Linux in Kuala Lumpur
Linux came in handy for providing lab sessions in the senior-level course ECE4330 VLSI Design. This course would have gone without any true labs, as the commercial VLSI (very large scale integration) layout tools are too expensive for us. I set up the MAGIC VLSI layout editor under X and supplemented it with SPICE (simulations program with integrated circuits emphasis) for small layout simulation and verification. As there is no licensing problem, students could use these tools simultaneously on several workstations.
After coming across articles in the January 1998 LJ about PVM (parallel virtual machine), I set up the PVM web course server on one of the Linux machines. I divided the students into several groups and allocated two Linux machines to each group. Their target was to set up one machine as the master and the other as the slave in a PVM environment, then test various programs. Although the students could not succeed fully in running various programs, they enjoyed working on such important concepts with full control over the computers.
My current projects include setting up a filtering firewall using Red Hat Linux and binding an HP workstation cluster to the Linux NIS server for user account authentication. Thus, we will be able to stop some wasteful use of the Internet, as well as provide centralized accounts for all UNIX users.
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