Thursday, 5 July 2012

Retrochallenge mission accomplished. Need new mission!

So this morning's Retrochallenge 2012 activity was reuniting the Dreamcast with the VAX and setting the VAX up to act as a dhcp and NFS server to the DC (copying the config from home).

Sundry small sysadmin tasks later (adding swap, users, mounting /home from the vax, installing some binary packages and starting a build for the latest PHP (don't ask)), and there was just time to break for the pre-9am coffee.

So, what do we have:
  • wopr - an 128M VAXstation 4000/90A acting as a NFS server to
  • orac - a 16M SEGA Dreamcast with sh3 CPU
Both have user logins and run web servers (wopr with PHP). orac has also run X (640x480 with a composite video to VGA adaptor is not a pretty sight).

Both have a 'falken' login which runs the standard NetBSD /usr/games/wargames script (the password *is* the obvious one :)

So, what next for Retrochallenge 2012:

Some thoughts:
  • The wargames script really could do with being a little more faithful to the movie. Per character delay, more interaction, prompting for Global Thermonuclear War or even a nice game of chess :)
  • Turning this into the worlds strangest honeypot. I have a sparc classic with two network interfaces which could act as a monitor, but what apps and accounts should be on the target VAX & Dreamcast machines? Samba? some hugely vulnerable web apps?
  • Running an sh3 emulator on the VAX & a VAX emulator on the Dreamcast?
  • Adding as many alternate architectures to the cluster as possible. Partial marks only for using VPN connections to alternate locations
Or... something else?

Your suggestions wanted!


  1. Are the systems already benchmarked towards eachother? Run a unit of SETI@home or whatever is popular these days, just to see which one does it better.

    1. I think SETI@home only made precompiled binaries available and I doubt they had VAX & Dreamcast in mind :-p

      Hmm, I could spin up some standard benchmarks such as lmbench to give a feel for how they compare. Anything else to mind?

  2. You need to find something for that VAXstation to do which requires a bit of grunt - that's a 40 VUPS VAX with 128 MB of RAM - that's like asking what to do with a McDonald Douglas F-4 Phantom - open the throttles and go vertical!

    1. Unfortunately I've found an easy way to bring it to its knees: just run g++ - the memory & CPU requirements for a modern gcc are quite amazing :(

      Anyway, running as an NFS server for the Dreamcast while the Dreamcast is compiling PHP is at least keeping it from boredom - CPU utilisation tends to run at a continual 10%-25% :)

  3. Now where did you find a BBA for the Dreamcast? I've been looking for one for ages.

    1. I left a Dreamcast + BBA search active on eBay until something came by at a merely exorbitant price... :/ Maybe its time someone picked up the DCEXT project ...