Many things

From: Jerome H. Fine <>
Date: Sun Jan 30 15:47:05 2005

>Tony Duell wrote:

>>>Please don't take this as a flame, but I am always suprised by the people
>>>who run classic computers (as opposed to running emulators) and who don't
>>>want to get into the hardware. To me [1] that's one of the reasons for
>>>running an old machine.
>>Trust me, I don't take it as a flame, we just have different area's
>>of interest. My area of interest is primarily in the Operating
Jerome Fine replies:

As many of you know, I am purely an RT-11 (operating system) addict.
While I am able to wire wrap a DLV11-J board and plug it into the
Qbus backplane, that is about my hardware limit. I doubt that I could
successfully solder anything at this point and I do not wish to spend the
time that it would take to acquire even 10% of what Tony has forgotten.

>>Systems that run on the various platforms, and I'm coming to the
>>conclusion that I'm better served by emulators in most cases. I'd
>>really like to dig in and learn the hardware on my PDP-8's, and even
>>the -11's at a very low level, but I simply do not have the time.
>Well, while I doubt I could write an OS from scratch (or a compiler,
>or...), I have been known to read source listings, make (small) changes,
>and so on. If you turn that round, while I don't think everyone needs to
>know how to _design_ a CPU (or whatever), it's helpful if you have some
>idea how they work, and how to find faults, etc...
>Of course there is the big difference that correctly working hardware can
>fail (a component can go out-of-spec), correctly working software
>doesn't. But anyway...
Don't be so sure. I know of one bug in RT-11
which has been there for over 30 years. Because
it fails on a random basis, and even then VERY
rarely, the specific nature of the bug does not
seem to have been detected, as far as I know, by
anyone else. I have a fix which hobby users will
have available as soon as the documentation is

Don't assume that even very widely used old software
that seems to be working correctly has no bugs.

Sincerely yours,

Jerome Fine
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Received on Sun Jan 30 2005 - 15:47:05 GMT

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