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DEC
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Iron Spring Software
2020-07-24 16:38:37 UTC
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I see Bitsavers has a collection of DECUS SIG newsletters in
http://bitsavers.org/pdf/dec/decus/DECUS_SIG_Newsletters/

I'm struck again by how a fairly large computer company with such a
large and vibrant community of users could disappear like the Titanic
leaving so few traces. You'd think some pieces could have been rescued.
Mike Spencer
2020-07-24 20:12:52 UTC
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Post by Iron Spring Software
I see Bitsavers has a collection of DECUS SIG newsletters in
http://bitsavers.org/pdf/dec/decus/DECUS_SIG_Newsletters/
I'm struck again by how a fairly large computer company with such a
large and vibrant community of users could disappear like the Titanic
leaving so few traces. You'd think some pieces could have been rescued.
There's this:

https://comp.org.decus.narkive.com/8OCmIPoe/old-dec-mailing-list-desperado

But it isn't an archive of the 70s DEC newsletter (for want of a
better word, which there should be). Last word I had, Tom Parmenter
is still walking the earth, going to and fro in it. But Desperado
seems to be available only in archaeological fragments.

In 2005, Tom was quoted as having written:

Here I am. How can I help you? Looking for "DEC creates a cake mix"?
I have the Desperado archives and someday when I cease to be lazy and
put things off -- could happen any time -- they'll be posted at
www.desperado-list.net, which is only a shell now.
In the meantime, http://desperado-list.blogspot.com is pretty active,
and has been for a couple of years, all archived.
Yr. bdy,
Tom Parmenter



A curiosity: I recall a friend (now emeritus professor at UCSC)
remarking (circa 1967) that our generation, falling as it did on the
cusp of the population boom and other inflection points, were too
young to be Beatniks and too old to be Hippies. We were Desperados.
I don't know if Tom's choice of name for Desperado at DEC emerged from
that very though or if it was a coincidence.

Powerful enough to suck prairie dogs from their holes, but
gentle all the same. Not an official publication. Forward
with daring and whimsy. Circle the earth. Should you rip
something off from here, be a sport and rip this header off
too.
Tom Parmenter -- Desperado
--
Mike Spencer Nova Scotia, Canada
J. Clarke
2020-07-24 21:14:46 UTC
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On Fri, 24 Jul 2020 09:38:37 -0700, Iron Spring Software
Post by Iron Spring Software
I see Bitsavers has a collection of DECUS SIG newsletters in
http://bitsavers.org/pdf/dec/decus/DECUS_SIG_Newsletters/
I'm struck again by how a fairly large computer company with such a
large and vibrant community of users could disappear like the Titanic
leaving so few traces. You'd think some pieces could have been rescued.
The traces may still be there in the archives of Compackard. Perhaps
one of these days they'll surface.

It's rather sad that they did not see the market--properly handled the
LSI-11 could have stolen the industry, but they didn't see it. They
were _so_ close--you could buy one in a consumer package from Heathkit
for a very reasonable price, but then they wanted nearly as much for
the OS as for the hardware, which put it solidly out of the mass
market.
Peter Flass
2020-07-25 02:43:16 UTC
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Post by J. Clarke
On Fri, 24 Jul 2020 09:38:37 -0700, Iron Spring Software
Post by Iron Spring Software
I see Bitsavers has a collection of DECUS SIG newsletters in
http://bitsavers.org/pdf/dec/decus/DECUS_SIG_Newsletters/
I'm struck again by how a fairly large computer company with such a
large and vibrant community of users could disappear like the Titanic
leaving so few traces. You'd think some pieces could have been rescued.
The traces may still be there in the archives of Compackard. Perhaps
one of these days they'll surface.
It's rather sad that they did not see the market--properly handled the
LSI-11 could have stolen the industry, but they didn't see it. They
were _so_ close--you could buy one in a consumer package from Heathkit
for a very reasonable price, but then they wanted nearly as much for
the OS as for the hardware, which put it solidly out of the mass
market.
I think DEC wasn’t really set up to handle the consumer market - no one
was, because it didn’t exist back then.
IBM sold to big companies, and DEC sold to smaller ones, labs, and
engineering companies.
--
Pete
J. Clarke
2020-07-25 03:28:48 UTC
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On Fri, 24 Jul 2020 19:43:16 -0700, Peter Flass
Post by Peter Flass
Post by J. Clarke
On Fri, 24 Jul 2020 09:38:37 -0700, Iron Spring Software
Post by Iron Spring Software
I see Bitsavers has a collection of DECUS SIG newsletters in
http://bitsavers.org/pdf/dec/decus/DECUS_SIG_Newsletters/
I'm struck again by how a fairly large computer company with such a
large and vibrant community of users could disappear like the Titanic
leaving so few traces. You'd think some pieces could have been rescued.
The traces may still be there in the archives of Compackard. Perhaps
one of these days they'll surface.
It's rather sad that they did not see the market--properly handled the
LSI-11 could have stolen the industry, but they didn't see it. They
were _so_ close--you could buy one in a consumer package from Heathkit
for a very reasonable price, but then they wanted nearly as much for
the OS as for the hardware, which put it solidly out of the mass
market.
I think DEC wasn’t really set up to handle the consumer market - no one
was, because it didn’t exist back then.
IBM sold to big companies, and DEC sold to smaller ones, labs, and
engineering companies.
I think that what happened caught everybody by surprise. I have read
that at one point Steve Jobs' father was pushing him to give up on
this computer hobby and go get a real job and Steve told him that he
thought he might be able to pull $100k a year out of his company in 5
years. In 5 years Apple had its first billion dollar year.
Quadibloc
2020-07-25 09:06:41 UTC
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Post by J. Clarke
It's rather sad that they did not see the market--properly handled the
LSI-11 could have stolen the industry, but they didn't see it. They
were _so_ close--you could buy one in a consumer package from Heathkit
for a very reasonable price, but then they wanted nearly as much for
the OS as for the hardware, which put it solidly out of the mass
market.
Of course, that failure is understandable. Since DEC could still sell PDP-11s at
high prices to some customers, they didn't want to compete with themselves and
spoil that. IBM did the same thing, which is why the IBM PC isn't built on the
z/Architecture.

John Savard
J. Clarke
2020-07-25 09:27:08 UTC
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On Sat, 25 Jul 2020 02:06:41 -0700 (PDT), Quadibloc
Post by Quadibloc
Post by J. Clarke
It's rather sad that they did not see the market--properly handled the
LSI-11 could have stolen the industry, but they didn't see it. They
were _so_ close--you could buy one in a consumer package from Heathkit
for a very reasonable price, but then they wanted nearly as much for
the OS as for the hardware, which put it solidly out of the mass
market.
Of course, that failure is understandable. Since DEC could still sell PDP-11s at
high prices to some customers, they didn't want to compete with themselves and
spoil that. IBM did the same thing, which is why the IBM PC isn't built on the
z/Architecture.
I think the z/Architecture not existing at the time had a good deal
more to do with it.
Ahem A Rivet's Shot
2020-07-25 09:58:38 UTC
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On Sat, 25 Jul 2020 05:27:08 -0400
Post by J. Clarke
On Sat, 25 Jul 2020 02:06:41 -0700 (PDT), Quadibloc
Post by Quadibloc
Of course, that failure is understandable. Since DEC could still sell
PDP-11s at high prices to some customers, they didn't want to compete
with themselves and spoil that. IBM did the same thing, which is why the
IBM PC isn't built on the z/Architecture.
I think the z/Architecture not existing at the time had a good deal
more to do with it.
Quite so, although ISTR there being talk of a 360 on a chip at
around the same time or a little earlier, something about a hot, hairy,
smoking golf ball (for some reason that phrase sticks in the mind).
--
Steve O'Hara-Smith | Directable Mirror Arrays
C:\>WIN | A better way to focus the sun
The computer obeys and wins. | licences available see
You lose and Bill collects. | http://www.sohara.org/
John Levine
2020-07-25 17:21:39 UTC
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Post by Ahem A Rivet's Shot
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Quadibloc
Of course, that failure is understandable. Since DEC could still sell
PDP-11s at high prices to some customers, they didn't want to compete
with themselves and spoil that. IBM did the same thing, which is why the
IBM PC isn't built on the z/Architecture.
I think the z/Architecture not existing at the time had a good deal
more to do with it.
Quite so, although ISTR there being talk of a 360 on a chip at
around the same time or a little earlier, something about a hot, hairy,
smoking golf ball (for some reason that phrase sticks in the mind).
IBM sold a couple of 370 and 390 add-on cards for PCs. The first one
used M68K and 8087 chips with custom microcode. They worked, it was
like a single user VM/370 system.

As I recall, their economics were dominated by the software licensing
costs. IBM would provide free licenses for the XY/370 which made them
cheaper than a regular license and a terminal.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PC-based_IBM-compatible_mainframes
--
Regards,
John Levine, ***@taugh.com, Primary Perpetrator of "The Internet for Dummies",
Please consider the environment before reading this e-mail. https://jl.ly
J. Clarke
2020-07-25 17:54:35 UTC
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On Sat, 25 Jul 2020 17:21:39 -0000 (UTC), John Levine
Post by John Levine
Post by Ahem A Rivet's Shot
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Quadibloc
Of course, that failure is understandable. Since DEC could still sell
PDP-11s at high prices to some customers, they didn't want to compete
with themselves and spoil that. IBM did the same thing, which is why the
IBM PC isn't built on the z/Architecture.
I think the z/Architecture not existing at the time had a good deal
more to do with it.
Quite so, although ISTR there being talk of a 360 on a chip at
around the same time or a little earlier, something about a hot, hairy,
smoking golf ball (for some reason that phrase sticks in the mind).
There was an article in Scientific American shortly before the PC was
announced which described a single-chip implementation of a 370. I
don't recall the details now though, that was a long time ago.
Post by John Levine
IBM sold a couple of 370 and 390 add-on cards for PCs. The first one
used M68K and 8087 chips with custom microcode. They worked, it was
like a single user VM/370 system.
Ran 0.1 MIPS and cost $12,000. Not really in the market. More a way
to offload work from the big machine that didn't require its
performance. They were really aimed at developers I believe.

The user-hostility of IBM operating systems was another issue.
Post by John Levine
As I recall, their economics were dominated by the software licensing
costs. IBM would provide free licenses for the XY/370 which made them
cheaper than a regular license and a terminal.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PC-based_IBM-compatible_mainframes
Peter Flass
2020-07-25 21:43:30 UTC
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Post by J. Clarke
On Sat, 25 Jul 2020 17:21:39 -0000 (UTC), John Levine
Post by John Levine
Post by Ahem A Rivet's Shot
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Quadibloc
Of course, that failure is understandable. Since DEC could still sell
PDP-11s at high prices to some customers, they didn't want to compete
with themselves and spoil that. IBM did the same thing, which is why the
IBM PC isn't built on the z/Architecture.
I think the z/Architecture not existing at the time had a good deal
more to do with it.
Quite so, although ISTR there being talk of a 360 on a chip at
around the same time or a little earlier, something about a hot, hairy,
smoking golf ball (for some reason that phrase sticks in the mind).
There was an article in Scientific American shortly before the PC was
announced which described a single-chip implementation of a 370. I
don't recall the details now though, that was a long time ago.
Post by John Levine
IBM sold a couple of 370 and 390 add-on cards for PCs. The first one
used M68K and 8087 chips with custom microcode. They worked, it was
like a single user VM/370 system.
Ran 0.1 MIPS and cost $12,000. Not really in the market. More a way
to offload work from the big machine that didn't require its
performance. They were really aimed at developers I believe.
How much of this reflected the real cost and how much was IBM’s markup to
keep it non-competitive with larger systems?
Post by J. Clarke
The user-hostility of IBM operating systems was another issue.
This, I think, was the real problem. The systems ran VM because OS/360
would have been impossible, but VM was not really what you’d want either.
The big selling point of VM is isolation of one user from another, but a PC
gives you this out of the box, so you want simplicity. I’m not sure of
DEC’s situation with the MicroVAX, but I think VMS would have been too much
for Joe Average User. Of course in both IBM’s and DEC’s case the
underlying complexity could have been covered up by a good shell and
applications, but no one did it.
Post by J. Clarke
Post by John Levine
As I recall, their economics were dominated by the software licensing
costs. IBM would provide free licenses for the XY/370 which made them
cheaper than a regular license and a terminal.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PC-based_IBM-compatible_mainframes
--
Pete
J. Clarke
2020-07-25 22:05:57 UTC
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On Sat, 25 Jul 2020 14:43:30 -0700, Peter Flass
Post by Peter Flass
Post by J. Clarke
On Sat, 25 Jul 2020 17:21:39 -0000 (UTC), John Levine
Post by John Levine
Post by Ahem A Rivet's Shot
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Quadibloc
Of course, that failure is understandable. Since DEC could still sell
PDP-11s at high prices to some customers, they didn't want to compete
with themselves and spoil that. IBM did the same thing, which is why the
IBM PC isn't built on the z/Architecture.
I think the z/Architecture not existing at the time had a good deal
more to do with it.
Quite so, although ISTR there being talk of a 360 on a chip at
around the same time or a little earlier, something about a hot, hairy,
smoking golf ball (for some reason that phrase sticks in the mind).
There was an article in Scientific American shortly before the PC was
announced which described a single-chip implementation of a 370. I
don't recall the details now though, that was a long time ago.
Post by John Levine
IBM sold a couple of 370 and 390 add-on cards for PCs. The first one
used M68K and 8087 chips with custom microcode. They worked, it was
like a single user VM/370 system.
Ran 0.1 MIPS and cost $12,000. Not really in the market. More a way
to offload work from the big machine that didn't require its
performance. They were really aimed at developers I believe.
How much of this reflected the real cost and how much was IBM’s markup to
keep it non-competitive with larger systems?
Given that the "larger systems" were about 100 times more expensive
than that $12,000, I don't think that that pricing made it
"non-competitive", what made it non-competitive was that it was slow
as Christmas.
Post by Peter Flass
Post by J. Clarke
The user-hostility of IBM operating systems was another issue.
This, I think, was the real problem. The systems ran VM because OS/360
would have been impossible, but VM was not really what you’d want either.
The big selling point of VM is isolation of one user from another, but a PC
gives you this out of the box, so you want simplicity. I’m not sure of
DEC’s situation with the MicroVAX, but I think VMS would have been too much
for Joe Average User. Of course in both IBM’s and DEC’s case the
underlying complexity could have been covered up by a good shell and
applications, but no one did it.
The IBM operating systems have other issues. And IBM still doesn't
have a good shell and applications.
Post by Peter Flass
Post by J. Clarke
Post by John Levine
As I recall, their economics were dominated by the software licensing
costs. IBM would provide free licenses for the XY/370 which made them
cheaper than a regular license and a terminal.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PC-based_IBM-compatible_mainframes
Dan Espen
2020-07-26 00:27:26 UTC
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Post by J. Clarke
The IBM operating systems have other issues. And IBM still doesn't
have a good shell and applications.
Except UNIX System Services (USS) in z/OS.
USS is a pretty good UNIX implementation.
--
Dan Espen
J. Clarke
2020-07-26 01:08:51 UTC
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Post by Dan Espen
Post by J. Clarke
The IBM operating systems have other issues. And IBM still doesn't
have a good shell and applications.
Except UNIX System Services (USS) in z/OS.
USS is a pretty good UNIX implementation.
But it's really kind of pointless--if you're using it as Unix box you
may as well just go with Intel.
Dan Espen
2020-07-26 03:29:22 UTC
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Permalink
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Dan Espen
Post by J. Clarke
The IBM operating systems have other issues. And IBM still doesn't
have a good shell and applications.
Except UNIX System Services (USS) in z/OS.
USS is a pretty good UNIX implementation.
But it's really kind of pointless--if you're using it as Unix box you
may as well just go with Intel.
Yes. In my shop it didn't get much use.
I tried to promote it as a place for mainframers to put a home page.
Never could get get the IT people to remove the password requirement
for that kind of access. Then they bought into that MSFT sharing app.
That was a piece of junk. They wanted everyone to create a home page
on it. So I put a link to my UNIX home page.

I had a Linux desktop so I ended up doing all my work on Linux anyway
but I could have used USS I suppose.

I didn't do it myself, but a coworker said he tried running an
X Windows app on the mainframe. On weekends, one user could get
decent performance.

But z/OS USS on a desktop would be okay I guess.
--
Dan Espen
Dan Espen
2020-07-26 03:30:50 UTC
Reply
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Post by Dan Espen
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Dan Espen
Post by J. Clarke
The IBM operating systems have other issues. And IBM still doesn't
have a good shell and applications.
Except UNIX System Services (USS) in z/OS.
USS is a pretty good UNIX implementation.
But it's really kind of pointless--if you're using it as Unix box you
may as well just go with Intel.
Yes. In my shop it didn't get much use.
I tried to promote it as a place for mainframers to put a home page.
Never could get get the IT people to remove the password requirement
for that kind of access. Then they bought into that MSFT sharing app.
That was a piece of junk. They wanted everyone to create a home page
on it. So I put a link to my UNIX home page.
I had a Linux desktop so I ended up doing all my work on Linux anyway
but I could have used USS I suppose.
I didn't do it myself, but a coworker said he tried running an
X Windows app on the mainframe. On weekends, one user could get
decent performance.
But z/OS USS on a desktop would be okay I guess.
Oops, that last sentence, makes no sense. Sorry.
--
Dan Espen
J. Clarke
2020-07-26 04:06:04 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dan Espen
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Dan Espen
Post by J. Clarke
The IBM operating systems have other issues. And IBM still doesn't
have a good shell and applications.
Except UNIX System Services (USS) in z/OS.
USS is a pretty good UNIX implementation.
But it's really kind of pointless--if you're using it as Unix box you
may as well just go with Intel.
Yes. In my shop it didn't get much use.
I tried to promote it as a place for mainframers to put a home page.
Never could get get the IT people to remove the password requirement
for that kind of access. Then they bought into that MSFT sharing app.
That was a piece of junk. They wanted everyone to create a home page
on it. So I put a link to my UNIX home page.
The trouble with Sharepoint is that IT wants to control it--it wasn't
designed to work that way. We had sharepoint advocates who would show
us all the wonderful stuff it could do--of course when we tried it we
found that we were locked out of most of the functionality, so we
asked how to get it and were told to contact our sharepoint admin, who
we found was a trainee on rotation who had rotated out years ago.

IT finally cut it loose and it's actually becoming useful.
Post by Dan Espen
I had a Linux desktop so I ended up doing all my work on Linux anyway
but I could have used USS I suppose.
I didn't do it myself, but a coworker said he tried running an
X Windows app on the mainframe. On weekends, one user could get
decent performance.
But z/OS USS on a desktop would be okay I guess.
Peter Flass
2020-07-26 01:39:13 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dan Espen
Post by J. Clarke
The IBM operating systems have other issues. And IBM still doesn't
have a good shell and applications.
Except UNIX System Services (USS) in z/OS.
USS is a pretty good UNIX implementation.
I was actually thinking of a GUI shell, line WPS for VM.
--
Pete
Peter Flass
2020-07-26 01:43:42 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter Flass
Post by Dan Espen
Post by J. Clarke
The IBM operating systems have other issues. And IBM still doesn't
have a good shell and applications.
Except UNIX System Services (USS) in z/OS.
USS is a pretty good UNIX implementation.
I was actually thinking of a GUI shell, line WPS for VM.
Actually PROFS was a pretty good shell. Places could use PROFS the way we
have been discussing using M$ Office, or probably DEC All-in-one (I’d
guess). Besides the office capability both provided the ability to add your
own applications integrated into the menuing system.
--
Pete
Dan Espen
2020-07-26 03:32:22 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter Flass
Post by Dan Espen
Post by J. Clarke
The IBM operating systems have other issues. And IBM still doesn't
have a good shell and applications.
Except UNIX System Services (USS) in z/OS.
USS is a pretty good UNIX implementation.
I was actually thinking of a GUI shell, line WPS for VM.
Yeah, see my other post. USS can run a GUI but there's no good reason
to do so that I've seen.
--
Dan Espen
John Levine
2020-07-26 21:45:08 UTC
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Post by J. Clarke
The IBM operating systems have other issues. And IBM still doesn't
have a good shell and applications. ...
I hear that zSeries makes a pretty good high end linux server.
--
Regards,
John Levine, ***@taugh.com, Primary Perpetrator of "The Internet for Dummies",
Please consider the environment before reading this e-mail. https://jl.ly
J. Clarke
2020-07-26 22:01:24 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On Sun, 26 Jul 2020 21:45:08 -0000 (UTC), John Levine
Post by John Levine
Post by J. Clarke
The IBM operating systems have other issues. And IBM still doesn't
have a good shell and applications. ...
I hear that zSeries makes a pretty good high end linux server.
But does it really bring anything to the table in that role that an
Intel cluster for a 10th the price doesn't bring?
Ahem A Rivet's Shot
2020-07-27 05:38:32 UTC
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On Sun, 26 Jul 2020 18:01:24 -0400
Post by J. Clarke
On Sun, 26 Jul 2020 21:45:08 -0000 (UTC), John Levine
Post by John Levine
I hear that zSeries makes a pretty good high end linux server.
But does it really bring anything to the table in that role that an
Intel cluster for a 10th the price doesn't bring?
It can also be a mainframe (at the same time) so it makes a good
platform for migration and enhancing a legacy core with modern applications.

Also it has the magic letters.
--
Steve O'Hara-Smith | Directable Mirror Arrays
C:\>WIN | A better way to focus the sun
The computer obeys and wins. | licences available see
You lose and Bill collects. | http://www.sohara.org/
John Levine
2020-07-26 01:24:48 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by J. Clarke
The IBM operating systems have other issues. And IBM still doesn't
have a good shell and applications.
It's been a while but my recollection is that CMS and REXX weren't too
bad if you wanted to do stuff that CMS can do.
--
Regards,
John Levine, ***@taugh.com, Primary Perpetrator of "The Internet for Dummies",
Please consider the environment before reading this e-mail. https://jl.ly
Peter Flass
2020-07-26 01:39:24 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by John Levine
Post by J. Clarke
The IBM operating systems have other issues. And IBM still doesn't
have a good shell and applications.
It's been a while but my recollection is that CMS and REXX weren't too
bad if you wanted to do stuff that CMS can do.
We had a guy who built a lot of stuff that way for our publishing
application. XEDIT and Script with a lit of Rexx. Made it pretty easy to
input and edit.
--
Pete
Bob Eager
2020-07-26 20:18:09 UTC
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Permalink
Post by Peter Flass
Post by John Levine
Post by J. Clarke
The IBM operating systems have other issues. And IBM still doesn't
have a good shell and applications.
It's been a while but my recollection is that CMS and REXX weren't too
bad if you wanted to do stuff that CMS can do.
We had a guy who built a lot of stuff that way for our publishing
application. XEDIT and Script with a lit of Rexx. Made it pretty easy to
input and edit.
I use REXX quite a bit on UNIX; quite good for a lot of things. And the
nearest I came to IBM was OS/2 for about 20 years.
--
Using UNIX since v6 (1975)...

Use the BIG mirror service in the UK:
http://www.mirrorservice.org
Ahem A Rivet's Shot
2020-07-25 18:39:17 UTC
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On Sat, 25 Jul 2020 17:21:39 -0000 (UTC)
Post by John Levine
Post by Ahem A Rivet's Shot
Quite so, although ISTR there being talk of a 360 on a chip at
around the same time or a little earlier, something about a hot, hairy,
smoking golf ball (for some reason that phrase sticks in the mind).
IBM sold a couple of 370 and 390 add-on cards for PCs. The first one
used M68K and 8087 chips with custom microcode. They worked, it was
like a single user VM/370 system.
I remember those, they were quite a bit later, the rumours I recall
were around the time the PC was being developed.
--
Steve O'Hara-Smith | Directable Mirror Arrays
C:\>WIN | A better way to focus the sun
The computer obeys and wins. | licences available see
You lose and Bill collects. | http://www.sohara.org/
Quadibloc
2020-07-25 19:50:44 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by J. Clarke
On Sat, 25 Jul 2020 02:06:41 -0700 (PDT), Quadibloc
Post by Quadibloc
Of course, that failure is understandable. Since DEC could still sell PDP-11s at
high prices to some customers, they didn't want to compete with themselves and
spoil that. IBM did the same thing, which is why the IBM PC isn't built on the
z/Architecture.
I think the z/Architecture not existing at the time had a good deal
more to do with it.
Details!

All right,

"which is why the original IBM PC in 1981 wasn't based on the System/370
architecture, and today's 64-bit descendants aren't based on z/Architecture."

There, happy now?

John Savard
Quadibloc
2020-07-25 09:26:40 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Iron Spring Software
I'm struck again by how a fairly large computer company with such a
large and vibrant community of users could disappear like the Titanic
leaving so few traces. You'd think some pieces could have been rescued.
Well, the operating systems and other software for those machines were protected
by copyright.

So at one end, people using the VAX would have gone to other machines when they
outgrew the ones they had; people using the PDP-8 would have moved to using
8-bit microprocessors, or, later, the IBM PC. So there were add-in A/D converter
boards for the IBM PC in the early days.

John Savard
Questor
2020-07-26 19:23:41 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Iron Spring Software
I'm struck again by how a fairly large computer company with such a
large and vibrant community of users could disappear like the Titanic
leaving so few traces. You'd think some pieces could have been rescued.
Surely you know that DEC was purchased by Compaq, which was subsequently bought
by HP.

What traces, and where would you expect to find them, twenty-five years after
DEC ceased to exist as an independent company?

DEC holds an important place in the history of the computer business and also
the ARPAnet.

Hobbyists and DEC enthusiasts have recovered much of the software and made it
available via emulators. Museums have restored some of the hardware.

Whether your point of view is that the market didn't want what DEC was offering,
or that DEC didn't sell what the market wanted, the consequence was the same.
The natural result of that lack of alignment is that there is little to no DEC
presence in the commercial arena today. Obviously had things been different,
DEC would have continued longer as a viable business and we would see more signs
of it in the corporate world today.

I can name dozens of now-defunct companies, prominent in their time and business
sector, of which there are even fewer traces remaining today.
Thomas Koenig
2020-07-26 21:05:26 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Questor
Post by Iron Spring Software
I'm struck again by how a fairly large computer company with such a
large and vibrant community of users could disappear like the Titanic
leaving so few traces. You'd think some pieces could have been rescued.
Surely you know that DEC was purchased by Compaq, which was subsequently bought
by HP.
Some part of the business was sold to Intel.
Post by Questor
What traces, and where would you expect to find them, twenty-five years after
DEC ceased to exist as an independent company?
The Intel Fortran compiler (ifort) is a direct descendant of the
DEC Fortran compiler. Steve Lionel, one of the main engineers of
the compiler, who already worked on it at DEC, retired from Intel
a couple of years ago, but is still very active on the Fortran
standards committees.
Peter Flass
2020-07-26 23:23:41 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Questor
Post by Iron Spring Software
I'm struck again by how a fairly large computer company with such a
large and vibrant community of users could disappear like the Titanic
leaving so few traces. You'd think some pieces could have been rescued.
Surely you know that DEC was purchased by Compaq, which was subsequently bought
by HP.
What traces, and where would you expect to find them, twenty-five years after
DEC ceased to exist as an independent company?
Many computer companies of the era still have current models, at least in
name. Besides IBM z there are systems from Unisys, both former Burroughs
and former Sperry. I would have expected HP to still be marketing something
called a VAX, with somewhat familiar software. I think DEC was bigger than
both Compaq and HP, so it was a case of the mouse eating the elephant.
Post by Questor
DEC holds an important place in the history of the computer business and also
the ARPAnet.
Hobbyists and DEC enthusiasts have recovered much of the software and made it
available via emulators. Museums have restored some of the hardware.
Whether your point of view is that the market didn't want what DEC was offering,
or that DEC didn't sell what the market wanted, the consequence was the same.
The natural result of that lack of alignment is that there is little to no DEC
presence in the commercial arena today. Obviously had things been different,
DEC would have continued longer as a viable business and we would see more signs
of it in the corporate world today.
Ask Barb about Palmer. There does seem to have been haste to break up the
business and sell it for parts, none of which are still around in
recognizable form. It’s like companies bought by private equity, who have
no interest at all in the company, or its products or intellectual capital,
but only in, for example, in the value of the real estate it owns.
Post by Questor
I can name dozens of now-defunct companies, prominent in their time and business
sector, of which there are even fewer traces remaining today.
--
Pete
J. Clarke
2020-07-27 01:24:19 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On Sun, 26 Jul 2020 16:23:41 -0700, Peter Flass
Post by Peter Flass
Post by Questor
Post by Iron Spring Software
I'm struck again by how a fairly large computer company with such a
large and vibrant community of users could disappear like the Titanic
leaving so few traces. You'd think some pieces could have been rescued.
Surely you know that DEC was purchased by Compaq, which was subsequently bought
by HP.
What traces, and where would you expect to find them, twenty-five years after
DEC ceased to exist as an independent company?
Many computer companies of the era still have current models, at least in
name. Besides IBM z there are systems from Unisys, both former Burroughs
and former Sperry. I would have expected HP to still be marketing something
called a VAX, with somewhat familiar software. I think DEC was bigger than
both Compaq and HP, so it was a case of the mouse eating the elephant.
Looking at the SEC filings, in DEC 1996 Compaq's shareholder equity
was a little over 6 billion and current assets were 9 billion. In JUN
1997 DEC's shareholder equity was about 3.5 billion and current assets
about 9.6 billion.

In OCT 2001 HP had assets of 32.5 billion and shareholder equity of
about 14 billion. Compaq had shareholder equity of 11 billion and
current assets of about 13.2 billion.

For this sort of information, by the way, the keyword you want is
"10K" as in "Compaq 10K 2001". That gets mandatory SEC filings.
Post by Peter Flass
Post by Questor
DEC holds an important place in the history of the computer business and also
the ARPAnet.
Hobbyists and DEC enthusiasts have recovered much of the software and made it
available via emulators. Museums have restored some of the hardware.
Whether your point of view is that the market didn't want what DEC was offering,
or that DEC didn't sell what the market wanted, the consequence was the same.
The natural result of that lack of alignment is that there is little to no DEC
presence in the commercial arena today. Obviously had things been different,
DEC would have continued longer as a viable business and we would see more signs
of it in the corporate world today.
Ask Barb about Palmer. There does seem to have been haste to break up the
business and sell it for parts, none of which are still around in
recognizable form. It’s like companies bought by private equity, who have
no interest at all in the company, or its products or intellectual capital,
but only in, for example, in the value of the real estate it owns.
Post by Questor
I can name dozens of now-defunct companies, prominent in their time and business
sector, of which there are even fewer traces remaining today.
Peter Flass
2020-07-27 18:42:26 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by J. Clarke
On Sun, 26 Jul 2020 16:23:41 -0700, Peter Flass
Post by Peter Flass
Post by Questor
Post by Iron Spring Software
I'm struck again by how a fairly large computer company with such a
large and vibrant community of users could disappear like the Titanic
leaving so few traces. You'd think some pieces could have been rescued.
Surely you know that DEC was purchased by Compaq, which was subsequently bought
by HP.
What traces, and where would you expect to find them, twenty-five years after
DEC ceased to exist as an independent company?
Many computer companies of the era still have current models, at least in
name. Besides IBM z there are systems from Unisys, both former Burroughs
and former Sperry. I would have expected HP to still be marketing something
called a VAX, with somewhat familiar software. I think DEC was bigger than
both Compaq and HP, so it was a case of the mouse eating the elephant.
Looking at the SEC filings, in DEC 1996 Compaq's shareholder equity
was a little over 6 billion and current assets were 9 billion. In JUN
1997 DEC's shareholder equity was about 3.5 billion and current assets
about 9.6 billion.
In OCT 2001 HP had assets of 32.5 billion and shareholder equity of
about 14 billion. Compaq had shareholder equity of 11 billion and
current assets of about 13.2 billion.
As Carly found out, Compaq was way overvalued.
--
Pete
John Levine
2020-07-27 02:41:43 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter Flass
Many computer companies of the era still have current models, at least in
name. Besides IBM z there are systems from Unisys, both former Burroughs
and former Sperry. I would have expected HP to still be marketing something
called a VAX, with somewhat familiar software. ...
The VAX is long dead. Remember that DEC tried to migrate everyone to
their Alpha RISC chip.

But VMS lives on, supported by this company:

https://vmssoftware.com/

They've open sourced VMS so you can download it from Sourceforge.
--
Regards,
John Levine, ***@taugh.com, Primary Perpetrator of "The Internet for Dummies",
Please consider the environment before reading this e-mail. https://jl.ly
Andy Burns
2020-07-27 06:37:57 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by John Levine
https://vmssoftware.com/
Correct on alpha, itanium and soon x86_64
Post by John Levine
They've open sourced VMS so you can download it from Sourceforge.
Errrr, shall we just say "less correct"?
Thomas Koenig
2020-07-27 07:10:09 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Andy Burns
Post by John Levine
https://vmssoftware.com/
Correct on alpha, itanium and soon x86_64
Post by John Levine
They've open sourced VMS so you can download it from Sourceforge.
Errrr, shall we just say "less correct"?
The canonical way to say somethign like that is "That turns out
not to be the case."
Ahem A Rivet's Shot
2020-07-27 08:03:40 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On Mon, 27 Jul 2020 07:10:09 -0000 (UTC)
Post by Thomas Koenig
The canonical way to say somethign like that is "That turns out
not to be the case."
I often wondered whether it was Niven or Pournelle that came up
with that gem or did they pick it up somewhere. I wonder similarly about
"Think of it as evolution in action".
--
Steve O'Hara-Smith | Directable Mirror Arrays
C:\>WIN | A better way to focus the sun
The computer obeys and wins. | licences available see
You lose and Bill collects. | http://www.sohara.org/
Michael LeVine
2020-07-27 09:09:25 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Ahem A Rivet's Shot
On Mon, 27 Jul 2020 07:10:09 -0000 (UTC)
Post by Thomas Koenig
The canonical way to say somethign like that is "That turns out
not to be the case."
I often wondered whether it was Niven or Pournelle that came up
with that gem or did they pick it up somewhere. I wonder similarly about
"Think of it as evolution in action".
I saw it ised in their co authored book "The Mote in Gods Eye"
--
Michael LeVine
***@redshift.com

Politics is the art of looking for trouble,
finding it everywhere,
diagnosing it incorrectly,
and applying the wrong remedies.
Groucho Marx
Ahem A Rivet's Shot
2020-07-27 10:27:53 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On Mon, 27 Jul 2020 02:09:25 -0700
Post by Michael LeVine
Post by Ahem A Rivet's Shot
On Mon, 27 Jul 2020 07:10:09 -0000 (UTC)
Post by Thomas Koenig
The canonical way to say somethign like that is "That turns out
not to be the case."
I often wondered whether it was Niven or Pournelle that came up
with that gem or did they pick it up somewhere. I wonder similarly about
"Think of it as evolution in action".
I saw it ised in their co authored book "The Mote in Gods Eye"
That as far as I'm aware was the first appearance of the phrase, it
seems more Pournelle than Niven in character to me BICBW and it might not
be original with them.
--
Steve O'Hara-Smith | Directable Mirror Arrays
C:\>WIN | A better way to focus the sun
The computer obeys and wins. | licences available see
You lose and Bill collects. | http://www.sohara.org/
Thomas Koenig
2020-07-27 12:22:11 UTC
Reply
Permalink
[x-post to.rec.arts.sf.written, follow-up there]
Post by Ahem A Rivet's Shot
On Mon, 27 Jul 2020 07:10:09 -0000 (UTC)
Post by Thomas Koenig
The canonical way to say somethign like that is "That turns out
not to be the case."
I often wondered whether it was Niven or Pournelle that came up
with that gem or did they pick it up somewhere.
Doesn't really sound like something Niven would write, but I may
be wrong there.
Post by Ahem A Rivet's Shot
I wonder similarly about
"Think of it as evolution in action".
That sounds like Pournelle, definitely.

The earliest time I remember this is from "Oath of Fealty", 1981.
"Yet Another Modest Proposal" also has it, but in a context where
it could also be a quote by Pournelle.
Rich Alderson
2020-07-28 00:51:18 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Thomas Koenig
[x-post to.rec.arts.sf.written, follow-up there]
Post by Ahem A Rivet's Shot
On Mon, 27 Jul 2020 07:10:09 -0000 (UTC)
Post by Thomas Koenig
The canonical way to say somethign like that is "That turns out
not to be the case."
I often wondered whether it was Niven or Pournelle that came up
with that gem or did they pick it up somewhere.
Doesn't really sound like something Niven would write, but I may
be wrong there.
Post by Ahem A Rivet's Shot
I wonder similarly about
"Think of it as evolution in action".
That sounds like Pournelle, definitely.
The earliest time I remember this is from "Oath of Fealty", 1981.
"Yet Another Modest Proposal" also has it, but in a context where
it could also be a quote by Pournelle.
Pournelle got it from Robert Heinlein, with whom he interned.
--
Rich Alderson ***@alderson.users.panix.com
Audendum est, et veritas investiganda; quam etiamsi non assequamur,
omnino tamen proprius, quam nunc sumus, ad eam perveniemus.
--Galen
Ahem A Rivet's Shot
2020-07-28 05:02:12 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On 27 Jul 2020 20:51:18 -0400
Post by Rich Alderson
Pournelle got it from Robert Heinlein, with whom he interned.
Where did Heinlein use it ?
--
Steve O'Hara-Smith | Directable Mirror Arrays
C:\>WIN | A better way to focus the sun
The computer obeys and wins. | licences available see
You lose and Bill collects. | http://www.sohara.org/
Bob Eager
2020-07-28 08:29:20 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On 27 Jul 2020 20:51:18 -0400 Rich Alderson
Post by Rich Alderson
Pournelle got it from Robert Heinlein, with whom he interned.
Where did Heinlein use it ?
Probably in Time Enough For Love. It's full of stuff like that!
--
Using UNIX since v6 (1975)...

Use the BIG mirror service in the UK:
http://www.mirrorservice.org
Charlie Gibbs
2020-07-28 17:30:57 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Bob Eager
On 27 Jul 2020 20:51:18 -0400 Rich Alderson
Post by Rich Alderson
Pournelle got it from Robert Heinlein, with whom he interned.
Where did Heinlein use it ?
Probably in Time Enough For Love. It's full of stuff like that!
True, although I don't remember those exact words there, and I've
read the book a number of times.

On the other hand, I'm sure I saw a wonderful description of
venereal diseases that Heinlein came up with, but I can't remember
where. He described them as extremely fragile - so much so that
they can only be transmitted by intimate personal contact, being
unable to survive outside the body for any length of time.
(Toilet seats excepted, I presume.)
--
/~\ Charlie Gibbs | Microsoft is a dictatorship.
\ / <***@kltpzyxm.invalid> | Apple is a cult.
X I'm really at ac.dekanfrus | Linux is anarchy.
/ \ if you read it the right way. | Pick your poison.
Dorothy J Heydt
2020-07-28 18:18:09 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Charlie Gibbs
Post by Bob Eager
On 27 Jul 2020 20:51:18 -0400 Rich Alderson
Post by Rich Alderson
Pournelle got it from Robert Heinlein, with whom he interned.
Where did Heinlein use it ?
Probably in Time Enough For Love. It's full of stuff like that!
True, although I don't remember those exact words there, and I've
read the book a number of times.
On the other hand, I'm sure I saw a wonderful description of
venereal diseases that Heinlein came up with, but I can't remember
where. He described them as extremely fragile - so much so that
they can only be transmitted by intimate personal contact, being
unable to survive outside the body for any length of time.
(Toilet seats excepted, I presume.)
Yes, I remember that one too, but not where I read it. (Could be
something from _Grumbles from the Grave_.) ISTR the wording was
on the order of "whose infective agent is so fragile that it can
be transmitted only by the most intimate of contact."
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
www.kithrup.com/~djheydt/
Bob Eager
2020-07-28 19:57:52 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Yes, I remember that one too, but not where I read it. (Could be
something from _Grumbles from the Grave_.) ISTR the wording was on the
order of "whose infective agent is so fragile that it can be transmitted
only by the most intimate of contact."
I would recommend Roald Dahl's short story "The Visitor". This is all
paraphrased.

Essentially, it's about a guy who breaks down in the desert (or is
sabotaged). He is offered a bed for the night by Aziz, who has a
beautiful wife and also a beautiful daughter.

I don't have it right here, but the important thing is that *a* woman
creeps into his bedroom and they have a passionate night - which Aziz is
obviously realising is on the cards. Next morning, the narrator is still
trying to work out if it was the mother or the daughter.

As he is leaving, he learns that there is another daughter in the house
too - he hasn't seen her because she stays in her room due to incurable
leprosy.

Aziz reassures him: "Don't worry, old chap. Leprosy can only be caught by
the most intimate of contact".
--
Using UNIX since v6 (1975)...

Use the BIG mirror service in the UK:
http://www.mirrorservice.org
Ahem A Rivet's Shot
2020-07-28 20:32:50 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On 28 Jul 2020 19:57:52 GMT
Post by Bob Eager
Aziz reassures him: "Don't worry, old chap. Leprosy can only be caught by
the most intimate of contact".
Reminds me of the (probably apocryphal) tale of the poor sod who
after a night of delight with a stranger wakes alone to find, scrawled in
lipstick on the bathroom mirror, "Welcome to AIDS".
--
Steve O'Hara-Smith | Directable Mirror Arrays
C:\>WIN | A better way to focus the sun
The computer obeys and wins. | licences available see
You lose and Bill collects. | http://www.sohara.org/
Dorothy J Heydt
2020-07-28 21:34:06 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Ahem A Rivet's Shot
On 28 Jul 2020 19:57:52 GMT
Post by Bob Eager
Aziz reassures him: "Don't worry, old chap. Leprosy can only be caught by
the most intimate of contact".
Reminds me of the (probably apocryphal) tale of the poor sod who
after a night of delight with a stranger wakes alone to find, scrawled in
lipstick on the bathroom mirror, "Welcome to AIDS".
Beats waking up in the bathtub with both kidneys missing. There
are treatments for AIDS nowadays. Not to cure it, but to
regulate its effects.

Reminds me of an old (probably very old) joke that I read in
1950s-era novel about a medical student.

Professor asks the student, "Which would you rather have,
tuberculosis or syphilis?"

"Syphilis," says the student.

"That's right," says the professor. "It's easier to cure, and
you have more fun getting it."
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
www.kithrup.com/~djheydt/
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
www.kithrup.com/~djheydt/
J. Clarke
2020-07-28 22:33:43 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by Ahem A Rivet's Shot
On 28 Jul 2020 19:57:52 GMT
Post by Bob Eager
Aziz reassures him: "Don't worry, old chap. Leprosy can only be caught by
the most intimate of contact".
Reminds me of the (probably apocryphal) tale of the poor sod who
after a night of delight with a stranger wakes alone to find, scrawled in
lipstick on the bathroom mirror, "Welcome to AIDS".
Beats waking up in the bathtub with both kidneys missing. There
are treatments for AIDS nowadays. Not to cure it, but to
regulate its effects.
Reminds me of an old (probably very old) joke that I read in
1950s-era novel about a medical student.
Professor asks the student, "Which would you rather have,
tuberculosis or syphilis?"
"Syphilis," says the student.
"That's right," says the professor. "It's easier to cure, and
you have more fun getting it."
Note for the record that the treatments for AIDS while effective are
not fun. Someone I know collected a very large sum of money from Yale
New Haven Hospital because they treated her for AIDS when she was not
in fact infected with HIV, thereby doing irreparable damage to her
health.

If you know someone with CBS All Access you can see her tell her story
on the Jan 1 1995 episode of "60 Minutes" (this was before Yale
settled).
Ahem A Rivet's Shot
2020-07-28 19:55:40 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On 28 Jul 2020 17:30:57 GMT
Post by Charlie Gibbs
On the other hand, I'm sure I saw a wonderful description of
venereal diseases that Heinlein came up with, but I can't remember
where. He described them as extremely fragile - so much so that
they can only be transmitted by intimate personal contact, being
unable to survive outside the body for any length of time.
(Toilet seats excepted, I presume.)
He was suggesting that they were the easiest disease group of all
to wipe out - not sure in what though and a niggle in the mind keeps
thinking of Spider Robinson.
--
Steve O'Hara-Smith | Directable Mirror Arrays
C:\>WIN | A better way to focus the sun
The computer obeys and wins. | licences available see
You lose and Bill collects. | http://www.sohara.org/
John Levine
2020-07-27 14:53:58 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Andy Burns
Post by John Levine
https://vmssoftware.com/
Correct on alpha, itanium and soon x86_64
Post by John Levine
They've open sourced VMS so you can download it from Sourceforge.
Errrr, shall we just say "less correct"?
Oh, whoops, that was just some of the applications.
--
Regards,
John Levine, ***@taugh.com, Primary Perpetrator of "The Internet for Dummies",
Please consider the environment before reading this e-mail. https://jl.ly
Dennis Boone
2020-07-27 16:30:44 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by John Levine
Post by Andy Burns
Post by John Levine
They've open sourced VMS so you can download it from Sourceforge.
Errrr, shall we just say "less correct"?
Oh, whoops, that was just some of the applications.
The FreeVMS thing was an unsuccessful attempt to code a VMS-alike
from scratch.

De
Scott Lurndal
2020-07-27 16:37:53 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by John Levine
Post by Andy Burns
Post by John Levine
https://vmssoftware.com/
Correct on alpha, itanium and soon x86_64
Post by John Levine
They've open sourced VMS so you can download it from Sourceforge.
Errrr, shall we just say "less correct"?
Oh, whoops, that was just some of the applications.
Well, I did donate the full VMS source to CHM (on microfiche). I
don't think anyone has scanned it in yet....

I've got a couple of boxes of RMS (Record Management Services which
occupied the Executive ring on the VAX) listings (circa VMS 3.0) that I've
been moving around for the last forty years and bits and pieces of
other VMS components (print symbionts, decnet ACP, et alia).
Dennis Boone
2020-07-28 15:24:37 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Scott Lurndal
Well, I did donate the full VMS source to CHM (on microfiche). I
don't think anyone has scanned it in yet....
Even the listings kits supplied to the support centers were not the full
source, according to a recent post by a former VMS engineer in
comp.os.vms. The ones supplied to customers were even more redacted,
and did not include licensed source, build procedures, and at least a
few other sensitive things.

De
Scott Lurndal
2020-07-28 15:59:19 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dennis Boone
Post by Scott Lurndal
Well, I did donate the full VMS source to CHM (on microfiche). I
don't think anyone has scanned it in yet....
Even the listings kits supplied to the support centers were not the full
source, according to a recent post by a former VMS engineer in
comp.os.vms. The ones supplied to customers were even more redacted,
and did not include licensed source, build procedures, and at least a
few other sensitive things.
We had the full source at the time (machine buildable) in addition
to the fiche (which may have been redacted, we never actually used
the fiche - since we had the source).

I rebuilt VMS a couple of times to fix bugs in the create mailbox
(when targetting the MA780 shared memory unit) system call. This
would have been circa VMS 2.4.
Peter Flass
2020-07-27 18:42:26 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by John Levine
Post by Peter Flass
Many computer companies of the era still have current models, at least in
name. Besides IBM z there are systems from Unisys, both former Burroughs
and former Sperry. I would have expected HP to still be marketing something
called a VAX, with somewhat familiar software. ...
The VAX is long dead. Remember that DEC tried to migrate everyone to
their Alpha RISC chip.
Didn’t they still call it a VAX? 9600 or something?
Post by John Levine
https://vmssoftware.com/
They've open sourced VMS so you can download it from Sourceforge.
--
Pete
J. Clarke
2020-07-27 22:47:54 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On Mon, 27 Jul 2020 11:42:26 -0700, Peter Flass
Post by Peter Flass
Post by John Levine
Post by Peter Flass
Many computer companies of the era still have current models, at least in
name. Besides IBM z there are systems from Unisys, both former Burroughs
and former Sperry. I would have expected HP to still be marketing something
called a VAX, with somewhat familiar software. ...
The VAX is long dead. Remember that DEC tried to migrate everyone to
their Alpha RISC chip.
Didn’t they still call it a VAX? 9600 or something?
They were proud of the Alpha--I'm pretty sure they used the name on
any system they sold with it.
Post by Peter Flass
Post by John Levine
https://vmssoftware.com/
They've open sourced VMS so you can download it from Sourceforge.
Quadibloc
2020-07-28 00:43:06 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter Flass
Post by John Levine
The VAX is long dead. Remember that DEC tried to migrate everyone to
their Alpha RISC chip.
Didn’t they still call it a VAX? 9600 or something?
That would have been confusing; the VAX and the Alpha were polar opposites, the
VAX being a CISC descendant of the PDP-11 with lots of addressing modes, and
Alpha being RISC.

What they did have were the Alpha 3000 AXP up to the Alpha 10000 AXP, and they
did port OpenVMS to the Alpha architecture.

John Savard
Questor
2020-07-28 03:21:43 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter Flass
Post by Questor
Post by Iron Spring Software
I'm struck again by how a fairly large computer company with such a
large and vibrant community of users could disappear like the Titanic
leaving so few traces. You'd think some pieces could have been rescued.
Surely you know that DEC was purchased by Compaq, which was subsequently bought
by HP.
What traces, and where would you expect to find them, twenty-five years after
DEC ceased to exist as an independent company?
Many computer companies of the era still have current models, at least in
name. Besides IBM z there are systems from Unisys, both former Burroughs
and former Sperry.
Where are the mainframes from NCR, Control Data, General Electric, and RCA?
Where are the minicomputers from Data General, Wang, and Prime? Where are the
Apollo workstations and the Gateway PCs? Where are Wordstar, Wordperfect,
Lotus 1-2-3, Quattro Pro, Novell Netware, Banyan Vines...

I submit that disappearing and leaving few traces is the norm for most companies
rather than the exception.
Post by Peter Flass
I would have expected HP to still be marketing something
called a VAX, with somewhat familiar software. I think DEC was bigger than
both Compaq and HP, so it was a case of the mouse eating the elephant.
It's not clear to me what Compaq was expecting to get from purchasing DEC. It's
obvious they weren't going to be making VAXes. The story I heard was that they
wanted DEC's support network. When in turn HP bought Compaq, it was also
extremely unlikely they would revive the VAX. Didn't/doesn't HP have their own
line of minicomputers? Why would they have brought back the VAX?

I would say that it was Compaq that killed the VAX. I don't know how viable the
product line was at that point; I would surmise that it was ailing.
Post by Peter Flass
Post by Questor
DEC holds an important place in the history of the computer business and also
the ARPAnet.
Hobbyists and DEC enthusiasts have recovered much of the software and made it
available via emulators. Museums have restored some of the hardware.
Whether your point of view is that the market didn't want what DEC was offering,
or that DEC didn't sell what the market wanted, the consequence was the same.
The natural result of that lack of alignment is that there is little to no DEC
presence in the commercial arena today. Obviously had things been different,
DEC would have continued longer as a viable business and we would see more signs
of it in the corporate world today.
Ask Barb about Palmer. There does seem to have been haste to break up the
business and sell it for parts, none of which are still around in
recognizable form. It's like companies bought by private equity, who have
no interest at all in the company, or its products or intellectual capital,
but only in, for example, in the value of the real estate it owns.
[spits] I have no need to ask Ms. Huizenga for her under-informed and overly
biased opinion about anything. DEC was stumbling years before Palmer took the
reins. It wasn't so obvious at the time, but the seeds of its decline were
already sown.
Post by Peter Flass
Post by Questor
I can name dozens of now-defunct companies, prominent in their time and business
sector, of which there are even fewer traces remaining today.
Charlie Gibbs
2020-07-28 17:30:57 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Questor
Where are the mainframes from NCR, Control Data, General Electric, and RCA?
RCA (who built IBM 360 workalikes) was absorbed into Univac's line
of IBM 360 workalikes, the remants of which might live on in whatever
remains of their System 80 line.

Otherwise, your point is valid.
--
/~\ Charlie Gibbs | Microsoft is a dictatorship.
\ / <***@kltpzyxm.invalid> | Apple is a cult.
X I'm really at ac.dekanfrus | Linux is anarchy.
/ \ if you read it the right way. | Pick your poison.
John Levine
2020-07-28 20:27:44 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Questor
Post by Peter Flass
Many computer companies of the era still have current models, at least in
name. Besides IBM z there are systems from Unisys, both former Burroughs
and former Sperry.
Where are the mainframes from NCR, Control Data, General Electric, and RCA?
Where are the minicomputers from Data General, Wang, and Prime? Where are the
Apollo workstations and the Gateway PCs?
Didn't have enough locked in banking customers, I guess. Apollo was
selling Unix clone workstatsions and were sold to H-P for over $400M
which was a lot of money at the time. H-P merged them into their real
Unix workstation line.

NCR is a special case, sold itself to AT&T which did what big telcos
always do with acquisitions, mismanage it until it was worthless and
sell off the corpe for pennies. (Verizon is most of the way throught
that process with AOL and Yahoo.)
Post by Questor
Where are Wordstar, Wordperfect,
Lotus 1-2-3, Quattro Pro, Novell Netware, Banyan Vines...
Wordperfect is still around, owned by Corel, popular among lawyers.

IBM bought Lotus to get Notes and Domino, which was a good business
for many years. They sold it to Indian firm HCL in 2019. I found 1-2-3
a few years ago as shovelware on an IBM branded PC.
Post by Questor
It's not clear to me what Compaq was expecting to get from purchasing DEC. It's
obvious they weren't going to be making VAXes. The story I heard was that they
wanted DEC's support network. When in turn HP bought Compaq, it was also
extremely unlikely they would revive the VAX. Didn't/doesn't HP have their own
line of minicomputers? Why would they have brought back the VAX?
HP had PA-RISC which did OK and was supported until 2013. Then there
was Itanium which was an interesting idea that didn't work in
practice.

DEC was blindsided by the rise of LSI and single-chip computers. Their
failure was pretty spectacular but really only IBM survived the micro
transition in anything like recognizable form.
--
Regards,
John Levine, ***@taugh.com, Primary Perpetrator of "The Internet for Dummies",
Please consider the environment before reading this e-mail. https://jl.ly
J. Clarke
2020-07-28 22:53:25 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On Tue, 28 Jul 2020 20:27:44 -0000 (UTC), John Levine
Post by John Levine
Post by Questor
Post by Peter Flass
Many computer companies of the era still have current models, at least in
name. Besides IBM z there are systems from Unisys, both former Burroughs
and former Sperry.
Where are the mainframes from NCR, Control Data, General Electric, and RCA?
Where are the minicomputers from Data General, Wang, and Prime? Where are the
Apollo workstations and the Gateway PCs?
Didn't have enough locked in banking customers, I guess. Apollo was
selling Unix clone workstatsions and were sold to H-P for over $400M
which was a lot of money at the time. H-P merged them into their real
Unix workstation line.
NCR is a special case, sold itself to AT&T which did what big telcos
always do with acquisitions, mismanage it until it was worthless and
sell off the corpe for pennies. (Verizon is most of the way throught
that process with AOL and Yahoo.)
Bloody shame too. NCR was a decent enough outfit. I needed an update
ROM for one of their PCs once, I had the part number, was willing to
pay for it and everything. They didn't have a procedure for selling
it to me--had to go through an authorized dealer, the closest of which
was two hours and find-parking-in-Manhattan away. I called the phone
number on the 10-K and got the CEO's secretary, who referred me to the
"Corporate Ombudsman". I figured that was the end of that, but no, he
took down all the details and about two hours later the phone rings.
Female voice on the other end, in tones of someone on the verge of
tears. She asked me what I needed, I told her, and in very relieved
tones she exclaims "Oh, thank God, I can _do_ that!" and the next
morning FedEx arrived with the blasted ROM. Of course if they had had
a system in place to let me just order the thing they would have
gotten 25 bucks or whatever it was worth, and not wasted CEO secretary
time or corporate ombudsman time and wouldn't have had to terrorize
that poor woman who got the call from the ombudsman (she wasn't
someone I had talked to before).
Post by John Levine
Post by Questor
Where are Wordstar, Wordperfect,
Lotus 1-2-3, Quattro Pro, Novell Netware, Banyan Vines...
Wordperfect is still around, owned by Corel, popular among lawyers.
IBM bought Lotus to get Notes and Domino, which was a good business
for many years. They sold it to Indian firm HCL in 2019. I found 1-2-3
a few years ago as shovelware on an IBM branded PC.
Pieces of Novell are still available from MicroFocus--their big
problem was that they tried to be Microsoft and did it just when
Windows and the Internet were hitting. Which would have been fine if
they had seen which way the market was going and jumped on it hard,
but they had their own protocol, IPX/SPX (which was actually a damned
good protocol--Netware networks were amazing performers for the time)
and dragged their feet on TCP/IP, and I'm not sure they _ever_ got a
native Windows client into the market--on Windows boxen the netware
driver was stacked on DOS. But they did put resources into buying
WordPerfect and the remains of Digital Research and hare-brained
scheme to port MacOS to x86 and Unix System Laboratories

I really liked NetWare. It only did one thing but it did it superbly
well.
Post by John Levine
Post by Questor
It's not clear to me what Compaq was expecting to get from purchasing DEC. It's
obvious they weren't going to be making VAXes. The story I heard was that they
wanted DEC's support network. When in turn HP bought Compaq, it was also
extremely unlikely they would revive the VAX. Didn't/doesn't HP have their own
line of minicomputers? Why would they have brought back the VAX?
HP had PA-RISC which did OK and was supported until 2013. Then there
was Itanium which was an interesting idea that didn't work in
practice.
DEC was blindsided by the rise of LSI and single-chip computers. Their
failure was pretty spectacular but really only IBM survived the micro
transition in anything like recognizable form.
Gareth Evans
2020-07-29 09:36:39 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by J. Clarke
I really liked NetWare. It only did one thing but it did it superbly
well.
Novell's Netware?

Referred to in our shop as Grovell's Grotware,
after CompSurf took many hours to check a hard
disk of only 100MB.
Peter Flass
2020-07-29 21:08:11 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by J. Clarke
I really liked NetWare. It only did one thing but it did it superbly
well.
As opposed to a number of well-known companies that do everything, but make
a botch of it all.
--
Pete
Peter Flass
2020-07-29 21:04:20 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by John Levine
Post by Questor
Post by Peter Flass
Many computer companies of the era still have current models, at least in
name. Besides IBM z there are systems from Unisys, both former Burroughs
and former Sperry.
Where are the mainframes from NCR, Control Data, General Electric, and RCA?
Where are the minicomputers from Data General, Wang, and Prime? Where are the
Apollo workstations and the Gateway PCs?
Didn't have enough locked in banking customers, I guess. Apollo was
selling Unix clone workstatsions and were sold to H-P for over $400M
which was a lot of money at the time. H-P merged them into their real
Unix workstation line.
NCR is a special case, sold itself to AT&T which did what big telcos
always do with acquisitions, mismanage it until it was worthless and
sell off the corpe for pennies. (Verizon is most of the way throught
that process with AOL and Yahoo.)
Post by Questor
Where are Wordstar, Wordperfect,
Lotus 1-2-3, Quattro Pro, Novell Netware, Banyan Vines...
Wordperfect is still around, owned by Corel, popular among lawyers.
I think Lotus is still around. A couple of years ago I downloaded WordPro
for windows, after I got rid of my last OS/2 box.
Post by John Levine
IBM bought Lotus to get Notes and Domino, which was a good business
for many years. They sold it to Indian firm HCL in 2019. I found 1-2-3
a few years ago as shovelware on an IBM branded PC.
Post by Questor
It's not clear to me what Compaq was expecting to get from purchasing DEC. It's
obvious they weren't going to be making VAXes. The story I heard was that they
wanted DEC's support network. When in turn HP bought Compaq, it was also
extremely unlikely they would revive the VAX. Didn't/doesn't HP have their own
line of minicomputers? Why would they have brought back the VAX?
HP had PA-RISC which did OK and was supported until 2013. Then there
was Itanium which was an interesting idea that didn't work in
practice.
DEC was blindsided by the rise of LSI and single-chip computers. Their
failure was pretty spectacular but really only IBM survived the micro
transition in anything like recognizable form.
--
Pete
Louis Krupp
2020-07-30 09:49:45 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Questor
Post by Peter Flass
Ask Barb about Palmer. There does seem to have been haste to break up the
business and sell it for parts, none of which are still around in
recognizable form. It's like companies bought by private equity, who have
no interest at all in the company, or its products or intellectual capital,
but only in, for example, in the value of the real estate it owns.
[spits] I have no need to ask Ms. Huizenga for her under-informed and overly
biased opinion about anything. DEC was stumbling years before Palmer took the
reins. It wasn't so obvious at the time, but the seeds of its decline were
already sown.
Barb had stories -- that's why it's alt.folklore.computers -- and she
was entertaining. Who really cares what she was right or wrong about?

Louis
Scott Lurndal
2020-07-30 14:41:47 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Louis Krupp
Post by Questor
Post by Peter Flass
Ask Barb about Palmer. There does seem to have been haste to break up the
business and sell it for parts, none of which are still around in
recognizable form. It's like companies bought by private equity, who have
no interest at all in the company, or its products or intellectual capital,
but only in, for example, in the value of the real estate it owns.
[spits] I have no need to ask Ms. Huizenga for her under-informed and overly
biased opinion about anything. DEC was stumbling years before Palmer took the
reins. It wasn't so obvious at the time, but the seeds of its decline were
already sown.
Barb had stories -- that's why it's alt.folklore.computers -- and she
was entertaining. Who really cares what she was right or wrong about?
Historians reading this group?
Peter Flass
2020-07-30 17:12:06 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Scott Lurndal
Post by Louis Krupp
Post by Questor
Post by Peter Flass
Ask Barb about Palmer. There does seem to have been haste to break up the
business and sell it for parts, none of which are still around in
recognizable form. It's like companies bought by private equity, who have
no interest at all in the company, or its products or intellectual capital,
but only in, for example, in the value of the real estate it owns.
[spits] I have no need to ask Ms. Huizenga for her under-informed and overly
biased opinion about anything. DEC was stumbling years before Palmer took the
reins. It wasn't so obvious at the time, but the seeds of its decline were
already sown.
Barb had stories -- that's why it's alt.folklore.computers -- and she
was entertaining. Who really cares what she was right or wrong about?
Historians reading this group?
It’s the same with any oral history - you always have to account for the
bias of the teller, but maybe the bias is the history.
--
Pete
Scott Lurndal
2020-07-30 18:40:32 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Scott Lurndal
Post by Louis Krupp
Post by Questor
Post by Peter Flass
Ask Barb about Palmer. There does seem to have been haste to break up the
business and sell it for parts, none of which are still around in
recognizable form. It's like companies bought by private equity, who have
no interest at all in the company, or its products or intellectual capital,
but only in, for example, in the value of the real estate it owns.
[spits] I have no need to ask Ms. Huizenga for her under-informed and overly
biased opinion about anything. DEC was stumbling years before Palmer took the
reins. It wasn't so obvious at the time, but the seeds of its decline were
already sown.
Barb had stories -- that's why it's alt.folklore.computers -- and she
was entertaining. Who really cares what she was right or wrong about?
Historians reading this group?
It’s the same with any oral history - you always have to account for the
bias of the teller, but maybe the bias is the history.
Well, there is two sides to every story. There is considerable bitterness
in many of the PDP-10 folks about DECs focus on the VAX; We don't hear as much from the
VAX side of the house (or upper management, for that matter).
Peter Flass
2020-07-30 19:02:21 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Scott Lurndal
Post by Peter Flass
Post by Scott Lurndal
Post by Louis Krupp
Post by Questor
Post by Peter Flass
Ask Barb about Palmer. There does seem to have been haste to break up the
business and sell it for parts, none of which are still around in
recognizable form. It's like companies bought by private equity, who have
no interest at all in the company, or its products or intellectual capital,
but only in, for example, in the value of the real estate it owns.
[spits] I have no need to ask Ms. Huizenga for her under-informed and overly
biased opinion about anything. DEC was stumbling years before Palmer took the
reins. It wasn't so obvious at the time, but the seeds of its decline were
already sown.
Barb had stories -- that's why it's alt.folklore.computers -- and she
was entertaining. Who really cares what she was right or wrong about?
Historians reading this group?
It’s the same with any oral history - you always have to account for the
bias of the teller, but maybe the bias is the history.
Well, there is two sides to every story. There is considerable bitterness
in many of the PDP-10 folks about DECs focus on the VAX; We don't hear as much from the
VAX side of the house (or upper management, for that matter).
The VAX certainly had more growth potential, maybe DEC really couldn’t
afford to support both the VAX and the -10, at any level of support, maybe
the -10 people screwed up their next-generation design badly enough to make
it much too late to market. We’ve heard all those, possibly any or all are
correct. For sure most of the VAX people are still around, is there
anything like Bell’s article on PDP-11 around for the VAX?

It does seem like later management was brought in specifically to sell off
the company in pieces. Maybe this was a last resort after everything else
was tried and failed. DEC had a lot of good people and a lot of
intellectual property that seems to have been liquidated for a lot less
than it was worth.That sounds like the work of “vulture capitalists” who
just want to make a quick buck and don’t care what happens to the company
or its employees.
--
Pete
Terry Kennedy
2020-07-31 09:38:12 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter Flass
The VAX certainly had more growth potential, maybe DEC really couldn’t
afford to support both the VAX and the -10, at any level of support, maybe
the -10 people screwed up their next-generation design badly enough to make
it much too late to market. We’ve heard all those, possibly any or all are
correct. For sure most of the VAX people are still around, is there
anything like Bell’s article on PDP-11 around for the VAX?
DEC had 2 LSG projects going at the same time and both foundering - the VAX-11/790 (released as the 8600) and the 36-bit Jupiter project. They apparently decided to focus on the 8600, even though it didn't meet its performance goals (but by a smaller amount than Jupiter). By the time the 8600 project got told "ship it now or else" they were very very close to meeting their original performance goal - upgrading an 8600 to an 8650 was a simple 2 board swap. The "mid-life kicker" to upgrade the 8650 (which, remember, was the original performance target for the 8600) would likely have been the 8670 but never got anywhere as a project.

But DEC badly misjudged the 36-bit community's response to the Jupiter cancellation - as one university put it, "all new systems will be Unix-based because we will have a much wider choice of vendors to screw us".

Meanwhile, LSG continued their tradition of building ever larger systems out of esoteric hardware that were late to market and under-performing, like the VAX 9000. The blame can't be laid solely at LSG's feet - DEC upper management refused to believe that their in-house semiconductor group could fabricate a chip (the NVAX) that outperformed the 9000. And how do you tell your customers that just bought a hugely expensive and large computer that there is another model with better performance, a much smaller form factor, and vastly reduced power consumption? IBM cut the price of the Stretch in half for both existing customers and open orders (taking a loss on each one) and discontinued it after all open orders had been fulfilled. DEC didn't have the resources to take a financial hit like that, and it would still have saddled the 9000 customers with oversized power-hungry boxes.

In retrospect, DEC might have been better served by canceling Jupiter but marketing one of the 3rd party compatible 36-bit CPUs as a DEC model. This had been considered (and dismissed) when Jupiter was in the early planning stages. I guess the "we've gone this far, we may as well keep going" (AKA the sunk cost fallacy) convinced them to keep going long after they should have changed strategy.
John Levine
2020-07-31 20:21:58 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Terry Kennedy
But DEC badly misjudged the 36-bit community's response to the Jupiter cancellation - as one university put it, "all new systems
will be Unix-based because we will have a much wider choice of vendors to screw us".
It was probably still the right choice. By that time it was quite
evident that 32 bit byte machines with flat byte adderssing were the
future. Much though I loved the PDP-10, the extended addressing was a
hack (a very clever hack but still a hack) and if people have to
rewrite their programs anyway, they're going to look at other options
no matter what.
Post by Terry Kennedy
In retrospect, DEC might have been better served by canceling Jupiter but marketing one of the 3rd party compatible 36-bit CPUs
as a DEC model. This had been considered (and dismissed) when Jupiter was in the early planning stages. I guess the "we've gone
this far, we may as well keep going" (AKA the sunk cost fallacy) convinced them to keep going long after they should have changed
strategy.
Agreed, partly that, partly NIH. It would have been essentially zero
risk for them and likely would have delayed some defections.
Post by Terry Kennedy
IBM cut the price of the Stretch in half for both existing customers
and open orders (taking a loss on each one) and discontinued it after all open orders had been fulfilled.
They did it again for the 360/91, shipped the committed orders at a
loss and discontinued it. They made one more try with the 195, a 91
reimplemented in faster logic with a cache adapted from the 360/85,
but it was still slower than the CDC 7600 and IBM got out of the
supercomputing business for good, or at least until the era when
supercomputers were reinvented as a zillion normal computers connected
together.
--
Regards,
John Levine, ***@taugh.com, Primary Perpetrator of "The Internet for Dummies",
Please consider the environment before reading this e-mail. https://jl.ly
Thomas Koenig
2020-07-31 23:23:50 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by John Levine
They did it again for the 360/91, shipped the committed orders at a
loss and discontinued it. They made one more try with the 195, a 91
reimplemented in faster logic with a cache adapted from the 360/85,
but it was still slower than the CDC 7600 and IBM got out of the
supercomputing business for good, or at least until the era when
supercomputers were reinvented as a zillion normal computers connected
together.
They did have the 3090 vector facility feature, we had one at
our university.

I remember it didn't hold a candle to the Siemens/Fujutsu VP
that was also there (and which I used). Personally, I never
used the 3090 VF.

Does anybody have comparison data for floating point performance
of these machines?
J. Clarke
2020-08-01 01:13:22 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On Fri, 31 Jul 2020 23:23:50 -0000 (UTC), Thomas Koenig
Post by Thomas Koenig
Post by John Levine
They did it again for the 360/91, shipped the committed orders at a
loss and discontinued it. They made one more try with the 195, a 91
reimplemented in faster logic with a cache adapted from the 360/85,
but it was still slower than the CDC 7600 and IBM got out of the
supercomputing business for good, or at least until the era when
supercomputers were reinvented as a zillion normal computers connected
together.
They did have the 3090 vector facility feature, we had one at
our university.
I remember it didn't hold a candle to the Siemens/Fujutsu VP
that was also there (and which I used). Personally, I never
used the 3090 VF.
Does anybody have comparison data for floating point performance
of these machines?
http://www.roylongbottom.org.uk/whetstone.htm#anchorIBM
Thomas Koenig
2020-08-01 10:39:34 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by J. Clarke
On Fri, 31 Jul 2020 23:23:50 -0000 (UTC), Thomas Koenig
Post by Thomas Koenig
Post by John Levine
They did it again for the 360/91, shipped the committed orders at a
loss and discontinued it. They made one more try with the 195, a 91
reimplemented in faster logic with a cache adapted from the 360/85,
but it was still slower than the CDC 7600 and IBM got out of the
supercomputing business for good, or at least until the era when
supercomputers were reinvented as a zillion normal computers connected
together.
They did have the 3090 vector facility feature, we had one at
our university.
I remember it didn't hold a candle to the Siemens/Fujutsu VP
that was also there (and which I used). Personally, I never
used the 3090 VF.
Does anybody have comparison data for floating point performance
of these machines?
http://www.roylongbottom.org.uk/whetstone.htm#anchorIBM
So, that gives the performance of an IBM 3090 with VE as 13.8
MFlops. http://museum.ipsj.or.jp/en/computer/super/0005.html gives
the maximum for the VP 400 (which I worked on) as 1142 MFlops, which
I can safely assume was single precision, so around half that for
maximum MFLOPS for double. This is apples to oranges, of course
(theoretical speed vs. actual benchmark) but still shows that my
memory was not far off - the VP was the _much_ faster machine,
and IBM didn't even come close in performance to what
the Japanese were doing at the time.
John Levine
2020-08-01 02:21:05 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Thomas Koenig
Post by John Levine
but it was still slower than the CDC 7600 and IBM got out of the
supercomputing business for good, or at least until the era when
supercomputers were reinvented as a zillion normal computers connected
together.
They did have the 3090 vector facility feature, we had one at
our university.
The 390 had a similar vector facility and zSeries has a much fancier
one which can handle vectors of ints, and the various float formats. I
don't understand the point, since nobody buys an IBM mainframe as a
compute engine but someone must want it.

I presume it's mostly microcode so it's not very expensive to provide.
--
Regards,
John Levine, ***@taugh.com, Primary Perpetrator of "The Internet for Dummies",
Please consider the environment before reading this e-mail. https://jl.ly
Bob Eager
2020-08-01 11:14:44 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by John Levine
but it was still slower than the CDC 7600 and IBM got out of the
supercomputing business for good, or at least until the era when
supercomputers were reinvented as a zillion normal computers connected
together.
They did have the 3090 vector facility feature, we had one at our
university.
The 390 had a similar vector facility and zSeries has a much fancier one
which can handle vectors of ints, and the various float formats. I don't
understand the point, since nobody buys an IBM mainframe as a compute
engine but someone must want it.
I presume it's mostly microcode so it's not very expensive to provide.
Fairly early on, the UK had this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ICL_Distributed_Array_Processor

Not many were sold, but I was peripherally involved in a third party
operating system that supported it.
--
Using UNIX since v6 (1975)...

Use the BIG mirror service in the UK:
http://www.mirrorservice.org
r***@gmail.com
2020-08-01 03:30:31 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by John Levine
Post by Terry Kennedy
But DEC badly misjudged the 36-bit community's response to the Jupiter cancellation - as one university put it, "all new systems
will be Unix-based because we will have a much wider choice of vendors to screw us".
It was probably still the right choice. By that time it was quite
evident that 32 bit byte machines with flat byte adderssing were the
future. Much though I loved the PDP-10, the extended addressing was a
hack (a very clever hack but still a hack) and if people have to
rewrite their programs anyway, they're going to look at other options
no matter what.
Post by Terry Kennedy
In retrospect, DEC might have been better served by canceling Jupiter but marketing one of the 3rd party compatible 36-bit CPUs
as a DEC model. This had been considered (and dismissed) when Jupiter was in the early planning stages. I guess the "we've gone
this far, we may as well keep going" (AKA the sunk cost fallacy) convinced them to keep going long after they should have changed
strategy.
Agreed, partly that, partly NIH. It would have been essentially zero
risk for them and likely would have delayed some defections.
Post by Terry Kennedy
IBM cut the price of the Stretch in half for both existing customers
and open orders (taking a loss on each one) and discontinued it after all open orders had been fulfilled.
They did it again for the 360/91, shipped the committed orders at a
loss and discontinued it. They made one more try with the 195, a 91
reimplemented in faster logic with a cache adapted from the 360/85,
but it was still slower than the CDC 7600 and IBM got out of the
supercomputing business for good, or at least until the era when
supercomputers were reinvented as a zillion normal computers connected
together.
The problems with the 7600 were lack of software,
and in the fact that it did not have character-handling
instructions.
Plus the silly integer multiplication instruction,
plus the fact that CDC had 65 characters stored in
6-bits.

So, if you wanted wrong results without warning,
go for the 7600.

The problem with the S/360 was the pedestrian instruction
set. The integer instructions lacked an instruction to
increment a memory word; an instruction to generate a
constant (other than LA, that did not set the condition code,
and in any case, it handled only positive constants);
an instruction to convert a condition code to logic 0 or 1;
an MH instruction that did not set overflow; no DH
instruction; instructions in the integer and floating-point
repertoire to reference memory did not shift the index
by 1, 2, 3, or 4 places. The latter alone would have at once
decreased the size of the object code and speeded up execution.
Dan Espen
2020-08-01 04:00:59 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by John Levine
Post by Terry Kennedy
But DEC badly misjudged the 36-bit community's response to the
Jupiter cancellation - as one university put it, "all new systems
will be Unix-based because we will have a much wider choice of vendors to screw us".
It was probably still the right choice. By that time it was quite
evident that 32 bit byte machines with flat byte adderssing were the
future. Much though I loved the PDP-10, the extended addressing was a
hack (a very clever hack but still a hack) and if people have to
rewrite their programs anyway, they're going to look at other options
no matter what.
Post by Terry Kennedy
In retrospect, DEC might have been better served by canceling
Jupiter but marketing one of the 3rd party compatible 36-bit CPUs as
a DEC model. This had been considered (and dismissed) when Jupiter
was in the early planning stages. I guess the "we've gone this far,
we may as well keep going" (AKA the sunk cost fallacy) convinced
them to keep going long after they should have changed strategy.
Agreed, partly that, partly NIH. It would have been essentially zero
risk for them and likely would have delayed some defections.
Post by Terry Kennedy
IBM cut the price of the Stretch in half for both existing
customers and open orders (taking a loss on each one) and
discontinued it after all open orders had been fulfilled.
They did it again for the 360/91, shipped the committed orders at a
loss and discontinued it. They made one more try with the 195, a 91
reimplemented in faster logic with a cache adapted from the 360/85,
but it was still slower than the CDC 7600 and IBM got out of the
supercomputing business for good, or at least until the era when
supercomputers were reinvented as a zillion normal computers
connected together.
The problems with the 7600 were lack of software, and in the fact that
it did not have character-handling instructions. Plus the silly
integer multiplication instruction, plus the fact that CDC had 65
characters stored in 6-bits.
So, if you wanted wrong results without warning, go for the 7600.
The problem with the S/360 was the pedestrian instruction set. The
integer instructions lacked an instruction to increment a memory word;
an instruction to generate a constant (other than LA, that did not set
the condition code, and in any case, it handled only positive
constants); an instruction to convert a condition code to logic 0 or
1; an MH instruction that did not set overflow; no DH instruction;
instructions in the integer and floating-point repertoire to reference
memory did not shift the index by 1, 2, 3, or 4 places. The latter
alone would have at once decreased the size of the object code and
speeded up execution.
That's a pretty good list. I can't argue with your points.

I hated;

L R1,COUNT LA R1,1(R1) ST R1,COUNT

Unless there was a good reason to be working with binary:

AP COUNT,=P'1'

makes more sense.
--
Dan Espen
r***@gmail.com
2020-08-01 09:20:15 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dan Espen
Post by John Levine
Post by Terry Kennedy
But DEC badly misjudged the 36-bit community's response to the
Jupiter cancellation - as one university put it, "all new systems
will be Unix-based because we will have a much wider choice of
vendors to screw us".
It was probably still the right choice. By that time it was quite
evident that 32 bit byte machines with flat byte adderssing were the
future. Much though I loved the PDP-10, the extended addressing was a
hack (a very clever hack but still a hack) and if people have to
rewrite their programs anyway, they're going to look at other options
no matter what.
Post by Terry Kennedy
In retrospect, DEC might have been better served by canceling
Jupiter but marketing one of the 3rd party compatible 36-bit CPUs as
a DEC model. This had been considered (and dismissed) when Jupiter
was in the early planning stages. I guess the "we've gone this far,
we may as well keep going" (AKA the sunk cost fallacy) convinced
them to keep going long after they should have changed strategy.
Agreed, partly that, partly NIH. It would have been essentially zero
risk for them and likely would have delayed some defections.
Post by Terry Kennedy
IBM cut the price of the Stretch in half for both existing
customers and open orders (taking a loss on each one) and
discontinued it after all open orders had been fulfilled.
They did it again for the 360/91, shipped the committed orders at a
loss and discontinued it. They made one more try with the 195, a 91
reimplemented in faster logic with a cache adapted from the 360/85,
but it was still slower than the CDC 7600 and IBM got out of the
supercomputing business for good, or at least until the era when
supercomputers were reinvented as a zillion normal computers
connected together.
The problems with the 7600 were lack of software, and in the fact that
it did not have character-handling instructions. Plus the silly
integer multiplication instruction, plus the fact that CDC had 65
characters stored in 6-bits.
So, if you wanted wrong results without warning, go for the 7600.
The problem with the S/360 was the pedestrian instruction set. The
integer instructions lacked an instruction to increment a memory word;
an instruction to generate a constant (other than LA, that did not set
the condition code, and in any case, it handled only positive
constants); an instruction to convert a condition code to logic 0 or
1; an MH instruction that did not set overflow; no DH instruction;
instructions in the integer and floating-point repertoire to reference
memory did not shift the index by 1, 2, 3, or 4 places. The latter
alone would have at once decreased the size of the object code and
speeded up execution.
That's a pretty good list. I can't argue with your points.
I hated;
L R1,COUNT LA R1,1(R1) ST R1,COUNT
Yes, but better is/was
LA R1,1(0,0) A R1,COUNT ST R1,COUNT
because the condition code is set properly.
Post by Dan Espen
AP COUNT,=P'1'
makes more sense.
It does, in decimal, but not appropriate when indexing.
Peter Flass
2020-08-01 14:00:51 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by r***@gmail.com
Post by Dan Espen
Post by John Levine
Post by Terry Kennedy
But DEC badly misjudged the 36-bit community's response to the
Jupiter cancellation - as one university put it, "all new systems
will be Unix-based because we will have a much wider choice of
vendors to screw us".
It was probably still the right choice. By that time it was quite
evident that 32 bit byte machines with flat byte adderssing were the
future. Much though I loved the PDP-10, the extended addressing was a
hack (a very clever hack but still a hack) and if people have to
rewrite their programs anyway, they're going to look at other options
no matter what.
Post by Terry Kennedy
In retrospect, DEC might have been better served by canceling
Jupiter but marketing one of the 3rd party compatible 36-bit CPUs as
a DEC model. This had been considered (and dismissed) when Jupiter
was in the early planning stages. I guess the "we've gone this far,
we may as well keep going" (AKA the sunk cost fallacy) convinced
them to keep going long after they should have changed strategy.
Agreed, partly that, partly NIH. It would have been essentially zero
risk for them and likely would have delayed some defections.
Post by Terry Kennedy
IBM cut the price of the Stretch in half for both existing
customers and open orders (taking a loss on each one) and
discontinued it after all open orders had been fulfilled.
They did it again for the 360/91, shipped the committed orders at a
loss and discontinued it. They made one more try with the 195, a 91
reimplemented in faster logic with a cache adapted from the 360/85,
but it was still slower than the CDC 7600 and IBM got out of the
supercomputing business for good, or at least until the era when
supercomputers were reinvented as a zillion normal computers
connected together.
The problems with the 7600 were lack of software, and in the fact that
it did not have character-handling instructions. Plus the silly
integer multiplication instruction, plus the fact that CDC had 65
characters stored in 6-bits.
So, if you wanted wrong results without warning, go for the 7600.
The problem with the S/360 was the pedestrian instruction set. The
integer instructions lacked an instruction to increment a memory word;
an instruction to generate a constant (other than LA, that did not set
the condition code, and in any case, it handled only positive
constants); an instruction to convert a condition code to logic 0 or
1; an MH instruction that did not set overflow; no DH instruction;
instructions in the integer and floating-point repertoire to reference
memory did not shift the index by 1, 2, 3, or 4 places. The latter
alone would have at once decreased the size of the object code and
speeded up execution.
That's a pretty good list. I can't argue with your points.
I hated;
L R1,COUNT LA R1,1(R1) ST R1,COUNT
Yes, but better is/was
LA R1,1(0,0) A R1,COUNT ST R1,COUNT
because the condition code is set properly.
Post by Dan Espen
AP COUNT,=P'1'
makes more sense.
It does, in decimal, but not appropriate when indexing.
I don’t think I found much need to increment a word in memory. For indexing
the value would be kept in a register, or would have to be loaded before
use anyhow.
--
Pete
r***@gmail.com
2020-08-01 15:18:59 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter Flass
Post by r***@gmail.com
Post by Dan Espen
Post by John Levine
Post by Terry Kennedy
But DEC badly misjudged the 36-bit community's response to the
Jupiter cancellation - as one university put it, "all new systems
will be Unix-based because we will have a much wider choice of
vendors to screw us".
It was probably still the right choice. By that time it was quite
evident that 32 bit byte machines with flat byte adderssing were the
future. Much though I loved the PDP-10, the extended addressing was a
hack (a very clever hack but still a hack) and if people have to
rewrite their programs anyway, they're going to look at other options
no matter what.
Post by Terry Kennedy
In retrospect, DEC might have been better served by canceling
Jupiter but marketing one of the 3rd party compatible 36-bit CPUs as
a DEC model. This had been considered (and dismissed) when Jupiter
was in the early planning stages. I guess the "we've gone this far,
we may as well keep going" (AKA the sunk cost fallacy) convinced
them to keep going long after they should have changed strategy.
Agreed, partly that, partly NIH. It would have been essentially zero
risk for them and likely would have delayed some defections.
Post by Terry Kennedy
IBM cut the price of the Stretch in half for both existing
customers and open orders (taking a loss on each one) and
discontinued it after all open orders had been fulfilled.
They did it again for the 360/91, shipped the committed orders at a
loss and discontinued it. They made one more try with the 195, a 91
reimplemented in faster logic with a cache adapted from the 360/85,
but it was still slower than the CDC 7600 and IBM got out of the
supercomputing business for good, or at least until the era when
supercomputers were reinvented as a zillion normal computers
connected together.
The problems with the 7600 were lack of software, and in the fact that
it did not have character-handling instructions. Plus the silly
integer multiplication instruction, plus the fact that CDC had 65
characters stored in 6-bits.
So, if you wanted wrong results without warning, go for the 7600.
The problem with the S/360 was the pedestrian instruction set. The
integer instructions lacked an instruction to increment a memory word;
an instruction to generate a constant (other than LA, that did not set
the condition code, and in any case, it handled only positive
constants); an instruction to convert a condition code to logic 0 or
1; an MH instruction that did not set overflow; no DH instruction;
instructions in the integer and floating-point repertoire to reference
memory did not shift the index by 1, 2, 3, or 4 places. The latter
alone would have at once decreased the size of the object code and
speeded up execution.
That's a pretty good list. I can't argue with your points.
I hated;
L R1,COUNT LA R1,1(R1) ST R1,COUNT
Yes, but better is/was
LA R1,1(0,0) A R1,COUNT ST R1,COUNT
because the condition code is set properly.
Post by Dan Espen
AP COUNT,=P'1'
makes more sense.
It does, in decimal, but not appropriate when indexing.
I don’t think I found much need to increment a word in memory. For indexing
the value would be kept in a register, or would have to be loaded before
use anyhow.
There is a limited number of registers.

When tallying a number of variables (including separate elements of an array),
incrementing a memory word would be very handy.

Even if, for normal indexing, a variable need to be loaded for
that purpose, it would still be more economical to increment memory,
then load it to register for indexing (2 instructions instead of 3).
Dan Espen
2020-08-01 15:52:44 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by r***@gmail.com
Post by Peter Flass
Post by Dan Espen
Post by John Levine
Post by Terry Kennedy
But DEC badly misjudged the 36-bit community's response to the
Jupiter cancellation - as one university put it, "all new
systems will be Unix-based because we will have a much wider
choice of vendors to screw us".
It was probably still the right choice. By that time it was
quite evident that 32 bit byte machines with flat byte
adderssing were the future. Much though I loved the PDP-10, the
extended addressing was a hack (a very clever hack but still a
hack) and if people have to rewrite their programs anyway,
they're going to look at other options no matter what.
Post by Terry Kennedy
In retrospect, DEC might have been better served by canceling
Jupiter but marketing one of the 3rd party compatible 36-bit
CPUs as a DEC model. This had been considered (and dismissed)
when Jupiter was in the early planning stages. I guess the
"we've gone this far, we may as well keep going" (AKA the sunk
cost fallacy) convinced them to keep going long after they
should have changed strategy.
Agreed, partly that, partly NIH. It would have been essentially
zero risk for them and likely would have delayed some
defections.
Post by Terry Kennedy
IBM cut the price of the Stretch in half for both existing
customers and open orders (taking a loss on each one) and
discontinued it after all open orders had been fulfilled.
They did it again for the 360/91, shipped the committed orders
at a loss and discontinued it. They made one more try with the
195, a 91 reimplemented in faster logic with a cache adapted
from the 360/85, but it was still slower than the CDC 7600 and
IBM got out of the supercomputing business for good, or at least
until the era when supercomputers were reinvented as a zillion
normal computers connected together.
The problems with the 7600 were lack of software, and in the fact
that it did not have character-handling instructions. Plus the
silly integer multiplication instruction, plus the fact that CDC
had 65 characters stored in 6-bits.
So, if you wanted wrong results without warning, go for the 7600.
The problem with the S/360 was the pedestrian instruction
set. The integer instructions lacked an instruction to increment
a memory word; an instruction to generate a constant (other than
LA, that did not set the condition code, and in any case, it
handled only positive constants); an instruction to convert a
condition code to logic 0 or 1; an MH instruction that did not
set overflow; no DH instruction; instructions in the integer and
floating-point repertoire to reference memory did not shift the
index by 1, 2, 3, or 4 places. The latter alone would have at
once decreased the size of the object code and speeded up
execution.
That's a pretty good list. I can't argue with your points.
I hated;
L R1,COUNT LA R1,1(R1) ST R1,COUNT
Yes, but better is/was LA R1,1(0,0) A R1,COUNT ST R1,COUNT because
the condition code is set properly.
Post by Dan Espen
AP COUNT,=P'1'
makes more sense.
It does, in decimal, but not appropriate when indexing.
I don’t think I found much need to increment a word in memory. For
indexing the value would be kept in a register, or would have to be
loaded before use anyhow.
There is a limited number of registers.
When tallying a number of variables (including separate elements of an
array), incrementing a memory word would be very handy.
Even if, for normal indexing, a variable need to be loaded for that
purpose, it would still be more economical to increment memory, then
load it to register for indexing (2 instructions instead of 3).
Seems to me, I've seen more than 1 page counter declared as binary.
Because every one knows binary arithmetic is more efficient.

:)

I think with today's processors, that load, add, store sequence runs
pretty fast. Maybe as fast as one instruction. Not to say that your
point isn't valid.

When we got one of the later Z machines, our Strobe performance monitor
became mostly useless. It would show CPU being consumed in code that
couldn't possibly be using significant CPU. IBM came in and explained
with instruction look ahead and simultaneous execution it was no longer
possible to isolate CPU use to instructions or even blocks of code.
--
Dan Espen
Quadibloc
2020-08-01 07:55:16 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by r***@gmail.com
the fact that CDC had 65 characters stored in
6-bits.
At first I thought that meant they had a 390 bit word, but then I realized that
what was meant was that... they were using a double-byte character set?

John Savard
r***@gmail.com
2020-08-01 09:27:17 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
Post by r***@gmail.com
the fact that CDC had 65 characters stored in
6-bits.
At first I thought that meant they had a 390 bit word, but then I realized that
what was meant was that... they were using a double-byte character set?
No; characters were only 6 bits.
John Levine
2020-08-01 17:27:43 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by r***@gmail.com
Post by Quadibloc
Post by r***@gmail.com
the fact that CDC had 65 characters stored in
6-bits.
At first I thought that meant they had a 390 bit word, but then I realized that
what was meant was that... they were using a double-byte character set?
No; characters were only 6 bits.
How do you store 65 characters in 6 bits?
--
Regards,
John Levine, ***@taugh.com, Primary Perpetrator of "The Internet for Dummies",
Please consider the environment before reading this e-mail. https://jl.ly
Peter Flass
2020-08-01 19:11:07 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by John Levine
Post by r***@gmail.com
Post by Quadibloc
Post by r***@gmail.com
the fact that CDC had 65 characters stored in
6-bits.
At first I thought that meant they had a 390 bit word, but then I realized that
what was meant was that... they were using a double-byte character set?
No; characters were only 6 bits.
How do you store 65 characters in 6 bits?
Very carefully ;-)
--
Pete
Bob Eager
2020-08-01 19:56:15 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by John Levine
Post by r***@gmail.com
Post by Quadibloc
the fact that CDC had 65 characters stored in 6-bits.
At first I thought that meant they had a 390 bit word, but then I
realized that what was meant was that... they were using a double-byte
character set?
No; characters were only 6 bits.
How do you store 65 characters in 6 bits?
Probably a typo, but...shift characters. See the ICL 1900, for example.
--
Using UNIX since v6 (1975)...

Use the BIG mirror service in the UK:
http://www.mirrorservice.org
John Levine
2020-08-01 20:18:55 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Bob Eager
Post by John Levine
Post by r***@gmail.com
No; characters were only 6 bits.
How do you store 65 characters in 6 bits?
Probably a typo, but...shift characters. See the ICL 1900, for example.
That would get about 124, shift up and down and 62 in each case. I gather
from other messages that :: was treated as the 65th character.

(I'm old enough to remember Baudot.)
--
Regards,
John Levine, ***@taugh.com, Primary Perpetrator of "The Internet for Dummies",
Please consider the environment before reading this e-mail. https://jl.ly
Kerr-Mudd,John
2020-08-01 08:24:41 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On Sat, 01 Aug 2020 03:30:31 GMT, ***@gmail.com wrote:

[]
Post by r***@gmail.com
The problems with the 7600 were lack of software,
and in the fact that it did not have character-handling
instructions.
Plus the silly integer multiplication instruction,
plus the fact that CDC had 65 characters stored in
6-bits.
How did they manage that?

[]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CDC_7600
says 65k words main memory with a 60bit word.
--
Bah, and indeed, Humbug.
r***@gmail.com
2020-08-01 09:30:18 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Kerr-Mudd,John
[]
Post by r***@gmail.com
The problems with the 7600 were lack of software,
and in the fact that it did not have character-handling
instructions.
Plus the silly integer multiplication instruction,
plus the fact that CDC had 65 characters stored in
6-bits.
How did they manage that?
By declaring that :: represented a new line.
Thus, if the output contained the characters ::
you got a superfluous line feed, and the remainder
of the line was printed on the next line.
r***@gmail.com
2020-08-01 09:34:42 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Kerr-Mudd,John
[]
Post by r***@gmail.com
The problems with the 7600 were lack of software,
and in the fact that it did not have character-handling
instructions.
Plus the silly integer multiplication instruction,
plus the fact that CDC had 65 characters stored in
6-bits.
How did they manage that?
By declaring that :: represented a new line.
Thus, if the output contained the characters ::
you got a superfluous line feed, and the remainder
of the line was printed on the next line.

The double colon (::) was not printed, so the unsuspecting user
lost some output.
Quadibloc
2020-08-01 07:51:29 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Terry Kennedy
IBM cut the price of the Stretch in half for both existing customers
and open orders (taking a loss on each one) and discontinued it after all open orders had been fulfilled.
Whoever wrote this... there are some additional details needed.

It is true that the STRETCH did not meet its original performance goals. The
price cut, however, was not necessitated either by the terms of IBM's contracts
with its customers, or because the customers would not have accepted the
computers at their original price with the reduced performance.

Particularly as IBM customer engineers eventually got the 7030s in the field to
meet the original performance goal.

And even if IBM did feel an obligation to cut the price to those who already had
the machine on order, nothing prevented it from continuing to offer more 7030
computers at tge profitable original price; it is likely there would still have
been demand, as at that performance level there was little competition.

The decision to cut the price in direct proportion to the performance deficit
_and_ discontinue sales and production was made by Watson in a fit of pique; it
was an emotional decision because he was angry at the engineers who had failed
him, not a rational business decision.

John Savard
r***@gmail.com
2020-08-01 09:23:32 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
Post by Terry Kennedy
IBM cut the price of the Stretch in half for both existing customers
and open orders (taking a loss on each one) and discontinued it after all open orders had been fulfilled.
Whoever wrote this... there are some additional details needed.
It is true that the STRETCH did not meet its original performance goals. The
price cut, however, was not necessitated either by the terms of IBM's contracts
with its customers, or because the customers would not have accepted the
computers at their original price with the reduced performance.
The price reduction was necessitated because a competitor produced
a machine with equivalent performance at a much lower price,
and IBM was obliged to match it.
Post by Quadibloc
Particularly as IBM customer engineers eventually got the 7030s in the field to
meet the original performance goal.
And even if IBM did feel an obligation to cut the price to those who already had
the machine on order, nothing prevented it from continuing to offer more 7030
computers at tge profitable original price; it is likely there would still have
been demand, as at that performance level there was little competition.
The decision to cut the price in direct proportion to the performance deficit
_and_ discontinue sales and production was made by Watson in a fit of pique; it
was an emotional decision because he was angry at the engineers who had failed
him, not a rational business decision.
Rich Alderson
2020-08-01 01:16:08 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Terry Kennedy
In retrospect, DEC might have been better served by canceling Jupiter but
marketing one of the 3rd party compatible 36-bit CPUs as a DEC model. This
had been considered (and dismissed) when Jupiter was in the early planning
stages.
"one of the 3rd party compatible" CPUs? Which one would that be? When Jupiter
was thought up, there was exactly 1 company making such systems, Foonly--and
every Foonly system was a prototype, according to a friend at SRI who had to
support an installation. (Boards were not interchangeable.)

Systems Concepts marketed their competing system with Fred Wright's memorable
statement that "Mars may be smaller than Jupiter, but it's a lot closer." It
wasn't that much closer. We took delivery of the first customer ship--which
was Mike and Stewart's prototype mahcine!--at LOTS on All Hallows' Eve, 1986,
three and a half years after the Jupiter cancellation.

And the SC-30M was not a Jupiter class machine (as the latter was planned,
although it was probalby a little faster than what was getting built). The
entire point of Mars was a KL-10 clone which was bug-for-bug compatible but
simply faster, built with TTL instead of ECL. They even created Massbus and CI
interfaces to meet the LOTS requirements.

It's a hell of a nice system, but it's not what KL-10 customers were looking
for in the Jupiter.

Cisco never got started on building the ToaD, so they weren't in the running,
and XKL was founded in December 1990. The Toad-1 System was delivered to our
first customers in 1995, more than a decade after the Jupiter cancellation, and
it's in the same speed class as, and a little faster than, SC's Mars. It's
just a whackingly great space reduction on the original with modern (for 1995)
peripherals instead of clinging to Massbus.

NB: The SC-40, the engine which Mike and Stewart licensed to CI$ to build for
themselves, is roughly the same as the SC-30M, with a superspeed floating
point processor built in for roughly 10x improvement over the KL-10 on the
relevant benchmarks.

The only other possibility which even existed when Jupiter was a going concern
was MAXC, a one-off (well, two-off) purpose built clone at Xerox PARC, which
existed only because Xerox management would not buy a DECsystem-10 for the
scientists at PARC to run TENEX on. It was even further from a commercial
possibility than the Foonly systems.

So I repeat: Who are you talking about?
--
Rich Alderson ***@alderson.users.panix.com
Audendum est, et veritas investiganda; quam etiamsi non assequamur,
omnino tamen proprius, quam nunc sumus, ad eam perveniemus.
--Galen
Robert Swindells
2020-08-01 01:56:03 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Rich Alderson
Post by Terry Kennedy
In retrospect, DEC might have been better served by canceling Jupiter
but marketing one of the 3rd party compatible 36-bit CPUs as a DEC
model. This had been considered (and dismissed) when Jupiter was in
the early planning stages.
"one of the 3rd party compatible" CPUs? Which one would that be? When
Jupiter was thought up, there was exactly 1 company making such systems,
Foonly--and every Foonly system was a prototype, according to a friend
at SRI who had to support an installation. (Boards were not
interchangeable.)
Maybe Foonly was a possibility:

<http://bitsavers.informatik.uni-stuttgart.de/pdf/dec/pdp10/KC10_Jupiter/
memos/uhler_Impressions_from_a_visit_to_Foonly_19830719.pdf>
Adam Sampson
2020-08-01 14:59:05 UTC
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Post by Robert Swindells
<http://bitsavers.informatik.uni-stuttgart.de/pdf/dec/pdp10/KC10_Jupiter/
memos/uhler_Impressions_from_a_visit_to_Foonly_19830719.pdf>
And there's also a memo in there from a few months earlier about
discussions with Systems Concepts:

http://bitsavers.org/pdf/dec/pdp10/KC10_Jupiter/memos/uhler_A_Systems_Concepts_PDP-10_Mar83.pdf
--
Adam Sampson <***@offog.org> <http://offog.org/>
Quadibloc
2020-07-30 20:29:03 UTC
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Post by Scott Lurndal
Post by Peter Flass
It’s the same with any oral history - you always have to account for the
bias of the teller, but maybe the bias is the history.
Well, there is two sides to every story. There is considerable bitterness
in many of the PDP-10 folks about DECs focus on the VAX; We don't hear as much from the
VAX side of the house (or upper management, for that matter).
And then, in turn, the VAX was abandoned because the Alpha was "the future".
However, VMS was ported to the Alpha, and so migration wasn't infeasible the way
migrating from a 36-bit computer to a 32-bit one was.

John Savard
Questor
2020-07-30 20:27:23 UTC
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On Thu, 30 Jul 2020 03:49:45 -0600, Louis Krupp
Post by Louis Krupp
Post by Questor
Post by Peter Flass
Ask Barb about Palmer. There does seem to have been haste to break up the
business and sell it for parts, none of which are still around in
recognizable form. It's like companies bought by private equity, who have
no interest at all in the company, or its products or intellectual capital,
but only in, for example, in the value of the real estate it owns.
[spits] I have no need to ask Ms. Huizenga for her under-informed and overly
biased opinion about anything. DEC was stumbling years before Palmer took the
reins. It wasn't so obvious at the time, but the seeds of its decline were
already sown.
Barb had stories -- that's why it's alt.folklore.computers -- and she
was entertaining. Who really cares what she was right or wrong about?
In case you haven't noticed, this group is full of the most pedantic nitpickers
who insist that every exception be noted and every little detail is correct.
But you're willing to give her a pass because... why?

She was flat out wrong on a number of technical issues. She often presented her
opinion as fact. And she mis-represented herself for years, pretending to be
another software engineer in the TOPS-10 group when she was not. The nadir was
when someone in this group thought she was a manager. She never corrected them
until I called her out. Most of her perceived status is derived from her
relationship with Jim Fleming, long-time principal TOPS-10 software engineer.
Ms. Huizenga is not an authority on TOPS-10, the Large Computer Group, or DEC,
just another former employee with their own opinion. I don't have a problem
with her sharing that, just her acting like she's the final word on anything and
arguing dismissvely with anyone who disagreed with her.
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