Subject: Re: Retrocomputing?
To: None <,>
From: Ross Harvey <>
List: current-users
Date: 06/17/1997 18:44:07
 > On Tue, 17 Jun 1997, David Jones wrote:
 > > Part of the appeal of NetBSD is that it runs on a great number of older
 > > workstation equipment that large companies are getting rid of, but which
 > > still has enough power to be a "nice box". e.g. Sparc 2, HP 425, Sun 3/280,
 > > etc.
 > > Is there a more accurate term for the practice of running 5-year old
 > > workstations?
 > I think frugality is a good term for it.  In my mind retrocomputing refers
 > to software and hardware that is far enough out of date that the primary
 > value of using it is the experience, rather than achieving a practical
 > goal like serving users.  Running a 386-40 is frugal, running a
 > Microvax II is, at least if recieved in the condition I received the one I
 > played with, very much retro.   Even a Mac+, an ancient sun 2 ('tho I
 > haven't even seen one to judge) or an 8086 is simply frugality.  Running a
 > Lisa/Mac XL (which is very similar to the Mac+ ) is retro.  Most anything
 > not ~100% PC compatible before 1985-6 is retro.  Even the NeXTs have a
 > certain retro appeal to me.   

I agree, something like an '11 is really left over from the last ice
age, so it would be, say, canonical or Jurassic retrocomputing. Even in
their day, I think they were hard to get up and keep going, so today it
is almost the equivalent to having a running Model T.

Then there is a whole class of desktop hardware that is old, sure, but
running it is just eccentric and cheap, so it's real cool that you can
run netbsd-current on it, but its only mid-retro. Kind of like having a
60's dodge.

I'm not sure how to classify the big vaxen. (...typing in the cold
start program in hex...doing all installs directly from the Berkeley
9-track tape...unless it was a Mt Xinu site...)  It sure felt wierd
when we threw a 750 in a dumpster for the first time. We have a really
loaded-up one that would have been in the dumpster years ago except
it's in storage, so we keep forgetting that we still have it.

Ross Harvey	Avalon Computer Systems, Inc.
		Santa Barbara