Re: Remember Ultrix?

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Dennis Grevenstein

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Nov 11, 2011, 10:37:34 PM11/11/11
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Scott Walker <dec...@gmail.com> wrote:
> In a previous life at DEC, when (risc) Ultrix arrived on the scene, I
> remember being at side by side demonstrations (I was demonstrating the
> power of VMS) and being so impressed by the performance of the
> workstations, and some of the very cool demos that had been written
> for them.

Well, the MIPS boxes were quiet a lot faster than VAX systems.

> I now have dug up an old DecStation and cannot seem to find any
> sources for early versions of RISC based Ultrix. Can anyone point me
> to a source for the OS?

What do you mean by "early"? ULTRIX for MIPS begins
at 3.something, although these releases weren't very
useful and don't support a lot of hardware.
What DECstation model do you have? This will most likely
limit the minimum ULTRIX release.

For general ULTRIX archeology, I would recommend the
simh VAX 11/780 emulator.

Dennis

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Nichts begrüßt einen freudiger als ein nasser Hund.
(Werner Koczwara)

Mark Wickens

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Jun 22, 2012, 6:00:34 PM6/22/12
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The DECstation 5000/240 seems noticeably snappier when using the window manager than the VAXstation 4000/90. As it's effectively the same 1280x1024 8 bit graphics adapter I guess this is down to processor being quicker, but I have nothing more concrete to offer.

Of course the general 'feel' of a machine via user interaction often contributes significantly to the user experience.

Mark.

Michael Kraemer

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Jun 23, 2012, 5:30:21 AM6/23/12
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Mark Wickens schrieb:

>
> The DECstation 5000/240 seems noticeably snappier when using the window manager than the VAXstation 4000/90. As it's effectively the same 1280x1024 8 bit graphics adapter I guess this is down to processor being quicker, but I have nothing more concrete to offer.
>

Well, the raw CPU power isn't that much different
(40MHz R3000 vs 72MHz NVAX, yielding 32.4 Spec89 vs 32.8),
but OTOH there's a variety of quite different graphic cards for the DS,
whereas there's only one standard card for the VS.

Dennis Grevenstein

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Jun 23, 2012, 8:28:29 AM6/23/12
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Mark Wickens <ma...@wickensonline.co.uk> wrote:

> The DECstation 5000/240 seems noticeably snappier when using the window
> manager than the VAXstation 4000/90. As it's effectively the same
> 1280x1024 8 bit graphics adapter I guess this is down to processor being
> quicker, but I have nothing more concrete to offer.

A 4000/90 doesn't run Ultrix. You shouldn't directly compare
VMS and Unix. In many cases I/O is slower on VMS which
creates the feeling of VMS being slow. It is also important
to use similar operating systems. If you want to compare
a DECstation and VAX, use VMS 5 on the VAX.

Michael Kraemer

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Jun 23, 2012, 7:39:23 PM6/23/12
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Dennis Grevenstein schrieb:
> Mark Wickens <ma...@wickensonline.co.uk> wrote:
>
>
>>The DECstation 5000/240 seems noticeably snappier when using the window
>>manager than the VAXstation 4000/90. As it's effectively the same
>>1280x1024 8 bit graphics adapter I guess this is down to processor being
>>quicker, but I have nothing more concrete to offer.
>
> A 4000/90 doesn't run Ultrix. You shouldn't directly compare
> VMS and Unix. In many cases I/O is slower on VMS which
> creates the feeling of VMS being slow. It is also important
> to use similar operating systems. If you want to compare
> a DECstation and VAX, use VMS 5 on the VAX.

Well, I don't know how much I/O is involved when doing local X graphics,
but one could compare VMS and Ultrix on common hardware,
for example an M38/GPX. This would give at least an idea whether VMS
burns additional CPU cycles.

Dennis Grevenstein

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Jun 23, 2012, 9:26:29 PM6/23/12
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Michael Kraemer <M.Kr...@gsi.de> wrote:
>
> Well, I don't know how much I/O is involved when doing local X graphics,
> but one could compare VMS and Ultrix on common hardware,
> for example an M38/GPX. This would give at least an idea whether VMS
> burns additional CPU cycles.

It does. Running Ultrix DECwindows/Motif is almost acceptable, while Motif
is really slow under VMS. If you really want to push it you can run Ultrix
in the 4MB of onboard RAM on the VS3100. The box will boot multiuser and
you can login to DECwindows Motif. I did this already many years ago. The
reason nobody ran Ultrix on VAX is best symbolized by the DECstation 3100
IMHO. Cheaper than the VAXstation 3100 and 3 times as fast.
What I wanted to say is that it's not a fair comparison. People who bought
a VAXstation 4000/90 didn't buy it because it was fast. They bought it
because they needed VMS.

Dennis

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Mark Wickens

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Jun 27, 2012, 6:27:38 PM6/27/12
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Whilst we're having this discussion, I wonder if anyone has ever come across this phenomena. I've previously tried to install Ultrix on a VAXstation 3100 m38 and it ended up not booting correctly - the graphics test would repeat itself after POST check got to 'B' ad infinitum.

After much swapping of boards/PSUs/etc I got a VAXstation 3100 m30 running today and proceeded to install Ultrix on that, however, following complete installation and half by the Ultrix install process I attempting a reboot which hung. After a power cycle I could no longer get the machine to boot, I got a question mark after the F? then the countdown proceeded to B_ then hung.

I'm guessing I'm not going mad and it's probably going to be something to do with heat and the amount of time the machine has been switched on. Note that this box has been pulled out of storage for the first time and it could easily be 10 years since it was last powered up.

Any thoughts would be most appreciated... I'm getting tired of VAXen failing on me lately...

Thanks, Mark.

Dennis Grevenstein

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Jun 28, 2012, 4:08:09 AM6/28/12
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Mark Wickens <ma...@wickensonline.co.uk> wrote:
>
> After much swapping of boards/PSUs/etc I got a VAXstation 3100 m30
> running today and proceeded to install Ultrix on that, however, following
> complete installation and half by the Ultrix install process I attempting
> a reboot which hung. After a power cycle I could no longer get the
> machine to boot, I got a question mark after the F? then the countdown
> proceeded to B_ then hung.

B is the memory test. What you describe indicates some bad RAM.

Dennis

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Mark Wickens

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Jun 28, 2012, 4:17:49 AM6/28/12
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Hi Dennis,

Thanks for the help. I probably do have some spare RAM cards, so it's definitively worth swapping it.

Regards, Mark.

Dennis Grevenstein

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Jun 28, 2012, 8:09:54 AM6/28/12
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Mark Wickens <ma...@wickensonline.co.uk> wrote:
>
> Thanks for the help. I probably do have some spare RAM cards, so it's
> definitively worth swapping it.

If swapping memory boards doesn't help, remember that the VS3100 has 4MB of
onboard RAM as well as some external CPU cache. Failing cache may also
produce B errors. It is possible to disable onboard cache or memory by
setting a jumper on the mainboard.

good luck
Dennis

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