Fly with us to the place where dragons dwell
The following describes a rough timeline mapping the history of Red Claw
Sat in Unipalm Pipex's office in Cambridge late at night, after nearly a year and a half of using talkers like Underworld, the decision is made by DragonLord to make a talker of his own using EWToo generic codebase.
After only a week of hacking, the first ever incarnation of Red Claw was born; Initially only being accessible after 6pm when all at Pipex had gone home, and only known about by certain individuals including Khelandhros (Riocaz back then) and Mouse, it slowly gathered a following.
The disaster. Pipex had decided to frame DragonLord in a typical "it was the line mangler's fault" move that Pipex became well known for. The placement year was in total jeapordy. Luckilly, a friend had a word and convinced Wunderman Cato-Johnson to take on a troubled student, so the move to Surrey occurred. Red Claw was offline for what felt like forever. The codebase was changed to PlayGround and would come online from home on a modem at various times where KBlake and Tictac, amongst others would pass comments on new code and ideas
DragonLord became the firewall person at WCJ after a few months and so managed to get a Linux box on the network accessible from outside - Red Claw was back and with a permanent home - well until the end of placement anyway... Popularity grew and fell, but generally grew - it was never a busy place, but many came for a look.
Uni. Final Year. Dissertation. But did DragonLord let this get in the was of Red Claw? No way! Perhaps he should've done, but never mind. The codebase was changed again, this time to PG+, and DragonLord, Ranger, Cyco and Ste all worked on changing the look and feel (all those late sessions in netlab - ah the memories). Red Claw's home became the Linux machine that was the Computer and Internet Societies server (of which we were all members/key staff of). Linux2 was to be Red Claw's home for over a year, and this year saw some of the biggest changes in RC's userbase history with waves of people falling out with DragonLord and other staff and leaving, and new people coming in - turbulant though it was, at least it felt like a "proper" talker!
Uni done and dusted, a professional vocation was sought and DragonLord became a techie bod at Sheffield ISP, Force9 - Red Claw moved sometime afterwards to his office Linux Box, as connections to Linux2 became flaky due to SHU's "cloud in the sky" routing etc. Transition was quick and uneventful, userbase grew with characters like Woody, Marm, Arkhelp and Lokie coming and ultimately, going again.
After being gainfully (!) employed at Force9 for a year and a bit, DragonLord build a dedicated machine out of spare parts and blagged network space for it on Force9's network - redclaw.org.uk was born and set to stay, even after DragonLord left PlusNet in September 2000. It became policy in 1999 to stop updating Red Claw with PG+ upgrades and to start levering the code away from pure PG by addition of quirky commands and functionality. The look of Red Claw from 1998 till 2002 was to be the RedClaw people would recognise and learn to love(!)
The decision was made to move Red Claw to a new dedicated server away from Force9, as it was deemed that we had used enough of their network (by us), and as all the people DragonLord knew there were slowly leaving, a time would come whereby noone would be left there to do admin favours when the box crashed or explain things when PlusNet's BGP failed, so a new box was built and kindly hosted by FirstNet in Leeds. RedClaw underwent changes to the look, and new functionality was added, the first in 3 years - A dedicated website was created and the whole thing relaunched - The RedClaw you see today. From here it is planned to get more functionality added more often and a new relaxed atmosphere adopted to appeal to a larger audience.
Moved again! Back to PlusNet! Why? 2 reasons: 1) DragonLord left his job to go back to PlusNet, and 2) Firstnet, now PIPEX, decided to be really unprofessional and switch off the server and move it to another location without any warning or consultation, and then didn't bother telling us that the box didn't come back up! In fact 72 hours later, after 4 hours of chasing, they only bothered to send someone to plug a screen in and see what was wrong - so it's official, since FirstNet sold out to PIPEX, their co-location system is an absolute JOKE! Still waiting for an apology from my account manager - my advice: Avoid PIPEX's Leeds based operation like the plague, it seemingly stinks now.