At SEP a Linux ``base system'' could potentially replace four existing computer platforms (Apple, Sun, HP and IBM). Additionally, SEP could eliminate the porting of GNU software to those platforms and could drastically simplify the general system administration and the maintenance of X11 and TEX. Finally, SEP could avoid the transition from SunOS to Solaris.
We envision replacing the Mac, Sun, IBM, and HP system administration jobs with a single Linux system administration job. Since all the software we installed from precompiled binaries can be upgraded that way, the Linux administration job should be less time-consuming than any one of the four jobs it would replace. The use of the precompiled software would also eliminate the GNU and X11 job entirely.
The system administration of the special purpose platforms would continue. However, that should be limited to one or two machines and maintenance of these machines would be limited to a few important applications.
Our plan could reduce the number of computer jobs to as few as three: system administration for the Linux platform, system administration for the special purpose platforms, and the SEP publication job (TEX, World Wide Web, CD-ROM). Three or four energetic students could manage these three jobs. Besides being manageable, such a computer environment would be attractive for hackers (Linux) as well as computational speed enthusiasts (SGI).