Archives of OS/360-ish public domain software?

From: Hans Franke <>
Date: Tue Jul 4 06:08:28 2000

> > Also, lets face it - IBM just doesn't have the prestige that DEC stuff
> > does in the hacker world. I bet many IBM tapes and such were thrown away

> The problem with (1970's) IBM machines as against similar vintage DEC
> machines is that the IBM machines have a lot less 'hacker' documentation
> available. For some IBM systems it can even be hard to get the binary
> opcode list, something that DEC have been known to stick in the
> advertising flyer.

I can't tell about the small stuff, but for /3x0 systems the
opcodelist was omnipresent - and all necersary information for
IPL and (software) problem diagnosis.

Let's face it, the numbers of people with a /3x0 at hoe is close
to zero, so all stuff was done at your job. Terms like shareware,
or free software never has been an issue. It was more like an
old boys network. With an exception of IBMs software and some
comercial package it was always up to some kind of trade and
haggle - If you hear about some interesting app, you just ask
to get it - often you got huge packages for free (Well, not
realy, you always did sen back some bottles of beer or Cognac
for the next 'Meeting' :)

There are user groups among mainframe users, and most are
still in existence - just again, they are like english clubs
and not just a regular reserved table in some pizza shop.

> DEC machines generally had at least schematics and a technical manual
> available. And most of the components were off-the-shelf. This, alas,
> doesn't apply to IBM machines.

Again it's more a thing of quantity, so it is less known, but the
same you said is true for the IBM (Big Iron) world - Buy a Fujitsu
CPU, add Hitatchi chanel controller ans some drives, add CDC tapes,
maybe some SIEMENS network/terminal components and Terminals from
someone else (lets say Tandberg :) - now add an OS of your flavour
(in most cases some IBM OS) and you have a working mainframe system.
And if you took a non IBM OS, you even managed it to be completly
IBM free :)

> > by the hackers themselves.

> I don't think there was a deliberate policy amongst hackers to throw this
> stuff out (certainly not from any of the hackers I've met), but you can
> bet 'that ancient tape of IBM software' would have been a good candidate
> for a scratch tape :-(

Jep. After a machine is dismissed, most of the storage medias have
just been thrown away. But Tapes (and other medias) where DATA storage.
And the data has been just moved to newer medias on a regular schedule.
Programm tapes are quite raere within the mainframe world - remember,
within each generation you can put all software a data center did use
on just one (or a maximum of two) tapes. And these two tapes where
kept among _thousands_ of data tapes.


VCF Europa 2.0 am 28./29. April 2001 in Muenchen
Received on Tue Jul 04 2000 - 06:08:28 BST

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