On Thu, 03 Nov 2011 19:01:41 -0700, leaknoil <leaknoil at gmail.com> wrote:
I hate thinking anything in the defense department is
running on a
vaxstation 4000 still but, it's the government after all.
On Thu, 03 Nov 2011 22:13:53 -0400, Dave McGuire <mcguire at neurotica.com> wrote:
Besides, remember how procedure-oriented the US
Gov't is. It's the
world's best refuge for people who are incapable of independent thought,
because there are rule books and procedure books for EVERYTHING. If
said book says "thou shall run this on a VAX4000-96", even if a good old
3100-M38 would do the job just fine at about $20.00, you'll sign the P.O.
There are a lot of reasons that old equipment is (re)purchased by the Government,
especially the Department of Defense. Most of the equipment in question is not sitting on
someone's desk running a spread sheet, but is generally part of production equipment -
especially test equipment. A production line is shut down and the contractor is allowed to
close down and disperse the line. A then an action or foreign customer comes along and the
contractor is called upon to reopen the line, generally on a short leash.
At that point the contractor can purchase new equipment (cheap), re-engineer and program
the line (not so cheap and generally not quick), and re-certify the new line (not cheap
and definitely not timely). This of course requires re-engineering and building the
certification stations. Or the contractor can scrounge around and rebuild the line as
originally constituted. The equipment isn't inexpensive for what it is, but the line
is reconstituted by a bunch of techs in a fairly short time. The engineering and software
is done and the unit stands certified as built.
A good number of years ago Hughes Aircrash shut down the TOW missile line and after
storing the production equipment for a number of years was allowed to auction off the
obsolete equipment. One of the many messes that we seem to be continually caught up in
used up a goodly number to the missiles that were laying around and Hughes was asked to
make more. They had a team of people running around buying up the old equipment wherever
they could. An acquaintance got several times the new price for a HP 2115 that he had
I chatted with an engineer and questioned the wisdom of buying and using old equipment.
They had a bonus riding on getting production going in a fairly short period and the cost
of going that route was a very, very small fraction of re-engineer the line.
The moral here is that paying $3k for an old VAX might in fact be saving $300k...