As an offspring to the "BlinkenBone" Project, this idea for a cool computer museum exhibit was borne:

Install an embedded Linux system into an original DEC VT100 terminal and let it simulate a selection of vintage DEC computers.

decbox vt100

This installation is called the "DECbox". It is dressed up as a fictive DEC product (so named like "DECnet" or "DECtape" or "DECserver").

The embedded Linux system is a BeagleBone

beaglebone top

The simulations are made with the Bob Supniks "SimH" ... a former name for the "DECbox" was indeed "embedded SimH" or "eSimH". With SimH, you can run a lot of old operating systems ... and have fun!

decbox simh rt11 advent

Technically, DECbox is a quite obvious idea: since several years micro controllers and embedded systems are strong enough to simulate vintage computers. Many people have ported simulators - especially SimH - to those systems. So I simply add my project to all these, with some special flavor.

Show it!

When presented in a museum, the DECbox has several unique advantages over other exhibits:

  • Visitors have the original look-and-feel of an ancient system: they access a vintage computer through the original video terminal ... and in original speed.
  • The installation is very power saving, and no historical equipment has to be run.
  • You can move the DECbox everywhere you want ... still having the functional equivalent of a dozend fully packed 19" racks inside!
  • The VT100 is not modified in any way and can be used as normal terminal within seconds.
  • If somebody damages the software installation, you just restore an image of the on-board SD-card
  • If somebody steals it, the loss is just below 300€ (costs for VT100 + BeagleBone + expansion hardware)


 read more


decbox logo