Subject: Re: chucks and old hardware (Re: NetBSD logo design competition)
To: None <,>
From: Gary Thorpe <>
List: current-users
Date: 01/16/2004 01:53:11
 --- Chuck Yerkes <> wrote: > Quoting Greywolf
> Just discussing elsewhere that I felt it was a waste of effort,
> 98% of the time, to spend efforts to keep utterly useless machines
> running.  While a VAX 750 holds some nostalgia for some people,
> to quote an Ikea commercial:  "Get over it, it's just a lamp."
> When developer time is spent getting a 2MHz machine to run well
> when it would be spent better getting current machines and new
> features in, then obscurity takes away from the project.  As neat
> as it would be to run BSD on my Motorola model 6300 Minicomputer
> (perhaps an S100 backplane, a 68030, an 80MB MFM disk and 1-2MB
> RAM and some wierd motorola unix that served 16 people in my old
> office until we replaced it with a 386/25 running
> Linux^H^H^H^H^HXenix
> that ran 200 times faster), any time spent to make that work would
> be taken away from useful projects.

This is a volunteer project and I would assume people _volunteer_ to
maintain the various ports. I.e. if they were not doing that they may
not necessarily be writing the next FFS extension.

> Faster file systems, logical volume management, ACLs, user-invisible
> clustering over a network, AFS ports - all more worthwhile that
> pushing
> off dust.

More importantly, can you demonstrate that maintaining the various
ports actually takes away from new projects? 

> <opinion whose="mine only">
> I enjoy my Kaypro "portable" CPM box and my 6300, but I don't
> consider it worthy of the time it would take away.  Hell, the
> Sparc 1's and DECstation5000's are beyond being useful (my PDA
> draws a couple watts and smokes both of those).

You PDA can run a multitasking OS _with_ memory protection and supports
multiple users? Multiple I/O devices (not just the touch screen and a
serial port)? Can your PDA serve mail/web pages or route packets? Yes,
your PDA definately has a faster CPU and more memory. Can your PDA run
NetBSD??? If it could, is there any way to get the OS into it?

> My recently bought (new) 486 on a chip box IS worthy - currently
> shipping appliances are great and worthy efforts.  Crap that ran
> in 1989 (or 1979) doesn't count as moving the project ahead.
> Do I care if new code to make a HyperSPARC work better breaks a
> Sun 4/280?  not unless there's a really good reason to keep that
> old machine working (eg. it's got cards in it that run a factory
> floor).  The "cool machine" factor ranks pretty low, IMHO.
> Esp when it draws away resources.
> Educational purposes are different.
> </opinion>

The same argument can be extended to supporting anything that's not
x86-compatible.....and in practice, which port do you think is the best
maintained/most actively developed anyway? [By the way, aren't
HyperSPARC 's themselves dusty machines by now???]
As you yourself point out, a lot of old technology get miniaturized and
 redesigned for low power and end up in embedded systems. Of course, I
have never heard of someone miniaturizing a VAX....

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