What software and network setup was this?
December 29, 2008 5:36 PM   Subscribe

Help me figure out what kind of software and computer network setup my school was using in 1994.

In 1993-1994ish, my Elementary school in southeastern Michigan had a computer network where each student could log in using a username. I don't recall there being a password. Once logged in, each student would have choice of software based on what class they were in. There was a word processor/publishing program, as well as educational games (including MECC games, I think.) and an encyclopedia. If it helps, we figured out that if you hit a key at startup for the games, you could tap into the entire library of games and even play the ones that were not issued to your username. There were dozens to choose from, and they were all basic graphics and text. I don't remember ever using a disk to load software.

What kind of network was this running on? What OS or other structure supported this? As a 2008 IT professional, I'm curious how the systems I used back then worked. The machines were IBMs, I'm pretty sure. I'd love to see an emulated version of some of these games or the OS, or even just a list of them.
posted by JuiceBoxHero to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: IBM employed Token Ring networking on an MCA (Micro Channel Architecture) bus for a lot of its PS2 desktop computers. I'll bet that you probably used PS2s with Novell Netware accounts.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:20 PM on December 29, 2008

Best answer: The menu system was probably ICLAS, IBM Classroom LAN Administration System. I'm not finding much in the way of examples to point you at, but you'd probably recognize it if you saw it. Most installs returned you to a big blue IBM logo after logout, and you pressed enter to get to the login screen. Configurations differed, though.
posted by ffej at 6:44 PM on December 29, 2008

ICLAS ran on NetWare, as others have suggested.

The workstations likely booted from the network card, or via a boot floppy.

Likely candidates for the word processor include MS Works 2.0 (screenshot)

The Encyclopedia could have been World Book Information Finder.

Do you remember having access to IBM LinkWay?

Harder than I thought to find screenshots of most of these...
posted by ffej at 7:07 PM on December 29, 2008

Response by poster: Harder than I thought to find screenshots of most of these...
I know, right?

The picture of the PS/2 system looks about right, but every google search just comes up with stuff related to the Sony Playstation 2. I can't find much for software or games for it. And I don't remember LinkWay but that doesn't mean it wasn't there.
posted by JuiceBoxHero at 7:28 PM on December 29, 2008

The high school I attended in southeast Michigan was running Novell 3.12 on IBM PS/2 machines, using 4Mbps Token Ring.

I don't remember the name of the menu app but it wasn't hard to bypass...

(hi ffej!)
posted by Myself at 8:22 PM on December 29, 2008

There was a Canadian system which was possibly sold in Michigan based on a proprietary PC-like architecture. The UNISYS ICON. Those ran a very shabby UNIX-like QNX though and definitely required a password.

PS/2 on Netware is a better bet for the time period though, though token ring was pretty long in the tooth by then. 10 base 2 is a equally good bet.
posted by GuyZero at 8:43 PM on January 1, 2009

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