen: FreeBSD,
Linux, PC en Mac, en waren fervente voorstanders van de
OpenSource beweging en werkten mee aan
We assembled our computers ourselves so we could insert high quality parts, like
SCSSI hard drives in cheap boxes. We didn't need the last high speed processors that could
manage high definition screens. We used black and white screens or no screen at all for
our servers. We plugged in a screen when needed or managed our servers over the Net with
SSH. We had to.
Our X-router stood in our small office in Brussels, but
we worked most of the time in Ghent. And we used unix, not Linux but FreeBSD, a less known
unix branche, but super stable that even hackers had less knowledge of. I think we
were the only system that never has been hacked... though when we hosted the website of
'Herri Batasuna' a bunch of Spanish nationalists had organised a mail attack against our mailserver.
They only succeeded to paralyse the backup mailserver of our provider, not our's.
There were other attacks. The pioneers at the time was a quite diverse bunch of event organisers, civil engineers and other loose ends. Some cowboys tried to hack their competitors. But they never succeeded to hack KnoopPunt. It happened that a system administrator changed the main passwords of the servers and took over the whole network or claimed a ransom. Some hosted soft-porno sites. They smelled big money. Porno is still responsible for a lot of traffic on the Internet. The business models of the internet, originated in the academic world and the hackers environment were non-existent. Our ethical code was too high to solve this problem. The internet pioneers came under attack at the moment the major industry and the US-government started to intermeddle in 1994. In a period where monitarianism governs, speculation takes over, causing a bubble. The dot-com bubble started to undermine our activities that ended in 2000. The dot-com bubble bursted at the end. Its burst lasted from March 11, 2000, to October 9, 2002. It was a serious one.
In the small 'milieu' of system engeneers
I'm still called a unix guru. Well I'm not, and i never was.
It sounds a bit silly if you know I never wanted to study informatics
I surely never wanted to be a unix guru. I just studied informatics
to escape from hard labour in the steel factory Sidmar.
Meer over de NGO's waar we voor werkten