Digital MicroVAX II The Digital MicroVAX II is the one and only mini-computer in my collection. The machine originally came from a meat packing plant where it processed input taken directly from scales which weighed the products as they were ready to ship. It has two Maxtor 380 meg ESDI hard disks and 13 meg of RAM. Everything is housed inside a huge tower case, which can barely be moved by a single person. The MicroVAX II originally appeared in 1985 and can run VMS, Ultrix, NetBSD, or Linux, the port of which is still in progress. An interesting note on this machine is that it is rather unusual to find a system with dual hard disks in the narrow BA23 case like this one uses, as the second hard disk then was put in place of the tape drive normally used to load the OS and other software. Also, Digital has begun offering free 'hobbiest' licences for VMS through the DecUS user group, in hopes of promoting more widespread use of the OS since the older VAX systems, such as the MicroVAX line, are now beginning to appear in the hands of private individuals in larger numbers.

I aquired this machine in June of 1997 and it took me a few more months after that to finally aquire a working data terminal to hook up to it before I tried powering it up. Prior to that, I had opened it up and checked the connections inside and such, as well as to make sure it was relatively clean. Once open, I found it still contained the controller for the missing TK50 tape drive and I was able to determine that it was likely built sometime in 1987. Once I did connect my Altos III terminal to it's console port and powered it up, I logged in under one of the Sys Admin accounts not only to discover VMS 4.6 still installed on the hard disk, but that I was the first interactive login onto the system since late in 1990.

As of mid-2000, DECUS has ceased to exist, it's board deciding to reorganize the group against the member's wishes. DEC had earlier been purchased by COMPAQ and support of the earlier DEC hardware slowly disappeared.

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