Linux Computing at MIT - page 2
From Red Line to Online
Athena started out in 1983 as a suite of programs used by the faculty on a Woods Hole projects that ran on Unix mainframes. Researchers needed a collection of programs that they could use for modeling data and performing analysis.
Early on, the Athena group adopted the Andrew File System (AFS). This environment (created sometime before 1985) was employed by Carnegie Mellon University and was specifically invented to provide network file sharing capabilities for academic users.
Athena also integrated the Zephyr messaging system, similar to the Unix "talk" and "write" programs. It allowed users on MIT's network to collaborate electronically.
The X Windowing system also came about as a result of Athena and it's refinement.
Over time, the Athena environment has been ported over to Solaris and Red Hat, from the original Berkeley 4.3 Unix system.
Reed's group not only administers the Athena environment, but also supports the entire MIT Linux community of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 and 4 machines. Windows and Mac boxes are supported by the another group called the Computing Helpdesk.