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*nix software and systems

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First post, by Caluser2000

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There seems to be some interest in *nix and *nix systems so I thought I'd start a thread about it. The intention of this thread is to discuss old *nix which include so called "real" UNIX systems,*BSDs, Linux, Xinix, Minix, QNX and and other *nix work alike software and systems. I know this forum is predominantly x86 which covers Solaris, OSX, Linux etc, but it'd be nice to see what other *nix systems folk used, had in the past or have stashed away in their basements. And maybe some pictures of these setups.

My experience has been using Linux at home, so I would in no way be called an expert. I curious about operating systems and there hardware in general.While I was testing old hard drives I came across an old hard drive with Tuto Linux 6.0 Server from 1999.. Limited PnP support, mainly video and NIC set up. Based on a my P200mmx test rig, which has around 256 MB of ram, IDE 4 gig Bigfoot HDD, IDE HP CD writer, 3.5" FDD, RTL8139D Genius PCI NIC, SIS PCI SVGA card with 8 MB VRAM connected to my recently repaired Transonic 16.5" LCD TV which I use for testing various systems and last but not least a Genius keyboard I bought about 12 years ago. Oh and the AT 200 watt PSU is out of a 486 from about '93. Around half a dozen legacy sound cards are supported by this OS. I guess being to perform as a server that wasn't a priority. I'll be interesting to have a look at the Workstation version. USB support is zero. Basically a clean install with a bit of desktop customizing and web browser upgraded from Netscape Communicator 4.75 to Opera 9.27 using some random ftp server online. Surprising enough NS was able to post and upload images to vogons.org, so kudos to the site creators.

Anyway over to you ladies and gents on your *nix experience and thanks for participating. Before I go here's what a 20 year old *nix desktop can look like with about 10 minutes effort:

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Ratty old set up(click on it to flip):

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:

Last edited by Caluser2000 on 2019-09-13, 03:20. Edited 4 times in total.

There's a glitch in the matrix.

Reply 1 of 42, by ShovelKnight

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I remember our local university had classes of MIPS workstations that ran some kind of BSD with GNUstep on top. It was in 1998 if I remember correctly. The machines were quite old even at the time and they were donated to the university by some kind of charity.

Reply 2 of 42, by gca

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First UNIX experience was AIX 2.2.1 running on an IBM RT6150 via a dump terminal (IBM 3161 I think) in the early to mid 90s. Worked fine apart from one time when some genius tried to run samna over a telnet link and almost killed the network (no, it wasn't me).

After that, my first dev job on a Linux box (red hat, then caldera).

Lastly Solaris/PSOS when working as a hardware tester at SUN.

Reply 3 of 42, by Caluser2000

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Thanks guys. Did a bit more sorting out in the shed today and came across some more late '90s distros. Some may bring up fond or not so fond memories.

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As far as a desktop distros go 1n the late '90s Corel Linux was the pick of the bunch. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corel_Linux It didn't have every bit of software under the sun included in the distro. It was just created with desktop users in mind. It integrated unto the Windows network environment quite well without hours of fiddling and also shipped with Word Perfect. Though to set the nic up was via terminal. There are three cds, one to suit those real staunch GNU hold outs with no preparatory software and the the other cd for those that didn't really care about using commercial software as long as the job got done. The last cd is full of source files. The only GUI included was KDE 1.x to got a familiar Windows 9.x look. You could change that, because all you need to do was add the appropriate repository the the sources.list file. As shipped it's package manager was basically hardwired to Corel servers but it is easy enough to remove and add synaptic. Of the four distros shown this is the only debian based one in the photo. IIRC the total install came in at about 350megs, which wasn't bad at all considering the software it came with. Xandros eventually bought Corel Linux and enhanced it with things like usb support.

The other distros are all rpm based with a lot more software included. Red Hat along with Turbo Linux are i386 (for 386s up initially but in later distro the reality i386 systems would only install on Pentium class and above because the default kernal was compiled for them.) and Mandrake i586 (for Pentium class systems up, but it installed fine on my Compaq CSD524 with a 486DX/2 66 cpu). Mandrake was primarily set up using KDE as a DE, Red Hat either primarily Gnome with KDE as an option. Turbo Linux Gnome with KDE as an option. On all except Coral Linux other graphical windowing environments aka window managers were available such as WindowMaker, tvm, Afterstep, Enlightenment, Sawfish and many many others http://www.xwinman.org/. Red Hat 6.2 Deluxe also includes two extra cds which is mostly enterprise class stuff. The only one I was interested in was a CAD program that apparently does 3D. It installed with out a hitch on my Turbo Linux set up. I've found , with care, you can mix and match from various distros. That includes rpm and deb based. For the hard core you can even compile from source. I've even had a shot at it with some success just for the the hell of it. Not something I often do though as generally it's not needed.

Last edited by Caluser2000 on 2019-09-03, 05:49. Edited 1 time in total.

There's a glitch in the matrix.

Reply 4 of 42, by lolo799

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That's an interesting thread!
First time I used Linux was in 1998, I had a RedHat 5.0 or 5.1 on a magazine coverdisc and I bought the boxed RedHat 5.2 pretty much on release after that.
I used it mainly on a P200 at the time, then on a Celeron 400, in a triple boot along with BeOS 5 and Windows 98 I believe, and sometimes installing other OSes such as QNX RTP and Atheos after 2000.

I also used the SuSE 6.3 distro from Germay on a Compaq Armada laptop with a P133 or 166, it had a parallel port CD drive that was supported by the SuSE extra floppy iirc, which made it easier than using the RedHat release from the same period.

I used that disc or the RedHat 6.2 disc was just last week, I needed to use its fdisk after borking a BeOS install on a hdd, on a machine that couldn't boot from the CD drive, whose floppy drive wasn't working either and Windows fdisk wouldn't delete one of the partitions as it was definitely a mess of extended partition with non standard logical drives on it, using loadlin to boot the disc from DOS was a trip back down memory lane!

My 486 is running the Unifix 1.5 distro from 1994, yet another distro made in Germany:

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Reply 5 of 42, by Scali

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Aside from the obvious Linux/x86 experience, I've been running my home server on FreeBSD since 2000 or so (first installation was a 486DX2-66 with FreeBSD 4.0).
In those days I was in uni, where we also had HP/UX on PA-RISC systems.
Aside from that I also used HP Apollo workstations for CAD at uni.
And at some point in my professional career, I worked with Sun Solaris running on their Niagara CPUs.

http://scalibq.wordpress.com/just-keeping-it- … ro-programming/

Reply 6 of 42, by Caluser2000

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Yes linux boot floppies are handy alright.

lolo799 wrote:
That's an interesting thread! First time I used Linux was in 1998, I had a RedHat 5.0 or 5.1 on a magazine coverdisc and I bough […]
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That's an interesting thread!
First time I used Linux was in 1998, I had a RedHat 5.0 or 5.1 on a magazine coverdisc and I bought the boxed RedHat 5.2 pretty much on release after that.
I used it mainly on a P200 at the time, then on a Celeron 400, in a triple boot along with BeOS 5 and Windows 98 I believe, and sometimes installing other OSes such as QNX RTP and Atheos after 2000.

I also used the SuSE 6.3 distro from Germay on a Compaq Armada laptop with a P133 or 166, it had a parallel port CD drive that was supported by the SuSE extra floppy iirc, which made it easier than using the RedHat release from the same period.

I used that disc or the RedHat 6.2 disc was just last week, I needed to use its fdisk after borking a BeOS install on a hdd, on a machine that couldn't boot from the CD drive, whose floppy drive wasn't working either and Windows fdisk wouldn't delete one of the partitions as it was definitely a mess of extended partition with non standard logical drives on it, using loadlin to boot the disc from DOS was a trip back down memory lane!

My 486 is running the Unifix 1.5 distro from 1994, yet another distro made in Germany:

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Cool , I've never heard of Unifix. The first German distro I was introduced to was Knoppix. Man I was impressed with the hardware compatibility of that thing and the way it was setup. All from a live CD. I remember trying out BeOS 5 and trying old QNX RTP dual booted with Windows 98 as well. BeOS 5 PE came on a magazine cover CD. The mag was July 2000 edition of Australian Personal Computer. Bundled with BeOS 5 PE was Red Hat 6.2 and OS/2 v4 Warp. A small booklet ,with installation instructions, was included. It was an OS collectors dream CD.:

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Some more Linux sets I've got:

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Left is add-on for Red Hat 5.0. Center Red Hat 5.2. Right Red Hat 6.0

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Left SuSE 7.2. Centre Red Hat 7.3. Right Dick Smiths Electronics Ubuntu 4.01

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Left Xandros 2.0 Deluxe. Right Xandros 2.5 Business

An interesting observation is that a lot of Linux boxes up to 2000 were reinforced with corrugated cardboard. The SuSE bundle had the most comprehensive set of manuals covering most aspect of the OS and came with multiple cds for those without a dvd reader and one dvd. Xandros 2.x came in three flovours-Standard Edition, Deluxe Edition and Business Edition. The difference was the amount of software shipped with them.

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My slimline P200mmx set up set originally had Red Hat 7.3 on it. I replaced that with Xandros 2.0 Deluxe becuase of the far superior usb support. Red Hat 5.0s add-on pack, Red Hat 6.0, Red Hat 6.0 and SuSE Pro. are rpm based. Xandros 2.x and Ubuntu 4.01 are deb based.

Last edited by Caluser2000 on 2019-09-03, 21:46. Edited 3 times in total.

There's a glitch in the matrix.

Reply 7 of 42, by Caluser2000

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I won an auction a few years ago so for hardware I could load this on:

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Manuals are still sealed up. The seller of the systems did a runner as soon as I'd paid for them and was never to be seen again.....

If someone has the x86 original CDs/DVDs I'd be quite willing to pay for them.

There's a glitch in the matrix.

Reply 8 of 42, by appiah4

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Very cool thread. There was a brief discussion in the Retro OSs for Retro Computers thread about starting something for Linux but a *NIX thread is probably a better choice.

I'm a linux veteran since the early days of the 2.0 kernel, started out with Slackware (some 3.x version - I can't recall) which I downloaded from a local university FTP over a dial up connection in 1997. With the limited resources of the internet and the cryptic nature of Linux documentation in general (if you think it was bad now you should have seen it then..) I remember having to buy and pore through volumes and volumes of Linux books and manuals before I got a hang of the system.. Eventually moved from Slackware to RedHat 5.0 in 1998 and went through the upgrades all the way up to 6.2. During this time it became my primary OS, and I used Win2K for gaming on the side. Around RedHat 6.x releases I started to feel a little upset by RedHat, and moved to SuSe (a lot of other people moved to Mandrake at the time) which was seeing a lot of popularity where I lived. I eventually moved on to Ubuntu back when it was not the corporate mess it is now, and now stick to basic Debian.

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 9 of 42, by Caluser2000

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Some of those manuals were HUGE. Around the 1998-2002 era you could get a book with Linux CDs and instructions on how to set it up, use the shell prompts etc. Some were good, others were a bit too far on the technical side for the curious. Some covered more than one distro like the Linux Desktop Starter Kit pictured below. I participated in a Computer Tech support course which had a Linux/Cisco element to it, but it really wasn't my thing. Completed the course ok though. They had P133s with 32megs of ram running NT4 and Red Hat 6.0 iirc. In my limited time using Linux I prefer to use Debian based products. I like Devuan for some strange reason, but can get along with most. Maybe just because they are trying to stick to the original Debian roots and not implementing systemd.

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There's a glitch in the matrix.

Reply 10 of 42, by Caluser2000

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Who said there were no games for linux?

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There's a glitch in the matrix.

Reply 11 of 42, by gca

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Caluser2000 wrote:

Some of those manuals were HUGE.

So true, back then manuals were REAL manuals instead of today when all you get is a single sheet of paper (if you are lucky) which tells you almost nothing apart from the EULA. I remember the AIX manuals back in college. They were stacked literally floor to ceiling in one of the labs with little or no duplication. Those were the days.

Reply 12 of 42, by Caluser2000

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Going through my Acorn software and came across disks referring !X, BSD and Debian for Acorn. Worth doing a bit more research. I've got a spare ratty old RiscPC with a few flaws I could try Debian and BSD on.

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There's a glitch in the matrix.

Reply 13 of 42, by Caluser2000

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Loaded Debian 8 on my 2009 EeeBox A202 setup today. Fitted an external usb DVD writer then set up the bios to boot to it and off we go. The installalation went as smooth as silk apart from not having a non-free driver for the wiifi card. That was sorted in about 4minutes. Loaded the file on to a usb stick on this Win10 lappy, pulled the usb mouse out of the EeeBox, place the usb stick into the EeeBox. The install carried on. When finished with the usb stick, pull that out and reinsert the usb mouse and let the installation continue and complete. One reboot is all that was needed.

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I'm actually very impressed with this wee system. All ports and wifi work perfectly. So for $50 including the DVI-VGA connector. It was a pretty good score. I spent $40 for an 8-bit ISA High Density Floppy Drive card for $40 last week.

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Hunted through my spares drawers and found a nice set of SONY speakers.

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There's a glitch in the matrix.

Reply 14 of 42, by lolo799

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Caluser2000 wrote:

Cool , I've never heard of Unifix. The first German distro I was introduced to was Knoppix. Man I was impressed with the hardware compatibility of that thing and the way it was setup. All from a live CD. I remember trying out BeOS 5 and trying old QNX RTP dual booted with Windows 98 as well. BeOS 5 PE came on a magazine cover CD. The mag was July 2000 edition of Australian Personal Computer. Bundled with BeOS 5 PE was Red Hat 6.2 and OS/2 v4 Warp. A small booklet ,with installation instructions, was included. It was an OS collectors dream CD.

I could dump the Unifix CD and upload it somewhere if someone's interested.
That Australian mag came with the full OS/2 Warp, right? I think you mentioned it on the forums already.

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My boxed Linux distros, the famous RedHat 5.2 blue box, Kondara is based on RedHat iirc, the SuSE manuals are over 500 pages long, TurboLinux4 is still sealed.
I got the SuSE 6.3 and many more distros as magazine coverdiscs years ago and bought the boxed version somewhat recently.

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And my boxed Unices, Solaris 8 for Sparc and Irix 6.5, I have a Sunblade 100, a Javastation, an Indy and an O2 all collecting dust.

PCMCIA Sound, Storage & Graphics

Reply 15 of 42, by Caluser2000

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Nice. The boxes are worth collecting just for the artwork alone imho. When I made my first post about Warp being on a mag cover disk with BeOS and RedHat they asked for a picture.

Yip OS/2 v4 Warp on the mag was the full adulterated version with images of the boot disk on thd CD as it shipped. The lil manual explained how to make those.

Cool thing about linux is, even on an old system like this P166MMX set up, you can run multiple Dos sessions if you want and if the session crashes for some reason use good ol xkill it get rid of it.

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Last edited by Caluser2000 on 2019-09-23, 10:25. Edited 2 times in total.

There's a glitch in the matrix.

Reply 16 of 42, by Caluser2000

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Going through some old mag CD/DVDs and came across Slackware 13.0 from about 2010 or so.. I'm in the process of installing it on my P166mmx test rig. It's about a 4gig install, which will take a while compared to the Xandros 2/3 installs which were a gig or less. This time it's going on a 6gig BigFoot hdd without swap partition..

Edit 1- although the Slackware installation went rather smoothly, a bit more hands on, it didn't result in a bootable set up. Everything seemed good with Lilo being on the mbr and the drive was set to active. It does give you an option to select i486 kernal so no problems there. I'll have another shot at a later date. Been trying out some other mag dvds. Some of the later ones didn't like my test set up for some reason. They rebooted the system when loading the boot loader off the DVD. Set up a system to use my all time favourate window managers WindowMaker.

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There's a glitch in the matrix.

Reply 17 of 42, by appiah4

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This thread is making me really anxious to go ahead and put together my DX4 DOS/OS2/Linux multiboot. What era correct Linux would be good on a 486DX4 PCI/ISA system? Also, Warp3 or Warp4?

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 18 of 42, by Caluser2000

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Warp 3 would be a good fit, It's a tad easier on resources than 4, A very early Slackware I'd imagine for Linux. Something a bit later though would probably be a bit easier to get up and running like RH 5/6.

There's a glitch in the matrix.

Reply 19 of 42, by xjas

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What are good, well-supported video card choices for these older Linuxes? I'm not expecting miracles with 3D or anything, but a hardware accelerated desktop would be nice.

twitch.tv/oldskooljay - playing the obscure, forgotten & weird - Tu/Th @ 1PMish PDT and whenever else. Streams will be announced in the thread.