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Linux evangelism (fwd)

A faculty member just passed this note onto me and I thought I would see
if anyone is in that area and would like to help Mr. Pournelle and/or have
some experience with debian on a multiprocessor and could give him a
little more information. Cheers, Colin.

	  Colin R. Telmer, Institute of Intergovernmental Relations
		School of Policy Studies, Queen's University
		     Kingston, Ontario, Canada, K7L-3N6
	      (613)545-6000x4219   telmerco@qed.econ.queensu.ca
	   PGP Public Key at <URL:http://terrapin.econ.queensu.ca>

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 29 Jun 1997 09:27:04 -0400 (EDT)
From: "James G. MacKinnon" <jgm@qed.econ.queensu.ca>
To: Colin Telmer <telmerco@qed.econ.queensu.ca>
Subject: Linux evangelism

I don't know if a recent exchange I had with Jerry Pournelle of Byte fame
(jerryp@BIX.com) should be followed up by someone from Debian. 

Annoyed by one of his Chaos Manor columns, where he went on and on about
problems getting Windows 95 to see some device as F: instead of G:, or
something equally stupid along those lines, I sent him a longish note
asking when he planned to try Linux at Chaos Manor. I tried to establish
that I was a mature, sensible, and happy Linux user, not a wild-eyed
hacker, and I guess I succeeded.

Slightly to my surprise, I got a response:

  We're looking into Linux; Doesn't support dual processors which is the  
  only machine I have available just now. But we will get to it shortly.
  Jerry Pournelle     = THANKS FOR WRITING. Please excuse my brevity. =
  CHAOS Manor         = I get a LOT of email...                       =

To this, I responded:

  Current versions of Linux (stable kernels 2.0.x and development kernels
  2.1.x) do support dual processors. I think you need to enable the SMP
  option when you compile the kernel, and it may well be more complicated
  than that. SMP support is not terribly mature yet (the Makefile for
  kernel 2.0.29, which I use, warns that it is experimental), and I have
  no personal experience.  I would definitely not recommend playing with
  this the first time you set up Linux. 

  Surely you must have a late-model 486 or early Pentium with 16 MB of
  memory and a reasonably large hard disk hanging around somewhere. Linux
  should run fine on such a beast, unless it has some weird hardware.

And he replied:

  We're looking into it, but finding a spare machine isn't as easy as you
  Jerry Pournelle     = THANKS FOR WRITING. Please excuse my brevity. =
  CHAOS Manor         = I get a LOT of email...                       =

I don't know if an offer of help in setting up a Linux system from a
knowledgeable Debian person in the Los Angeles area would be well-received
by Mr. Pournelle or not.

As a bit of background, Pournelle is a science fiction writer who has been
using personal computers since the CP/M days in the seventies. He has a
lot of computers in his house, and he always seems to be encountering
problems with them. Even though he could once deal with CP/M and DOS, he
seems to have largely migrated to Windows 95, and he now seems to use MS
Word for his writing. I don't recall him ever saying much about Unix.

Cheers, James.

James G. MacKinnon                       Department of Economics
    phone: 613 545-2293                  Queen's University
      Fax: 613 545-6668                  Kingston, Ontario, Canada
    Email: jgm@qed.econ.queensu.ca       K7L 3N6

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