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i386: Technical Information

What exactly is this? And what does i386 mean?

This site is home to a motley collection of articles about computer network and system administration. Here, you'll find general computer information on a variety of subjects: hardware, software, networking, web design, and whatever else I arbitrarily decide to post. There is no particular reason why a website devoted primarily to Southeast Asia should have a section devoted to technical articles, but still, here it is. Most of these articles began as my notes for specific tasks or problems that I needed to solve. Eventually, I realized that other people probably face these same problems from time to time, and it seemed worthwhile to post the articles online. Hopefully, others can benefit from my experience, and from my mistakes.

Most of the articles here pertain to network and system administration. You'll also find a collection of free software on the Download page; most of these programs are administration utilities, but there are a few games and other tools and toys.

In case you're wondering why this section is referred to as i386 -- or in case you are wondering about the significance of the "i386" designation in Windows setup programs -- here's my best guess: When Microsoft released Windows NT, it was originally available for different hardware platforms. One version ran on the DEC Alpha; another (later) version ran on PowerPC processors, and another version ran on the venerable Intel 386. Some setup disks for the program included files for the different platforms; so on your Windows NT CDROM, you might see a folder named Alpha, and another folder named i386.

Eventually, Microsoft stopped supporting other platforms, and later operating systems built on the NT kernel ran only on the Intel's x86 family of processors. The folder containing the installation files, however, continued to bear the "i386" name. Why? I don't know. My guess is that Microsoft just left it that way because sysadmins had gotten used to looking for an "i386" folder when they needed to find installation files.

So why is this section of the Mekong.Net referred to as i386? Several years ago, I was testing some DNS settings, and I needed a junk domain name. I decided that if I was going to have another domain, I might was well use it, and I decided that I'd keep a collection of links, software, tutorials, and technical articles there. I wanted the domains "sysadmin.info" or "i386.com," but other, more clever people had already taken those. I settled on i386.info. I maintained a site at that URL for a few years, and then suddenly asked myself why I was still paying good money for the domain name, when I really didn't give a rat's ass about it. I eventually migrated most of the articles from i386.info to Mekong.net. The old i386 name, however, lingers on... much as it does at Microsoft.