UTek (V) filesystems and boot blocks (with some OT Tek rambliings)

From: Jules Richardson <julesrichardsonuk_at_yahoo.co.uk>
Date: Fri Jan 21 17:37:30 2005

On Fri, 2005-01-21 at 12:00 -0800, Rick Bensene wrote:
> I'm not as sure about UTekV, but the earlier Utek versions did use a pure
> 4.2BSD filesystem structure. I recall the big fuss over converting Utek away from
> a BSD base to a SystemV base, and thus, I'm wondering if the XD88 and other machines
> that ran UtekV may actually have a more standardized SystemV layout.

Actually I just booted the machine and took the easy route of looking in
fstab - both filesystems that the machine mounts are down as being ffs.

Don't suppose you recall the name of any utility for displaying disk
partition info on your Tek machines do you? Maybe it remained the same
for the XD88 too. I've found a /usr/lbin/disklabel but there's no man
page for it and I'm reluctant to just run it! There's also the 'sysadm'
command which gives menu-based admin functions, but it only lets you
create partitions with no way of displaying what you already have...

> I seem to recall that the first logical cylinder of the drive is allocated
> to the partition table and boot blocks, but that is a *very* old memory, and
> subject to wetware bitrot. Of couse, that also is only for the older BSD-based Utek.

Well I'll go poking around the raw image over the weekend. I can use
'df -t' on the Tek itself to give me the size in blocks of each
filesystem and then go hunting at the start of the disk for meaningful
data. Although I don't know if df gives size in blocks of an *empty*
filesystem (i.e. less any space for superblock etc.) or whether it's the
size of the partition *including* any space taken up by the filesystem
(I really need the latter!)

> The 6130 was a desktop form-factor Utek workstation with 32016 CPU, ST-506
> disk interface
> (usually with a Micropolis 20 or 40MB hard disk), 5 1/4" floppy drive,
> 1MB of RAM standard with expansion boards that could push it up to a
> whopping 5MB,
> two serial ports, a GPIB port, an AUI Ethernet port, and add-on
> boards that offered Dual RS232, Dual Parallel (Centronics), add-on RAM,
> SCSI, and GPIB.

Nice. I have a thing for systems based around the 32016 CPU having spent
years chasing after the elusive 32016 copro for the BBC micro. Funnily
enough I've found a Tek keyboard just like the XD88's at Bletchley, plus
an enormous Tek monitor, but I've never seen the machine that goes with
it. We do have some Tek stuff there; I'll see if I can see exactly what
tomorrow as I'll be rummaging around through the stores anyway.

> They abandoned the National 32xxx architecture and went
> with a Motorola 68K (68020, I believe),

probably a sensible move :-) 32k chips weren't the best around...

> The XD88 was the end of the line for Tek in the computer workstation biz.

I heard somewhere that the cost of them new was absolutely enormous -
$25k or so when these things were current (late 80's) and that was why
they weren't ever a success.

> Used the Motorola 88K,
> and really had some great innovations, especially in the graphics engine,
> which (for the time) was quite amazing.

It certainly flies on this machine - speed-wise it feels about ten years
ahead of anything the PC had. Unforunately I've got the lowly -10
machine with only an 8 bit display, not the -30 with the 24 bit
framebuffer. Love to find one of those (and some manuals, and OS
tapes... :)

> A great machine for doing CAD, visualization, and the
> like. Never did manage to get my hands on one of those machines.

I've only ever know of two others. One was connected to the 'net in the
US until about 1995 or so, the other was owned by a chap in the

The system unit for mine (and original hard drive) was owned by IXI -
like my NCR Tower it was another dev box for their X Windows software.
The monitor (a Sony, not a Tek) I got from my old uni, the keyboard came
from Cambridge uni (which implies they perhaps had an XD88 once too),
the current hard disk came from my old work, and the mouse was kindly
donated by our very own Joe Ridgon around ten years ago. Took me quite a
while to scrape together all the bits to make a working machine!

> Tektronix was really fickle when it came to computers.

Which is a shame; they built some really nice stuff. I get the
impression they were always a little edgy about seriously moving into
the computer market (despite making some incredible quality machines)
and so never quite committed themselves (at least in all the operations
that went around building the hardware)

> Sorry for the rambling...the days I was at Tektronix were really memorable,
> and when
> people start talking about old Tek stuff, I can't help it!

No worries there - it's good to hear! I can find precious few people who
even own Tek computer stuff now, let alone have ever had any involvement
with them.

Besides, at some point I want to have this XD88 up and running on
display at Bletchley, so any info about the machine itself or background
is always welcome!


Received on Fri Jan 21 2005 - 17:37:30 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Oct 10 2014 - 23:37:45 BST