Dont want to start a flame war here but

From: Dave McGuire <>
Date: Mon Nov 15 17:47:12 1999

On Mon, 15 Nov 1999, Ram Meenakshisundaram wrote:
>Just curious. What motivates someone to collect old minis and mainframes???
>I can see it being nice to look at for a while, but something as big as a mini is
>very cumbersome to have around the house (let alone an apartment). And what
>pratical use does it serve running it at home anyway??? I see a lot of posts
>about collectors having paper tapes, reels, card readers, etc, but how often does
>one really use it or even turn it on. I would imagine that it probably sets idle
>for about 95-99% of the time and most people would turn on a PC instead. I have a
>SUN IPX and a PC. I rarely turn the SUN on, but I keep it around to do some
>practical UNIX programming on a real UNIX box instead of linux, freebsd, etc. As
>I said, I dont want to start a flame war or anything, just curious thats

  Lots of reasons. For one, I never use PC hardware. For anything. My "work"
machines at home are all Sun and SGI systems. My "recreational" systems are
various types of machines, including so-called "classic" computers.

  I'm a programmer by trade. I write networking applications in C for Unix
machines. Every now & then, I'll fire up a pdp11 with 248kb of RAM and just
write fun stuff. With the limitations in performance (for some pdp11 systems
anyway, others are quite fast) and memory address space, it really helps me
hone my programming skills in the direction of absolute code efficiency. In
this day of unlimited RAM and practically unlimited CPU power, too many
programmers are lazy and write fat, bloated, slow code. Running some more
limited systems (limited in those ways, anyway) helps me keep my programming
skills in shape.

  And the number one most important reason: they're FUN. I LIKE dicking with
these systems. They have personality. Not like some crappy plastic
three-months-til-obsolescence commercialized whiz-bang PeeCee, but a real,
honest, well-designed, well-built computer from the days when proper
engineering was the motivating factor in the computer industry...not just
maximization of profit and "putting one over" on the customer base.

>PS: If I started to collect stuff like that, my wife will throw me out of the
>house. She already complains about my transputer equipment...

  ...well there's no "nice" way to say this, so I apologize in advance for
sounding like an asshole. While I realize that compromise is a part of any
relationship, I don't think I'd ever be able to spend time with someone who
would tell me what hobbies I can or cannot have, or what things I can or
cannot own. Perhaps, as a single man, my views are somewhat naive and
idealistic, but that's just my opinion.

  I do apologize if it sounds like I'm slamming your wife...I'm sure she's a
wonderful person...but for me, I grew up hacking computers. I'm not giving
that up for *anything*...or anyone. Indeed, it's all I have, and it's all I am.

               -Dave McGuire
Received on Mon Nov 15 1999 - 17:47:12 GMT

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