[rescue] New subscriber...

Sheldon T. Hall shel at cmhcsys.com
Sat Mar 13 13:41:12 CST 2004

Exposited Dave McGuire ...

>    Well you make an excellent point of course...but SS20s are now to the
> point where they are free, or very nearly so.


I spend a lot of money on "free" computers ... they always seem to want
upgrading, and the upgrade parts aren't usually quite free.  So, it seems to
go like this ...

A friend pulls a SPARCstation LX out of a dumpster.  He's a Mac guy, so he
gives it to me.  It's got 16 MB of RAM and a 424 MB HD, a minimal
installation of SunOS 4.1.1, and expects to NFS mount a load of directories
off a LAN.

So, to put this "free" computer to work, I buy (albeit cheaply) a
Sun-bootable CD-ROM drive, a 411 case, and a SCSI cable.  I borrow a Solaris
2.5.1 CD.

Oops, can't plug a PC monitor into it, gotta buy a Mac Plus monitor cable so
I can run a serial console.

Hmmm.  Solaris 2.5.1 is a pretty tight fit on a 424 MB HD, so I buy a bigger

OK, now I can install the OS and various toys.  Geez, it is slow, and the HD
is going whackita-whackita all the time.  Buy some RAM.

OK, now I have to hook it up to the 10base2 network, so I buy a hub with
both 10baseT and 10base2 connections.

Set up the LX to be a DNS server, outgoing mailserver, timeserver, etc.
Still have some disk space left, so I install Samba and let the Windows
boxes on the network back up their critical files to the LX.

Now we're cooking!

But wait, the stuff on the LX isn't getting backed up ... buy a DDS tape
drive and a bunch of tapes....

Sound familiar so far?

After a while, of course, word gets around that it's cheaper to give me old
computers than to pay the hazmat fees at the dump, so I get lots more "free"
computers to spend money on ...

Which just sharpens my apetite for more.  I mean, someone gives me an SGI
Challenge L.  Monstrous thing.  Has three tiny HVD disk drives, a slow
CD-ROM drive, and two useless tape drives.  But it had 4 processors and 1.5
GB RAM, so I can't let it go to waste....

On the other hand, I'm having a ball, and I could never have afforded this
stuff when it was new.  I figure I've got a couple-or-three-large of actual
cash in all this stuff, and it cost the original owners most of
half-a-million bucks....

When it comes to the OP's problem ... it's tough.  You get a "free" SMP
computer with only one processor in it, and it's pretty hard to ignore that
gaping hole staring reproachfully back at you.  On the othe hand, buying
another CPU module puts you on a slippery slope paved with Mastercard
receipts ...

Or, as some wise [man|guy] once said, "I don't have a solution, but I do
admire your problem."


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