Tektronix Workstations

From: Bill_von_Hagen_at_transarc.com <(Bill_von_Hagen_at_transarc.com)>
Date: Thu Jan 8 09:12:10 1998

Tektronix made a number of interesting UN*X workstations (their flavor
was called UTek) in the early/mid eighties, finally hanging it up
around 1990 after releasing a Motorola 88K-based machine called the
XD88 series.

Earlier Tek workstations were the Magnolia, the 4XXX series, the 613X
series, and the 6205. The 6205 and 6130 were based on the National
Semiconductor 32032 processor - the 6130 was a desk-top that actually
made it to market. The 6205 was a floor-standing "tower" version that
was faster and more expandable, but which never sriously made it to the
commercial market, as far as I know. The 43XX and 44XX boxes were very
cool, too - these ran UTek or Smalltalk. As with all Tek products, all
of these systems had fantastic graphics for their time.

I have various of these machines (6205, 6132, etc.). I can probably
copy some docs for you if you'd like. Let me know.


The following is some info about these that I collected from someone
who worked at Tektronix during the time:

The Magnolia was a proof-of-concept design, built in small quantities for
internal use only. It had two 68000 processors, one for general use, and
one for display only. It was a floor-standing cube about 18" per side. I
believe it ran BSD Unix and used VME cards. My guess is there were some
20-50 built. My understanding is that the design was not easily
"productized," meaning EL approval, inexpensive, etc. It had some custom
hybrid ICs in it that apparently cost a mint to make.

The Magnolia people and the 6000-line people were at war over
processors and OS's. The 6000 line eventually lost -- the Magnolia
people eventually produced the 4000-line, which were based on Motorola
processors and an awful UNIX clone called Uniflex. Once the 6000-line
died, it became politically possible to port UTek to the 4000-line
boxes, and their names changed.

Here's a quick run-down (somewhat chronological):

Magnolia -- Tek-internal-only, integrated bitmap display, dual 68000, BSD
Unix, VME?.

6205 -- only a few sold, Futurebus, NS32032, integrated display subsystem
never really worked.

6130 -- NS32032 desk-top, not expandable, integrated display subsystem
never really worked terribly well, usually used with a serial console.

4404 -- 68000, all-in-one with integrated 15" monochrome display, Uniflex OS.

4406 -- 68202, all-in-one with integrated 19", 4-bit gray display, Uniflex
OS. Extremely sharp, but short-lived, internally produced CRT -- I'd be
amazed if any of these are still working. The displays regulary started
getting dim about a month after the warranty expired.

4407 -- same as 4406, but with a Hitachi color monitor.

4404+ -- internal-only, the 4404 with a 68010 daughtercard and MMU so it
can run UTek.

4315 -- 4404 package with a 68020 processor, UTek.

4316 -- 4406 with minor changes, running UTek. Same dismal CRT.

4317 -- 4407 with minor changes, running UTek.

It's been a while, some of these numbers might be off by a digit or so...
Received on Thu Jan 08 1998 - 09:12:10 GMT

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