Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Apple Macintosh Performa 550

Manufacturer: Apple Computer
Model: Macintosh Performa 550
CPU: Motorola 68030, 33MHz
Release Date: February 1994

Shown: Stock Photo courtesy Low End Mac

Greetings, fellow enthusiasts! Sorry for the delay in posting. I had a crazy weekend that bled over into Monday. With that out of the way, here comes a heaping spoonful of the 90s! I miss the 90's. Sometimes.

This was one of the last all-in-one macs built off the motorola 68k CPU. It was pretty feature rich at the time, boasting built-in ethernet, a 64k color-capable display, and stereo speakers. Enough with the frills, though. Mostly, the Performa 550 (and similar all-in-ones) were known as being proprietary, difficult to upgrade, and somewhat childish looking. Therefore, it makes sense that when I was in middle school, these things lined the computer lab and filled the library.
This was essentially an upgraded Mac Color classic. As a matter of fact, the motherboard swaps between them with little effort. One could buy a pricy upgrade card to add a PowerPC CPU. Forget that noise. NetBSD runs great on it. Once you install System 7 onto a tiny partition and copy the necessary files over, installing is pretty easy as long as you use the documentation (especially Matthew Theobald's installation notes!).

NetBSD is a lot like OpenBSD in how it handles cross-platform software. Like all BSD's, NetBSD has a package system that revolves around source code and automatic dependency resolution. OpenBSD and FreeBSD call this "ports" but NetBSD calls it "pkgsrc". The concept is very similar though.

I haven't put a lot of heartfelt effort into making a GUI work yet. I originally installed NetBSD 1.4.3 on it back in the day. NetBSD is up to 3.0 now, so that was quite some time ago.

I was using this setup as kind of a network management and centralized syslog system, but it was recently shelved to make desk space for other projects. It would hop right online if I plugged it in, though.

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