NetBSD In Action

There are six computers running NetBSD in this picture (although admittedly one isn't switched on).  Sitting on top of the wooden shelf is a 12 slot VME rack containing four Motorola single board computers (two MVME147's, and two MVME167's) running NetBSD/mvme68k. These are the main development machines for NetBSD/mvme68k.

Below the rack on the upper white shelf, you can just see to the left (mounted vertically in a black-coloured box), a `Shark' Network Computer running NetBSD/arm32. This machine performs sterling service as an Internet firewall/NAT gateway/email gateway/inn news spool/Junkbuster proxy/time server/print server (for an Epson Stylus 640).

On the floor is an APC SmartUPS-1000 Un-interruptible Power Supply, powering all the main computers in the "Lab".  The UPS is monitored, via its serial port, by my main server (not in this picture) which is able to instruct, via the network, all the other affected computers to shutdown in the event of a prolonged power outage.

To the right of the UPS is a MicroVAX-II. This was donated to me by David Brownlee, together with a bunch of QBUS cards and ST-506 disk drives (preloaded with NetBSD/vax). I plan on getting this up and running sometime soon ;-).

Here's a closeup of the VME rack showing the four CPUs and two other cards installed. From left to right:
  • A 33MHz m68040 MVME167 with 16Mb main memory, running NetBSD-1.5.1.
  • An 8Mb VMEbus memory board.
  • A 25MHz m68030 MVME147 with 8Mb main memory, running NetBSD-current.
  • A 25MHz m68030 MVME147 with 8MB main memory, running NetBSD-1.5.1.
  • A 33MHz m68040 MVME167 with 32Mb main memory, running NetBSD-current.
  • A Radstone SIO-4 16-port serial card.
  • Two SCSI disks.
Mission control. You can just see the top of my main server at the bottom/middle of the picture. The server runs NetBSD/i386 1.5.1.
The item of interest in this picture is the horizontal grey box in the middle of the hi-fi cabinet; a diskless MP3 jukebox, running NetBSD/arm32. It's basically another Shark, and is completely silent due to having neither disk drives (it NFS mounts its file-systems, including '/', from another machine) nor fans (as it is based on the StrongARM processor, it generates negligable  heat). It's unlikely an Intel box could be situated in such a confined space without noisy fans for cooling. The Shark's SVGA output is connected to the TV via an SVGA -> PAL scan converter, and an infrared keyboard/mouse for input purposes. The Shark's audio output is of sufficiently high quality that it takes a discerning ear to tell the difference between the original CD and and MP3 recording on this setup.

Note that the Shark was never sold as a finished product. Only a limited number of them were ever made (as prototypes), and those were distributed to some schools and NetBSD developers on a Long Term Loan basis. It is very unlikely (but not impossible) that you'll find any Sharks available in-order to duplicate my setup. However, you can find full schematics and specifications for the Shark here. If you're feeling adventurous, you could just about build one ;-).