thoughts on UNIX and older systems

From: Miles O'Neal <>
Date: Sat Jan 16 15:55:26 1999

Bill Pechter said...

|The 7300's and 7350's originally maxed out at .5mb.

That's what we looked at - a beta 7350A, I think.

|The Perkin-Elmers were just 68000-8mhz. Dog slow. No virtual memory.
|Slow as death graphics.

Everything about that system was slow. It was my first
experience with UNIX, and I was underwhelmed. I ran
into memory problems all the time - and I was just goofing
around trying to learn the thing.

|We had the problem of management not supporting faster models because
|the Versabus couldn't run faster with their hardware without bus timing

Someone was doing something weird. We had another
VersaBus system by someone else, and it was much
faster. It was also 68K based, and a 68K is an
OK processor if you run decent code on it. Not
great, but OK...

|Perkin-Elmer/Concurrent ran into a lot of problems with Unix because they
|didn't do virtual memory until they purchased Masscomp in 1987-88.
|Masscomp ran their own OS called RTU Real Time Unix.
|(A SysIII varient with Berkeley and DEC extensions (picked up from RSX/11).

Didn't Masscomp have the first realtime version of X
that was any good?

|Perkin-Elmer desktops also were running one of three OS's:
|Uniplus Sys III
|MicroXelos (UniPlus Sys V)

I recall all of these, but never actually got to mess with them.

[Minis ran:]

This was a lot of fun. Oh, it had its drawbacks, but it was
still pretty cool. A nice, realtime OS. We had a few more
problems with them than with the MODCOMPs, hardware-wise, tho.
But overall they were pretty solid.

For those who don't know, OS/32 was a very monolithic OS.
All the common commands, such as "dir", were built into the
kernel. Working late, wandering through the kernel in the
hex editor or debugger or something (while it was running;
these really were marvelous systems) looking for some table
I needed to check a value in, I found the headings for all
the columns of the "dir command". One of the columns of
output was a combination file type/status field. I swapped
all the symbols around, so that files which would have shown
as FTN (FORTRAN) displayed as DEL (DELeted). [This example
is approximate - it's been 15 years now...] An hour or so
later I got a very satisfying scream out a co-worker. Of
course, he knew at once who it was!

I have lots of PE stories, but I'll save them for later. 8^)

|> Just out of curiosity, does anyone have a Perkin-Elmer desktop
|> running Linux? IIRC, it was pretty much a straight port of
|> whatever was current from bell Labs at the time - or maybe an
|> older version.
|But the hardware wan't close to anything there's current drivers for.
|And it wasn't a 68020 so forget Linux.

I meant UNIX. Sorry.

Did you know any of the PE guys in Atlanta in the early 80s?

Received on Sat Jan 16 1999 - 15:55:26 GMT

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