30 Aug 2000 fuzzynerd   » (Apprentice)

One month ago, when I contacted CIS about getting unix on laptops at RPI, my goal was to have some version of unix available and functional for the freshman laptops on laptop-distribution-day. This goal was achieved Sunday, at the largest RPI-ACM event in recent history. We had great membership turnout, and we estimate that between 30 and 50 students came by for installs. We were not able to get an accurate count, due to the level of (controlled) chaos during the event. I was able to get rid of the FreeBSD T- shirts, and many of the CDs. Fliers were handed out, and I think people have an idea who the RPI-ACM is. Pictures from the install-fest can be found here on the RPI-ACM servers. I'm the guy in the black 'foo' shirt.

Only one person came by with a Thinkpad 600e. My customized install for this system failed miserably, but I have reason to believe that the problem was simply an isolated hardware-related incident. Most students were Freshmen, and brought their Thinkpad T20 models. We had a customized FreeBSD install on hand, thanks to Dave Cross, Jon Chen, and Louis Gerbarg. Jon and Dave finished the FreeBSD driver for the ethernet card in the T20, and put together a custom FreeBSD install, thus saving our event. Louis put together a server with two quad-ethernet cards to perform network installs for the T20s. Everything worked relatively well, in spite of the chaos.

Being the chairman of the RPI-ACM makes me feel like I'm becoming a manager and a politician. It makes my skin crawl. I want to be a programmer.... I don't want to leave the technical details to other people.... My biggest fear is that I'll do a good job of this, people will realize it, and I'll never actually get the hands-on work that I want. I hate to feel like all I can do is have other people do the technical work for me.... On the other hand, I really care about this club. I think I can make a positive impact as chairman, and there's no possible way that I can do all the work myself. I still cringe when people joke about me being good at this leadership thing, though....

I got a new Thinkpad T20 today. I wasn't supposed to get it for some time yet, but I managed to talk to the right people in CIS to arrange it. The justification for getting the machine early is that it will end up in the right hands to test the ethernet drivers for Linux and FreeBSD, and thus save CIS some trouble. I feel slimy for pulling favors like this, but I think it will help speed things up. I wonder how much of my motivation was the fact that I want the T20 to play with on my own.... I guess it really doesn't matter, as long as I do my best to make things happen.

Haven't slept much lately. Need to get back to some schoolwork, among other things.

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