Museo dell’Informatica Funzionante start in 1994 from an idea by Gabriele “asbesto” Zaverio, initially just like an old computer collection, just to revive them and, after a while, it became argument of more complex studies inside the Freaknet Medialab, revolutionary computer lab hosted by the “Centro Sociale Auro” squat in Catania. Thanks to the efforts of and Poetry Hacklab hackers, now this simple idea transformed in a real Museum.

M40All our efforts were made in total disinterest and without any kind of help from local authorities, that literally ignore our work.
Since the beginning we collect obsolete hardware, restore it and put back in working order, to preserve the Computer Science History. Our computers, saved from trash, or donated by visitors, enthusiasts, universities or commercial groups, are cleaned, fixed, tested and so fully restored. The software from their original media, the documentation and manuals are accurately saved, preserved and stored.

Everything we do is made only by volunteer work..

We were enlisted among the cultural activities recognized by UNESCO, and also we share many activities with them. Here you will find an interview about our development of streaming tools for freedom of expression.
Since the 90s, our group has been involved in training, research and science in relation to Computer Science, Freedom of Information and free access to technology.

In 1998 we created in Catania the first Free Laboratory in Italy to provide free and open access to its network of computers, connected to the Internet, built by recycling old hardware; with this network we provided for free to anyone a login shell and an email on UNIX and GNU/Linux systems to non-EU immigrants, homeless people, travelers, but also students and local families.


We held open courses, affordable and accessible to anyone; we organized workshops and conferences on a wide variety topics such as computer security, programming, history of computing, freedom of information, art and more, in schools, colleges and universities throughout Italy.

Linz-2We have been invited to give workshops and conferences in different parts of the world; we have dealt with several national media (RAI 1, RAI 2, RAI 3, Canale 5, Rete 4, Tele Montecarlo, Rai Radio3, Telepiù 2 ‘).

We have developed and implemented cultural projects in India, Palestine, Iraq, Indonesia, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands; one of our programmers / system analysts has just completed a collaboration with the University of UNATEK Kibungo and the Association “Twese Hamwe”, in Rwanda.


We often receive visitors from all over the world but, for those who cannot  physically come and visit us, we have put online some historical computers, which can be reached 24/7 and can be accessed freely by everyone; you can also request a personal access. They have a lot of daily login from all over the world! Operating systems available on computers online include VMS, IRIX, UNIX System V Rel 3, RT-11, AIX, Solaris, MV / OS and others, on platforms like Digital VAX and PDP-11, Sun Microsystems, Silicon Graphics, IBM RS / 6000, Data General, etc.; there are many programming languages available, including FORTRAN 77, ALGOL, ADA, LISP, COBOL, PASCAL. There is also a collection of programs and historical games, compiled directly from the original source code of the early ’70s, like StarTrek, MORIA, Nethack, ADVENTURE, COLOSSAL CAVE and more!


On most of these systems a C compiler is available, in order to test code portability to different architectures.
The museum also participates with its Digital VAX / VMS system to the RETRO-DECNET, the first italian amateur DECNET network (, which has a forty nodes between VAX, Alpha, and Itanium TOPS, some of which freely accessible through open user “luther” or “guest” from inside and sometime outside the network itself (