Pliny the Elder

Pliny "There is always something new out of Intel" - Gaius Plinius Secundus

This webpage is hosted on a 1995 Dell Latitude XPi notebook I affectionately call 'Pliny the Elder'. Despite its old age, it still manages to churn out useful work. Originally retailing $3200, the specs are as follows:

- Pentium 75 Processor
- 12 megabytes ram
- Original Seagate Marathon 512MB HDD
- 640x480 Passive-Matrix LCD Screen
- 3Com 'Meghahertz' PCMCIA NIC

This server runs NetBSD 7. Previously it ran Debian Sarge (3.1) and before that, Debian Woody (3.0). Originally, the server was outfitted with Windows 95 - which is backed up as an image for posterity (or VirtualBox). Installing NetBSD proved to be an adventure in and of itself! You can read about the challenges of installing a modern OS on old hardware.

Running an i386, i486, or i586 (Pentium, like this server) is not resource intensive. Pliny's 10Mbit networking capabilities will barely strain even a very basic homework, and the physical footprint is very small -- this *is* a laptop after all! Similarly, power requirements are minimal; 14.5 Watts at idle with the screen on, and 10 Watts idle with the screen off. Since this server spends most of its time idle or serving these light webpages, I spend ~$10 per year on power. A raspberry pi 1 Model B consumes 2-3 Watts from the wall, for reference.

Navigating to the Resources page, you can find the pre-compiled floppy boot disks for i386 NetBSD -- included a trimmed-down kernel NetBSD doesn't seem to publish these on their ftp site, instead opting to let end-users compile their own. Here, you can find a convenient 4-floppy binary set to do away with all that! The kernel.gz will fit on a single 1.44MB floppy, provided it is formatted as msdos/fat. The extracted kernel is 2.3MB, which is small enough to boot on nearly any PC.

Ever wonder about what's in my floppy disk drive?


Some System Information:

Uptime Records:

Serving pages on the web since Oct, 2014. Thanks for Visiting!