>> 2. Ethernet! While this costs more,
I would almost call this an "urban legend." You may want to get a
good ethernet card on your linux boxes if you have a linux cluster,
but you might be able to get a card for a PC/XT/AT free. Check
used computer stores and the like. Even if you buy a new card,
you can often find cards in the "bargain bins" of the big chains
for under $40.
Then you have the cost of the cabling, perhaps $10, but that's
easily offset by the fact that it's standard, it's fast, it's
robust, and it's easy to expand to additional systems. Wiring up
null modems, especially with multiple systems, is a pain.
>> you can probably buy 8-bit ethernet
>> cards. I only know of the Western Digital WD8003 card. There might be
>> others out there. You will need an ethernet card for both the 8088 and
>The ne1000 works extremely well, and isn't much slower than the ne2000 for
>some reason. Some old ne2000 and WD8013 cards can be jumper-set to go in
>an 8 bit slot even though they're 16-bit cards.
I shouldn't be too hard to burn an EPROM set for an VT100/ANSI
ethernet terminal, especially if you're willing to make some
simplifying assumptions. You would then pop out the current
PROMS and insert other cards which are dedicated -- they would
only do a few simple tasks:
1. read the keyboard,
2. put characters to the display,
3. read buffers from ethernet card
4. write buffers from ethernet card
5. interpret ANSI codes ("ansi.sys" in DOSese)
6. interpret VT100/VT200/VT320, which is similar to ANSI codes
7. knit the above together. (keyboard->network, network->ANSI->display)
8. perhaps provide a simple "setup" resource.
9. perhaps provide a "print" resource to a parallel port.
Anyone who can't fit the code for this into the 64k(?) available
in the BIOS PROM space doesn't deserve to be called a systems
programmer. It would probably also be an excellent student
programming task, for those schools with SE projects or the
(It would even have a social conscious purpose; students in
poor schools could get decent terminals to a Linux (or other)
server using otherwise useless old PCs and/or based on
extremely inexpensive single board 8086 systems.)
Bear Giles To treat your facts with imagination is one thing,
-- John Burroughs