[TUHS] Compatibility question

Paul Winalski paul.winalski at gmail.com
Wed Dec 20 03:40:14 AEST 2023

On 12/18/23, Dave Horsfall <dave at horsfall.org> wrote:
> On Mon, 18 Dec 2023, Paul Winalski wrote:
>> The 132-character screen width was for displaying files originally
>> formatted to be printed on a line printer.  Compiler listings and linker
>> maps, for example.
> Such as the mighty 1403 :-)
> Hint: never leave your cup of coffee on top of it, as the lid will open
> automatically when it runs out of paper...

The 1403 was the best line printer ever made.  It was originally the
printer for the IBM 1400 second-generation (discrete transistor-based)
computer.  It continued to be the line printer for S/360.  The deluxe
model, the IBM 1403 N1, had a power cover that could be operated under
computer control.  The OS/360 operating system would raise the
printer's cover if an error condition occurred, such as out of paper
or a paper jam.  This was a very useful feature in large data centers
where there were several line printers, to indicate which printer had
a problem.

The cover of a 1403 N1 also provided a convenient and attractive flat
surface on which to place things.  But a dangerous one.  Many a card
deck magtape reel, coffee cup, or pizza box has been unceremoniously
dumped on the floor.

When our shop upgraded from a S/360 model 25 to a S/370 model 125, our
1403 was replaced by a 3203 line printer.  It was not as good as the
1401 had been.

There was a business in Massachusetts in the 1980s that bought and
sold old IBM computer gear.  A company asked them for a quote on their
IBM 1400 system (1401 processor, 1402 card read/punch, 1403 printer).
They were offered $18,000 for the whole system, or $15,000 for the
1403 printer alone.  That's how valued those printers were.

To bring this closer on-topic, was there Unix support for the IBM 1403?

-Paul W.

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