[TUHS] Joe Condon [ long, slightly off-topic post ]

Jon Steinhart jon at fourwinds.com
Mon Apr 22 02:46:29 AEST 2019

Rob Pike writes:
> The Unix on 516s sounds wrong to me. Perhaps it conflates GCOS remote job
> entry and Unix?
> But the PBX story is correct. To demonstrate how message passing was a good
> model for a switching system, in particular to make a point to the
> switching systems division of Bell Labs/AT&T, Ken and Joe bought a
> commercial PBX and swapped out its processor for a PDP-11/23 (I think), and
> programmed it up. It was just before I arrived there but I was given the
> impression it had the desired strategic influence on Indian Hill.
> The feature we all loved it for was that instead of ringing the phone in
> the Unix room when you got a call, it would announce your name through the
> voice synthesizer: "Phone call for Ken." "Phone call for Joe". One rapidly
> stopped even hearing the announcement if it didn't end with your name.
> -rob

Well, I think at this point I know that the 516 part of the story is incorrect
but am not sure exactly what is correct so I'm not going to edit it.  The GCOS
remote job entry had nothing to do with UNIX.  As I said earlier, it may have
been the model for UNIX V3 gerts but I don't know the timing.  I do remember
finding the V3 manual entertaining, I seem to remember that the gerts man page
that said something like "using this command requires divine guidance".  In
hindsight, this probably influenced my own documentation style.

The PBX story must be after my time.  Makes me wonder what ever happened to
the SS1 project.  Since it was written in C I would surmise that it laid the
groundwork for using C in the PBX project.

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