The PATeam (called ESIEE Port Team at that time) was born in mid September 2000 as ESIEE's General IT Resources Service (Service des Moyens Informatiques Généraux or SMIG in French) executive manager Thierry Simonnet was searching for three students (in fourth year) to work on a project : The Puffin Group's PA-RISC Linux Port. The Project was bound to be true professionnal work in an industrial context. In addition to that, since it was an international project, there was a lot to learn on distant teamwork, which is rare knowledge.
Thierry Simonnet had been working on the project since December 1999, as he was managing the Computer Resources Department (which is in charge of ESIEE's computer network and administration). Its job is to ensure security on the network as well as making sure there is no bad use of the computer resources which counted some 200 HP workstations (80% of the computers) and PCs accessible by students at that time. Moreover, the service was then ESIEE's partner computer companies' main contact.
The PATeam was at the beginning a group of three fourth-year students majoring in computer science (Xavier Debacker, Maleck Djoudi, Thomas Marteau). Seven other students (Stéphanie Calliari, Matthieu Delahaye, Raphael Fairise, Julien Ferbert, Olivier Masle, David Queré and Jean-Christophe Vaugeois) joined the group at the beginning of January 2001. They all had different backgrounds and experiences but still shared this great interest for computers. They were working on the Puffin Group's port project as part of their school internal fourth-year projects during the first term of 2001. After that, some decided to continue working on the project during their spare time (Matthieu Delahaye, Thomas Marteau), and new members arrived in April 2001 (Samuel Benhamou, Clément Moyroud, Thomas Eskenazi and Bruno Iglesias). They worked on the project during the last term of 2001. The project (which originally started as a case study) has been very successful that year, and its results were presented at Linux Expo (Paris) in Feb 2001, and several months later at the Debian 1 conference in Bordeaux, France. Since then, and since them, the project has been worked on during students' spare time, sometimes during whole endless nights !
At the fall of 2001, the project was still growing up (with Matthieu Delahaye, Thomas Marteau and Clément Moyroud still involved), and had made followers: two other main projects had started at ESIEE. One was about LinuxBIOS, and the other was dealing with IA64 (with the premise of what would later open the way to the Gelato Federation). Thus, some of the pioneers had left the team (even though they were still helping), others had decided to keep going, but nevermind: the team was gaining new (young!) members (Thibaut Varene). In fact, it was then open to students that were in various level of learning at the school (from second-year - like Thibaut - up to fifth-year - like Matthieu - students). The leader of the crew was then a fourth-year student (Clement Moyroud), and the first members had successors to continue what they'd started !
By the end of 2002, things had changed a bit. Most of the pioneers had left the team as they graduated, and the team was then led by a third-year student (Thibaut Varene). Development was focused on specific hardware matters (E-class SCSI, FX Graphics, sound chip...). The LinuxBIOS project had been replaced by a RTAI one, and the IA64 project had turned into Gelato Federation participation. Anyway, the PA/Linux project continued and had recruited a valuable new member since mid-September 2002 (Laurent Canet).
During the scholar year 2002-2003, the team had been very active, doing much kernel development (Harmony ALSA driver, PDC Chassis driver, keyboard/mouse input driver, lots of debugging on 2.5 kernel series; and KGDB port, among other things) thanks to the efforts of Laurent and Thibaut, and the help of many hackers! While 2003 was getting close to the end, Thibaut, in fourth year, continued to handle the project and started new developments (IRQ Affinity...).
In 2003-2004, Thibaut, still leading the team, was being rather swamped with work, and, since most of the other members of the team had left the school by that time, he had hardtime pushing new developments as fast as he used to. Anyway, the team continued as best as it could to provide support for the port, and to help new developments. Debug spinlocks have been done at that time, and a lot of efforts have been put into getting SMP to work, which was finally done thanks to a collective effort and the skills of fellow developers.
Unfortunately, in 2004 and thereafter, ESIEE gradually reduced its support for the project, and nowadays it doesn't support it anymore, save for website and machines hosting. Thibaut keeps handling things and hacking his favorite platform on his spare time, thanks to the help and precious support from some PA-RISC lovers in North America! Many thanks to them, they know who they are ;-)