"Toasternets are private, independent Internet-connected networks that spring up in basements, closets, wherever there's space. They are built by individuals, often, using bizarre mixtures of mismatched hardware and software. Prototype highspeed routers and network hardware nestle comfortably among antiquated UNIX hosts built from ten-year-old discarded parts; alpha-test software runs on machines salvaged from junkyards and dumpsters. Macintoshes run ported PC software; PCs run one-of a-kind operating systems. Many toasternets seem at first like hellish tangles of junk, unlikely to work at all. Fact is, the intensity of competition, the rate of propagation, and the great variety of methods and combinations have created a form of electronic Darwinism. Software, protocols, and routing algorithms are born, fan out over the net, and disappear, prey to faster, more reliable, more portable new generations. Toasternets are a hothouse for technological standards, and we all profit from the resulting hybrid vigor." - Bill Woodcock
1) FTP server drive. 2) POP mail spooler. 3) Prototype PPP router being tested. 4) Livingston Portmaster router. 5) Norris Earphone atop a stack of modems. 6) punchdown blocks. 7) HTTP server, AURP router, AFP server, PAP spooler. 8) CD drive. 9) mail, FTP, primary nameserver, shell accounts. 10) news spooling drive. 11) Powerbook serves as a mobile administration console, as well as phone book, etc. 12) news and NFS server, secondary nameserver.