Subject: Re: Small, cheap systems...
To: Torsten Sadowski <>
From: Richard Rauch <>
List: netbsd-users
Date: 03/03/2001 15:31:31
> minimal heat and power would point to an old laptop. Putting it on edge
> shouldn't be a problem because Harddisks are usually specified to work

I seem to recall that if you put a hard drive on its edge, you may need to
do a lowlevel reformat---and that the PC interface doesn't let you do that
very easily.  (The different orientation affects head-seek, so the tracks
need to be re-laid, in my hazy understanding.)  Is that bogus, or can I
readily redo the low-level format of a PC drive?  (Or are laptops more
robust about changes in orientation?)

The big plus to anything i386-compatible is that I don't care at all if it
can build kernels or packages; I can do that on one of my real
systems.  (^&  (From the sound of it, anything less than 16MB, perhaps
anything less than 24 or 32 MB, thrashes badly on big compiles, due to
bloat in the GCC compiler.)

> flat or on edge. Display and keyboard might be an added value for the
> installation.

I look at that as added expense.  It pushed up the original cost, and
probably will tend to push up the cost of buyingsecond-hand.  Likewise, my
understanding is that laptop ethernet adapters are more expensive (and
older laptops are less likely to have such a feature built in).

A SPARC Classic or LX has also been recommended.  These apparently are
small (``lunchbox'' chasis), have ethernet built in, and can use a serial
console for everything.

They're pretty close to ideal as long as the serial console doesn't
interfere with the modem...

> P.S. The fixed fee for ISDN in Germany is a bit less than the fee for 2

Unfortunately, despite my family name, I'm a native of the U.S.A.  ISDN
didn't look too attractive when I was choosing a new ISP a couple of years
ago.  (And the NetBSD ISDN support is presently only useful in Europe,
isn't it?)  I hope to go to DSL or cable-modem after I move, this summer.  
If I don't, or can't, then I'll probably stick to dial-up.

  "I probably don't know what I'm talking about."