In their poor, Communist country, Romania's computer curious built an underground industry.
Among the clones manufactured by the Communists was the Cobra or CoBra. The name stands for COmputere BRAsov, with Brasov being the town in central Romania where these machines were assembled to be used by enterprises. Of course, ordinary people couldn’t buy them—which is what first led several students at the Politehnica University of Bucharest deciding to build them themselves.
“It was a highly illegal operation. And we knew this very well,” Moldovanu tells me. “But to us, it didn’t matter. We were super excited to turn a pile of parts into a cool project.”
If militia officers caught Moldovanu and colleagues while they were selling computes, however, it'd matter. The authorities could seize the students’ electronics, make them pay fines, and could expel them from the university for starters.