A real terminal

Although it doesn’t directly relate to vintage Macs or the classic Mac OS, I couldn’t not link to this: A VT220 serial console (circa 1983) set up as a terminal for a Mac Pro (circa 2010).

This post made me smile for a number of reasons: firstly, it’s a cool setup, and I’m glad it works because it took quite the effort on Justin’s part — this is far from being a ‘plug & play’ combination. Secondly, Justin’s explanation includes a precious link that I had lost during my recent bookmark summer cleaning: Paul Weinstein’s post about setting up an Apple IIc as a terminal (and here you have a vintage Apple link, so I’m back on topic!).

Last but not least, I’m in full agreement with Justin when he concludes:

I learned a lot about how terminals work over the last couple weeks and the final result is quite satisfying, a soft amber glow and one less window on my desktop. It’s also a nice reminder that we didn’t get to where we are overnight, user interfaces and software development have been evolving in an unbroken chain for a long time and some of the old ideas are so solid that they persist 30 years later. Why not use the proper hardware?

Ah, to think I could have done something similar! When I was still living in Italy I had been given an IBM 5291 terminal [like this one], but regrettably I had to dispose of it during my relocation: I had too much vintage gear to fit in my flat here in Spain, and at the time I had no real use for it, so it had to go. I’ll always remember his large, heavy, all-metal keyboard, giving a literal meaning to the phrase ‘built like a tank’…


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