Ode to a ThinkPad T30

Way back in 2003, I bought a ThinkPad T30. Yesterday, July 10 2017, I turned it off for probably the last time.

It has run pretty much 24/7 for twelve years (and 18/7 for the two years before that). It has had a replacement cooling fan, a replacement battery, and a replacement HDD in that time. The hard disk is still good – it was replaced only because it was too small.

That’s pretty good in our consumerist world of planned obsolescence, and doubly good in the world of IT.

For the past ten years the T30 has been running our in-house wiki, our local DNS server, and until a few years ago, a mail server for three or four domains. It was a file server as well, until two years ago, when we moved everything to a NAS.

But it was time. For what it was doing, it pulled too much power, and at fourteen years old it was only a matter of time before it did fail. Living in the bush, we turned it off if a thunderstorm came over. It had a faulty power switch – I sometimes had to press it forty or fifty times to turn it off, and another forty or fifty times to turn it back on. And as I tapped I was always wondering ” is this the day it doesn’t turn back on?”

Also, we could not upgrade the operating system. It was still running Ubuntu 7.04. Just as that reached EOL, Linux stopped supporting non-PAE hardware. So the T30 just kept on keeping on, with Ubuntu 7.04. Security updates had long since stopped coming, but it was a server for internal use only, so we weren’t too worried about that.

It’s been replaced by a Raspberry Pi 3. I wonder whether the Pi 3 will still be going strong in 2031…

One thought on “Ode to a ThinkPad T30

  1. I’ve been a sysadmin for most of my career and have had my share of “old faithful” servers. Sometimes the attachment is almost emotional. I’ve had and am proud of some of those little servers running antiquated hardware, CPUs, and so on that are looked down upon by newer servers and younger wet-behind-the-ears administrators. Your blog entry resonated with me!

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