I'm slowly building a collection of mostly retro computers. These are some systems that I'm looking for to add to my lab. I tend toward proprietary systems as they are the work of designers who aren't just playing it safe. Rarely a successful business model, these machines represent courageous leaps to see just what we can do if we try.

BeBox Acquired! Details moved to Systems

Manufacturer: Sun Microsystems
Model: SPARCstation Voyager Arch: microSPARC II
OS: Solaris
Notes: I had the opportunity to play with one of these in college. It was Sun's attempt at a portable computer. It turned out to be more of a luggable computer. With a matching compact Sun keyboard and mouse and built-in LCD it wasn't that bad as a luggable workstation. Just not something you'd take to lecture to do you notes on. More details here and here.

Manufacturer: Ross Technology
Model: SPARCplug Arch: Dual hyperSPARC
OS: Solaris
Notes: Ross Technology, a manufacturer of third-party SPARC-compatible processors, created the SPARCplug as an alternative to needing a PC and a workstation on someone's desk. The SPARCplug is a compact workstation that fits into one full-height drive bay. It was available in several configurations, from just the module, to a sort of four-drive enclosure, to pre-installed in a Dell PC for about $11,000. More details here and here.

Manufacturer: Canon
Model: object.station
Arch: 486/Pentium
Notes: Canon had a working relationship with NeXT for various hardware components and started producing the object.station after NeXT got out of the hardware business. Information on these is hard to come by and it is rumored that it flopped so bad that Canon won't talk about it. More details at www.blackcube.org.

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Last modified: 2006-02-04 18:35:40 Central Standard Time