RPI-ACM

Association for Computing Machinery
Student Chapter - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
RCS Bin-Man Service - Introduction

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General Information | Contacts | Packages

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The ACM Bin-Man service is provided my the ACM RCS-Disk Committee of the RPI-ACM. We maintain a set of volumes in RPI's AFS cell, which currently totals approximately 320 megs

Here are our disk usage statistics.

We provide a wide variety of programs which are for whatever reason not officially supported by ITS. A complete list of packages we support is available online.


Background on the Bin-Man service


The Rensselaer Computing System, or RCS, is a vast project incorporating the use of hundreds of workstations for education and research. Ever since RCS went production in Fall, 1991, the ACM has played a key role in its development and enhancement. While ITS strives to provide and maintain a number of software packages and computing services, a lack of funding and shortage of staff prevented them from answering the needs of all users. At that time, the ACM was granted a large area of disk space on RCS, and group was formed to administer it. This group, called RCS-Disk, began addressing the computing requests of students by installing and supporting various software packages which were not available from ITS. From then on, RCS-Disk became the largest non-ITS provider of packages.

For a long time, RCS-Disk provided a "Map" file in order to allow users to access ACM-supported packages using the 'setup' program, just like ITS packages. In the Fall of 1993, Kenny Zalewski, developed the software that are now using to manage our software instead of setup.

By the end of 1993, RCS-Disk was no longer supporting access to ACM packages via 'setup', except for window managers and other interface components. Along with Bin-Man came a number of utilities to make life on RCS a little easier.

RCS-Disk continues to support a large number of packages, as well as the Bin-Man Service. The core RCS-Disk group maintains the package database and overall directory structure, while other users help out by becoming package administrators -- people who maintain one or more specific packages. RCS-Disk has access to the entire /dept/acm/packages tree, and is responsible for the overall maintenance and support of all packages there. Package administrators are considered "experts" in their specific package(s), and are given access to disk space within the package level, such as /dept/acm/packages/irc. In this way, the RCS-Disk group does not have to fully understand the complexities of each package which they support, but can concentrate on more general service and maintenance issues. This also allows RCS users to contribute to the computing community at RPI -- RCS-Disk offers the disk space, and users offer their skills.

This system of offering packages, along with full support and maintenance, has worked extremely well for many years thanks to the efforts of the RCS-Disk members, and the users who volunteer their time and energy to become package admins. If you have a software package which you feel would be useful to the entire RCS community, and you understand that package completely, and are willing to provide support for it, then you should consider becoming a package administrator by contacting the RCS-Disk group at rcs-disk@acm.rpi.edu. Even if you would just like to see the ACM offer a package, without supporting it yourself, send your request to RCS-Disk. Finally, the RCS-Disk group is always in search of new members who can handle the tremendous task of over- seeing the entire ACM packages area, maintaining the Bin-Man Ser- vice, and coordinating the group of package administrators. If you feel you understand the system, and are willing to devote time to making it better, you can become a member of RCS-Disk by contacting us at rcs-disk@acm.rpi.edu.

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