PERQs for emulation (was: "Real" emulation)

From: R. D. Davis <>
Date: Mon Jan 8 21:25:20 2001

On Mon, 8 Jan 2001, Chuck McManis wrote:
> If such a system could be built (and I'm sure it could) it would be a
> fabulous training device for people. Imagine doing this same sort of thing
> on a PC (which fails more than my PDP-11 in my experience!) you could help
> thousands of people.

Surely anyone should be able to realize that the best machine for an
emulator is a PERQ, which, if certain AMD bit-slice processor chips
were still being produced, we could all build. The system is user
microprogammable, and some code for emulation, e.g., 6502 uP, IIRC,
already exists. More than one type of emulation in microcode can be
run at the same time, so, for example, one could be running the Accent
OS with it's Sapphire window manager, while also running other
microcode to emulate some other architecture, yet, have that other
architecture make use of the Sapphire window manager.

The system is predictably flakey, yet reasonably reliable enough for
reasonably serious use (e.g., I wrote a book on it using the Mint
document processing software, which is something like Scribe or
LaTeX), created graphics for the book on the PERQ, and printed it on
the PERQ's laser printer, which, like with the NeXT, is driven
directly by the machine's CPU. In addition, a PERQ, which, depending
on the model number, has four or five fans, which can help heat a
basement due to the good circulation of heat dissipated.

The Z80 processor used for I/O is also user programmable, so, one
can have some fun with that as well.

If they'd only included a TCP/IP stack with the PERQs, which did, BTW,
have ethernet boards that some sort of CMU (I forget what it's called
at the moment) and Cambridge Ring ethernet networking. Ah well.

Has anyone ever videotaped the fantastic PERQ graphics demos, or the
surrealistic animated computer artwork called "Strawberry Fairchild"?
It would be a shame to lose these if the last PERQs quit PERQing.
Copyright (C) 2000 R. D. Davis "The best way to gain a true understanding of
All Rights Reserved            Wile E. Coyote on the Roadrunner cartoons is to 410-744-4900 fly, head-first, off a horse into something like   a fence or a tree; trust me, this works." --RDD 
Received on Mon Jan 08 2001 - 21:25:20 GMT

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