thinking of the "ultimate" retro x86 PCs - what bits to seek/keep ?

Maciej W. Rozycki macro at
Fri Jun 17 19:36:26 CDT 2016

On Thu, 2 Jun 2016, Sean Caron wrote:

> Oh, man, that brings back memories. Trying to bang Linux onto a 386SX-16 with
> 4 Meg RAM and some puny little hard drive ... My first NAT box! It was pretty
> excruciating to use, LOL. I bet the throughput could be figured in kpps... ;)

 I had an experimental early Linux Ethernet bridge installation on a 
386SX-16 PC with 2MB of RAM IIRC and 5 NE2000 clones (as many as there 
were ISA slots left after filling in an HGC adapter for the console and a 
multi-I/O adapter for the hard disk), driving a network of some 200 PCs.

 The (non-mainline-Linux yet) bridge module was a bit too experimental 
back then in that it didn't do MAC address ageing/purging, which drove 
people angry as they sometimes moved their PCs between network segments 
and lost connectivity to other segments.  The advantage however was the 
bridge didn't lock up, unlike DOS `kbridge' software previously used, 
which did it frequently, driving even more people angry.

 Somewhat unexpectedly bridging performed very smoothly, however the load 
from frame passing between the primitive NE2000 interfaces was so high 
that there was a multiple-second console echo latency observed when typing 


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