[TUHS] Compatibility question

Paul Winalski paul.winalski at gmail.com
Thu Dec 21 02:34:32 AEST 2023

On 12/19/23, Mary Ann Horton <mah at mhorton.net> wrote:
> I vaguely recall, as a teen, taking a tour of a DEC-10 shop in about
> 1970 in Portland. Their printer played "Anchors Aweigh" and I never knew
> how. But now I wonder - does this mean they had an IBM 1403 connected to
> a DEC 10 somehow?

They very well might have had an IBM 1403 printer on their PDP-10
system.  DEC marketed the PDP-10 as their commercial raised-floor data
center computing solution.  They OEMed a lot of the high-end
peripheral gear for the DEC-10/20 from third-party vendors in the IBM
world.  The high-end disk of the time was an OEM version of the IBM
3330 with an IBM block multiplexer channel-to-DEC MASSBUS adapter.
DEC was notoriously bad at producing 9-track magtape drives.  But they
were smart enough to OEM high-end tape drives from Storage Technology
Corporation, which made the gold standard of tape drives in the IBM
data center world.

So DEC did have the capability to attach IBM gear to the PDP-10.  They
would certainly have an incentive to use 1403 printers in this market.
Nobody familiar with IBM line printers would consider the standard DEC
line printers acceptable.  The 1403 was typically connected to the
S/360/370's byte multiplexer channel (transmits one byte at a time to
each device; intended for slow peripherals such as card readers, line
printers, card punches).  I know DEC had IBM channel adapters for
disks and tapes usually attached by selector or block multiplexer
channels.  They may have had a byte multiplexer channel adapter, too.

-Paul W.

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