Classic Computers vs. Classic Computing

From: Douglas Quebbeman <>
Date: Thu Sep 13 17:17:41 2001

> > In a recent thread, Tony Duell expressed a lack of interest in the
> > emulators and simulators of old iron that are now circulating. His
> True. But let me say a couple of things here...


> > reasons centered around his love of hardware. From my perspective,
> > it appears that for Tony, the experience of computing cannot be
> > separated from the experiencing of the computer.
> That much is also true. As I've said a few times before, I am an
> electronics hacker primarily. My interest in computers is to consider
> them as (fairly) complex electronic circuits to be investigated, hacked,
> modified, repaired, etc. This is (I know) somewhat unconventional, but....

No so unconventional... I started with hardware (hacking the family TV,
stereo, and phones)...
> Since you can't (usefully) take a soldering iron to an emulator, it
> explains why I am not interested in them.

Isn't rosin (ersin) carcinogenic? Just kidding!
> > I confess I don't like that- the Classic Computers for which I
> > lust the most will forever remain inaccessible (and few examples
> You can probably gather from the above that I don't like it either! Sure,
> _I_ am interested in the hardware, but this list would be very boring if
> all memeber were like me. I feel that this list should cover other
> aspects of classic _computing_. Yes, keep the hardware repair and
> preservation (the bits I am interested in), but also include stuff on
> emulators, programming techniques for the older machines, software
> preservation, and everything else related to _computing_ 10 years or more
> ago.

Again, I didn't want you to feel picked-upon. However, for each of us
who posts, I'd bet there are ten who don't. Of those of us who do post,
each of us appears to represent yet a different facet of this interest
area. You post a lot, and I believe, whether you realize it or not,
that you represent a viewpoint held by many subscribers. In siezing
upon your words, I was really trying to focus on one particular
viewpoint, in order to place it in comparison and contrast with a
different viewpoint.

> > So, I think the formal name and the charter of this group should
> > change to reflect an interest in Class Computing. The only real
> I am assumeing that's a typo for 'Classic Computing'. In which case you
> have my vote...

_at_*#$^@*#& Where's that damned DWIM keyboard when I need it??? ;-)

> > change would be that discussions about the eumlators and simulators
> > would no longer be OT unless they drift into details of programming
> > the emu/simulators themselves. Additionally, more detailed discussions
> Why the last exclusion? I've never heard of a discussion on how to
> diagnose hardware faults using modern test equipment being branded as
> off-topic. Nor using modern parts to repair old machines. Nor using
> modern machines as an aid to restoring/preserving old hardware. Why
> should writing emulators be any different.

It can quickly degenerate into "this version of GCC does <x> but
doesn't do <yz>"... most of the sims are relying on GCC for portability.
Or, do we build it as one huge monolithic source, or modularize the
source? Separate execution modules running as native processes, or
one big carefully-coded "superloop" that polls everything?

For that level of discussion, it may prove beneficial to have
a mailinglist dedicated to emulator/simulator theory. But if
there is insufficient interest to mandate a separate list, ok,
this is as fine a place as any for the discussions.
> I don't particularly want to see complete listings for emulators (many
> megabytes of C source) posted here, but certainly techniques for writing
> them could be classed as on-topic, I think.

Agreed... -dq

Received on Thu Sep 13 2001 - 17:17:41 BST

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