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The Contributions of Information Systems

The Contributions of Information Systems

I am pleased to hear about the new multimedia equipment that Information Systems has been preparing to install for the last year. No doubt this will make life a lot easier on the many students without access to these things. I must excuse myself for not knowing much about these matters, but I never seem to find the time to browse the up-to-date I/S web pages or press releases. However, I have no doubt this new endeavor will add to the ongoing list of improvements, such as eventually supporting Eudora 3.0 - possibly even before 5.0 is released.

It has been less than a year since the last status report on agreements to obtain AFS for Windows NT. Even Kerberos will be working with NT any day now - the next release is due out by May, 1997. They also may move Athena over to version 5 someday - perhaps they are negotiating with the developers. I'm sure that I/S will even start supporting Netscape 4.0 and the Mac OS 8 some time before the next versions are out.

I do have to question the use of Cygnus Support for providing updated distributions of the GNU tools, however (although it seems like they may be reconsidering this - they've obviously kept the available documentation two years out of date for a reason.). What can an organization which has only handled minor tasks (like organizing releases of the GNU development tools for 60 different architectures or porting these minor development tools to NT over a couple of years) contribute to I/S at MIT? We've already got a solid I/S organization to handle our software needs.

But this is only a minor problem. I am sure that with the re-engineering effort directing resources to where they can better serve the student community, I/S contributions to quality of computing at MIT will become even greater. The current delay in installing the multimedia equipment is a prime example -Obviously, they want to get the perfect environment for us in which to scan and print. I will eagerly await the release of these new multimedia tools, at least for the rest of my undergraduate years.

Robert J. Ragno '99