Networking

Networking

Long ago (at least in terms of the history of electronic data processing) having two computers at the same time was something you read about in science fiction novels. As systems became more common, the time eventually arrived when a company or university would have two computers. The need then arose that data be exchanged between the two machines. This was the beginning of SNEAKER-Net (Slow, Non-Electrical Activity, Keeping Everyone Running), which was developed in the 1950s. With SNEAKER-Net, the technician copied data onto a tape or other media and, using his sneakers, ran the tape over to the other machine to be loaded. In many organizations, SNEAKER-Net is still employed today as this is often the only type of network some people think they can afford.

In 1976, researchers at AT&T Bell Laboratories came to the rescue. This was the development of a serial line protocol to exchange data between UNIX machines, which came to be known as UUCP, for Unix-to-Unix Copy. Over the years there were several changes, upgrades revisions, etc. In 1983, AT&T released a new version that came to be known as Honeydanber UUCP, as it was developed by Peter Honeyman, David A. Nowitz and Brian E.Redman.

Although, UUCP was a good thing, system speed was limited by the serial line connecting the two computers, the slowest component of the system. Since the system could only be as fast as its slowest component, there needed to be a way to speed up that slowest component. Well, serial line speeds increased, but that still was not enough. In the 1970s, Xerox came out with Ethernet, which made high speed communication between computers possible. It was now possible for users to access remote computers and expect response times comparable to being logged in locally, rather than experiencing delays as was common with the serial line communication of the day. (We’ll get into more details on Ethernet later.)

Today, prices have dropped to the point that Ethernet networks are commonplace and if you don’t have it in your house you probably have something more advanced. UUCP is probably not used anywhere other than countries with a poor telephone infrastructure.

Because of that, going into details about UUCP is beyond the scope of this tutorial. Therefore, I leave it to you to take a look at the UUCP HOWTO if you are interested in configuring UUCP.