[TUHS] Likelihood of Extant Less-Distributed Tapes and Sources
brad at anduin.eldar.org
Wed Aug 10 01:16:08 AEST 2022
segaloco via TUHS <tuhs at tuhs.org> writes:
> Good morning everyone. Wanted to pose the question since folks here would probably be more likely to know than anyone.
> What are the chances that there are surviving tapes of some of the UNIX versions that weren't so well publicized. The versions that come to mind are the CB and USG lines especially, with PWB 2.0 and TS 4.0 getting honorable mention. If folks will recall, we did luck out in that Arnold, a member of this mailing list, did have a documentation trove from TS 4.0, but no binary or source code assets. This had me curious on what trying to unearth these would even look like.
> Has anyone tried to dive deep on this sort of stuff before? Would it look more like trying to find old Bell facilities that might have a tape bumping around in a box in a basement somewhere, or is it more likely that if anything survived it would have been due to being nabbed by an employee or contractor before disposal? Or even just in general, what would folks say is the likelihood that there is a recoverable tape of any of this material just waiting to see the light of day? The closest we have on CB is a paper scan of the kernel sources, and I don't know that any assets from USG-proper have ever percolated up, closest thing to any of that would be the kernel routine description bumping around on the archive somewhere. PWB 2.0 is mentioned in several places, but no empirical evidence has surfaced as far as I know, and with 4.0 of course we have the documents Arnold thankfully preserved, but that's it.
I am not sure where CBUNIX was actually developed, but I spent 12 years
at 6200 Broad Street and a tiny bit at 6400 Broad Street and knew folks
who were associated with the Dublin Training center. I didn't do
operating systems development and I did not work on the physical switch
gear, rather I was in one of the many support system products that got
sold to all of the RBOCs and around the world.
The Broad Street site(s) have been sold off many years ago. All that
remains of 6200 Broad is the front part of the building. The back part,
the factory and much of the high bay area, fell in on itself some years
ago and the rubble was cleared away. The concrete floor still remains.
A hospital system bought the building grounds and much of the rest of
the land was sold off and houses were built and some fast food joints
put in. As far as I can tell 6400 Broad is gone, having been torn down
some time ago.
My memory isn't clear what happened to Dublin, but around the time of
the Lucent split from AT&T or perhaps during the dark down years that
followed, Dublin ceased to be a thing. I suspect sold a long time ago.
I would guess that if there is anything left of CBUNIX it would be in a
personal collection of stuff at this point.
The story of the sale of 6200 is a bit of a mess... the hospital system
actually bought the front part some years before Lucent left the
building completely (Lucent moved their entrance to the east side of the
building). I had an office in the front part of the building and we had
a rush move to cubes that were created in the high bay area in the
middle of the building when the sale was done and over with. Lots and
lots of computers and devices were destroyed during that time as there
was no space to keep them and I am sure that a lot was lost. The 6200
site had a industrial sized metal compactor and it was not uncommon for
entire 3B2, Sun workstations and probably entire Vax systems would just
be tossed in and smashed (flattened, crushed and shredded). Our group
had a 3B system that was used for simulation work to the product I
worked on and it was marked for destruction by mistake and destroyed out
from under us one day.
Brad Spencer - brad at anduin.eldar.org - KC8VKS - http://anduin.eldar.org
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