[TUHS] project athena (was Re: Setting up an X Development Environment for Mac OS)

Jonathan Gray jsg at jsg.id.au
Sat Feb 11 13:51:55 AEST 2023

On Fri, Feb 10, 2023 at 04:53:22PM -0800, Larry McVoy wrote:
> On Fri, Feb 10, 2023 at 07:13:41PM -0500, Henry Mensch wrote:
> > that would have happened before I arrived in April of 1986. my first job at Athena was to. get folks off those XTs and (mostly) ATs.
> > 
> > This was wildly unsuccessful and unpopular because the replacement hardware wouldn't be similarly capable... and also because, even then, there were more things that could be plugged into XTs and ATs. The old platform was perceived as more versatile.
> > 
> > - Henry
> So the "old platform" was the National 32016 addon cards that somehow 
> ran a Unix?

It seems that configuration wasn't used.

"Phase I: The off-the-shelf system
The closest approximation to the intended workstation environment
economically feasible on available Digital hardware at the time the
project began was minicomputer time-sharing systems. Approximately 50
VAX 11/750 minicomputers have been installed, each with six to eight
graphics-capable terminals.
The closest approximation to the eventual workstation configuration
available in the IBM catalog for Phase I was the PC/AT personal
computer, with a Professional Graphics Display and 3COM Ethernet
interface. Approximately 160 PC/AT's have been installed. The software
environment consists of PC/DOS, plus a set of higher level languages and
application packages chosen to simplify moving to an eventual UNIX
environment. In addition, 105 PC/XT personal computers, mostly with
Color Graphics Display, have been installed, primarily for use as
laboratory experiment controllers and also as cluster print servers for
the PC/AT's."

Evolution to the Athena Workstation Model: An Overview of the
Development Plan

> I'd love to learn more about that, I really liked the 320xx architecture,
> seemed like a winner but my memory is they were buggy.  Still would like
> to get some idea of what it was like to run on an XT/AT with that card
> plugged in.  Did you boot DOS and that somehow booted Unix or what?
> --lm

Multiple companies made these kinds of cards.
Some are mentioned in an ad:



The DSI-32 Coprocessor Board, Part 1: The Hardware

The DSI-32 Coprocessor Board, Part 2: The Software

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