We were promoting the “Manitoba Power Connection” of Manitoba Hydro, Teshmont Consultants, Vansco, Manitoba HVDC Research Centre, and the University of Manitoba. The HVDC Research Centre had a new real-time simulator system called RTDS (Real Time Digital Simulator) and an off-line simulator called EMTDC, both of which used their power-system simulator drafting tool called PSCAD. We wanted to work with these tools, so they counselled us to set up a LINUX machine. I purchased LINUX 5 and installed it on an old X86 machine. It took 3 or 4 tries to get it installed correctly, ha ha.
Then I immediately set out to playing with it… of course.
Because we used QNX, we didn’t have an extensive Ethernet network at Vansco. The APT division had its own local Ethernet, but no connection to the shared printer that we needed in another area of the building.
We did have an extensive ARCnet… which I still believe is far superior to 10Base Ethernet because of its ability to get to near-100% utilization without degredation, but anyways..
We were in the process of decommissioning our QNX desktop network and moving to MS-Windows (hiss, boo, but that’s another story). We had plenty of QNX-proprietary memory-mapped ARCnet cards around. I took a few home and set up computers at home running LINUX, and hacked together the ARCnet and Ethernet drivers to get TCP/IP running over the proprietary ARCnet cards. Then, pulling down the (now unused) ARCnet cables from the ceiling, and dropping a small computer at the other end, I was able to connect to the main network and its print spooler, and give us access to the main printer. A demonstration of the power of LINUX, and what you can do if you have the source code!