FWD: RSTS/E Manuals

From: Frank McConnell <fmc_at_reanimators.org>
Date: Tue Jul 22 18:11:49 1997

Tim Shoppa <shoppa_at_alph02.triumf.ca> writes:
> Are classic minis, including PDP-11's and DG mini's only items for the
> junk heap?

No, but speaking for myself I am short on space at the moment (and
don't see it getting better for a while), lacking organization
(working on that one), short on time (which constrains both of the
above), and short of space between my ears too (too doggone many
learning experiences this last year or so and a medium-sized list
of some I have yet to get to).

This Sunday I told someone "you know, I sometimes think I should stop
collecting and get to work with the stuff I have." Which is enough to
fill one 10'x10' (figure 3mx3m) storage closet to where it's not too
difficult to get to stuff and make a pretty good showing of boxed
manuals and magnetic media in another. Certainly most of it needs
some sort of work.

And there are some minis in there amongst the micros:

An HP 2100A CPU. Unfortunately it is the CPU only. No I/O, no
memory, no peripherals to speak of. Did get the CPU manuals with it,
though, and they have made interesting reading and probably will one
day again. I am not actively seeking the other bits right at the
moment but am keeping my eyes open.

Two HP 3000/37 CPUs, and enough disk drives and other bits to make one
of 'em work. Well, they're a little bit small for minis, at least
if you consider just the CPU box.

An HP Micro 3000GX, currently taking up space in my workroom, with a
7970E 1600BPI tape drive that gives the resident manager hives -- it's
big and metal therefore it must be heavy, right? (I live in the
apartment above her.) Can I call this a mini? It runs the same code
that used to run on bigger 3000s, but it calls itself a "Micro" (and
fits entirely in a little tower case that with packing material and
box weighs 78 pounds -- what's that, 35kg?). Is it part of the
colllection? Hard to say, I used to do real work on it, but I
wouldn't part with it....

An HP 9000/520, but there we are straying away from minis into early
1980s supermicro/workstation sorts of things.

Various manuals for the above, as well as other systems in the 3000
and 21xx families. Also manuals and print sets for a Nuclear Data
ND812 mini.

A few odd parts: HP 3000/III front door with panel (found this on a
19" rack at Foothill swap meet -- the guts were gone and I really
don't need another empty 19" rack then or now); two HP 3000/CX front
doors, goldenrod; probably other stuff that slips my mind right now.

You may have noticed a preponderance of HP hardware in the above list.
That is because it is what I know something about (have been doing
stuff with 3000s for close to 20 years now, have dialed up 2000
time-shared BASIC systems way back when and know they are based on the
21xx-family CPUs (as are the early HP 1000 systems), and supported a
product on the 9000/500 for a little while and came to appreciate its
quirks). I don't know that much about DEC gear, and next to nothing
about DG stuff -- never used it at all.

Now *that* is sad: I am ignoring good stuff that I could probably
learn something about, maybe even learn something useful from. But I
am already having to come to terms with the fact that there is a lot
of stuff to learn, probably more than I can fit into one lifetime. Or
maybe I've just got a bad case of hardening of the brain? I don't

But I wonder how many other folks out there think to collect things
that they know stuff about, as opposed to stuff they don't know
anything about? I have to admit, the former makes a narrower
selection filter and the latter has gotten me into, um, unexpected
learning experiences (yeah, that's it) more often than not. And
for most people the "things they know stuff about" is more likely to be
micros than minis.

There's another point in there too: I've consciously ignored DEC stuff
(or passed it on to other more interested folks) for the simple reason
that there seemed to me to be a pretty active community working on
preserving it already! But DG stuff is another matter, I just haven't
really noticed much of it or much discussion of it.

OK Tim, you've guilt-tripped me...a little bit. But I'm still
wondering what I could do with and learn from some of this stuff.
What would I need to make a workable system? I expect the definition
of "workable" is variable amongst the readership, but I could amuse
myself for a while looking at an instruction set reference card and
having Real Iron on which to toggle in a lights hack would be a nice

(Yes, I am apt to collect this sort of documentation in the absence of
hardware too -- I am more a programmer than a hardware guy and I
mostly understand computers in terms of how to wrangle code for them.
And I really stand in awe of folks like you who can understand them in
terms of hardware too -- another thing that is on my to-learn list.)

Maybe it takes more to interest other folks, like the ability to hook
up and use terminal and/or storage devices. Maybe even load some sort
of operating system if that's what was customary on these things; I'd
probably want to get there someday myself. (Of course that poses its
own problem of where to get the operating software.) I don't know,
like I said I really don't know anything about DG hardware as it was
used in practice -- my background is in DP/MIS, datacomm, HP 3000s,
and nowadays sticking IP-protocol-suite stuff into Windows device

Got any pointers to where we could learn more?

-Frank McConnell
Received on Tue Jul 22 1997 - 18:11:49 BST

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