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What's a DSP?

So, what exactly is a DSP? Well, there's some history attached, and it goes a little something like this:

Once upon a time, in a university in Limerick, there was an odd bunch of people. Actually, there probably still is an odd bunch of people in UL, but I digress. This bunch of people were odd because they spent a lot of their free time playing an odd genre of games, called role-playing games, and mucking with a big computer called 'The VAX'.

Now, this makes them odd compared to much of the rest of the folk attending college, but statistically speaking you'll get this sort of group in any given college anywhere.

These people were a mixed bunch. There were a few 'senior' students, i.e. they weren't all frosh (nor were they all students), and they covered a range of courses - arts, business, chemistry, computers, electronics, and so on. The common factors generally boiled down to a selection of some or all of the following:

  1. role-playing games
  2. The VAX
  3. role-playing games on The VAX
  4. an odd outlook on life, mainly cynical
  5. a bizarre sense of humour
  6. a certain creative air, often musical or poetic
  7. an itching desire to figure out how stuff works

Those of you familiar with the Hackers' Dictionary and similar discussions of the Stereotypical Hacker can look smug now.

Through hanging out together, these folk ended up in houseshares with each other - formal and informal. And in one of these communal houses, one of the occupants turned to the assembled throng one night and said:

You're all a bunch of


Shazam. Instant meme, and by extension, the group was christened.

Now, since then, the group has expanded rather dramatically, and not always through, um, acquisition of partners or whatever you'd like to call it. Every now and again someone just melds with the group. Of course, we're a lot more geographically spread than we used be, so that brings us around to the subject of the DSPsrv.

Tell us, Waider, what's the DSPsrv?

Some time in 1994, a few DSPs in UL began mailing each other collectively and copying mails to JoeV, who was working for Microsoft on the other side of the country. Eventually, JoeV set up an automatic filter on his mail that would trap anything with "Hacksrv" in the subject line and bounce it to everyone. Yay! Mailing list!

Then JoeV was forced to somehow break this, so Alan took over the running of the list for a while. Yay! Continued mailing list!

Then Alan's system broke or he left or something, and the mailing list died. Boo! No mailing list!

Then Waider got a fit of hacking with awk, and set up a new mailing list, and called it... dspsrv. After a while it turned into Perl, and then moved out of UL with Waider and set up shop in Motorola, and then Cork Internet Services, and then it finally became a real mailing list run with Majordomo on Cognotec's mail machine. Since then it's been to Esat's mailing list server and is currently running right here on the dspsrv.com box.

07 - 05 - 1999. Corrections by everyone, since Waider's good at reinventing history.