Martin's Computer Zoo

(updated 31-May-2003)

What is this all about?

During the years I have got quite a bit of ancient hardware, and its all stored in my "computer room" now. Some of the equipment is new and I'm using it for work and to connect to the Internet. I have done an effort to link all of the pieces together and to integrate them all into one LAN.

I'm currently owning the following hardware:

Apart from that, I'm running a dedicated leased server with SuSE 7.2 installed (where these pages are running on).

All of these devices have Ethernet. The PC's including the router are connected to a switch with 100MBit, while the DEC hardware and the Amiga is on 10MBit thinwire Ethernet (too lazy to draw a diagram right now). The connection to the Internet is realized with the Linux machine running as router between the 2 Ethernet segments and a ADSL line to my ISP , with a flat rate, but uses dynamic IP addresses. The Intel machines have PCI network adaptares installed, the Amiga has a Commodore A???? Zorro bus network board, the VAXstation comes with built-in BNC (and AUI) connector, and the MicroVAX and DECserver both have AUI connectors and are connected to the Ethernet by a BNC Transceiver (You can get these almost for free on Ebay now).

Following, I'm giving a description of the more obscure and ancient hardware pieces:

The Linux Router

This machine has a Kernel 2.2.19, and a simple (no-X) Slackware based filesystem containing a complete network and compiler environment. It is the hub for the LAN, offering IP masquerading to the other machines. The ISDN functionality was added to the existing Slackware distribution, for those of you who want to build the ISDN functionality by hand, or just want to understand whats necessary to make ISDN for Linux work without using preinstalled distribution scripts, check out this ISDN Linux installation page, An AVM Fritz! PCI card board is used for ISDN.

The Linux machine is also offering MOP and LAT service to the DECserver 100. What I did was using the mopd-linux-vax-2.5.4.tar.gz distribution containing a mopd daemon which services MOP requests and makes the DECserver 100 system software PS0801ENG.SYS available, so the DECserver can boot. I had problems with receiving mop packets, unless I had tcpdump running at the same time. The problem is that for mopd to work the ethernet device needs to be configured in promiscous mode. Use the promisc option of ifconfig to configure the ethernet board in promiscous mode.

Also, the distribution latd_1.02-1.tar.gz was compiled and is providing a LAT service to make it possible to connect to the Linux box from the DECserver using LAT, the only protocol that the DECserver knows. To have stable connections from the DECserver I had to increase the Circuit Timer to 200ms. Otherwise the DECserver would disconnect my session after doing a command with a lot of output.

VAXstation 4000 VLC (DEEPVX)

This is a more recent addition to my small collection of DEC hardware. The VLC is a neat small pizza box but full VAX inside. It runs at 6 VUPs (6 times as fast as my other machines, the VAXstation 2000 and MicroVAX II), has internal and external SCSI (standard external 50pin centronics plug), options to attach a terminal and/or monitor, DEC keyboard and mouse. I got the machine with all the glory of 24 MB RAM and replaced the internal disk with a 1 GB SCSI disk and have an external SCSI CDRom to connect to either the VLC or VS2000. My Iyama VisionMaster Pro 450 monitor with separate RGB coax connectors is ideal for this machine, and I run VMS 7.2 with DECwindows Motif on the machine. This machine also serves a VAXCluster.

The VAXstation 2000 (DEEPV2)

This one consists of two "small" portable boxes (with handles on which to carry them around) and a huge 19" black and white monitor. One of the box contains the CPU and RD54 (150 MB) hard disk, the other a TK50 tape drive. I got the machine with VMS 4.7 and some strange old DEC proprietary windowing software (but there was a Lunar Lander game included :). Currently I'm running VMS 5.5 with DECwindows and UCX-TCPIP on it. For some time I ran it as a small UUCP mail and news machine (as deepth.uucp), with dialin and dialout. The VAXstation has a port (9 pin) to connect a serial printer, but you can connect a vt220 or similar terminal to use it as operator console (OPA0). If this is done with a proper cable, then boot messages appear on the console instead of the B&W monitor and the machine identifies itself as MicroVAX 2000. A terminal or modem can be attached to another (23 pin) serial port which is known by VMS as TTA2. Check out my Vaxstation 2000 Page for details.

There is a very good VAXstation info page for additional information.


This machine comes in a BA123 case. It comes with a lot of slots to put Q-Bus boards into, a twin floppy disk drive and a TK 50 tape drive. With Ethernet, its hooked up to my small LAN as well. Together with it goes a big 19" rack with two bulky 500 MB Eagle drives. See the MicroVAX II page for the details.

The DECserver 100 (DEEPT1)

This box comes with 8 serial ports and an AUI connector. Using a tranceiver, you can connect it to either "yellow cable" Ethernet or BNC Ethernet (what I did). I found two versions of the boot software PS0801ENG.SYS (Thanks to the nice guys from comp.os.vms). With one (ps0801eng1.gz, 65024 bytes) it identifies itself as

DECServer 100 V1.3 BL15 LAT Protocol V1.5 Hardware Rev A.A Microcode BL8A,

with the other (ps0801eng2.gz, 110592 bytes) it identifies as

DECServer 100 V2.0 BL23 LAT V5.1

Both versions seemed to work with my Linux latd.

A useful hint if you have a DECServer: To reset the configuration and change the privileged password back to "system", unplug the power cable, hold down the red button on the back of the server and plug the power back in.

The DECserver 200/MC (DEEPT2)

This box has the same connectors as the DECserver 100, but additionally modems can be attached to the 8 ports (the MC is for Modem Control). Also the help menus are a lot more user-friendly. When the server is turned on, it looks for the file PR0801ENG.SYS and can get it from either my Linux server or my VAXes.

Linux stuff

Some things are hard to find out even with the available official documentation, so I'm collecting some fo the experiences made here.

Installing sendmail/replacing sendmail with useful spam / relaying control and SMTP AUTH on a SuSE Linux 7.2 system

VAX/VMS links

Here are some useful links to information on VAXes and VMS, and utilities.

linux-decnet A project with several tools for Decnet Phase IV connectivity for Linux. Includes LAT.
vmscd A very useful utility to read VMS formatted (ODS-2, or Files-11) CD-Roms on a Linux system
poormandrivers "Poor Man" pseudo drivers for accessing virtual harddisks and CD-Rom on Linux over Ethernet
netbsd-vax Running NetBSD on a VAX - You can just net-boot NetBSD diskless over the Ethernet
mopd-linux-2.5.3.tar.gz The mopd server configured for Linux - allowing a VAX to boot from a Linux box.
VMS Hobbyist The VMS Hobbyist License program. Ordering a CD-Rom with the latest VMS version and getting a free Hobbyist VMS license
VS2000 hardware info Hardware info (connector layout) of the VAXstation 2000
digital$resources Hardware info on many DEC systems, including Q-Bus module hardware information