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quag7
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2007 8:49 am    Post subject: Very old serial terminals - questions, suggestions Reply with quote

I am curious if anyone here has attempted to hook up a very old serial terminal to their Gentoo system. I'm curious what terminal hardware was used.

I was also curious about using original DEC equipment and what other hardware other than these terminals I would require? Can these be hooked directly into a serial port?

I was also curious what percentage of middle 1980s and earlier terminals had standard serial ports/cables, and how they hooked up to the systems of their day, and what would be required to make them usable as serial terminals today with a Gentoo box. After hooking up the Apple //e to work as a serial terminal, I'm curious about other things that can serve as such. Mostly, I am interested in early hardware.

Thanks!
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drwook
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2007 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Should be fine with a VT420/VT510 or any of the similar models (they were what I used with my last DEC system). Not tested myself though so no warranty expressed or implied ;)
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John R. Graham
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2007 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heh. Most serial terminals are very old. :wink:

In the middle '80's, essentially all terminals that were not IBM 3270 interface (proprietary coax-based synchronous serial) had standard RS-232 interfaces. Linux should support essentially all of them through the ncurses library. This is a very old capability, having existed in *nix since Unix System III. To see all the terminals supported, look in /usr/share/terminfo. It's an impressively long list. :)

- John
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quag7
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2007 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Holy crow, you're not kidding. There are tons of them!

Thanks both of you for the information. I don't suppose anyone has any idea where's a good place to buy some of these old ones cheaply?
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John R. Graham
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2007 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Check eBay, but be wary of "thin clients": those may look like serial terminals but they are low-resource computers with proprietary interfaces, and usually more trouble than they're worth.

- John
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quag7
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 6:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wanted to thank responders for their help. I was able to snarf a Wyse WY50 - not quite as old as I was looking for, but a start - from a guy on my local LUG. As you can see, it works. Pretty simple:

http://www.dataswamp.net/colin/wyse-wy50.jpg
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drwook
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lynx all the way :)
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