Wow, it has already been three years since a friend an I found a couple of old Macintoshes in a trash container1. Each of us picked one, and maybe a year ago or so I gave mine to him as I had no space at home to keep it. Given that he did not use them and that I enjoy playing with old hardware, I exchanged those two machines by an old Pentium 3 I had laying around :-) The plan is to install NetBSD-current on at least one of them and some other system (or NetBSD version) in the other one to let me ensure ATF is really portable to bizarre hardware (running sane systems, though).

The machines are these:
  • A Performa 475: Motorola 68040 LC, 4MB of RAM, 250MB SCSI hard disk, no CD-ROM, Ethernet card.
  • A Performa 630: Motorola 68040 LC, 40MB of RAM, 500-something IDE hard disk (will replace it with something bigger), CD-ROM, Ethernet card.
I originally kept the Performa 630 and already played with it when we found the machines. Among other things, I replaced the PRAM battery with a home-grown solution, added support to change the NetBSD's console colors (because the black on white default on NetBSD/mac68k is annoying to say the least) and imported the softfloat support for this platform.

Then, the turn for Performa 475 came past week. When I tried to boot it, it failed miserably. I could hear the typical Mac's boot-time chime, but after that the screen was black and the machine was completely unresponsive. After Googling a bit, I found that the black screen could be caused by the dead PRAM battery, but I assumed that the machine could still work; the thing is I could not hear the hard disk at all, and therefore was reluctant to put a new battery in it. Anyway, I finally bought the battery (very expensive, around 7€!), put it in and the machine booted!

Once it was up, I noticed that there was a huge amount of software installed: Microsoft Office, LaTeX tools, Internet utilities (including Netscape Navigator), etc. And then, when checking what hardware was on the machine I was really, really surprised. All these programs were working with only 250MB of hard disk space and 4MB of RAM! Software bloat nowadays? Maybe...

Well, if I want this second machine to be usable, I'll have to find some more RAM for it. But afterwards I hope it'll be able to run another version of NetBSD or maybe a Linux system.

1 That also reminds me that this blog is three years old too!