BIG haul of DEC docs!

From: Jerome Fine <>
Date: Mon Jun 25 10:45:52 2001

>Ethan Dicks wrote:

> --- wrote:
> > Something to consider. It's my understanding that it is OK, to scan/copy
> > the hardware doc's. However, I'm not sure that the same is true with the OS
> > Manuals, in fact I'm fairly sure that it isn't OK. This is unfortunate as
> > I'm guessing that there are even fewer Hobbyist with the OS doc's than have
> > hardware doc's.
> I have a documentation directory from the days when DEC released the right-
> to-copy to customers for those docs that DEC no longer sold. If someone has
> one handy, it might be good to scan it... I don't know how long mine would
> take to find. I don't have the precise langage here, but it said, in effect,
> if we won't sell it to you, go ahead and copy it.

Jerome Fine replies:

A company I helped to modify their distribution of V5.04G (December 1988) of RT-11
to be Y2K compliant could not find their old manuals. When DEC was asked to sell
them a copy for V5.04G DOCs, the oldest version available at the time was for V5.05
of RT-11. This was about 4 years ago and occurred just before V5.07 was released.

Note that the DOCs for V5.07 of RT-11 are composed of (so I am told) of the V5.06
DOCs plus an (approximately) 1" set of release notes for V5.07 which explain the changes
between V5.06 and V5.07 of RT-11. So that would mean that V5.06 DOCs are
probably considered (and maybe still V5.05 - although by this time COMPAQ probably
no longer has kept any copies and Mentec is also unlikely to have any) the current DOCs
and scanning would not be considered acceptable.

Now as to the reason for my reply. Four years ago, DEC stated in writing that the company
would be allowed to make copies of the V5.04G DOCs for use by the company. So in
principle, that letter of reply supports the position that Ethan Dicks mentions about "out of
print" DOCs, even and especially for operating systems. I understand that for the hobby
distribution of V5.03 of RT-11 which Mentec allows users to run under the Supnik
emulator, the user must acquire all information by themselves and I would presume that
such acquisition includes not only the BINARY files (which are now available at least
two sites) but also a copy of the DOCs since they were DEC only and are now obviously
out of print.

In any case, I have access to a set of V5.02 DOCs that came with a PRO350 which I
will carefully guard and I know where an original DEC set of V5.04G DOCs are located
which I hope to eventually obtain.

The question is: "Is it worth while to do a scan now of V5.02 (or perhaps even V5.04G)
or is it better to wait until V5.06 DOCs are no longer available and do the scan only once?"
Don't forget that the RT-11 DOCs are about one foot of double-sided sheets (without
the binders - i.e. just the paper - an estimate of 10,000 pages to be scanned?). Of
course, since each page is already separated in a loose leaf binder, scanning of standard
8" * 11" sheets might be quite easy when being fed automatically - even if time
consuming - and could be placed on a CD once finished.

> > Keep in mind when talking about RSTS/E, RSX-11M/M+, and RT-11 manuals you're
> > talking about software that you can still purchase, and Doc sets that are
> > still for sale. I'm guessing Mentec, and possibly Compaq would take a dim
> > view of copying these manuals.
> While I wouldn't recommend copying stuff that Mentec sells, I don't think
> you can get anything out of Compaq these days. For older stuff, say the RT11
> v4 docs, I doubt Mentec sells those.

That is almost certain and since DEC gave permission for the V5.04G DOCs
to be copied, then V4.00 from 1980 would be even more reasonable to be

> If you stick to the previous major versions, and especially stuff published
> by Digital, not Mentec and/or Compaq, I would expect that it falls under that
> notice from 15 years ago. Newer stuff is much less likely to be so liberated.

For RT-11, I suspect that presently means ONLY the present V5.06 DOCs
plus the V5.07 release notes.

By the way, I understand that there is something in the works that is either from
Mentec or Mentec approved re hobby licenses for PDP-11 operating systems.
I understand that since it is being done for free, it is taking much longer than
expected (it was hoped to be done already), but one aspect that will probably
be included is to allow real DEC hardware - at the very least. For RT-11,
the allowed versions will probably be extended to at least V5.05, but may
not include V5.06, but since I am not directly involved, I will have to wait
just like everyone else. I don't know if a ten year rule is being used as an
implicit standard, but that may be the case if V5.06 is not allowed, but V5.05
is permitted.

If this actually takes place, then the question of DOCs will be much more important
since an up-to-date set is almost essential. Hopefully the news will be confirmed
by the end of the year - maybe sooner - maybe before COMPAQ sells the Alpha
design team.

Sincerely yours,

Jerome Fine
Received on Mon Jun 25 2001 - 10:45:52 BST

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