Sunday, October 12, 2008

Old Desktop Screenshots

Another nerd post.

I was cleaning out some old directories on my laptop and came across a very old picture archive. Among the photos, I found four desktop screenshots from systems I had over the years. It's fun coming across these. I can see how my taste in user interfaces has changed over the years, as well as the set of software I regularly use.

I noticed one thing I failed to do in any of these screenshots. I don't have anything indicating the date. I should have run date in a terminal window somewhere. Oh well. [UPDATE: I meant years, people. And I see now that the clock in blackbox does display the year, so that was nice.]

Without further delay, here are the four in the chronological order I remember:
  • nomex-afterstep.jpg - I was a big fan of the Afterstep 1.0 window manager (note that the 1.0 is important because that was the code base that was closer to fvwm configuration than the newer AfterStep). I ran this window manager for YEARS before finally going with something else. A tour around the screen starting in the upper left corner: rxvt with a background listing my MP3 collection, x11amp, x48 calculator emulator, pine in an rxvt, Slashdot in Netscape Navigator, Licq for instant messaging, and the GIMP since all screenshots had to contain the GIMP. Along the right edge of the screen is the Wharf, which was supposed to look like the Dock in NEXTSTEP. I've got a clock/calendar, network monitor, CPU monitor, a button with a penguin, a button with the Netscape logo, other buttons, and what I think is a pager in the last one. Also notice the lower right corner of the screen. You'll see my system log tailing messages right on to the root window. That was roottail, a neat program that worked by magic I think. (taken October 28, 1998)
  • nomex-blackbox.jpg - Blackbox was introduced to me by my friend Logan. He was in to lean user interfaces and blackbox was quite nice. I used it for a while. You can see I am just running Netscape Navigator, xterms, and Licq for instant messaging. You can also see me running ytalk. Wow. (taken September 25, 2000)
  • goretex.jpg - Still using blackbox here. You can see this is when I was working for Slackware because the top two terminals are logins to accounts on bob, which was our main server for basically everything, including email. On the left, I am logged in as myself. On the right, I am logged in as support. Yes, I answered lots of support at email. (taken February 9, 2001)
  • sgi-o2.jpg - In California, I bought an SGI O2. It was an R5000 at 180MHz, so not super speedy. But it was really fun to use. It came with a camera too (think 8 years ago and how that wasn't really the norm yet). The O2 was fun, but eventually I got rid of it.
The system names were part of my naming style. I used to name systems after Dupont fabric names or textile names that I thought were cool. My server was kevlar, nomex was my workstation. I had burlap for a while. Also had mylar, tyvek, and goretex. I also had warp, weft, and woof. Yeah, getting obscure now. The SGI systems I had followed a different naming system for some reason, mostly arbitrary. Originally the O2 was named o2d2 (also attributed to Logan). I cannot remember what it was named after that. I had an Indy at one point named turtle. I also had an Octane2 named aki (anti-knock index, get it?). SGI systems were non-standard, so it made sense for the naming system to be nonstandard too.

What were the specs of these systems. Nomex was a dual Pentium Pro system with 128MB of RAM on an Intel PR440FX motherboard. It was also a 100% SCSI system. The first CPUs I had were 180Mhz with 256KB of L2 cache, I think. I eventually ended up with 200Mhz processors with 1MB of L2 cache each and I think more RAM. Maybe 256MB of 512MB when it was all said and done. I used this system for a very long time.

Goretex was a Sun Ultra 5, complete with all of the design problems Sun was kind enough to put in to the system. The shitty IDE controller, the shitty floppy controller, the shitty CD-ROM drive, and the shitty framebuffer. The system had a 360Mhz UltraSPARC-IIi processors and 256MB of RAM or maybe more, I forget.

The O2 was a 180MHz MIPS R5000 processor. It had 256MB of RAM, a 9.1GB SCSI disk, and an integrated CD-ROM (this was a big deal for SGI as pretty much every workstation they made lacked the ability to have an internal CD-ROM drive). It also had the AV board for audio/video input/output.

What do I use nowadays? I use Fedora Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and MacOS X. MacOS X is pretty easy to figure, I use its interface. On the Linux systems, I am entirely apathetic now. I use whatever is the default, which is GNOME.


Ed said...

There was also a foam rubber system of some sort.

dcantrell said...

Oh yeah, that was the name I gave to the Mac Plus (which ran the analog clock program on the bookshelf).

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