PDP-11 OS Release Dates

180 views
Skip to first unread message

Zane H. Healy

unread,
Jul 9, 2003, 12:37:15 PM7/9/03
to
For a start, I'd like to appologize for the cross-posting, but I'm trying to
reach people that might have info but don't normally read the PDP-11 groups.

I'm looking for release dates for the various PDP-11 OS's. For example for
RT-11:

RT-11 V4 was February 21st, 1980
RT-11 V5 was March 12th, 1983
RT-11 V5.6 was 1992
RT-11 V5.7 was October, 29th, 1998

Please note I'm interested in the other OS's as well.

Zane

Dennis Grevenstein

unread,
Jul 9, 2003, 2:56:30 PM7/9/03
to
In alt.sys.pdp11 Zane H. Healy <hea...@shell1.aracnet.com> wrote:
>
> I'm looking for release dates for the various PDP-11 OS's. For example for
> RT-11:
>
> RT-11 V4 was February 21st, 1980
> RT-11 V5 was March 12th, 1983
> RT-11 V5.6 was 1992
> RT-11 V5.7 was October, 29th, 1998

I've got a book here which says:

OS-11 1972
RT11 V1 1973
RT11 V2 1974
RT11 V2C 1976
RT11 V3 1977
RT11 V5.1 1984
RT11 V5.2 1985
RT11 V5.3 1986
RT11 V5.4 1987

mfg
Dennis

--
The long journey to world domination begins with a single step.

Illiad

hea...@noaracnetspam.com

unread,
Jul 9, 2003, 6:45:21 PM7/9/03
to
In alt.sys.pdp11 Dennis Grevenstein <den...@pcde.inka.de> wrote:
> OS-11 1972
> RT11 V1 1973
> RT11 V2 1974
> RT11 V2C 1976

Interesting... This means that the dates for revisions in the copy of a V2C
manual I have must loosly translate to releases of RT-11. This is what I
was suspecting, but couldn't really believe.

Is OS-11 related to RT-11? I think this is the first I've heard of it.

Zane

Kelvin Smith

unread,
Jul 10, 2003, 11:54:44 AM7/10/03
to
I threw out most of my old RSTS information when the office moved last year,
but I have SPD's for v10:

RSTS v10.0, July 1990
RSTS v10.1, Sep 1992

I got started with RSTS in 1976, using either v6A or v6B.

--
Kelvin Smith
Financial Computer Systems
Wilton, CT
(remove "1111" from address for email)

"Zane H. Healy" <hea...@shell1.aracnet.com> wrote in message
news:behgb...@enews4.newsguy.com...

Dennis Grevenstein

unread,
Jul 10, 2003, 2:40:29 PM7/10/03
to
In alt.sys.pdp11 hea...@noaracnetspam.com wrote:
>
> Is OS-11 related to RT-11? I think this is the first I've heard of it.

It's mentioned in some RT-11 guide I have here.
I don't know it myself.

Randy Park

unread,
Jul 10, 2003, 7:03:01 PM7/10/03
to
On Thu, 10 Jul 2003 15:54:44 GMT, "Kelvin Smith"
<fcs_sm...@snet.net> wrote:

>I threw out most of my old RSTS information when the office moved last year,
>but I have SPD's for v10:
>
>RSTS v10.0, July 1990
>RSTS v10.1, Sep 1992
>
>I got started with RSTS in 1976, using either v6A or v6B.


I started with RSTS/E V6A. All variables in BASIC-PLUS were a single
letter optionally follwed by a single digit. Version 6B introduced
EXTEND mode, i.e. long variable names, BASIC-PLUS. I also started
in 1976. Version 6B was introduced in 1977.

Ken Robinson

unread,
Jul 10, 2003, 7:23:17 PM7/10/03
to
At 04:37 PM 7/9/2003 +0000, you wrote:

>For a start, I'd like to appologize for the cross-posting, but I'm trying to
>reach people that might have info but don't normally read the PDP-11 groups.
>
>I'm looking for release dates for the various PDP-11 OS's. For example for
>RT-11:

I'm not sure when IAS was releases for the PDP-11, but when I started a job
in March of 1977, version 1 had just come out. The only thing going for it
was a very good DCL that was closer to DCL on VMS than the DCL on RSX11M+
that came out later.

Ken Robinson

bob smith

unread,
Jul 10, 2003, 9:19:55 PM7/10/03
to
my memory is hazy, and maybe faulty.
BUT....
os8 experienced some success, and there is some distant memory of an
OS11. Just like RTS8 was discussed as being labled RT8...but some
squabble seemed to make it change to RTS...but I could be wrong. Mybe
Barb recalls all those fights.
bob

jmfb...@aol.com

unread,
Jul 11, 2003, 4:40:34 AM7/11/03
to
In article <%goPa.30441$C43....@nwrddc04.gnilink.net>,

I wasn't involved in -11 land politics. I just typed in code,
diagnostics, docs and specs for them. John Everett did some
of the coding early on. He may recall mini naming wars.

OS is too generic. As a guess, I'd say that the SPDs needed
to be more specific about what the function of the operating
system was for.

/BAH

Subtract a hundred and four for e-mail.

Bob Koehler

unread,
Jul 11, 2003, 8:34:48 AM7/11/03
to
In article <5vrrgvg3h15mv1te9...@4ax.com>, Randy Park <rjp...@mindspring.nospaam.com> writes:
>
> I started with RSTS/E V6A. All variables in BASIC-PLUS were a single
> letter optionally follwed by a single digit.

For some strange reason that was the early BASIC standard for
variable names. Made 6 character Fortran IV look good.

Randy Park

unread,
Jul 11, 2003, 12:15:03 PM7/11/03
to
On 11 Jul 2003 07:34:48 -0500, koe...@eisner.nospam.encompasserve.org
(Bob Koehler) wrote:

BASIC was created at Dartmouth College by Kenemy & Kurtz as a teaching
aid, hoping it would be easier than other languages to learn. I once
had a copy of their published text book. The short variable names
were probably for simplicity in writing the first BASIC interpreter.

John R. Strohm

unread,
Jul 11, 2003, 12:53:59 PM7/11/03
to
"Randy Park" <rjp...@mindspring.nospaam.com> wrote in message
news:adotgvse2kj54pl6f...@4ax.com...

Somewhere, I saw an interview with Kemeny. That first "interpreter" was a
full-up compiler with an interactive editor wrapped around it. Everyone
else, for some reason, hacked interpreters.


Elliott Roper

unread,
Jul 11, 2003, 3:07:47 PM7/11/03
to
In article <bekbut$3m2$1...@aton.pcde.inka.de>, Dennis Grevenstein
<den...@pcde.inka.de> wrote:

> In alt.sys.pdp11 hea...@noaracnetspam.com wrote:
> >
> > Is OS-11 related to RT-11? I think this is the first I've heard of it.
>
> It's mentioned in some RT-11 guide I have here.
> I don't know it myself.

It has been a long time, so I might be wrong. ISTR there was not an
OS-11 but there was a DOS-11 in the very early PDP-11 days. There were
remnants of it in the RSTS CIL.

Yep. I found this on Deja-Google from 1994

http://www.google.com/groups?q=DOS-11&start=10&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&safe=o
ff&selm=940927100650.62%40arisia.gce.com&rnum=13

If Everhart said it, it is right.

Show complete thread when you get there. Some famous names are still
around here.

Zane H. Healy

unread,
Jul 11, 2003, 8:57:00 PM7/11/03
to
In vmsnet.pdp-11 Dennis Grevenstein <den...@pcde.inka.de> wrote:
> In alt.sys.pdp11 hea...@noaracnetspam.com wrote:
>>
>> Is OS-11 related to RT-11? I think this is the first I've heard of it.
>
> It's mentioned in some RT-11 guide I have here.
> I don't know it myself.

I just found the following post from Sept. 2002 from Tim Shoppa:
"The RT-11 Historical Overview states:

The year 1971 was an exciting time...A popular operating system
for the PDP-8, called OS/8, was the design model for the new PDP-11
operating system, tentatively called OS-11...

...in the fall of 1972...the groundwork was laid to make OS-11
compatible with OS/8 and TOPS-10...

OS-11 was renamed first to RTPS-11 (Real-Time Programming System),
then to RT-11 (Real Time). Version 1 of RT-11 was completed in the
fall of 1973."

Zane

jmfb...@aol.com

unread,
Jul 12, 2003, 4:08:20 AM7/12/03
to
In article <benmc...@enews2.newsguy.com>,

"Zane H. Healy" <hea...@shell1.aracnet.com> wrote:

Speculation: I think it would have been difficult to trademark
a generic name like OS-whatever.

bob smith

unread,
Jul 12, 2003, 8:06:19 AM7/12/03
to
Thank you, the cobwebs were there in my memory and the dust covered the
boxes but I recall this is correct. There may have been some
perturbance in the 8/11 tensions later when Don White and the boys of 8
land put together that FPP8a thing and the bench marks made it fastet
(and more accurate) than certain mid range 11 models. And then there
was the 8 with a cache that was faser than the fastest 11...

bob smith

unread,
Jul 12, 2003, 8:08:06 AM7/12/03
to
jmfb...@aol.com wrote:

au contraire. Look in the front of most any book by digital and see the
trademearked names - Omnibus, Unibus, OS/8, PS/8. RTS8, RT11, and so on.
Oh, yeah and TOPS20, Tops10, etc.

Paul Sture

unread,
Jul 12, 2003, 8:36:46 AM7/12/03
to

Thanks for that link. It brought back fond memories of RT-11, including
ones of RSX feeling tardy at times in contrast :-)

Bob Koehler

unread,
Jul 12, 2003, 2:21:59 PM7/12/03
to
In article <beon58$gl9$1...@bob.news.rcn.net>, jmfb...@aol.com writes:
>
> Speculation: I think it would have been difficult to trademark
> a generic name like OS-whatever.

Didn't stop IBM from selling OS 360/whatever for lots of years.

Glenn Everhart

unread,
Jul 12, 2003, 4:23:59 PM7/12/03
to
I seem to recall some discussions of an "OS-11" code name inside DEC
fpr RT11, which was initially often thought of and spoken of as
"OS-8 with the interrupts on".

DOS-11 existed from the earliest pdp11s, starting maybe 1971 or so
and by 1976 it was up to V10, used a variant of the RSX11D taskbuilder
as its linker, and had a fair bit of software in the DECUS library to
do interesting stuff with it. It was used to boot early RSTS and some
other pdp11 OSs and its internals had somewhat in common with RSX11C and
later RSX11B. (RSX11A was an entirely different animal.)
The main problem DOS had was that it used .read and .write calls for
most of its I/O. While its low level I/O was reasonably fast, .read and
.write did at least scores if not hundreds of instructions per byte in
formatting and checking for all the funny options those services had. As
a result when RT11 came along, and had apps do their own I/O, it looked
blindingly faster. A decent record system in DOS would of course have
equalized this.

I sometimes think of RMS when recalling this.

Glenn Everhart

Duncan Macdonald

unread,
Jul 12, 2003, 5:59:00 PM7/12/03
to
When did the PDP-11 diagnostic supervisor (XXDP if my memory is correct -
been many years since I last used it) first see the light of day ?
And what (if anything was it based on).

Stanley F. Quayle

unread,
Jul 12, 2003, 6:46:06 PM7/12/03
to
While everyone's remembering their PDP-11 experiences, this might be
a good time for a Shameless Plug (tm) for CHARON-11 -- the PDP-11
version of CHARON-VAX. There are still PDP-11's out there...

--Stan Quayle
Quayle Consulting Inc.

----------
Stanley F. Quayle, P.E. N8SQ +1 614-868-1363 Fax: +1 614 868-1671
8572 North Spring Ct. NW, Pickerington, OH 43147
Preferred address: st...@stanq.com http://www.stanq.com


Glenn Everhart

unread,
Jul 12, 2003, 8:24:42 PM7/12/03
to
XXDP was a continuation of the old PTS (paper tape diagnostics)
suite enabled for magtape. Had a little in common with DOS
(DOS-11) for appearance but was its own thing internally. I first
saw it c. 1972 (since I was working with a group that had bought a
pdp11/45 with no paper tape anywhere). It was pretty new then and
DEC field service had trouble with diagnostics initially because
not all that much had been moved to tape at first. (They went and
borrowed an ASR33 teletype for that stuff for us..)

jmfb...@aol.com

unread,
Jul 13, 2003, 3:44:12 AM7/13/03
to
In article <J8WpLC...@eisner.encompasserve.org>,

Was OS 360 already trademarked? That might put a crimp in DEC
trademarking anything OS-whatever. Even if DEC could trademark
another OS-thingie, they might have wished to not have anything
that might be confused with an IBM product. Again, this is mere
speculation.

If I could remember if Tape Prep had jobs that renamed it in the
docs, then I could recall the conversations that went with the
job submissions :-).

Peter da Silva

unread,
Jul 13, 2003, 7:49:09 AM7/13/03
to
In article <bepocl$m92$1...@bob.news.rcn.net>,

Glenn Everhart <Everhar...@gce.com> wrote:
>The main problem DOS had was that it used .read and .write calls for
>most of its I/O. While its low level I/O was reasonably fast, .read and
>.write did at least scores if not hundreds of instructions per byte in
>formatting and checking for all the funny options those services had. As
>a result when RT11 came along, and had apps do their own I/O, it looked
>blindingly faster. A decent record system in DOS would of course have
>equalized this.

It seems to me that another way to fix this would have been to move
that option checking and formatting out of .read and .write and
into the equivalent of "open" and "i/o control".

>I sometimes think of RMS when recalling this.

GNU RT-11? :)

--
Rev. Peter da Silva, ULC. 29.6852N 95.5770W WWFD?

"Be conservative in what you generate, and liberal in what you accept"
-- Matthew 10:16 (l.trans)

Kelvin Smith

unread,
Jul 15, 2003, 10:21:34 AM7/15/03
to
Well, at least one reason for the short variable names was so there would be
no confusion between variable names and keywords, an ambiguity that has
tripped up more than one programmer since variable names got longer. There
would also have been space considerations; it's easy to forget now just how
frightfully expensive RAM was back then ($1 or more per byte, IIRC). Most of
us were typing on 30cps (or slower) paper terminals, which encouraged
brevity. And K&K were, as you say, writing a teaching tool, not a language
that they expected serious programming to be done in.

--
Kelvin Smith
Financial Computer Systems
Wilton, CT
(remove "1111" from address for email)

"Randy Park" <rjp...@mindspring.nospaam.com> wrote in message
news:adotgvse2kj54pl6f...@4ax.com...

Thomas Dickey

unread,
Jul 15, 2003, 10:38:38 AM7/15/03
to
In comp.os.vms Kelvin Smith <fcs_sm...@snet.net> wrote:
> Well, at least one reason for the short variable names was so there would be
> no confusion between variable names and keywords, an ambiguity that has
> tripped up more than one programmer since variable names got longer. There
> would also have been space considerations; it's easy to forget now just how
> frightfully expensive RAM was back then ($1 or more per byte, IIRC). Most of

iirc, it was "core" back then (late 60's).
"RAM" wasn't a commonly-used term til the early 70's.

(still expensive, of course)

>> BASIC was created at Dartmouth College by Kenemy & Kurtz as a teaching
>> aid, hoping it would be easier than other languages to learn. I once
>> had a copy of their published text book. The short variable names
>> were probably for simplicity in writing the first BASIC interpreter.
>>

--
Thomas E. Dickey <dic...@radix.net> <dic...@herndon4.his.com>
http://dickey.his.com
ftp://dickey.his.com

sol gongola

unread,
Jul 16, 2003, 1:04:10 PM7/16/03
to
Thomas Dickey wrote:
>
> In comp.os.vms Kelvin Smith <fcs_sm...@snet.net> wrote:
> > Well, at least one reason for the short variable names was so there would be
> > no confusion between variable names and keywords, an ambiguity that has
> > tripped up more than one programmer since variable names got longer. There
> > would also have been space considerations; it's easy to forget now just how
> > frightfully expensive RAM was back then ($1 or more per byte, IIRC). Most of
>
> iirc, it was "core" back then (late 60's).
> "RAM" wasn't a commonly-used term til the early 70's.

All the RAM was core memory. There was also ROM. I remember getting a blank ROM
card. I programmed it by clipping diodes off the card. It was a boot program on
a diskless PDP-11 to conect and load application software from another PDP-11.

BTW, did anyone mention dectape?

Thomas Dickey

unread,
Jul 16, 2003, 3:01:51 PM7/16/03
to
In comp.os.vms sol gongola <s...@adldata.com> wrote:
> Thomas Dickey wrote:
>>
>> In comp.os.vms Kelvin Smith <fcs_sm...@snet.net> wrote:
>> > Well, at least one reason for the short variable names was so there would be
>> > no confusion between variable names and keywords, an ambiguity that has
>> > tripped up more than one programmer since variable names got longer. There
>> > would also have been space considerations; it's easy to forget now just how
>> > frightfully expensive RAM was back then ($1 or more per byte, IIRC). Most of
>>
>> iirc, it was "core" back then (late 60's).
>> "RAM" wasn't a commonly-used term til the early 70's.

> All the RAM was core memory. There was also ROM. I remember getting a blank ROM

"perhaps". I didn't encounter the term applied to core memory before the
advent of semiconductor memory. Checking my PDP-11 processor handbooks
reinforces my recollection - the term "RAM" is not used in the older ones.

Dan O'Reilly

unread,
Jul 16, 2003, 4:58:48 PM7/16/03
to
At 01:01 PM 7/16/2003, Thomas Dickey wrote:
>In comp.os.vms sol gongola <s...@adldata.com> wrote:
> > Thomas Dickey wrote:
> >>
> >> In comp.os.vms Kelvin Smith <fcs_sm...@snet.net> wrote:
> >> > Well, at least one reason for the short variable names was so there
> would be
> >> > no confusion between variable names and keywords, an ambiguity that has
> >> > tripped up more than one programmer since variable names got longer.
> There
> >> > would also have been space considerations; it's easy to forget now
> just how
> >> > frightfully expensive RAM was back then ($1 or more per byte, IIRC).
> Most of
> >>
> >> iirc, it was "core" back then (late 60's).
> >> "RAM" wasn't a commonly-used term til the early 70's.
>
> > All the RAM was core memory. There was also ROM. I remember getting a
> blank ROM
>
>"perhaps". I didn't encounter the term applied to core memory before the
>advent of semiconductor memory. Checking my PDP-11 processor handbooks
>reinforces my recollection - the term "RAM" is not used in the older ones.

Well, at one time, you could also have more than one type of memory. You
could have fast (expensive, hot) bipolar memory and more conventional
memory. On RSX, at least, there was a PSECT attribute to allow the psect
to be loaded into fast or slow(er) memory.

------
+-------------------------------+----------------------------------------+
| Dan O'Reilly | "There are 10 types of people in this |
| Principal Engineer | world: those who understand binary |
| Process Software | and those who don't." |
| http://www.process.com | |
+-------------------------------+----------------------------------------+


Thomas Dickey

unread,
Jul 16, 2003, 6:50:06 PM7/16/03
to

That's still much later (approaching 10 years) than the design of BASIC.
According to what I'm reading, BASIC was designed around 1964 (my own
recollection was that it was a little later, e.g., 1967, but that might
be tainted with some recollection about where it was adopted for use).

("bipolar" probably refers in this context to an SSI or MSI technology, perhaps
not what I would have meant by semiconductor, e.g., LSI or VLSI).

Douglas A. Gwyn

unread,
Jul 16, 2003, 10:55:15 PM7/16/03
to
sol gongola wrote:

> Thomas Dickey wrote:
>>"RAM" wasn't a commonly-used term til the early 70's.
> All the RAM was core memory.

Early use of the term "Random Access Memory" often
pertained to disk, drum, or other storage. There were
even computers whose only storage medium was magnetic
drum (no core and certainly no transistor arrays).

> BTW, did anyone mention dectape?

DECtape is considered random access as opposed to
sequential access, even though it takes a while to seek.

Note that currently on eBay is a restored PDP-8 with
DECtape.

Dan O'Reilly

unread,
Jul 16, 2003, 11:24:04 PM7/16/03
to
At 08:55 PM 7/16/2003, Douglas A. Gwyn wrote:
>sol gongola wrote:
>>Thomas Dickey wrote:
>>>"RAM" wasn't a commonly-used term til the early 70's.
>>All the RAM was core memory.
>
>Early use of the term "Random Access Memory" often
>pertained to disk, drum, or other storage. There were
>even computers whose only storage medium was magnetic
>drum (no core and certainly no transistor arrays).

Yep - used to work on a Xerox Sigma system that had drum storage...

Kelvin Smith

unread,
Jul 17, 2003, 10:35:35 AM7/17/03
to

"Thomas Dickey" <dic...@saltmine.radix.net> wrote in message
news:bf13le$8pa$1...@news1.radix.net...

> In comp.os.vms Kelvin Smith <fcs_sm...@snet.net> wrote:
> > Well, at least one reason for the short variable names was so there
would be
> > no confusion between variable names and keywords, an ambiguity that has
> > tripped up more than one programmer since variable names got longer.
There
> > would also have been space considerations; it's easy to forget now just
how
> > frightfully expensive RAM was back then ($1 or more per byte, IIRC).
Most of
>
> iirc, it was "core" back then (late 60's).
> "RAM" wasn't a commonly-used term til the early 70's.
>
> (still expensive, of course)

It was still typically called core memory in the late 1970s when I got
started with PDPs; I don't remember if it was actually physical core memory
(i.e., the ferrite donuts with wires running through) or it had been
replaced with semiconductors by then. I forget that when I'm conversing in a
group like this, everyone actually understands what terminology like "core"
means (and perhaps even prefers such).

Rob Brown

unread,
Jul 17, 2003, 11:16:59 AM7/17/03
to
On Wed, 16 Jul 2003, sol gongola wrote:

> I remember getting a blank ROM card. I programmed it by clipping
> diodes off the card.

Wandering farther off-topic:

I remember the first time I saw one of these. It was about 1979, when
the term EPROM was in common usage, so I was quickly able to determine
that the card was an MPROM (Mechanically Programmable ...).

;-)


--

Rob Brown br...@gmcl.com
G. Michaels Consulting Ltd. (866)438-2101 (voice) toll free!
Edmonton (780)438-9343 (voice)
(780)437-3367 (FAX)
http://gmcl.com/


Bob WIllard

unread,
Jul 17, 2003, 1:25:33 PM7/17/03
to

And the winner is -- 1964. See http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?DartmouthBasic
--
Cheers, Bob

Rob Warnock

unread,
Jul 18, 2003, 6:42:50 AM7/18/03
to
Douglas A. Gwyn <DAG...@null.net> wrote:
+---------------

| Early use of the term "Random Access Memory" often
| pertained to disk, drum, or other storage. There were
| even computers whose only storage medium was magnetic
| drum (no core and certainly no transistor arrays).
+---------------

E.g., the venerable LGP-30 [my first computer!] and RPC-4000.

+---------------


| > BTW, did anyone mention dectape?
|
| DECtape is considered random access as opposed to
| sequential access, even though it takes a while to seek.

+---------------

And OS-8 could even run with *only* DECtape as the "system disk", too!!

(*Heh-heh!*) But there's more...

My first task for John Alderman[1] in mid-1971 was to design a PDP-8
controller for a Sykes cassette tape and make it act like a DECtape
so we could run OS-8 on it. And, using a "synchronous chartware[2]"-like
design [which today would simply be called a "one-hot" state machine],
we succeeded!! Even though it took about 10-15 seconds to get from the
command prompt to a user program or back:

.r pip
[...(*whirr*)...(*clunk*)...(*whirr*)...(*clunk*)...(*clunk*)...]
[...(*whirr*)...(*clunk*)...]
[...(*whirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr*)...(*clunk*)...]
[...(*whirrrrrr*)...(*clunk*)...]
[...(*whirr*)...(*clunk*)...]
* ^C
[...(*whirr*)...(*clunk*)...]
[...(*whirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr*)...(*clunk*)...]
[...(*whirr*)...(*clunk*)...(*whirr*)...(*clunk*)...(*clunk*)...]
.

The same principle (pre-formatting the tapes with separate "header" and
"data" records, with enough space between blocks that you could reliably
over-write the "data" records, at least in the forward direction) had
earlier been used by someone (John? someone else at Ga. Tech?) to use a
plain 7-track *magtape* as an OS-8 system "disk" (really!), so that part
of it wasn't new. We even cheated a bit, since the Sykes cassette (which
used standard Phillips audio cassettes, though leaderless, like telephone
answering machines used to use) was 2-track, so we were able to put the
"header" records (or "sector marks", in disk terminology) on one track
and the "data" blocks on the other. (Made the overwriting easier.)


-Rob

[1] When he was still the Atlanta branch manager for ADR/CSD, before
he split off from ADR and started DCA (the company, not the agency).

[2] ChartWare(tm) was a set of DEC logic blocks for RTL data paths and
asynchonrous one-hot state machines, a.k.a. "PDP-14", meant mainly
for building industrial controllers.

-----
Rob Warnock, PP-ASEL-IA <rp...@rpw3.org>
627 26th Avenue <URL:http://rpw3.org/>
San Mateo, CA 94403 (650)572-2607

Christian Corti

unread,
Jul 18, 2003, 8:58:20 AM7/18/03
to
Rob Warnock <rp...@rpw3.org> wrote:
> Douglas A. Gwyn <DAG...@null.net> wrote:
> +---------------
> | Early use of the term "Random Access Memory" often
> | pertained to disk, drum, or other storage. There were
> | even computers whose only storage medium was magnetic
> | drum (no core and certainly no transistor arrays).
> +---------------

Exactly, that's why today most ROMs are RAMs. IBM did it the right way
by calling "ROM" ROS (read only storage) and "RAM" RWS (read write
storage).

> E.g., the venerable LGP-30 [my first computer!] and RPC-4000.

1';'i''
s1'daprt'uc2'h'lcl'e'l'l'o' 'w'o'r'l'd'.''
for'i'step'1'until'10'rpeat's1''
stop'''

or

c3w00'p0000'c3w04'i0000'c3w08'c3w14'c3w0j'p0000'c3w10'i0000'u3w00'z0000'
(that's 9.0)

As you might see, we have a running LGP-30 here (most certainly the last
working one on earth) :-)
Btw. I am looking for any kind of documentation and software for the
LGP-30.

Christian

Galen

unread,
Jul 18, 2003, 10:49:22 AM7/18/03
to
Randy Park <rjp...@mindspring.nospaam.com> wrote in message news:<5vrrgvg3h15mv1te9...@4ax.com>...
> On Thu, 10 Jul 2003 15:54:44 GMT, "Kelvin Smith"
> <fcs_sm...@snet.net> wrote:
>
> >I threw out most of my old RSTS information when the office moved last year,
> >but I have SPD's for v10:
> >
> >RSTS v10.0, July 1990
> >RSTS v10.1, Sep 1992
> >
> >I got started with RSTS in 1976, using either v6A or v6B.

>
>
> I started with RSTS/E V6A. All variables in BASIC-PLUS were a single
> letter optionally follwed by a single digit. Version 6B introduced
> EXTEND mode, i.e. long variable names, BASIC-PLUS. I also started
> in 1976. Version 6B was introduced in 1977.

I too started with RSTS in (late) 1976 when I started college at CSUH
(Cal. State University, Hayward) and took my very first programming
class in Basic-Plus. I think it was something like RSTS V4 but was
soon upgraded to V5 and V6.

It was cool when they added the RT-11 and RSX emulation to RSTS, and
assembly language programming became available. I found a Macro-11
chess game somewhere that ran on regular RT-11 and easily made it work
on RSTS. I bough enough RT-11 documentation from the DEC office in
Santa Clara to do some serious programming, but my budget was too
small for RSX and it remained mostly mysterious to me until I started
using it in 1980 at Lockheed--where I also got to use a REAL RT-11
system, running in 24K or so of RAM on a dual-floppy (8 in. of course)
PDP-11/23.

Programming in Basic-Plus was a lot of fun back then. The
single-character variable names (plus a % suffix to indicate integer
variables and a $ for string variables) were a pain until Extend mode
came along. But virtual arrays were a really cool feature, given that
our system made only a small amount of memory available to student
users--I think it was only about 18K at first.

As a semi-trusted student assistant I even got to do some system
programming in Basic-Plus. I remember how mysterious the system
calls--which looked something like SYS(CHR$(127)+CHR$(etc...))--were
at first--almost magical.

Early on in my system-programming there, the system manager would
compile my program, then set the "privilege" bit on the compiled file.
He forgot to clear the bit that allowed me to overwrite the file,
though, and I quickly discovered that I could compile a DIFFERENT
program and overwrite the privileged one with it, thus letting me run
whatever privileged code I wanted, without him compiling it for me.
After an enjoyable but short period of non-destructive hacking
(basically just probing around to see how different SYS calls worked)
I revealed my discovery to him and thus won a bit more respect for my
honesty. (Of course, he started protecting the executables against
writing...)

Somebody used to distribute a Basic-Plus uncompiler, which was a
pretty cool and magical tool to impress other computer lab staff with.

Kevin Handy

unread,
Jul 18, 2003, 12:36:29 PM7/18/03
to
Galen wrote:
> Randy Park <rjp...@mindspring.nospaam.com> wrote in message news:<5vrrgvg3h15mv1te9...@4ax.com>...
>
>
> Somebody used to distribute a Basic-Plus uncompiler, which was a
> pretty cool and magical tool to impress other computer lab staff with.

There were a few versions of the uncompiler (and I even wrote a
partial one). The trick is finding the source for the cross
reference program that worked by looking at the compiled code.
From that, enough detail is available to get started.
(bpcref.bas and bpcrf1.bas)

One company I worked for bought a copy of one of these (apparently
the guy who wrote it only sold a couple of copies). He made it
so that it would not un-compile itself, though. It actually
worked fairly well, except for getting 'while' and 'until' implied
loops backwards sometimes.


Douglas A. Gwyn

unread,
Jul 19, 2003, 12:44:02 AM7/19/03
to
Rob Warnock wrote:
> And OS-8 could even run with *only* DECtape as the "system disk", too!!

I once ran RT-11 off DECtape on a PDP-11/70 in DEC's
Marlboro facility. It was amusing.

Douglas A. Gwyn

unread,
Jul 19, 2003, 1:00:31 AM7/19/03
to
Galen wrote:
> It was cool when they added the RT-11 and RSX emulation to RSTS, and
> assembly language programming became available. ...

Indeed. I ported Whitesmiths C (binary RT-11 release) to
the RT-11 Run-Time System on a RSTS/E system that friendly
folks at Employee Incentive Plans in Austin allowed me to
use while my employer awaited delivery of the PDP-11/34a
that became our 6th Edition Unix platform. (The latter
supported a couple dozen concurrent users quite nicely; I
wrote the DZ11 driver with a delay to allow the silo to
ripple down and continued driver processing so long as
there was something ready to do, which greatly reduced the
number of context switches compared to "competing" drivers.)

Douglas A. Gwyn

unread,
Jul 19, 2003, 1:03:20 AM7/19/03
to
Galen wrote:
> It was cool when they added the RT-11 and RSX emulation to RSTS

Of course later on VAX/VMS provided an RSX run-time system.
There was also an RT-11 emulation for Unix (developed by HCR
of Toronto); we used it mainly to run ADVENT and MACRO-11.

paramucho

unread,
Jul 19, 2003, 2:17:12 AM7/19/03
to

I (like many others I guess) built a driver that would handle an RT-11
disk structure on a magtape. That was fun to watch -- one of those big
buggers.


--
Ian
Impressive If Haughty - Q Magazine

Thomas Dickey

unread,
Jul 19, 2003, 3:14:01 PM7/19/03
to
Bob WIllard <Bobw...@trashthis.comcast.net> wrote:

> Thomas Dickey wrote:
>> That's still much later (approaching 10 years) than the design of BASIC.
>> According to what I'm reading, BASIC was designed around 1964 (my own
>> recollection was that it was a little later, e.g., 1967, but that might
>> be tainted with some recollection about where it was adopted for use).
>>
>> ("bipolar" probably refers in this context to an SSI or MSI technology, perhaps
>> not what I would have meant by semiconductor, e.g., LSI or VLSI).
>>

> And the winner is -- 1964. See http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?DartmouthBasic

I was reading something like that (skimmed several hits from google). My
reference to recollection was what I was told about BASIC back in the mid-70's.

However, just because I read it on the web - or in a professional journal -
doesn't make it true. I have in mind an article which appeared 10-15 years ago
in one of the latter which was a recap of the early history of microprocessors.
Most of the dates cited were wrong, as much as 2 years. For instance, it
quoted the release date for the Intel 8008 as that of the 8080. Not even
close...

Christine Ricketts/Andrew Stewart

unread,
Jul 19, 2003, 7:45:09 PM7/19/03
to
"Douglas A. Gwyn" <DAG...@null.net> wrote in message
news:4b2dndNoSs4...@comcast.com...

Interesting. The RT-11 V5.5 SPD does not mention the PDP-11/70
yet p257 of the RT-11 V5.5 Mini Reference Manual has bit 14 of
the Configuration Word 2 is set if it is a PDP-11/70 processor.

Was this used for the RT-11 Emulation under RSTS/E and/or RSX,
or did RT-11 run native on this beast?

Thanks, Andy.

PS. I was told RT-11 runs on the VAX-11/780,
very easily on the LSI-11 console processor,
at least once in compatability mode for testing purposes. :-)

Phil Budne

unread,
Jul 19, 2003, 8:18:27 PM7/19/03
to
In article <3f19d...@news.iprimus.com.au>,

Christine Ricketts/Andrew Stewart <u12...@uxnxixtxe.com.au> wrote:
>PS. I was told RT-11 runs on the VAX-11/780,
>very easily on the LSI-11 console processor,
>at least once in compatability mode for testing purposes. :-)

What sort of "compatibility mode" would an LSI-11 need to run RT?

There was a package called "RTEM" that allowed you to boot RT-11 on a
VAXen that had PDP-11 compatibility mode. It seemed very fast in
comparison to my PDT-11/50!


Megan

unread,
Jul 19, 2003, 9:20:19 PM7/19/03
to
"Christine Ricketts/Andrew Stewart" <u12...@uxnxixtxe.com.au> writes:

>Interesting. The RT-11 V5.5 SPD does not mention the PDP-11/70
>yet p257 of the RT-11 V5.5 Mini Reference Manual has bit 14 of
>the Configuration Word 2 is set if it is a PDP-11/70 processor.

RT-11 does indeed run on 11/70s, though for some reason I forget after
so many years, we couldn't specifically say that it was supported on
same.

>Was this used for the RT-11 Emulation under RSTS/E and/or RSX,
>or did RT-11 run native on this beast?

It runs native... I used to run it all the time back in the V3 days
on an 11/70 at DEC in the ed services lab at PK2 (when ed services
was in maynard).

>Thanks, Andy.

>PS. I was told RT-11 runs on the VAX-11/780,
>very easily on the LSI-11 console processor,
>at least once in compatability mode for testing purposes. :-)

I never tried running it on the Console of the VAX, though it would
probably work just fine (though one drive is a bit cramped). As for
running on a VAX, only on one which has RTEM installed.

Megan Gentry
Former RT-11 Developer

+--------------------------------+-------------------------------------+
| Megan Gentry, EMT/B, PP-ASEL | email: mbg at world.std.com |
| Member of Technical Staff | megan at savaje.com |
| SavaJe Technologies, Inc. | (s/ at /@/) |
| 100 Apollo Drive | URL: http://world.std.com/~mbg/ |
| Chelmsford, MA 01460 | "pdp-11 programmer - some assembler |
| (978) 256 6521 (DEC '77-'98) | required." - mbg KB1FCA |
+--------------------------------+-------------------------------------+

Paul Sture

unread,
Jul 19, 2003, 10:25:32 PM7/19/03
to

The 11/780 console floppy was an RT-11 volume.

jmfb...@aol.com

unread,
Jul 20, 2003, 6:13:56 AM7/20/03
to
In article <3f19d...@news.iprimus.com.au>,

"Christine Ricketts/Andrew Stewart" <u12...@uxnxixtxe.com.au> wrote:
>"Douglas A. Gwyn" <DAG...@null.net> wrote in message
>news:4b2dndNoSs4...@comcast.com...
>> Rob Warnock wrote:
>> > And OS-8 could even run with *only* DECtape as the "system disk",
too!!
>>
>> I once ran RT-11 off DECtape on a PDP-11/70 in DEC's
>> Marlboro facility. It was amusing.
>>
>
>Interesting. The RT-11 V5.5 SPD does not mention the PDP-11/70
>yet p257 of the RT-11 V5.5 Mini Reference Manual has bit 14 of
>the Configuration Word 2 is set if it is a PDP-11/70 processor.
>
>Was this used for the RT-11 Emulation under RSTS/E and/or RSX,
>or did RT-11 run native on this beast?

I thought I was running native RT-11 when I did DECnet certification
for PDP-10s. There was an RT-11 disk pack that I mounted on
the 11/70 and it booted up just fine. It also ran just fine.
IIRC, I didn't have to do the full suite of certification against
RT-11. Things are hazy, but I think I only had to do the DTR/DTS
stuff (whatever the hell that means ;-)). I didn't do the NCP
suite.

<snip>

/BAH

Subtract a hundred and four for e-mail.

Bob Kaplow

unread,
Jul 20, 2003, 7:58:02 AM7/20/03
to

REAL DecTape, or that hightmare that was TU58? I always wanted to meet the
engineer that came up with the TU58, with sharp impliments in hand...

Bob Kaplow NAR # 18L TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD"
>>> To reply, remove the TRABoD! <<<
Kaplow Klips & Baffle: http://nira-rocketry.org/LeadingEdge/Phantom4000.pdf
www.encompasserve.org/~kaplow_r/ www.nira-rocketry.org www.nar.org

Save Model Rocketry from the HSA! http://www.space-rockets.com/congress.html

ken

unread,
Jul 20, 2003, 9:57:44 AM7/20/03
to

RT11 runs fine on LSI/11's both in a standalone, but also in some third
party networked applications. A company in the Netherlands, Techlan,
made redundant token passing network cards for Unibus and Qbus, booting
them of a central RT11 server. They went very well indeed in a diskless
environment, used for process control by companies such as Outokumpu
the Finish mining comglomerate and in conjuction with Gamma 11 systems
from DEC/Philips.... so should have run fine on an console LSI-11

Ken Kirkby
K. J. Kirkby and Associates P/L

Bill/Carolyn Pechter

unread,
Jul 20, 2003, 10:50:04 AM7/20/03
to
In article <bfcqoj$s8j$1...@pcls4.std.com>, Megan <m...@TheWorld.com> wrote:
>
>I never tried running [RT11] it on the Console of the VAX, though it would

>probably work just fine (though one drive is a bit cramped). As for
>running on a VAX, only on one which has RTEM installed.
>
> Megan Gentry
> Former RT-11 Developer

The RT11 console was on the 86x0.

I don't think the stuff that ran on the 11/780 was RT11 although
it used that disk format.

RT11 worked best on 11/785's which had more memory than the 11/780... IIRC
The 11/780 had only 16k or was it 12k. I don't think it was just 8k..

The 11/785 IIRC had 24k of memory on the 11/03 (on the upgraded boxes)
New ones used to use the LSI 11/2.

Bill
--
+---------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| Bill and/or Carolyn Pechter | pec...@shell.monmouth.com |
| Bill Gates is a Persian cat and a monocle away from being a villain in |
| a James Bond movie -- Dennis Miller |
+---------------------------------------------------------------------------+

Bob WIllard

unread,
Jul 20, 2003, 11:32:29 AM7/20/03
to

By the summer of '65, we had a TTY terminal in my office tied through a
Bell (103?) modem over dial-up lines to a time-shared GE system in
Phoenix running a version of Dartmouth Basic. So, 1964 seems pretty
credible to me.

{In the same time frame, we had a "terminal" used to dial into an IBM
host (7044?) in upstate New York running the version du jour of Quiktran;
that "terminal" (IBM 1030?) included a card reader and a printer.

Basic was primitive, but pretty reliable; Quiktran was more ambitious
and not at all reliable. Phone lines were extremely unreliable and
protocols were, by current standards, nonexistent: for Basic, if the
character echoed did not match what you'd typed, delete it and retype
it.}
--
Cheers, Bob

Glenn Everhart

unread,
Jul 20, 2003, 1:31:28 PM7/20/03
to
OS/8 booted from real DECtape. So did RT11. I had a DOS-11 version
that booted and ran from DECtape also, though DOS had a built in
limit to the number of files it allowed to be opened on a DECtape
at any one time that limited its usefulness there. It could have
been lifted but DOS swapped so much that I ran out of patience
trying to use it. Many other machines also could boot from
DECtape; I believe even some of the old pdp10s did this. I used
to boot KM9/15 off DECtape every day too.

By modern standards 576 blocks of 512 bytes isn't much space, but
somehow we got a lot done with it back then.

Glenn Everhart

Lars Poulsen

unread,
Jul 20, 2003, 7:56:19 PM7/20/03
to Douglas A. Gwyn
Rob Warnock wrote:
>> And OS-8 could even run with *only* DECtape as the "system disk", too!!

Douglas A. Gwyn wrote:
> I once ran RT-11 off DECtape on a PDP-11/70 in DEC's
> Marlboro facility. It was amusing.

Three phrases: VAX-11/730. TU-58. Microcode load.

The TU-58 was a cassette tape (actually, a miniature QIC, IIRC)
interfaced through a DL-11 UART, used as a block device, usually
with an RT-11 file structure. It made a DECtape look good.

I heard to my amazement, that the Soviet VAX-cloning group cloned
the 730, TU-58 and all. That was so stupid. They should at least
have replaced the TU-58 with an 8080 controlling a floppy disk.
--
/ Lars Poulsen +1-805-569-5277 http://www.beagle-ears.com/lars/
125 South Ontare Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93105 USA la...@beagle-ears.com

Douglas A. Gwyn

unread,
Jul 20, 2003, 11:26:24 PM7/20/03
to
Bob Kaplow wrote:
> REAL DecTape, or that hightmare that was TU58?

Real DECtape.

paramucho

unread,
Jul 21, 2003, 12:01:53 AM7/21/03
to
On Sun, 20 Jul 2003 13:31:28 -0400, Glenn Everhart
<Everhar...@gce.com> wrote:

>OS/8 booted from real DECtape. So did RT11. I had a DOS-11 version
>that booted and ran from DECtape also, though DOS had a built in
>limit to the number of files it allowed to be opened on a DECtape
>at any one time that limited its usefulness there. It could have
>been lifted but DOS swapped so much that I ran out of patience
>trying to use it.

That's why RT-11 went through all the pain of a position-independent
KMON -- so that they could keep it in memory as long as possible to
reduce trips back to reload it from DECtape. It wasn't necessary
performance-wise with a disk-based platform.

> Many other machines also could boot from
>DECtape; I believe even some of the old pdp10s did this. I used
>to boot KM9/15 off DECtape every day too.
>
>By modern standards 576 blocks of 512 bytes isn't much space, but
>somehow we got a lot done with it back then.

It seemed like a vast expanse to me at the time.

Douglas A. Gwyn

unread,
Jul 21, 2003, 4:01:29 AM7/21/03
to
paramucho wrote:
> That's why RT-11 went through all the pain of a position-independent
> KMON -- so that they could keep it in memory as long as possible to
> reduce trips back to reload it from DECtape. It wasn't necessary
> performance-wise with a disk-based platform.

RT-11 was *not* a disk-based platform. Of course you had
to load it from somewhere, but once loaded it was resident.
That is obviously important for a real-time system. In
fact, most contemporary PDP-11 operating systems, Unix
included, kept the kernel resident.

paramucho

unread,
Jul 21, 2003, 4:42:16 AM7/21/03
to

RT-11 *could* act like a memory-resident system, but only if you
obeyed some pretty strict memory usage guide lines. If you requested
all background memory then the system would mark KMON non-resident and
it would be reloaded from the system device the next time it was
required. The same sort of thing happened with the USR. In terms of
Unix, KMON was equivalent to the Shell application, which was also not
memory resident.

Thomas Dickey

unread,
Jul 21, 2003, 5:16:25 AM7/21/03
to
In comp.os.vms paramucho <i...@hammo.com> wrote:
> On Sun, 20 Jul 2003 13:31:28 -0400, Glenn Everhart
> <Everhar...@gce.com> wrote:

>>OS/8 booted from real DECtape. So did RT11. I had a DOS-11 version
>>that booted and ran from DECtape also, though DOS had a built in
>>limit to the number of files it allowed to be opened on a DECtape
>>at any one time that limited its usefulness there. It could have
>>been lifted but DOS swapped so much that I ran out of patience
>>trying to use it.

> That's why RT-11 went through all the pain of a position-independent
> KMON -- so that they could keep it in memory as long as possible to
> reduce trips back to reload it from DECtape. It wasn't necessary
> performance-wise with a disk-based platform.

I'd thought the position-independence was because not all of the commands would
fit into the available memory (or perhaps I'm thinking of a different level).
I patched the monitor so that if the date wasn't set, typing any command would
branch to the date command - forcing people to remember to set the date. From
that I seem to recall that the commands were organized into 3-4 overlay
sections. (This was version 2, iirc, in 1976).

Peter da Silva

unread,
Jul 21, 2003, 8:51:33 AM7/21/03
to
In article <3f46a6a1...@news.supernews.com>,

paramucho <i...@hammo.com> wrote:
>RT-11 *could* act like a memory-resident system, but only if you
>obeyed some pretty strict memory usage guide lines. If you requested
>all background memory then the system would mark KMON non-resident and
>it would be reloaded from the system device the next time it was
>required. The same sort of thing happened with the USR. In terms of
>Unix, KMON was equivalent to the Shell application, which was also not
>memory resident.

I suspect this was a fairly common design at the time: CP/M did the same
thing with the CCP (Console Command Processor), though given CP/M's history
it could well have been copying RT-11 there too.

--
Rev. Peter da Silva, ULC. 29.6852N 95.5770W WWFD?

"Be conservative in what you generate, and liberal in what you accept"
-- Matthew 10:16 (l.trans)

Paul Repacholi

unread,
Jul 21, 2003, 6:11:09 AM7/21/03