Symbolics LAN - Overview

Over the past two weeks, I set up a small Symbolics LAN, and thought I would share some of the process and findings. I will write a post about each item, but the topics already concluded cover:

  • Performance challenges of the Merlin Ethernet under load, and modern 10Base5 to 10BaseT transceivers
  • An improvement to the stability of my first XL1201 which I was unstable, some five years ago
  • Y2k problems with the QFILE protocol under Chaosnet, and a "hotfix" to Genera's QFILE client to bypass them (this is deprecated, but was fun to try out)
  • IP subnets and routing under Symbolics Namespaces
  • Setting up the three Symbolics XL computers as a small LAN with a Linux NFS server

Later, I hope to cover some more topics, including:

  • Adding MacIvories, NXP and other computers to the LAN
  • Bridging this Symbolics LAN with others over WAN

In turn, I hope to explore and share some of the features of the new (to me) XL1200 with Framethrower that was provided by David Schmidt.

I also hope to show my colleagues at work some of the joys and advantages of the Symbolics model of building software, as compared to our current way of building services (e.g., Java/Spring Boot) and clients (e.g., TypeScript/Vue.js/Stencil).

The LAN currently consists of:

  • XENON, XL1201, Chaos 1200 & IP
  • COBALT, XL1201, Chaos 1202 & IP
  • IRON, XL1200, Chaos 1204 & IP
  • IGW, Edgerouter Pro, IP and
  • BORON, Intel NUC & Ubuntu, IP

The segment is separate from the rest of my LAN and solely for vintage computers. No DHCP runs there, and all the broadcast traffic modern computers send out doesn't cross.

Douglas Fields

Writing LISP and Haskell since 1990