Sometimes at work I’ll stumble over some old, unknown hardware just lying around on the floor in the basement. Sometimes it looks shiny, and I want to have it. Today I found a PowerExec 4/25SL from AST Research Inc. The ari-service.com website has a lot of great information about these ancient systems, that were made to compete with IBM’s machinery in the early 90s, and whose demise was caused by relying wholly upon self-manufactured components instead of following the OEM standardization we came to know as the PC.
Here’s a tell-tale illustration of the chassis. It’s fitted with a Norwegian/Arabic keyboard combo and a 2.5 Inch IDE Hard Drive at a full 200 MB diskspace so you can see why I’m so excited (it doesn’t have LBA so you can forget about replacing it). Is it Y2K compliant? "Enter the date at the DOS prompt and then reboot the computer." Apparently this little baby was assembled in Mexico, and sports a whopping 4MB of RAM. I’m gonna fit it with Damn Small Linux and pitch it up against the old IBM laptop from 93 that I’ve got as a dust-collector in the back of my office. I’m not gonna do any other distros, unless they come in a friendly amount of floppies..