[koko] (welcome to …) eight Jurassic O.S. on 1992 Dell 486D/50

September 26th, 2019

“Genghis Khan and his brother Don
Could not keep on keepin’ on”
(1971) “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” – Bob Dylan

tl;dr multibooting a 1992 Dell 486D/50
   WFW3.11+Win95+Win2K+DellSVR4+NEXTSTEP+RedHat5.2+OS/2 3.0+OpenBSD2.5

(Maybe it should be tl;dw — didn’t watch — the video is long.) This post is intended to both be more accessible summary and provide details that are not in the video.

As part of prolonging JAWS, I bought a 1992 Dell 486D/50 on eBay for $99.99. Though lacking the JAWS graphics memory, EISA and some custom Dell VLSI, that machine is otherwise similar to the JAWS machine, sharing chassis, power supply, SmartVU, probably other items I’m forgetting. The seller didn’t think the 486D/50 was working but I thought I could at least use it for the chassis, etc.

Over the last couple of months, I’ve made the 486D/50 into a robust machine, capable of multi-booting all of the 1990s operating systems listed above — three major Windows versions, OS/2, two competing Unix versions, NEXTSTEP, and Linux. The video demonstrates using a Web browser in all eight environments. I could probably have used the Mosaic browser on all eight, did use Mosaic on most, but (of course) used Tim Berners-Lee original browser on NEXTSTEP, and chose to use Netscape 3 on BSD Unix and Linux.

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koko: reviving timbl’s WorldWideWeb browser

July 1st, 2019

on NEXTSTEP 486 on JAWS

“Genghis Khan and his brother Don
Could not keep on keepin’ on”
(1971) “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” – Bob Dylan

With working NEXTSTEP 3.2 in hand, I wondered if I could find sources for the original browser that Tim Berners-Lee wrote when he invented the World Wide Web at CERN, and if I could, could I get that browser working. Success!

Tim Berners-Lee WorldWideWeb on NEXTSTEP 3.3 on JAWS

Tim Berners-Lee WorldWideWeb on NEXTSTEP 3.3 on JAWS

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koko: exploring NEXTSTEP 486

July 1st, 2019

“Genghis Khan and his brother Don
Could not keep on keepin’ on”
(1971) “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” – Bob Dylan

installing NEXTSTEP 486 3.2 on JAWSWorking with the JAWS machine brought me back to thinking about NEXTSTEP 486 being developed on that machine. I only know part of the story first hand. Andy Groves and Steve Jobs were friends. Between the two of them, it was decided that NeXT should create a 486 version of NEXTSTEP and that JAWS would be the best development platform. If I recall correctly, it was late December 1991 that Steve, Avie Tevanian and a few other NeXT folks came to Michael’s conference room and told Michael, Glenn Henry, probably Dennis Jolly, some other Dell folks and me about their plans. Glenn and I went to hear Steve announce NEXTSTEP 486 and demo on JAWS at NeXTWorld in January 1992. Dennis was the primary sales VP providing impetus for joint Dell/NeXT efforts — Dennis and I would routinely go to the (in)famous NeXT headquarters in Redwood City to discuss our joint plans. Read the rest of this entry »

koko: prolonging JAWS

July 1st, 2019

“Genghis Khan and his brother Don
Could not keep on keepin’ on”
(1971) “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” – Bob Dylan

video clip, Charlie with
Andy Grove, Comdex 1991

The JAWS machine will always have special sentimental value to me because of the Andy Grove experiences, the Steve Jobs experiences, demoing JAWS on Computer Chronicles, etc. My instance of that machine has also been of practical value for my testimony at a hearing in a patent matter, and in preparing Windows 3.11 machines for other patent matters. Read the rest of this entry »

koko: sustaining Dell UNIX

July 1st, 2019

“Genghis Khan and his brother Don
Could not keep on keepin’ on”
(1971) “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” – Bob Dylan

Dell SVR4 User Guide

Dell SVR4 User Guide

Dell UNIX originally ran on hardware from almost 30 years ago, with almost all peripherals dependent on the (now long defunct) ISA bus. Though such hardware is still available on eBay, from recyclers and others, the door is closing on sustaining Dell UNIX on bare metal. Thanks to Antoni Sawicki’s Qemu/Bochs & Virtual Box efforts, perpetuating Dell Unix on virtual machines is much more practical. However, SLIP will never cut it for network access when even 10BaseT seems painfully slow. For several years I’ve been intending to try to get an Ethernet driver for a card supported by Virtual Box emulation, probably an AMD Am79c970. Read the rest of this entry »