[rescue] Looking for Ultrix 4 for DECstation

Ian Finder ian.finder at gmail.com
Fri Jul 22 17:24:40 CDT 2011

> I regard myself as a "temporary custodian" of my
> gear and desperately hope that proper institutions can step to the
> fore to preserve these wonderful machines before I pass on.

That is exactly how I think of it, glad we're on the same page.

I devote my time and money to this because I think this stuff should
be accessible once people hopefully "get it."

In 100 years, nothing would pleasure me more than if these machines
could be preserved in such a way that they are dynamic and
interactive, instead of sitting with a blank screen as a "mummified"
inoperable corpse.

I mean how neat would it be to be able to use the machine from inside
its display case.

Some day, I hope to put more time and my HDL skills into more
future-proof and accessible ways to keep these systems running-- disk
emulators, replacing all the caps with tantalum ones, and perhaps some
sort of imaging and remote access system.

>   One thing that sets computers apart from lots of historical "items"
> (artefacts) is that computers were built to *do* things, an to just
> preserve them as static artefacts denies them their context.  This is
> a curator's nightmare -- in order for the artefact to *mean* anything,
> is pretty much need not only to be in running order but needs to run
> when questions are asked.

This is why software preservation, legal or not, above ground or not,
is crucial.

On that topic, what is the lifespan on the (E)EPROM roms in all these
machines and peripherals we love so dearly?

Might it be time to start an organized stockpile of backup images for
the rarer machines and peripherals?

   Ian Finder
   (206) 395-MIPS
   ian.finder at gmail.com

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