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I have created the tag , with the idea to apply it to questions concerning contemporarily made computers that are either re-creations of old hardware or new designs made from old parts; often those are sold as soldering kits. This would cover computers like the Mini PET, Gigatron, PE6502, Spectrum Next or the (still in-development) Commander X16, but not Arduino or Raspberry Pi that are based on modern architectures.

Then I noticed we already have , and ; there seems to be no clear distinction between them. We also have a question Commercially-available modern computers with retro characteristics?, tagged , but the answers don’t seem to actually address whether this area is in-scope for this site. Frankly, I don’t understand why it was moved here; nothing in the question or answers relates to Retrocomputing Stack Exchange itself.

So my questions are:

  • Is there an established name for this field? ‘DIY computing’ is something I made up mostly as a placeholder term. It’s not hard to see it as an extension of hobbyist computing of the 1980s, so perhaps the name we choose could allude to that.
  • Is ‘DIY retrocomputing’ in scope, and to what extent? Obviously Raspberry Pi or Arduino would be out of scope, but how about new retro-based designs like CX16? Modern clones and near-clones? Where should the line between computing and electronics be drawn?
  • Should the tags , and be merged, and if not, what should distinguish them from each other?

We don’t seem to be under a deluge of such questions, so this is not necessarily a top priority, but perhaps it would not hurt to get this sorted.

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has a very clear and different meaning. Think IBM PC clone as the prime example - a computer that is itself retro that mimicked (to varying degrees of compatibility) another computer of its time. Yes, you can "clone" a retro computer today with either retro or modern hardware (or even a simulation in software), but that is something entirely different.

and the other possible tags get a bit more complicated. They can encompass both homemade/diy items of years gone by - which include everything from totally designed from scratch to based on published designs to kits (which can themselves range from buy a PCB and parts list to all-inclusive Heathkits). I don't see how any of those tags hits the specific concept of "building something in 2021 that has elements of Retrocomputing".

I would certainly consider this topic in scope of Retrocomputing. But I don't know how to tag it.

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