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+ - SDF Public Access UNIX System Celebrates 20 Years->

Submitted by
Stephen Jones
Stephen Jones writes "The SDF Public Access UNIX System Celebrates 20 Years!
http://sdf.lonestar.org/

It was on June 16th, 1987 that the SDF-1 received its first caller at
300bps. This little Apple ][e BBS of the late 80s turned into a Public
Access UNIX System with the demise of "killer.dallas.tx.us" during the
"Operation Sundevil" raids. Since then it has grown to become the oldest
and largest continually operating PUBNIX on the planet."

Link to Original Source
Unix

+ - SDF Public Access Unix System Turns 20->

Submitted by Eileen
Eileen (798477) writes "Remember those days when you could get a free Unix shell account and learn all about the command line? You still can at the Super Dimension Fortress (SDF). SDF is celebrating its 20th birthday on June 16.

Full press release text:
The SDF Public Access UNIX System Celebrates 20 Years!
http://sdf.lonestar.org


It was on June 16th, 1987 that the SDF-1 received its first caller at 300bps. This little Apple ][e BBS of the late 80s turned into a Public Access UNIX System with the demise of "killer.dallas.tx.us" during the "Operation Sundevil" raids. Since then it has grown to become the oldest and largest continually operating PUBNIX on the planet.

Over the years SDF has been a home to 2+ million people from all over the world and has been supported by donations and membership dues. SDFers pride themselves on the fact that theirs is one of the last bastions of "the real INTERNET", out of the reach and scope of the commercialism and advertising of the DOT COM entities. It is a proponent of SMTP greylisting as opposed to content filtering and offers that as an option to its members.

While access to basic services are free to everyone, lifetime membership can be obtained for a mere onetime donation of $36. And it is the members who decide which programs and features are available. The members communicate via a web free, google inaccessible, text bulletin board ('bboard') as well as an interactive chat ('com') where users battle each other in the integrated netris matches. The interface of these programs harks back to the days when TOPS-20 CMD J-SYS ruled the ARPANET.

SDF has also become home to well known hackers such as Bill Gosper, Tom Ellard (Severed Heads), Geoff Goodfellow, Carolyn Meinel and Ezra Buchla, son of the father of the Synthesizer. From this pool of talent you might expect more than just computing, and you'd be correct. An annual music compilation is published featuring original music ranging from electronic noise to improvised piano sonatinas. Gosper's puzzles which he has cut at his favorite laser shop are frequently given away as membership perks or through fundraising raffles.

There are always classes being taught on SDF as well, where instructors and students enjoy free access to the latest teaching and programming tools. Instructors manage their own classes in such a way as not to be encumbered by their own school's outdated utilities or computer security restrictions, which can hamper the learning process.

And where else would you expect to be able to locally dialup at 1200bps from just about anywhere in the USA and Canada with a Commodore 64 and get a login prompt? SDF! As well as direct login, SDF offers PPP and PPPoE via analogue dialup (1200bps — 56kbps), ISDN and DSL. Members also have access to the SDF VPN (Virtual Private Network) and Dynamic Domain Name Service.

One of the many interesting and esoteric aspects of life on the SDF-1 is GOPHER. All users have access to their own GOPHER space and a number of them continue to find it a useful way to share text and data. And if you don't want to relive that past, SDF's 'motd.org' project offers a collaboration amongst members to share source and security tweaks for the latest wikis, web forums, photo galleries and blogs.

SDF runs NetBSD on a cluster of 12 DEC alphas with 3 BGP'ed T1s linking it to the INTERNET. It is an annual supporter of the NetBSD foundation and the Computer History Museum (CA). One of its original incarnations, an AT&T 3B2/500, is displayed annually at the Vintage Computer Festival."

Link to Original Source
Unix

+ - SDF Public Access UNIX turns 20!

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "It was on June 16th, 1987 that the SDF-1 received its first caller at 300bps. This little Apple ][e BBS of the late 80s turned into a Public Access UNIX System with the demise of "killer.dallas.tx.us" during the "Operation Sundevil" raids. Since then it has grown to become the oldest and largest continually operating PUBNIX on the planet.

Over the years SDF has been a home to 2+ million people from all over the world and has been supported by donations and membership dues. SDFers pride themselves on the fact that theirs is one of the last bastions of "the real INTERNET", out of the reach and scope of the commercialism and advertising of the DOT COM entities.

for more....http://sdf.lonestar.org/news/"
Networking

+ - Happy 20th SDF->

Submitted by
m0smithslash
m0smithslash writes "Where were you in 1987? 1987 was the year that Oscar Arias Sanchez won the Nobel peace prize, Supernova 1987A is observed (the first "naked-eye" supernova since 1604), the Unabomber, N.Y. Giants defeat the Denver Broncos, 39- 20, in Super Bowl XXI, and the The Legend of Zelda released for the NES in North America. June 16th, 1987 marked the day that the SDF-1 received its first caller at 300bps. From the press release:

This little Apple ][e BBS of the late 80s turned into a Public Access UNIX System with the demise of "killer.dallas.tx.us" during the "Operation Sundevil" raids. Since then it has grown to become the oldest and largest continually operating PUBNIX on the planet.
For crying out loud, all users have access to their own GOPHER space as well as more modern technologies like blogs, wikis and so forth. What more could you want?"

Link to Original Source
Unix

+ - SDF Public Access Unix System turns 20 ...->

Submitted by
edrdo
edrdo writes "SDF (aka Super Dimensional Fortress), the largest and oldest public access UNIX system (also a non-profit organization) has just turned 20. See the press release to get an idea of how rich the SDF story is and how hard these pioneering guys have stuck to their ideals and payed a great service to the Internet.

The SDF Public Access UNIX System Celebrates 20 Years! http://sdf.lonestar.org/ It was on June 16th, 1987 that the SDF-1 received its first caller at 300bps. This little Apple ][e BBS of the late 80s turned into a Public Access UNIX System with the demise of "killer.dallas.tx.us" during the "Operation Sundevil" raids. Since then it has grown to become the oldest and largest continually operating PUBNIX on the planet ...
"

Link to Original Source
Unix

+ - The SDF Public Access UNIX System Celebrates 20 Ye

Submitted by
claudzilla
claudzilla writes "The SDF Public Access UNIX System Celebrates 20 Years!
http://sdf.lonestar.org/

It was on June 16th, 1987 that the SDF-1 received its first caller at
300bps. This little Apple ][e BBS of the late 80s turned into a Public
Access UNIX System with the demise of "killer.dallas.tx.us" during the
"Operation Sundevil" raids. Since then it has grown to become the oldest
and largest continually operating PUBNIX on the planet.

Over the years SDF has been a home to 2+ million people from all over
the world and has been supported by donations and membership dues. SDFers
pride themselves on the fact that theirs is one of the last bastions of
"the real INTERNET", out of the reach and scope of the commercialism and
advertising of the DOT COM entities. It is a proponent of SMTP greylisting
as opposed to content filtering and offers that as an option to its members.

While access to basic services are free to everyone, lifetime membership
can be obtained for a mere onetime donation of $36. And it is the members
who decide which programs and features are available. The members
communicate via a web free, google inaccessible, text bulletin board
('bboard') as well as an interactive chat ('com') where users battle each
other in the integrated netris matches. The interface of these programs
harks back to the days when TOPS-20 CMD J-SYS ruled the ARPANET.

SDF has also become home to well known hackers such as Bill Gosper,
Tom Ellard (Severed Heads), Geoff Goodfellow, Carolyn Meinel and Ezra
Buchla, son of the father of the Synthesizer. From this pool of talent
you might expect more than just computing, and you'd be correct. An
annual music compilation is published featuring original music ranging
from electronic noise to improvised piano sonatinas. Gosper's puzzles
which he has cut at his favorite laser shop are frequently given away as
membership perks or through fundraising raffles.

There are always classes being taught on SDF as well, where instructors
and students enjoy free access to the latest teaching and programming
tools. Instructors manage their own classes in such a way as not
to be encumbered by their own school's outdated utilities or computer
security restrictions, which can hamper the learning process.

And where else would you expect to be able to locally dialup at 1200bps
from just about anywhere in the USA and Canada with a Commodore 64 and
get a login prompt? SDF! As well as direct login, SDF offers PPP and
PPPoE via analogue dialup (1200bps — 56kbps), ISDN and DSL. Members also
have access to the SDF VPN (Virtual Private Network) and Dynamic Domain
Name Service.

One of the many interesting and esoteric aspects of life on the SDF-1
is GOPHER. All users have access to their own GOPHER space and a
number of them continue to find it a useful way to share text and data.
And if you don't want to relive that past, SDF's 'motd.org' project
offers a collaboration amongst members to share source and security tweaks
for the latest wikis, web forums, photo galleries and blogs.

SDF runs NetBSD on a cluster of 12 DEC alphas with 3 BGP'ed T1s linking
it to the INTERNET. It is an annual supporter of the NetBSD foundation
and the Computer History Museum (CA). One of its original incarnations,
an AT&T 3B2/500, is displayed annually at the Vintage Computer Festival."
Unix

+ - The SDF Public Access UNIX System turns "20->

Submitted by
arpawolf
arpawolf writes ""This is a great story of people helping people an doing it in high fashion in the UNIX world." Below is the story written by its users: The SDF Public Access UNIX System turns "20"! http://sdf.lonestar.org/ It was on June 16th, 1987 that the SDF-1 received its first caller at 300bps. This little Apple ][e BBS of the late 80s turned into a Public Access UNIX System with the demise of "killer.dallas.tx.us" during the "Operation Sundevil" raids. Since then it has grown to become the oldest and largest continually operating PUBNIX on the planet. Over the years SDF has been a home to 2+ million people from all over the world and has been supported by donations and membership dues. SDFers pride themselves on the fact that theirs is one of the last bastions of "the real INTERNET", out of the reach and scope of the commercialism and advertising of the DOT COM entities. It is a proponent of SMTP greylisting as opposed to content filtering and offers that as an option to its members. While access to basic services are free to everyone, lifetime membership can be obtained for a mere onetime donation of $36. And it is the members who decide which programs and features are available. The members communicate via a web free, google inaccessible, text bulletin board ('bboard') as well as an interactive chat ('com') where users battle each other in the integrated netris matches. The interface of these programs harks back to the days when TOPS-20 CMD J-SYS ruled the ARPANET. SDF has also become home to well known hackers such as Bill Gosper, Tom Ellard (Severed Heads), Geoff Goodfellow, Carolyn Meinel and Ezra Buchla, son of the father of the Synthesizer. From this pool of talent you might expect more than just computing, and you'd be correct. An annual music compilation is published featuring original music ranging from electronic noise to improvised piano sonatinas. Gosper's puzzles which he has cut at his favorite laser shop are frequently given away as membership perks or through fundraising raffles. There are always classes being taught on SDF as well, where instructors and students enjoy free access to the latest teaching and programming tools. Instructors manage their own classes in such a way as not to be encumbered by their own school's outdated utilities or computer security restrictions, which can hamper the learning process. And where else would you expect to be able to locally dialup at 1200bps from just about anywhere in the USA and Canada with a Commodore 64 and get a login prompt? SDF! As well as direct login, SDF offers PPP and PPPoE via analogue dialup (1200bps — 56kbps), ISDN and DSL. Members also have access to the SDF VPN (Virtual Private Network) and Dynamic Domain Name Service. One of the many interesting and esoteric aspects of life on the SDF-1 is GOPHER. All users have access to their own GOPHER space and a number of them continue to find it a useful way to share text and data. And if you don't want to relive that past, SDF's 'motd.org' project offers a collaboration amongst members to share source and security tweaks for the latest wikis, web forums, photo galleries and blogs. SDF runs NetBSD on a cluster of 12 DEC alphas with 3 BGP'ed T1s linking it to the INTERNET. It is an annual supporter of the NetBSD foundation and the Computer History Museum (CA). One of its original incarnations, an AT&T 3B2/500, is displayed annually at the Vintage Computer Festival."
Link to Original Source
Books

+ - Critical Cyberculture Studies

Submitted by
Joe Kauzlarich
Joe Kauzlarich writes "As good of a place to start as any, for an introduction to general critical cybercultural theory is the film The Matrix, where Neo is seen carrying a copy of the great theorist Jean Baudrillard's text 'Simulacra and Simulation' (1981). Baudrillard's thesis, as popularly known, is that our age acts by simulating a simulation, a more dystopian outlook than many of us internet-philes might care to consider. However, Baudrillard's book does foreshadow cyberculture as we know it today, bringing with it a rich linguistic (semiotic) theory that could be used in an analysis of the modern online culture. David Silver and Adrienne Massanari, the editors of this essay collection, chose not to dive head first into a 'total' theory of cyberculture, but to poke around at aspects ranging from internet adoption to MMORPGS to the Dot-com boom.

Critical Studies, rooted in the culturally revolutionary period of the 1960's, has a strong humanist, liberationist undercurrent. It is Liberal in the sense that the theory mandates change, as I'll explain below. Critical Theory came a century and a half earlier, with Hegel, Marx, and Nietzsche, responding to the modernist era of great cultural upheavals. If not mixed into the philosophy section of your local bookstore, you'll find them all very nearby.

In the case of the internet and cyberculture, there are such upheavals that we must entrust theory to encounter — corporate and government control of the web, privacy, copyright issues and an emerging class distinction, the internet have's & have-nots. There are a lot of problems for critical theorists in analyzing such changes. These can be loosely divided into the practical and the intellectual.

One practical, and very urgent, dilemma is the availability of the internet in lower economic classes and third-world countries. In many ways, access to the internet is crucial to class mobility, an essential prerequisite to fair capitalism. Studies on the adoption of internet technologies therefore become relevant. This is an element of cyberculture because it affects the very accessibility to and constituency of 'cyberspace.' In her essay "Overcoming Institutional Marginalization," Blanca Gordo discusses Plugged In, an institution in Palo Alto, CA that offers a community technology development program with several goals, including free and simple connectivity to areas high in poverty. The essay discusses the culture of innovation in Palo Alto which enables important endeavors like Plugged In.

This was one of the very 'practical' studies the book provides. Many of the book's essays, however, theorize about the nature of culture as it applies to the internet in an inquisitive or intellectual way. Many of the books' authors find in MMOGs and MMORPGs a suitably useful microcosmic internet culture for studying relationships between players on-line and how these relationships are carried to or from the world off-line. Similarly, a highly theoretical study discusses the nature of identity and identity formation on MMORPGS, or on the internet in general. How do individuals manage the information that they disclose about their 'real' lives? How do individuals manage multiple online identities?

The analysis of identity is an important fundamental concept of internet culture. Identity formation in online games has been a particularly interesting field of study because they 'enclose' the identity in a complete, controlled environment, but games themselves have become more academically-engaging once they began coinciding with reality in unpredictable ways: there's been recent talk of imposing actual taxes on online acquisitions due to their interchangibility with real money, including the coveted +5 charisma swords and level 35 Elven mages we find or create in virtual worlds. To put it another way, game-capital may be considered in real economic indicators; they are considered as production in a very real sense, alongside automobiles and barrels of oil.

Lessig was mentioned only a couple of times in Critical Cybercultural Studies, but his work wasn't discussed in depth. It was not just Lessig who was ignored, but virtually all the important minds of the technological world. This points us to one of the crucial shortcomings of the book in which the authors carry (if from any tradition at all) from earlier non-cyberculture-related studies such as post-colonialism, gender studies, et al, onto internet technology without consulting to any large degree the major theoreticians of the internet in general. These theoreticians would include, in my opinion, Lessig, who has established an extensive theory of the internet ( Code V2 is a worthwhile read) in order to address his legal concerns; and Eric Raymond's The Cathedral and the Bazaar, (anyone have glamour-shot coupons for Ray?) which lays out the fundamental ethos of both software production in the internet age and of projects like Wikipedia. There are also numerous examples in Richard Stallman's writings, in Tim Berners-Lee's work (he was, again, mentioned in brief, but his technical emphases and projects toward greater interactivity, such as the semantic web, were not touched), and in the writings of modern science-fiction authors (e.g. In the Beginning was the Command-Line).

Critical Studies, having taken so much from the exceedingly down-to-earth (or just 'out there') writers of postmodernism theory, is not above looking to software programmers for source material. The Code, as Lessig's thinking goes, mediates all individual behavior in cyberspace as well as the relationships between individuals. One approach to studying cyberspace might be from the perspective of 'Orthodox Marxism,' as defined by Georges Lukacz. By Marxism, I do not mean communism or anything similar. Marxist theorists utilize Marx's methods, not necessarily his results, and the application of dialectical logic was the most famous of these methods. Interestingly, by way of a definition, 'ordinary' logic's relation to dialectical logic is surprisingly analagous to the relationship between mathematics and computer algorithms: Mathematics describes relationships between entities; algorithms describe what is to be done with entities (a 'historical' logic). It's still 'logic', as every computer programmer knows; it just doesn't translate well into plain mathematics. Critical theory has been built on this idea: that the theory mandates what is to be done.

Software developers, like the critical theorists of yesterday, have an agenda and an ethic, that has, and will, utilize this sort of logic (dialectical, not just algorithmic) to create internet culture. Programs like CVS have enabled geographically dispersed populations to build software, undermining a lot of pre-established business models. P2P software, Wikipedia, and social networking sites have all produced dramatic changes on 'real' culture. All of these examples come, in a sense, through the dialectical logic of change, to provide internet-related services that upset tradition and also point out the differences between internet and non-internet cultures.

Aside from these few major complaints, I found the book very thought-provoking in its individual assessments — I speak not only as somone looking for an introduction to a field which I knew little about, but as a member of internet culture and an entrepreneurial-minded developer who seeks to understand the culture. I am not an expert in cultural studies nor have I contributed in the past, but I consider myself to be entrenched in internet culture, particularly on the side of production.

One essay in particular appeals to the open-source community, Fred Turner's "How Digital Technology Found Utopian Ideology." The subtitle says it all: "Lessons from the First Hacker's Conference." Turner describes the libertarian ethos pervading the 1984 Hacker's Conference, attended by Richard Stallman, Steve Wozniak, Ted Nelson, and Theodore Draper (a.k.a Captian Crunch). The essay was no doubt the most essential in the volume for giving background to the current legal situations involving YouTube, P2P technologies, and other internet technologies associated with intellectual property infringement. Though Turner is correct in *associating* the 1984 Hacker's Conference with the libertarian ethos rampant on the internet today, he does not acknowledge that both are probable symptoms of an underlying order. That is, those who expect to catch the Daily Show on YouTube were probably not influenced in any way whatsoever by those early hackers. Again, the trail leads to the internet's structure, to the TCP/IP and HTTP protocols and the next level of software — the websites — that take advantage of the egalitarian and anonymizing nature of these protocols. The early hackers created the software, but human nature chose, by their own will, to adopt it.

Greg Elmer's essay, "The Vertical (Layered) Net," continues the discourse at this point: Elmer argues from a historical point of view, beginning with internet pioneer Ted Nelson's early Xanadu project and the ARPANET, that this egalitarian notion of the web is slowly being etched away as the web matures. His thesis, as Lessig would argue, is that Cybercultural Studies ought to approach and unify its studies through the 'moment of connectivity.' That is, a thorough analysis of internet accessibility, content publication, technical protocols, etc, ought to be performed before sociological analyses should be attempted. Christian Sandvig does, in fact, do just this, the Slashdot Effect being one of his examples, in which the internet's structure has created an inequality between the bandwidth haves and have-nots.

A large portion of the book is devoted to the cyber-sociological analyses, from diaspora (divergent cultures, usually referring to the world's Jewish population, according to the dictionary); sexuality and gender on the internet (one puzzling question being why game — or comic book, I might add — heros and heroines are so commonly presented in revealing, skin-tight, clothing, i.e. 'hypersexualized'; and young girls as heroines — are designers appealing to a Freudian father-complex in gamers?); "Internet Studies in Times Of Terror," which discusses 'Dot.mil,' the military internet; chat-rooms; games, and more.

Authors of the book include professors and graduate students from around the United States specializing in everything from media studies to psychology. One of the attractive aspects of critical studies is that it's tradition is very interdisciplinary, often leaning towards social sciences. Alan Sokal parodied what can happen when a social scientist gets too full of himself and starts veering into physical sciences. Unfortunately, some refuse to heed this message and embarass the entire field in the process. This book, thankfully, contains no such gibberish, and most of the authors seem to emphasize their studies over their selves. One of the most intriguing writers in the collection, Heidi J. Figueroa Sarriera, is a psychologist and contributor to The Cyborg Handbook. Another contributor, McKenzie Wark, is the author of A Hacker Manifesto. Most, if not all, of the contributors have earned their place in this collection.

The collection's strength is in its diversity of topic matter, leading readers into subjects they wouldn't normally engage in, and in which readers may discover a new interest. Critical Cybercultural Studies (CCS), a field of which I can only assume this book is meant to be wholly representative, needs to dig into the technological aspects of cyberspace if it ever hopes to understand or produce a useful critique of its culture. For example, simple 'Web 2.0' elements like 'tags' have altered the culture of Slashdot to some degree: people use them to complain about dupes and spelling errors, making complaints all the more redundant in discussions, which then become more on-topic and valuable. This is an example of a a relatively small amount of code having a broad, though maybe subtle, effect on a culture. On the other hand, CCS does focus on the differences between 'real' culture and cyberculture. What's missing is a technological explanation for these differences — a 'theory of cyberspace.'

Many of CCS's contributors come from a background in media studies and not necessarily 'Critical Studies,' as the title implies, in which case many of my complaints are moot. It may be that there is no critical theory of cyberspace; that there isn't much to think about that doesn't fall beneath the banner of media studies. But, as Lessig says of cyberspace, "We are at a stage in our history when we urgently need to make fundamental choices about values, but we should trust no institution of government to make such choices." If CCS wants to become relevant, their thinkers need to move into the center of the real debates."

Those who do not understand Unix are condemned to reinvent it, poorly. -- Henry Spencer

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