The name HARLIE comes from the sentient (and rather philosophical) computer in David Gerrold's When H.A.R.L.I.E. Was One.
The original HARLIE (1993) was a Samsung 386-20 with 4MB of RAM running Linux 0.99, residing in my dorm room at Harvey Mudd College. In early 1994 HARLIE was transferred to a Gateway 486-66 super-tower with 16MB. It survived in this form, with periodic component upgrades, through my entire stay at Cornell and my first year in California. It had become the pinnacle of 486/VLB performance: #9 Motion 771 video card, Adaptec AHA-2840 SCSI card, 64MB of RAM, and a Pentium-83 overdrive processor. However, it was a full-time server living in my bedroom under my desk, and I realized that I could eliminate the noise, save power, and have a faster computer by replacing it with an old laptop. So in 2000, HARLIE became a Pentium-200 laptop with a broken screen and no battery. Laptops weren't meant to do server duty, so it was a mess of accessories and cables: a PCMCIA SCSI adapter connected to an external DAT drive, and both PCMCIA and USB network adapters. In early 2004 I was clued in to low-noise power supplies and CPU fans, HARLIE was reincarnated in its old Gateway case as a PIII/750, using hand-me-down components from my gaming machine. A few years later, I bought a new motherboard to run an Athlon XP mobile processor so that I wouldn't need a CPU fan. After another year or so, that system was transplanted into an Antec P182 low-noise case which makes for nearly silent operation. In 2011, frequent kernel panics while doing the monthly full system backup signalled a hardware fault, and the motherboard and stack of video, sound, network, and drive controller cards were replaced with a low-power all-in-one industrial motherboard. After discovering in 2013 or so that I was unable to upgrade-in-place from Slackware Linux version 13.37 to a newer relase, I gradually grew more irritated with lack of support for newer software. In 2020 I finally acted by purchasing a new set of hardware and configuring it with Ubuntu Linux to replace HARLIE yet again. This solved many bothersome software problems as well as the the nerve-wracking hardware problem of HARLIE not responding to the power button after a cold shutdown or power failure. The HARLIE Homepage has links to users' homepages as well as some useful and useless services.