Subject: Re: Retrocomputing?
To: None <email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: Ross Harvey <email@example.com>
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 to software and hardware that is far enough out of date that the primary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
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. firstname.lastname@example.org
Santa Barbara http://www.teraflop.com