Linux Computing at MIT - page 3
From Red Line to Online
Reed was a student in 1997, working on his degree in Urban Studies and Planning. He joined the IS&T group as a student employee in 1998 and became a full-time staff member in 2002. Yes, he does have a fair amount of CS background, starting out on Red Hat Linux 4.
The Student Information Processing Board (SIPB) was the original group that built their own version of Athena on Linux. SIPB acted like a modern LUG, except that they worked across systems within the entire computing environment.
"Students probably used lots of distributions, but RedHat 3.0.3 was the first version of Linux that SIPB ported Athena to," Reed said.
Around 1999-2000 Reed's group picked up supporting Athena Linux from SIPB. Another group within IS&T picked up the development tasks. Back then, it was supported as Athena, not Slackware or another Linux distribution.
Around the same time, Linux was being evaluated at MIT, both by students and departments/labs, in order to standardize on a distribution. All manner of distributions were examined including SUSE, Debian, TurboLinux, Slackware, and Red Hat. Red Hat become the choice. Versions 7 and 8 were used.
2001 brought Red Hat Enterprise 2.1 (based on Red Hat 7.2) and a pilot program to test Linux viability with users.
By late 2002 the group had settled on Red Hat Enterprise 3.
In 2002-3 the main support/release team was formed and officially supporting Linux. The team went on to initiate a regular Linux update process.
The group moved to Red Hat Enterprise 4 in 2005.