[TUHS] late research unix question

Norman Wilson norman at oclsc.org
Wed Dec 2 10:30:51 AEST 2009

Tim Newsham:

  Does anyone know if emulators are capable of running 8th ed
  unix or later?  What about emulation of the bitblit?


Who knows what blitjerq lurks in the hearts of men?

Seriously, an emulator with appropriate CPU settings should
be able to run latter-day Research UNIX without much trouble.
8/e would need a VAX-11/780 or 750; 10/e would work on a
VAX 8550 or 8700 (only one CPU, though) or a MicroVAX II
or III.  I forget just when the MicroVAX work was first
done (by Ted Kowalski, who in an earlier day wrote fsck),
so I'm not sure at what point in the 9/e era it appeared;
but since 8/e was the last really organized tape we made,
it doesn't really matter.

As others have pointed out, the blit/jerq code didn't
run on the VAX, but in a separate terminal.  For that
you'd need an emulator for the MC68000 or the WE32100.
By the time the 8/e tape was cut, the 68K-based Blits
had pretty much been retired; I'm not sure that code
would be as interesting to resurrect as that for the
WE32100-based Teletype 5620 DMD.  Of course you'd
also have to emulate all the I/O devices, including
the decidedly-non-PS/2 keyboard and mouse.

I don't remember for sure any more (maybe Dennis does),
but the jerq code may have been on a separate tape
because the special C compiler for that CPU chip wasn't
easily redistributed--it came from the commercial side
of AT&T, not the research part.

Norman Wilson
Toronto ON
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