I've assembled some notes from old manuals and other sources
on the formats used for on-disk file systems through the
Additional notes, comments on style, and whatnot are welcome.
(It may be sensible to send anything in the last two categories
directly to me, rather than to the whole list.)
There's been a lot of discussion about early Unix on Intel, National
Semi, Motorola, and Sparc processors. I don't recall if Unix ran on
the Z8000, and if not, why not.
As I remember the Z8000 was going to be the great white hope that
would continue Zilog's success with the Z80 into modern times.
But, it obviously didn't happen.
All, I've had a few queries about the proposed video chat sessions, so
I'll kick the first one off tomorrow:
UTC Brisbane London New York
Friday, 28 Feb 2020 at 21:00 Sat 7:00am Fri 9:00pm Fri 4:00 pm
I'll only be able to stay for an hour but the chat session should
continue when I've gone.
This explains something, I think!
Luca Cardelli and Mark Manasse later worked at the Digital Systems Research Center in Palo Alto, which was formed in 1984 after PARC fired Bob Taylor.
Mark helped write the window system we used, and at some point a cat appeared, which would sleep until you moved the mouse and then come over to pat at the mouse.
My impression was that Luca wrote it, be he was cagy about it.
This later evolved into xneko for X Windows.
"I'd go to the local University that teaches Fortran and ask around."
Aye, there's the rub.
SIUE (Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville) still had a COBOL
curriculum a decade ago, and they might still. They were fairly forthright
in training people to go work at a lot of the stodgier St. Louis
enterprises that still had a large COBOL footprint (AB, Enterprise
Rent-A-Car, Caterpillar, et al). By 2010, though, Express Scripts was
trying hard to move away from its ANCHOR (COBOL) system and
whatever-it-was-they-had running on VMS, and it sure felt like in the early
2010s STL was mostly Java EE.
I would think that FORTRAN is likelier to be passed around as folk wisdom
and ancient PIs (uh, Primary Investigators, not the detective kind)
thrusting a dog-eared FORTRAN IV manual at their new grad students and
snarling "RTFM!" than as actual college courses.
That said, if you want to learn FORTRAN and don't mind working from modern
FORTRAN back, I really was impressed by https://lfortran.org/ , and the
ability to run it in a JupyterLab playground environment is fantastic for
quick-turnaround experimentation. Plus Ondřej Čertík
<https://ondrejcertik.com/> was fun to talk to and hang out with.
On Mon, Feb 24, 2020 at 8:19 AM Larry McVoy <lm(a)mcvoy.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Feb 24, 2020 at 10:40:10AM +0100, Sijmen J. Mulder wrote:
> > Larry McVoy <lm(a)mcvoy.com> wrote:
> > > Fortran programmers are formally trained (at least I
> > > was, there was a whole semester devoted to this) in accumulated errors.
> > > You did a deep dive into how to code stuff so that the error was
> > > each time instead of increased. It has a lot to do with how floating
> > > point works, it's not exact like integers are.
> > I was unaware that there's formal training to be had around this but
> > it's something I'd like to learn more about. Any recommendations on
> > materials? I don't mind diving into Fortran itself either.
> My training was 35 years ago, I have no idea where to go look for this
> stuff now. I googled and didn't find much. I'd go to the local
> University that teaches Fortran and ask around.
> COFF mailing list
> From: Warren Toomey
> Heinz Lycklama has shared a binder full of old technical memos with
> Clem Cole, who has scanned them in. Thanks to both of them for
> preserving these documents.
A big thank you to Heinz and Clem for their roles in making this happen!
Very interesting material. I live in hope that someday the source will turn
up - even a listing would be enough.
All, I received this interesting e-mail from Michael Thompson:
Date: Fri, 21 Feb 2020 12:50:12 -0500
From: Michael Thompson <michael.99.thompson(a)gmail.com>
To: Warren Toomey <wkt(a)tuhs.org>
Subject: Unix V0 on SIMH PDP-9
I modified the PDP-7 .simh file so it will run on a SIMH PDP-9.
We have a running PDP-9 at the RICM. If I added EAE, (we likely have
the necessary parts) and made a disk emulator like the one at the LCM,
we could also run UNIX V0 on it. It would be nice to have the disk
emulator emulate an RB disk, but that would also require emulating a
I am considering making an FPGA to emulate the memory controller and
32KW of memory. If I did that, I could put the RB and DMA emulation in
the same device.
----- End forwarded message -----
set cpu 8k
set cpu eae
set cpu history=100
# set up SIMH devices:
# UNIX character translations (CR to NL, ESC to ALTMODE):
set tti unix
# RB09 fixed head disk:
set rb ena
att rb image.fs
# enable TELNET in GRAPHICS-2 keyboard/display(!!)
#set g2in ena
#att -U g2in 12345
# disable hardware UNIX-7 doesn't know about:
set lpt disa
set drm disa
set dt disa
set mt disa
set rf disa
set ttix disa
set ttox disa
# show device settings:
# load and run the paper tape bootstrap
# (loads system from disk)
load boot.rim 010000
All, Heinz Lycklama has shared a binder full of old technical memos
with Clem Cole, who has scanned them in. Thanks to both of them for
preserving these documents. I've just put them at:
Here's a list of the documents:
> one of the things I wanted to do in my retirement was convert
> all the stuff that is in debian back from info to man(7)
*all* the stuff? Please don't do that literally. The garrulity
quotient of info pages dwarfs even that of the most excessive
modern man pages. But I appplaud the intent to assure man
pages are complete.