[pups] Introducing myself (long)

Jeffrey S. Sharp jss at ou.edu
Sat Mar 3 06:50:09 AEST 2001

Hello there!  I just subscribed to the list, so I thought a message of 
introduction would be in order.  That, and I've got about 1.3 sagans of 
questions to ask :).

First, here is a little about myself and why I'm here.  I'm 22 years old.  I go 
to school at the University of Oklahoma, majoring in CS, and work as an 
embedded programmer.  My religion, if one exists, consists of the many tenets 
and folkloric tales of programming.

So here I am, 22; what am I doing asking about PDP-11s and their Unices?  Well, 
I'm hyperinterested in the history of computing, especially that history that 
constitues the minicomputer era.  I guess I arrived at this state by the 
following path:

Birth -> TRS80 -> MSDOS/Windows -> Unix -> Folklore -> Obsession

The obsession state has grown to the point that I *must* obtain a PDP-11 and 
learn everything I can about it, lest all the remaining ones be usurped by 
museums, to forever lie derelict behind glass walls where no one can ever play 
with them, gain knowledge from them, or truly appreciate them again.  I don't 
want to build an enormous collection -- just one or two that I can keep in 
working order.  My purpose is intellectual exploration.  I have to *experience* 
what computing was like in my favorite era, and this is the only way, since 
unfortunately, I was not born 30 years earlier.

Finding PDP-11 hardware, while somewhat difficult, is not the prime problem.  
*What* hardware do I find?  I can find out via the Internet the basics of what 
hardware exists, but the information stops rather short of being complete.  I 
need the following questions answered:

* A kind person has offered to sell me an 11/70 (my first choice) system with a 
TE16 and TM03.  What does the tape drive look like?

* The TM03 is described as a 'formatter'.  Does 'format' in this case 
mean 'prepare the tape for use' like a low-level PC hard drive format, or is it 
some other meaning?  What does the TM03 look like?

* 'Setting up Unix - Sixth Edition' says that you can install from a TU10 or 
TU16.  Does this mean that the TE16 would be out of the question?  How is a 
TE16 different from a TU16?

* I want to run V6 on 3 to 4 RK05s.  How many can be put into a system?  I need 
a RK11-D controller for this, right?

* Can V7 fit on 3 to 4 RK05s?

* What range of PDP-11 BSD versions will fit comfortably on 3 to 4 RK05s?

* Look at the middle rack in the following picture.  Are those RK05f drives?  

* From what I can tell, 2.11BSD needs a bit more disk space than RK05s can 
offer.  Are there any drives that are big enough but still adhere to the older 
black color scheme?  (Superficial, I know, but I want my system to be pretty.  
I don't know how well a white RA81 would fit in with everything else... :)

* What kind of controller would one of the above drives need?

* The 11/70 system in question had its front panel replaced with a Datasystem 
570 panel at some point.  How hard would it be to find an original 11/70 front 
panel to put back on it?

Whew!  I think that's all for the moment.  All responses are appreciated.

Jeffrey S. Sharp
jss at ou.edu

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