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Following the great success of our last CNL and the "Special Edition - 35th anniversary" which was greatly appreciated by our readers (as confirmed by some e-mails sent to the editor), it is not really surprising to propose a much lighter edition for the Summer.
However, you will see we have still dedicated a special chapter (Special 35th Year Anniversary) to allow the continuation of more "anniversary" articles during all of the year 2001. Not very many new contributions have been submitted for this issue, but we hope to convince more authors, via this editorial, to contribute to the next two CNL issues, and provide their historical analysis of some CERN Computing domains that have not been described yet (e.g. "Graphics Computing Evolution", "History of Databases at CERN", etc.)
This summer edition is then a more "traditional" one with announcements of various changes affecting our central services, like the move from HPSS to Castor, the NICE (Windows) 2000 migration, the 2001 CERNLIB release and future of CERNLIB, and the end of LocalTalk networking. Other articles are informative messages like the usage generalisation of our Problem Report Management System, and advice concerning computer security.
We wish you all a good summer holiday, and hope you enjoy reading this new CERN Computer NewsLetter edition.
CNL Editor, IT/User Support
As computing becomes a more and more widespread and complex activity in the laboratory, the need will increase for a means to have a wider general circulation of background information about different aspects of computing activities than is possible with the present system of Computer Notices. I therefore make no apology for introducing yet another circular which will find its way on to CERN desks. Rather I would express the hope that this newsletter will prove to be a useful source of general information on computer use and performance, programming developments and the requirements of different kinds of computer uses in the laboratory. The newsletter will be edited by the Computer manager and any comments, criticism or suggestion for topics to be included should be addressed to him.
Preface to CNL 1 by G.R.Macleod, 15 February 1966
This is the way the DD Division Leader at the time prefaced the first issue of our Newsletter. I have felt over the past years very much on the same wavelength. I have always considered the CNL as our window to the gallery, a valid channel to explain to you, the users, what we do and why we do it. It also offers a prespective of the evolution in services and offerings.
When I became Head of User Support four years ago, I pushed for an activity-oriented structure in the CNL, rather than the former unit-oriented one. Indeed, to those of you out there it is now hopefully easier to understand what is being offered, as we try to reflect the perspective of a 'customer', rather than that of a 'provider'.
But as important to explain what we do, is to help you to make better usage of our services. I introduced the "Learning Zone" chapter, with the ambition (rather unfulfilled) of offering modest training and "academic computing curiosities". I am a firm believer that a trained Computer User is an efficient professional. Let us put behind those countless hours spent in front of the screen guessing software features by trial and error rather than by reading the documentation (when it exists and it is up-to-date!).
I also consider that history must not be forgotten nor given lesser importance just because in older times users did not enjoy a fraction of the technological breakthroughs we know today. It is precisely on such historical foundations that progress stands. The launching of the 35th Anniversary event, the historical articles on "Computing at CERN, Once Upon a Time" or the rescue of all CNL indices in electronic form may serve as samples of this conviction.
By the time you read this, I will have been reassigned to other functions away from User Support. This will likely mean that it is my last Newsletter in the Editorial Board, since my role there has been in overseeing that an appropriate reconciliation of user expectations and service provisions have been conveyed or simply expressed.
I am glad to have taken, together with Nicole Cremel and Michel Goossens, this Newsletter into the 3rd Millenium. Indeed no luck for the one who might have wanted to celebrate the next anniversary.
I'll continue serving you though; at a different corner but with equal enthusiasm. I don't say "Adios", but just "Hasta la Vista".
Head of User Support