Linux Networx and Bernard Daines


In 1996, someone named Bernard Daines came to BYU, where I was teaching, and gave a talk about a brand new company he'd founded named "Packet Engines." Packet Engines made the first gigabit ethernet switch. Since I was chair of the capital equipment committee, I bought one. We had one with a very low chassis number. I didn't realize at the time, that Bernard had founded Grand Junction and sold it to Cisco in 1995. He'd later sell Packet Engines to Alcatel amid some controversy (for some interesting reading, see this article on Bernard Daines).

I've recently discovered two other interesting connections. Bernard Daines is the founder and former CEO of World Wide Packets, the company that makes the break out boxes being used by Provo City in their network. Its a cool little box about the zie of a paperback book that has a fiber connection in one side and four 100 Mb ethernet connections and two digital TV connections on the other side.

Bernard Daines is also the man behind Linux Networx, perhaps the coolest start-up in Utah at present. I had a chance to visit Linux Networx today and spend a little time with Steve Hill, the CEO. (Steve has an an interesting history in his own right.) Linux Networx puts together Linux clusters and sells them (the last part is important if you want to keep doing the first part). They built a 1150 node machine for Lawrence Berkeley National Labs (each node has 2 processors and 2 Gigs of RAM). They also build four node clusters that run Oracle. Every order is custom made on the assembly room floor in Sandy Utah. If you like Linux, big iron, or just like opening up new hardware and putting it together, this would be an incredibly cool place to work.

Seems like I keep bumping up against things Bernard Daines is involved in. I'd love to meet him again. He's got a talent for finding cool things to do and getting them done. It doesn't hurt that thanks to two successful start-ups he also has the money to be self-funding.