[rescue] Wanted: 486 desktop

Tom Manos tmanos at concursive.com
Mon Mar 22 12:05:41 CDT 2010

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Derrick Walker opined:

Back when I was in college, I ran Mach10 on a Mac Classic II, then Power Mac
10 on a 6100.  It was a kind of odd OS, and was a bit crash prone on the 6100
( no memory protection on the Power PPC version ), but it worked good enough
for me to learn UNIX and become a UNIX systems engineer.

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Hi Derrick,

Your story sounds pretty familiar, except I couldn't afford Apple hardware
that would run Unix back then. Basically, I would have needed a pretty high
end Mac II, and those were EXPENSIVE. But otherwise, my story is pretty
similar to yours.

Except for grad school in the the mid-'80s I was raised more on the AT&T side
of the house than the BSD side, but was comfortable in either place. If you
wanted to run Unix on your own hardware as a hobbyist, Interactive or
Microport on 386 were the only way to go. In school we had a Vax running 3BSD
I think, although it might have been 2.

I ran SVR2,3,and 4 over the years, so on my own hardware, I had cu instead of
tip. But I remember doing most of the stuff you mentioned, including hacking
up my finger server, keeping SL/IP sessions open for long periods, and
telnetting back to my home machine from work. Life with Unix was so much more
fun when you had to compile and install everything yourself. No RPM or
apt-get. You were much closer to understanding the entire system.

I also ran a full news feed via uucp on bnews back when a full news feed
didn't require terabytes per day. I got the feed from Old Dominion University
here in Norfolk VA. I had to bribe them with a new 9600bps Racal-Vadic modem
when they first came out. This was late '80s and nobody had v.32 modems yet.
As I recall, I payed about $600 for the two of them, one on my side, and one
on theirs. It was expensive but worth it. My geeky friends and I really liked
having our own feed.

I really miss the days of a useful and thriving USENET. Google groups is just
the pits. Things started going down hill as soon as broadband got cheap. I've
given some thought to starting a dark network running USENET for old geeks and
by invitation only, but I'm not sure there would be interest. You can do so
much more with the web these days.

Like you, I have a MacBook with a couple of cores, 4MB of RAM, and a 320GB
drive. I spend a lot of time at the terminal. Also have a gynormous linux
server at home for my web site. You can check out my site at thisoldmicro.com
if you're interested. It's a work in progress, but you might find something

Happy to take the discussion (if any) off list if this is getting too far off

Tom Manos
Concursive Corporation
Norfolk, VA

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