From: j...@whisker.lotus.ie (Jordan K. Hubbard)
Subject: The PC532 is dead, long live the PC532?
Sender: use...@ieunet.ie (USENET News System)
Organization: Lotus Development Ireland
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1993 01:06:01 GMT
All you pc532 owners still living, would you mind raising your hands
And the dead pc532 owners? Hands, please? Hmmmmm.. Not a lot of
comment from the dead pc532 crowd. Not a lot of comment from the LIVE
crowd either, of course, so the difference isn't that significant...
Seriously, this is just a small "ping" to see if this machine has gone
to its reward, since the much lamented (spiritual) passing of its two
creators, Dave and George (a moment of silence please).
My personal machine has also gone to its reward, since the moment
several months ago when some internal part had a spontaneous falling
out with some other internal part and the end result was no serial
communications (though the leds light up). This was quite ironic,
since it finally looked as if Mach was coming together and I was about
to boot what looked to be the first halfway stable release when the
machine went deaf on me. Sigh. I need a logic analyzer at this
Just a moment of reflection here, folks (and a moment to wax lyrical,
I'll be ok again in a moment). Some, if not all, of us built these
things out of pure nostalgia - to see if a decent machine could
finally be built from the ashes of National's great and unfulfilled
promise. Now we find ourselves almost a parody of that situation,
with the pc532 itself ripe with unfulfilled promise yet looking very
much set to follow National's grand CPU architecture into a peaceful
and forgotten oblivion.
Sure, even at its best, running downhill with a 50 knot tailwind, the
PC532 won't beat a 25Mhz 68040, Sparcstation 10, or 33Mhz 486 for that
matter. It'll never going to be a graphical workstation, since all
graphics FB projects went by the wayside (and the ethernet project
looks set to do much the same), nor will it be renouned for its
stunning I/O performance.
So what's the point? Well, of all the machines on your desk, it's
probably the only one you have schematics for. The one for which you
have all sources, right down to the boot ROM and the gerber template
files for the PCB. In short, it's a hackers machine.
Now I'm not really one to talk about realizing the PC532's potential,
since the most I've contributed has been the occasional library, or a
forth interpreter that never made it into stand-alone status for the
boot ROM (head hangs briefly in shame). Nor am I the great Mach
hacker that the guys at HUT in Finland are, I do my best just to
configure and run it, but I still can't help but feel that everyone's
just given up too *THAT MUCH* too early.. I run 386bsd on my PC, and
Bill Jolitz and I have spent a good bit of time talking about the
machine dependent bits, what it would take to port it to a new
architecture, and the answer is NOT ALL THAT MUCH (especially in the
forthcoming 0.2 release)., Plus there's also the very good BSDSS
effort that's been underway for some time in Finland, which leverages
off the significant work that's already been done with Mach.
In short, this should be a time of great excitement, not thundering
As far as manpower itself is concerned, one also wonders if the Finns
and the Australians are the only ones left? Must we all wave sadly
goodbye to the US contingent?
I'm grounded until I can find some way of fixing my board (hardware
has never been my strong suit, so most of my debugging consists of
poking glumly at it with a logic probe), but this doesn't mean those
of you with WORKING boards can't try and whip up enough enthusiasm for
one last push! Put 386bsd on your PC! Whack together a quick cross
development environment and see what you can't get pushed over! Talk
to the boys in Finland about their Mach port and what you might be
able to do to help! Help the BSDSS folks get their stuff polished up
so that there doesn't even HAVE to be a 386bsd port!
One... Last... Push.. For hacking's sake..
If all of this fails to move you even a little bit, then please at
least send me your working pc532 board! :-)
Jordan Hubbard Lotus Development Ireland j...@whisker.lotus.ie
From: bd...@gag.COM (Bdale Garbee)
Subject: Re: The PC532 is dead, long live the PC532?
Sender: ne...@daver.bungi.com (Network News)
Organization: Association for the Prevention of Polar Bears and Kangaroos
Date: Sat, 17 Apr 1993 23:39:05 GMT
Fred, and John, and I all are still alive, and our pc532's are still alive. I
have almost got Mach running on mine, Fred and John had working Minix systems
the last time I checked. The issue at hand for us is whether to invest more
time here, or do something else. We have lots of "something else's" to work
As I mentioned before, we'd be pleased to sell all three boards for some
reasonable price. If we can't sell them, we may well get motivated to do
something with them someday soon...