[rescue] Production uses for rescued hardware

Skeezics Boondoggle skeezics at q7.com
Thu Jan 16 12:37:13 CST 2003

Ha!  "Work."  Whatever. :-)

I've been thinking about how I can't wait to cash out and retire.  (Can
you say "Fat chance?" I knew you could!)  I yearn for the day when I can
goof off all day and live off my interest...

It's a nice dream, anyway.

With a burgeoning collection of semi-modern hardware (ranging from 1973 to
about 1996?) I've been considering, once I have a suitable space to
provide power and cooling for more or all of it, helping a friend bring up
a new compile/porting farm.  He wants to build "a sourceforge that doesn't
suck", and my contribution would be to provide computing resources of all
varieties for builds and ports.  (My other interest is in developing a
better replacement for Cfengine, codifying ideas I've been mulling for a
decade or so, that Sun now calls "N1" or some nonsense...)

Many folks here will certainly remember the days of "All the world's a
VAX", which begat "All the world's a Sun" to today's "All the world must
be just like my personal hacked up homegrown heavily tweaked Linux box,
right?"... even with tools like autoconf/automake and efforts over the
years to make it easier to write portable code, I still have to spend
considerable time patching and fixing builds in FAR too many packages that
don't work out of the box.  (My favorite gripe is authors who loudly
proclaim YOU MUST HAVE A STRICT ANSI C COMPILER! and who's code pukes all
over itself when I run it through "cc -Xc", but compiles without warnings
on gcc 2.8.1... oh yeah, "strict", uh huh.)  So, providing a wide variety
of hardware and OSes to build and test things on seems like a worthwhile
thing to DO with all this stuff I've been collecting, rather than just
goof around with it in my basement when I can.

For other Rescuers, what's the main application for your older gear?
Personal use?  Historical interest only?  I know that some of you still
use older machines to earn a living or run a business, and still rely on
used gear in a production role of some kind.  I'm curious to know what 
sort of interesting uses people get out of the "obsolete" hardware they 

It'd be cool as hell to put together the "Rescue distributed computing
net" and see what our combined MIPS:watts ratio would be... :-)

Hope this isn't too off-topic.  Just having one of those days where I 
reeeeally don't want to be at work, y'know?


-- Chris

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