[conspire] 1988 vs. 1998

Karl Thiessen karlht at gigdrag.net
Fri Mar 13 16:44:56 PDT 2009

On Fri, Mar 13, 2009 at 04:19:24PM -0700, Rick Moen wrote:
> I wrote:
> > The physical machine required to run BALE's setup is, um, pathetically
> > minimal.  As a reminder, uncle-enzo.linuxmafia.com is still a 1988-era
> > VA Research model 500 PIII/500                                ^^^^
> Not that it matters much, but:  1998.
> 1988 was the era of the 286 CPU, 640 to 2048 kB of RAM, "extended
> memory", and 150 MB RLL or ESDI hard drives being regarded as
> unfathomably huge.

I will admit that the thought of a VA Research model existing before
the public announcement of the availability of the Linux kernel gave
me quite a frisson of twisted time-travel.  What other scientific
wonders lurk behind Rick's garage's mild-mannered exterior, I wonder?

It was bad enough installing Slackware from 11 3.5" floppies (because
the new CD-ROM drive had a non-standard connector/interface) onto a
reasonably-capable P100 in 1997.  The thought of trying to run Linux
on a 286* in the days when I was bemoaning the lack of protected
memory in the 68k family** is enough to send me screaming for the

* (Sure, the 286 had a protected mode, but bank-switching between 64K
segments in a Unix-like OS?  Ouch, ouch, ouch.)

** (Anyone else remember the good old Guru Meditation days of the
Amiga 1000?  Alas, by the time Linux PPC came out, I was firmly in the
Intel-compatible commodity hardware camp, for reasons having less to
do with purity of instruction set than sheer economic pragmatism.)

Anyhow, this is in danger of getting too long for a proper
tongue-in-cheek post.    My best to all on the list.


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