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Tenwen: The Re-engineering Of A Computing Environment

Rmy Evard
Northeastern University


In the summer of 1992, the computing environment at the College of Computer Science of Northeastern University was completely dysfunctional. Among other things, the network was down over 25 percent of the time, the computers and software were badly misconfigured, the users were confused, and it was nearly impossible to administer. It was on the verge of collapse.

Now, two years later, the situation is entirely reversed. The network is up well over 99 percent of the time, the computers and software are easily managed, and the users are (for the most part) satisfied. Many people have stated that it is the nicest and most functional computing environment they've ever used.

This paper is an overview of the key changes that we made and the methodology that we used in bringing about this transformation. I examine the lessons we learned as well as the mistakes we made, and offer advice to others starting with a similar predicament.

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