Mentec Hobbyist plans?

From: Jerome H. Fine <>
Date: Sun Jan 12 21:51:01 2003

>"Zane H. Healy" wrote:

> >There ARE no emulators 'owned by Digital' (or Compaq or HP for that matter).
> >So the Mentec license is no help to anyone who wants to run pdp-11 OSes on
> >emulation (SIMH, E11 etc), and stay 100% legal. It's no help at all as
> >regards running on acutal -11 hardware.
> Back when Bob was at DEC, the understanding was that this covered SIMH, and
> a commercial Emulator that DEC sold. If anyone knows/remembers what this
> commercial emulator is/was, I'd really appreciate knowing, as I'd like to
> put the info up on my PDP-11 Emulation webpage. All I can remember is it
> was some outragously expensive price that no hobbyist could hope to afford.

Jerome Fine replies:

As far as I can remember, the other emulator was also by DEC at
the time, but was a commercial product that was extremely expensive
and ran on an Alpha, probably under Windows NT, but it could have
been VMS. The name Charon comes to my mind as well.

As far as I can remember, Mentec also sold the Charon emulator, and
maybe still does, BUT would never give Ersatz-11 (and John Wilson)
a mention.

As for the initial response about there no longer being a DEC emulator
available since DEC no longer exists, there seems to be three possible

(a) Before Compaq bought out DEC, the emulator developed by
Bib Supnik qualified as the specified hobby emulator for the PDP-11
which could run on various systems since it is written in "C". Also,
what Bob wrote while he was working for DEC probably belonged
to DEC, but since there was no charge for the emulator, that aspect
never became a problem. I would suggest that since at one time
that emulator qualified, it would continue to be grand fathered into
still being qualified. Thus those old versions from the DEC days
are still OK to use.

(b) Mentec seems to have informally allowed SIMH to continue
to be qualified in the same manner as the original Supnik emulator
since by default, there have NEVER (to my knowledge) been any
protests by Mentec against using the current versions of SIMH
as the emulator that is one of those that is allowed.

(c) There are a number of other interpretations that perhaps only
a lawyer might suggest. I don't see any point in upsetting the
apple cart (or the PDP-11 cart or especially the RT-11 cart),
but from many indications I have seen, one of the most important
aspects is that every use of the software that originally was allowed
for hobby use under the Supnik emulator is that all current uses
REMAIN as ONLY for hobby use. Thus as long as there is no
money ever changing hands, Mentec seems to be taking a low
key approach. BUT, that also means that the hobby users continue
to act with discretion and NOT flaunt the use of any versions of
the PDP-11 software that are subsequent to those allowed under
the current hobby license. This latter aspect is why I am setting
as a goal the use of the Y2K/Y10K V5.03 of RT-11 and then
ONLY by hobby users.

Sincerely yours,

Jerome Fine
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Received on Sun Jan 12 2003 - 21:51:01 GMT

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