[TUHS] Re: Peter H. Salus comments (+32V)

Dennis Ritchie dmr at plan9.bell-labs.com
Sun Oct 19 15:12:01 AEST 2003

Peter Salus is quoted as saying

 > ...
 > When the VAX was ``pre-announced,'' the Unix architects at Bell Labs had become
 > disillusioned with DEC, they didn't like VMS and they thought that the VAX had
 > an ``offensively fat instruction set.'' Anyway, Steve Johnson and Dennis
 > Ritchie were working on their Unix port to the Interdata. (Which Steve referred
 > to as the ``Intersnail.'')

We were far from disillusioned, either with the company
or the design; see my contemporary transcription of Ossanna's
notes of the preannouncement presentation.


But it is true that our own attention was focussed on the Interdata
work at the time; not only was it underway, but for stretching
portability it looked useful to work on an architecture that
was Not "culturally compatible" with the PDP-11.

 > So DEC approached Charlie Roberts at AT&T in Holmdel, NJ. Tom London, John
 > Reiser and Ken Swanson were interested; they got a VAX in early 1978. In three
 > months they ported Version 7 to the VAX. Roberts told me: ``We got the machine
 > in January, they had it running in April, and by August it really worked.'' >>

and indeed left the Vax port to Reiser and London.  (VMS
didn't figure into the equation.)

A later poster, nao, asked about London and Reiser's memo
about their work on what became 32V (TM-78-1353-4).
This seems to be in the company archives, but not in scanned form.
I've ordered a paper copy, but the mechanism sometimes
is a black hole.


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