Compaq Deskpro boards/hard drives from the late 1990s

Grant Taylor cctalk at
Mon Jul 26 19:29:40 CDT 2021

On 7/26/21 5:36 AM, Liam Proven via cctalk wrote:
> I got it down to 14MB and it would, just barely, boot from the 16MB 
> SSD, although you could barely do anything as there was almost no 
> free disk space. It was a vain effort in the end -- being so minimal, 
> it booted in a few seconds from any medium. It did make the point 
> for the magazine that an OS would boot from SSD in a fraction of the 
> time of from hard disk -- and so that in some years, when SSDs were 
> common and cheap, they would be very desirable.


> What _actually_ became doable and desirable never became really 
> possible with the Windows platform, sadly, although it's trivial with 
> Linux and quite easy with Mac OS X: to put the core OS and application 
> binaries on SSD, but keep the home directory on spinning media.

I've not really tried to do this on Windows.  But I would wonder if you 
could mount an alternate file system on top of the Users / Documents and 
Settings folder using -- what I believe is called -- Dynamic Data 
Overlay.  Very much like you would mount /home as a file system 
independent from /.  I don't know if there would be any dependency on 
Administrator's profile being accessible before DDO mounted everything.

> Config files are tiny compared to modern binaries. They are read in 
> milliseconds, maybe microseconds.

I suspect that more time is spent finding them and traversing the file 
system meta-data than reading the actual config files.

> With OS X you can just move the user's home directory. /home is on the 
> OS drive but (e.g.) /home/lproven is on an HDD. This works perfectly 
> but it completely breaks OS X's tools for migrating to a new machine, 
> so I have reverted to using a Fusion Drive that RAIDs together an 
> SSD and an HDD into one volume.

I've never tried to do anything like this with OS X.  I would naively 
think that you could mount another file system on /home.  But, maybe 
there's dependencies that I'm not aware of.

> There's no easy clean way to do this on Windows. You can't move /Users 
> without ugly registry hacks that can break compatibility.

This is why I've always tried to not alter the path to things.  Instead, 
rely on things like file system mounts / DDO to make the given path be 
presented by a different file system.

The only rare exception would be like having /home be a symbolic link to 
/path/to/home which is on another file system.  This is how I have my 
VPS use LUKS encryption.  /home -> /var/LUKS/home; /var/spool/mail -> 
/var/LUKS/var/spool/mail; etc.

I find that not altering the path means that you don't have to go 
through things like registry hacks.

> Ah well. Terabyte-class SSDs are affordable now; the method is 
> obsolete.

/me looks at the mailing list and the things that are discussed and 
reject the "obsolete" portion of that comment.

> You know, that's an excellent idea and I wish I'd thought of it then. 
> My desktop was an IBM PC-AT and would have made this difficult, and 
> mostly we used IBM PS/2 boxes, which still made it non-trivial -- 
> no dangling a drive from the controller cable! But it was doable.

Where there is a will, there is a way.

> Japanese and to an extent Chinese OSes were very instructive, 
> especially in historical context.
> As the DOS PC conquered the industry in the West, it did not in Japan. 
> DOS could not handle Japanese fonts well enough; VGA is not really 
> enough for readable kanji, hiragana and katakana. So Japanese PCs 
> stayed non-IBM-compatible.


Grant. . . .
unix || die

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