Who is anomic.net?

Anomic.net is a non-profit domain registered and owned by me, Mike Mulder. I use it as an experimental domain, but mainly used for about 20 email users at this time. The name is an abbreviation of Anouk (my lovely wife) and Mike. Ok, not quite true but ANOMIK didn't look cool to me, and I found ANOMIC looking more comfortable.

Who is phoenix?

Phoenix is my old trusty 286. I bought it in 1993 second hand for home use. I ran MSDOS and Windows 3.1 on it, and it was equipped with an original Soundblaster 1.0 8-bit, which I still own. I actually was a bit bored with it, and stuck with programming my Atari 600 XL/130XE that time. In 1995, when I bought my first Pentium, I gave it away to a good friend who was a student at the UVA (University of Amsterdam) because she couldn't affort her own PC. With a 14k4 modem she could email and access BBS's like DDS. After 2 years I got it back, dirty and dusty. I decided not to waste it and stored the junk in the attic.

A few years later when I found my machine again, I decided to try to make it as complete as possible and save it for later. So my kids should see what an early nineties PC looked like. I found a 80287XL Coprocessor, and also got some compatible memory chips to upgrade it from 1 to 4MB. Finally I got an 16 MHz processor, and changed it with the original 12.5 one. I needed to change the oscillator to got the higher speed. A helluva job, because the osc is soldered to the mainboard. I actually had only a 36 MHz osc, so when I got that one in, the PC ran at 18 MHz. Impressive! I overclocked my 286!

Later I replaced the 16 MHz rated processor with a 20 MHz type, which I got from Gerben Feenstra. It still runs at 18 MHz, so now I have a UNDER clocked 286 :). That is absolutely against my nature, so I looked for another oscillator to speed it up again. I recently found a 42 MHz type and a 50 MHz type. But before I unscrew the case and replace the osc, I'm gonna fix a socket for the oscillator. This makes experiments more easy, as I can change the osc without soldering.

Why Minix?

Easy. Since nowadays a 286 is more than obsolete, it has no purpose to anybody anymore. I tried to setup a fresh Microsoft installation, but as I networked it with MSDOS, I encountered the same problems as when this box was my main PC. The poor memory management got me crazy, because the TCP/IP and network drivers eat all my memory, and even Arachne, a DOS browser, was unable to load then.

For Windows 3.1 is no browser available (for 286), and the fun died soon enough.

Maybe I can install Linux I thought. Unfortunately Linux is 32bit only, thus meaning I require a 386 at least. I kept on searching the internet, and that's when I first met Minix. When I read about it I saw it should be possible to run in 16bit. Cool!! That's what I need!

I downloaded the floppy images, copied them to a disk, and put them into the drive. It booted ... WOW I am actually running UNIX on my 286!!

I got very enthousiast and tried whatever to put my 286 back to life. And so it went, now my 286 is a real Webserver, Mailserver and experimental platform. I am very pleased that my old 286 has a function again.

Why stick with 286? 386's are obsolete too, and a lot faster!

Just for fun. I'm a silly human being, and just love that old puppy. It is true that Intel 386 is much faster and there are a lot more applications available, but I'll take that for granted.

What do you do with such a server?

Well, as I work at an ISP, I have the possibility to have it permanently connected to the internet at 10Mbit. Me and my coworkers got a full 19" closet for our own non-commercial purposes. I use it to make some files available for fast download through the web or via FTP. Phoenix has also a backup function for my main mailserver. When my mailserver is unreachable for some reason, Phoenix is the second mailserver to which the mail can be delivered. When my main server is alive again, Phoenix delivers the queued email at once. And as you noticed, it acts as a webserver too :)

Funny to notice: I believe this is the only webserver from which the bandwidth is limited by the CPU instead of the internet connection!


Phoenix at the colocation
Phoenix modification project


 

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