Retro linux

Recently, I got again into one of those retro-computing nostalgia phases.

I’ve been reading material about old computers like the TRS-80 or the Apple ][, older mainframe ones like the PLATO and PDP-10, and random retro-games blogs like The Digital Antiquarian and The CRPG Addict. Finally, stumbled upon this site:, dedicated to the very early history of linux, and decided to try to run some of the software available for download there.

Some of the things that I’ve found are, in historical chronological order:

Next, I decided to give them a try in my laptop via virtualization and emulation… with quite miserable results up until now. The results report goes next, but first, a list of the virtualization / emulation software that I’ve used up until now. This is the current result report:

  • debian 0.91 doesn’t really boot, and I can only get Lilo to output the “LI” string. The Internet suggests that it may be having problems with the virtual drives.
  • debian 0.93R6 boots and I get to the first or second install screen. Then, my keystrokes don’t have effect and can’t continue installing the system on the HDD
  • RedHat 1.0. I can only boot the system, but then I don’t know what to do. It’s asking me for the root floppy, but I can’t find it in any folder
  • The linux kernels. I don’t even know how to start with them, so parked for now
  • Slackware 1.1.2 goes next

I have tried with VirtualBox, Virtual Manager (libvirt) with Qemu, and Mess.

Even with all the complications, I have found the process quite fun. If anybody finds this post and has some ideas on how to continue with the exploration, please feel free to add your comments

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