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Society Background:
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The University of Limerick Computer Society was started in 1993, by a group of students who wanted alternatives to the supplied computing facilities in the University. At the time (and still) UNIX facilities were restricted to final year students, and a reliable e-mail system was not available. The Society was also formed around the start of the WWW explosion which occurred, and was the first computer society in an Irish university to have a web site on their own web server.

We started out with one PC owned by a member of the society, and last year we purchased, using money given by the Students Union, a Pentium machine on which we run the Linux OS. We have currently over 400 users, with usually 40-50 active on the machine at any time. Our membership base is mainly undergraduates, but does include postgraduates, staff and faculty.

Within the college, we provide undergraduate access to web publishing facilities, and Unix knowledge, which the college cannot supply. The college is currently supporting Microsoft NT, providing e-mail using MS Exchange Server. The Computer Society try to provide access to alternative systems and technologies. We have the backing and support of the University who supply us with our network access and space for our current server. The Computer Society also runs workshops throughout the term for its members in areas such as web publishing, basic UNIX knowledge, and advanced UNIX techniques.

In addition to services provided to our own users and members, the society also currently hosts the Irish Linux Users Group mailing list and web-site, and are the primary Irish mirror for the Apache WWW project, Linux Java JDK, and also mirror the RedHat Linux distribution and Linux Documentation Project. It also holds projects being developed by local users, such as the Xswallow MIME plug-in for Netscape and the pam_smb project for Linux. The main web-site received 4 shamrocks from Doras last year and our local web design team are working on making this 5. We have also appeared from time to time in the Irish Top 10 Web sites published by PC-Live.

Many of our alumni members have found employment with companies such as Sun in Dublin and Australia, Horizon in Dublin, IONA in Dublin, Netscape in California and IBM Watson Research Labs in New York. Most of these people began using and developing under Unix and the Web through membership of the society.

The society also have given advice to many other Computer Societies both in Ireland and abroad, about running UNIX and the setting up of a society. Our current sponsors consist of APC (a UPS), 3COM (Network Cards, Hubs), the University ITD (486 PC for DNS server), and SUN microsystems (a web server) along with some others who have provided us with services and parts.

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