proprietary.vs.closed.softwarefriends PCNetgear DS104 4-Port Dual-Speed Ethernet Hub

This web page is last updated at tuesday dec 17, 2019 around 17:41
by Priscilla Felicia Harmanus, 1993 from the Netherlands.

For a moment in history

The story begins in 1998, with an important announcement by Netscape that it would give away the source code to its main product, Netscape Navigator, and works backward from this announcement into the stories of the UNIX operating system, “open systems,” copyright law, the Internet, and tools for coordinating people and code. Together, these five stories constitute a description of how Free Software works as a practice. As a cultural analysis, these stories highlight just how experimental the practices are, and how individuals keep track of and modulate the practices along the way. Netscape’s decision came at an important point in the life of Free Software. It was at just this moment that Free Software was becoming aware of itself as a coherent movement and not just a diverse amalgamation of projects, tools, or practices. 

■ 'Two Bits
■ *Netscape Bookmarks*

``Open Source''

Teaching new users about freedom became more difficult in 1998, when a part of the community decided to stop using the term ``free software'' and say ``open-source software'' instead.

Some who favored this term aimed to avoid the confusion of ``free'' with ``gratis'' -- a valid goal. Others, however, aimed to set aside the spirit of principle that had motivated the free software movement and the GNU project, and to appeal instead to executives and business users, many of whom hold an ideology that places profit above freedom, above community, above principle. Thus, the rhetoric of ``Open Source'' focuses on the potential to make high quality, powerful software, but shuns the ideas of freedom, community, and principle.

The ``Linux'' magazines are a clear example of this -- they are filled with advertisements for proprietary software that works with GNU/Linux. When the next Motif or Qt appears, will these magazines warn programmers to stay away from it, or will they run ads for it?

The support of business can contribute to the community in many ways; all else being equal, it is useful. But winning their support by speaking even less about freedom and principle can be disastrous; it makes the previous imbalance between outreach and civics education even worse.

``Free software'' and ``Open Source'' describe the same category of software, more or less, but say different things about the software, and about values. The GNU Project continues to use the term ``free software,'' to express the idea that freedom, not just technology, is important.

Bay Networks.
The first is that Bay Networks logo –
(formed from the merger of Synoptics and Wellfleet)
was big news in the networking market commanding up to
20% market share of network routers worldwide. They
were eventually bought by Nortel and in 1996, began
to spread into consumer market under the
recognisable name of Netgear.

I’m almost certain that this particular model made it to Bobs primary school in 2000, as the year Bob graduated was the year they upgraded to Fast Ethernet. The main attraction of the box was the vast array of LEDs which blinked almost hypnotically – this includes a network utilisation indicator on the left, as well as “vista” LEDs which indicate link/activity. The last port has a normal/uplink switch for controlling cross-over – needed in the early days prior to MDI/MDI-X auto-switching ports, especially if you were connecting hub-to-hub with a straight-through cable.

The other reason this particular unit is so memorable is the metal casing, bold colourful text on the top and blue colour. This almost became a standard – desktop metal-chassis-based networking equipment often was blue probably to “capitalise” on the goodwill surrounding Netgear equipment (which was, at the time, quite strong from what I recall). The sides of this unit had no openings at all.

The underside has a model compliance label, rubber feet to stop it sliding around on a desk and some wall-mounting holes. These were used in the school to keep it away from prying kids fingers.

The rear has two screws to hold the unit together, a grounding screw with tag and an input for 5V DC at 3A. This contrasts with most of the documentation which still resides online which claim this unit uses a 12V power supply.

The unit was supplied with a switching power adapter which connects to an IEC cable. A quick test showed the unit to have failed, with no power output. Opening up the adapter by undoing a hidden screw revealed that the power adapter has suffered something catastrophic.

To be continued

proprietary.vs.closed.softwarefriends PCNetgear DS104 4-Port Dual-Speed Ethernet Hub

■ Netgear DS104 4-Port Dual-Speed Ethernet Hub
Tech Flashback: Ethernet Hubs & Switches (Netgear DS104 & Skymaster 8320-030)
Posted on August 4, 2018 by lui_gough

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