Feb 111998

Why I wanted FreeBSD before I knew it existed

Why did I want FreeBSD?  Well, when I first discovered I wanted FreeBSD, I’d never even heard of it before.  Late in 1997, I decided it was time to replace my 486 box with a Pentium.  The increase in speed was impressive.  Around January 1998, I purchased a hub so I could connect the two together. I would also use this hub when timing mountain bike races.  At the time, I was using the modem in NT1 to dial my ISP.  With the introduction of the hub, I could access both machines from NT1.

In March 1998, Telecom offered an ADSL trial for my area.   This was the first in the country.  And as I type this, I am within three steps of being within sight of the exchange.  Literally, I am 100 metres from the exchange.  Using my existing telephone line, I could receive a high-speed internet connection and cable TV, not to mention being able to use it as an ordinary telephone.   I, and about two hundred others, jumped at the chance.

The installation was very straight forward.  They added a few plugs to the baseboard in the computer room.  I plugged the cable into the NIC in NT1.  I swapped over to using DHCP.  And it worked.  First time.  Every time. It was wonderful!

However, NT1 had just one network card.  So that meant that I could no longer access NT2.  Nor could NT2 access the Internet when I was using NT1.  Not good.   This is when I knew I wanted a gateway machine.  I mentioned this to Jay.   He told me I wanted FreeBSD.

That is where the real story began.