yossman.net glossary
document first created 1996-12-29.
document URL is http://www.yossman.net/support/glossary.html.
document last updated 2004-01-25.

if you have any questions or comments about this unofficial glossary, i would like to hear them. please email me at yossman at yossman.net.

internet internet backbone internet service provider (ISP or NSP) operating system (OS)
unix shell account T1/T3 network lines/links

updated 29dec96
created 29dec96
the Internet is a network made up of millions of computers connected together, geographically located around the world, which 'talk' in a manner common to all of them, much like a universal language understood by all members of an organization. every single machine connected to the Internet is part of the Internet by definition; the user connected via a slow, temporary link, such as a personal computer using a modem over a normal telephone line, is as much a part of the Internet as a super-computer connected with multiple T3 network lines. Obviously, the resources of the super-computer on the T3 lines will be used much more often than the slow modem-linked personal computer, if in fact the personal computer even has anything to offer anyone else on the Internet.
internet backbone
updated 29dec96
created 29dec96
the collection of computers on the Internet with the fastest network links is generally considered the Internet backbone. this collection of computers and network links is usually administrated and supported by major corporations, telephone companies, universities, and government departments, who in turn generally get support from the slower-linked people such as NSPs and ISPs, who in turn get their support from end users. end users are people with the slowest links, but who are usually also paying the least amount of money. their interest is in using the Internet, but not necessarily supporting the infrastructure.
internet service provider (ISP)
closely related to network access providers (NSPs)

updated 29dec96
created 29dec96
Internet Service Providers supply people with access to the Internet. they normally provide various ways to connect computers to the Internet, ranging from relatively cheap, slow-speed connections to expensive high-speed connections. ISPs get their access from Network Access Providers (NSPs), who for the most part make up the backbone of the Internet. it is in this way that both access to the Internet and costs for getting Internet access are distributed out for the benefit of everyone involved.
operating system (OS)
updated 29dec96
created 29dec96
an operating system is a collection of software designed to run a computer. it can range in function from basic control over hardware devices in a computer, to 'higher-level' control of a computer, where it starts making short-cuts, assuming things, to allow hardware pieces in the computer to interact with each other better and to make accessing the computer easier for the person using it, the 'user'.

operating systems vary in size, power, and functionality. some examples of major operating systems currently in use are unix, OS/2, MacOS, NeXTSTEP, BeOS, Windows 95, and Windows NT. unix is a rather unique OS in the collection because there are dozens of different 'types' of unix, or 'flavours' as they are affectionately called by the people who use them, where usually the other operating systems do not have different types, just different revisions, or updates, of the same system.
unix shell account
updated 29dec96
created 29dec96
a unix shell account is a part of a computer system running the unix operating system which 'belongs' to a user. this shell account allows you to make use of the system resources of that computer in a somewhat limited manner. system resources may include disk space to store information, use of the email systems, compiler resources if you are into development of programs or applications (programming), world wide web development space (www), newsgroups, and various other features which each system may or may not have installed. generally speaking the real power behind a unix shell account, especially if the account is on a system connected to the Internet, is that it can be accessed from anywhere else on the Internet, or directly dialing it using a device such as a modem, using common tools which are available for most other operating systems.

most people use their shell account(s) as a base of operations for whatever they may be up to. since a shell account can be accessed in a number of ways on a number of platforms, it allows people to continue to do what they like to do no matter where they are in the world or what type of computer they are on, assuming both the shell account system and the system you are on are connected to the same network, which is usually the Internet.
T1/T3 network lines/links
updated 29dec96
created 29dec96
a T1 line is a type of network connection. it is rated at a speed of 1.5Mbps, which is 1.5 million bits per second. note this is bits, not bytes. a typical 28.8Kbps modem connection is 28.8 thousand bits per second, or roughly 50 times slower than a T1. a T3 line is rated at 45Mbps, or 45 million bits per second, about 24 times faster than a T1 (due to the way data is transfered over a T1, a T3 is not 30 times faster), or roughly 1560 times faster than a 28.8Kbps connection.

for a quick, extremely rough determination of approximately how many actual bytes per second these numbers translate to, divide the number of bits per second by 9. for example, to determine how many bytes per second your 28.8Kbps modem is capable of transferring, divide 28800 by 9, giving 3.2KBps, or 3.2 kilobytes per second (3200 bytes per second). contrast this transfer rate to that of a T1, divide 1500000 by 9, giving 166KBps, or approximately 166 kilobytes per second.

please keep in mind that because of the way modems and T1s differ in connection type and use, these numbers are by no means really accurate. T1 line capacity is actually much closer to 190K/s than 166K/s.

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