Modding A Sinclair ZX Spectrum To Run Linux
By James Grahame
No, Linux won't run on a home computer from the early eighties (not yet, anyway). But this is no ordinary little Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Its diminutive case hides a 600 MHz ARM Cortex-powered BeagleBoard running Debian Linux.
Brian Smith's clever case mod includes 128 MB RAM, 256 MB onboard flash, a full-fledged Linux distro on an 8 GB compact flash card, and a healthy slathering of video, audio and USB ports. He even went to the trouble of figuring out a keyboard hack that preserves the original rubber keypad in working order.
Here's a shot of the newly hacked Spectrum on the left, alongside an unmangled original. Smith managed to get the interface ports to line up with existing holes in the case, although there's a 4 port Kensington USB hub where the expansion slot used to be.
In the end, the daft jokester couldn't resist installing a Spectrum emulator on his spiffy new machine, which somewhat undermined the point of the whole exercise.
ZX Spectrum Upgrade Photos [flickr via Technabob]