UWM TSS/8

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Bill Saltzstein

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Jul 19, 2022, 8:22:46 PM7/19/22
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A long shot, but I’m wondering if anyone has built and run UWM TSS/8 (found on https://github.com/lisper/cpus-pdp8)?  And documentation on bitsavers (http://www.bitsavers.org/pdf/univOfWiscMilwaukee/UWM_TSS8_UsersGuide_Jul74.pdf).

Back in the mid 70’s I was a high school student in the Milwaukee area and we had an ASR-33 terminal and modem in the back of the math classroom.  The teacher told me that the University had lent them the terminal as part of a trial program, and he knew nothing about it, but the manual was next to the teletype... This was my introduction to computers and I was hooked.  I’d ride my bicycle over and was made an honorary ‘computer operator’ for after-school shifts, hanging dectapes and handing out printouts.  And would be allowed to use it during special downtimes to run OS/8.  I could even learned to read ASCII directly from the paper tape.

I’d love to get that version up and running for old time’s sake.  It incorporated a lot of OS/8 commands into the time-sharing environment, greatly expanding on the simple system shipped from DEC.  I believe it was part of a grad student project.

A photo of me in front of the computer from circa 1976.  Yeah, the hair, right?

- Bill



Bill Saltzstein



AndyB

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Jul 20, 2022, 10:21:05 AM7/20/22
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that haircut is back in fashion now - awesome photo!

Ken Conatser

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Jul 20, 2022, 10:24:32 AM7/20/22
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I like the Dr. Who scarf! :-)

Charley Jones

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Jul 20, 2022, 10:48:50 AM7/20/22
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Groovey, man!
Looks like we both cut our teeth on OS8 and Tom Baker!
image0.jpeg

Sent from my iPhone 12pm!
Charley Jones, PMP

On Jul 20, 2022, at 7:24 AM, Ken Conatser <kenco...@gmail.com> wrote:


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Heinz-Bernd Eggenstein

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Jul 20, 2022, 7:33:44 PM7/20/22
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Ah..70s...(currently watching reruns of The Streets of San Francisco and The Rockford Files .... :-)

Anyway, back to PDP-8....is that UWM version of TSS/8 more modern or more complete than the version that comes pre-installed as an image with the PiDP-8 software? Because if that's the case, it might be worthwhile to try to incorporate it into the "official" PiDP-8 distribution, provided the licence for any additional material is ok etc.

Cheers
HB

timr...@gmail.com

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Jul 20, 2022, 8:00:59 PM7/20/22
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I believe the UWM version is 8.25.  I am guessing the version that comes pre-bundled is 8.24?  I fiddled with this many years ago using the typed in code
that was available.  My thought was to verify it matched the RS08 disk version that was being used.  I found some typo's and fixed those.  Then I compared
images till I got them to match. Vince Slyngstad and Brad Parker went ever further and got images created that could be used directly and bootable.  
Don't know if anyone has ever built 8.25.  Hopefully someone knows and replies.  At one point years back (2000 or so) I was hoping to get TSS/8 to
boot on a real 8i.  Never quite got there, but someone has gotten it to boot on an 8e using RK05s (RS08s are rare these days and are easily damaged 
when powered up or down).  To boot and run using RK05s requires some patching to TSS/8.  There is a BLOG on this somewhere about this and how
to do it.  I don't have the URL handy.

Mike Katz

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Jul 21, 2022, 9:31:49 AM7/21/22
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I keep hoping to be able to run TSS.8 (Edusystem 50) on my 8/E when it's all up and running.  Maybe we can work on an RS08 or DF32 emulator (which ever is easier) for the swap drive.  Swapping to an RK05 might be kinda slow (that article says it gets slow with more then a few users).

If it is used solely as the swap drive and does not need permanent storage, the entire thing might be able to run out of RAM.  My thoughts would be an RP2040 (Raspberry Pi Pico) CPU, which has lots of RAM and is dual core.   Maybe some kind of brown out interrupt on the micro could copy the contents of the RAM to an SD card or SDI flash.

Tim Radde

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Jul 21, 2022, 12:36:15 PM7/21/22
to Mike Katz, PiDP-8
I wish I had had a copy of this RK05 version when I had my 8e.  It had enough memory and 2 RK05s.  But that was back before 2010.
I may have heard of the patches for making an RK05 be used for swapping, but did not have access to them.  I probably considered
making them myself but never gave it enough thought.  I really wanted to see my 8i run it.  Always loved watching the lights
when TSS/8 was running the null job and the AC would count.  Never cared as much for the 8e lights as they were only dial
selectable so you only saw one register.  I don't know what it would take to make an RS08 emulator or DF32.  One would think
it would not be too difficult. Yes, I would expect the RK05 swapping would be slow, but at least it would run.  I have a Pico but
haven't done much with it.

Steve Tockey

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Jul 21, 2022, 3:41:00 PM7/21/22
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Tim wrote:

"I don't know what it would take to make an RS08 emulator or DF32."

Are you referring to on the PiDP-8/i? If so, it already exists. The standard version of TSS/8 on the PiDP-8/i uses emulated DF32. RS08/DF32 emulation has been in SIMH for years.

Anyway, I'll be in a position next week or so to have more time to play with my PiDP-8/i, I can probably try to get UWM TSS/8 running here. If I'm successful, I'll certainly share it with everyone who wants it. it's just a matter of having the time freed up to play with it.


-- steve



timr...@gmail.com

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Jul 21, 2022, 6:40:46 PM7/21/22
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No, for the pdp-8e as the original posted discussed.  He wants to run TSS/8 but use a DF32 or RS08 as the swap disk so the RK05 swap code doesn't have to be
used as it's quite slow.  RK05s can't read single bytes as the DF32 / RS08 could.  Also it can't read/write full 4k images directly so has to do it in chunks.  This would
be my issue to if I were trying to run it on an 8e.

timr...@gmail.com

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Jul 21, 2022, 6:43:04 PM7/21/22
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Oh, I forgot to add I was talking read 8i hardware, not the PiDP-8.  I had a real pdp-8i back between 2000 and 2010.  It's easy to run Simh and boot TSS/8.  It's just not
the same to me.  The 8i was the first computer I used and learned on in junior high and high school.

On Thursday, July 21, 2022 at 2:41:00 PM UTC-5 Steve Tockey wrote:

Bill Saltzstein

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Jul 21, 2022, 7:50:00 PM7/21/22
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Really appreciate all the comments here folks; especially the hirsute ones.  I was a fashion icon way ahead (or behind?) my time and didn't know it.  I just hated getting my hair cut until I couldn't fit through doorways.

Back to the original topic; I believe this was indeed a much more complete version.  I recall many of the OS/8 features in the TSS/8 environment.  In fact, when I got my PIDP-8 running, I was disappointed since that version of TSS/8 seemed 'neutered' to me.

So I see hints that it might have been done; anyone have the disk image?  With SIMH I can clearly set up any machine and hardware needed to support it.  The UWM computer was a fully-loaded PDP-8e from what I recall (and is kind of visible in the photo).

Just trying to relive my early days like everyone else in this group!

Thanks again,
Bill

timr...@gmail.com

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Jul 21, 2022, 8:14:43 PM7/21/22
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Now that's a word I have to admit I had never heard.  Had to look up what it meant.  I remember seeing that picture long ago and now can
pin a name to it.  I also worked as an operator on a pdp-8i system running TSS/8.  Mount dectapes when asked and doing nightly backups.
This was in 1975, but I started using that machine in about 1970.  One of the larger TSS/8 setups that I know of.  Full 32k, 3 RS08s, a PT08
(or whatever was used for modems) somewhere, but I never saw it, and 3 TU55s.  They eventually interfaced it to a card reader/punch.  They were even
dabbling in a virtual 8k for one user version but I never got to try that.  The last version of TSS/8 that I used was 8.24.  We were asked to make
some local patches that prevented the "force" command from anywhere but K00, and "TA" (talk) could only go to K00 if you were at a non
K00.  The version on the PiDP-8 is probably the same one that Simh seems to have as stock.  I would think you could compile the code
using one of the older PAL assemblers that are available and load it as if you were starting a brand new machine.  The code on Github at
https://github.com/lisper/cpus-pdp8 appears to have the compiled ts8, ts8II, si, fip, and init.  Shouldn't you be able to load those via virtual
paper tape to create your disk image?

Bill Saltzstein

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Jul 21, 2022, 8:23:35 PM7/21/22
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Thanks!  Probably so, but I’ve never built a system and was hoping that someone more skilled than I had done so.  Could be that is something for me to cut my teeth on, but I’m still hoping to be lazy.

Thanks again!

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timr...@gmail.com

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Jul 21, 2022, 8:57:23 PM7/21/22
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I may give it a try later tonight.  I DL'd the Github file.  I have never tried to build an image, but have read about it and it sounds fairly easy.
I always just used the existing RS08 image that pretty much matched what I used.  Then after I had a real 8i I dabbled with it a bit.
Never could get my TU56 to read a tape quite right.  One bit in the external bus was faulty.  I should have realized that when the RK03
(I forget which, but not an RK05, 1/2 the data amount, but similar sized disk) would not fully run the diag test.  It would fail as soon
as it tried to write and then read back.  I never connected that failing with the tape failing and likely being the same underlying problem.
I have a video of me running that on Youtube if you want to see it.

timr...@gmail.com

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Jul 21, 2022, 9:54:27 PM7/21/22
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I don't happen to see the BUILD program that allows building from paper tape.  I am not sure how others created the disk image without that.
I was thinking it was part of INIT, but does not appear to be so.

timr...@gmail.com

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Jul 22, 2022, 1:11:02 AM7/22/22
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I am thinking I see how he built the image.  He wrote some code to merge the new TSS8 fields into an existing image.  I can get INIT to start but
it hangs up after entering the date and time.  So I am not quite there yet.

Bill Saltzstein

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Jul 22, 2022, 1:00:15 PM7/22/22
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Appreciate the efforts!  Keep us posted on your progress.

Tim Radde

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Jul 22, 2022, 1:35:50 PM7/22/22
to Bill Saltzstein, PiDP-8
It's weird.  I can take a known RF image from the web and Simh will run it just fine.  I tried taking this image as a base image (even though
it's 8.24 and not 8.25).  This should work I would have thought to at least come up.  Replace all 5 components of TSS8 (SI, FIP, INIT, TS8,
and TS8II) should full boot, but it does not.  Init runs and asks what I wish to do.  Asks for date and time and then just stops.  I would not
expect the rest of the image to matter.  Accounts should still be the same as would be the system programs.  I must be wrong there and
something changed  between 8.24 and 8.25 in a major way?  I never used 8.25 and as far as I know I have never seen any documentation
for it, nor for 8.24.  Most seems to be from earlier versions of TSS/8.  I don't have the BUILD to create this from scratch or have the system
programs as one would have on dectape.  So what this person did was take a base RF image and just overlay the 5 TSS8 pieces over
what is already there.  I could understand if I got an error after the system started, but since it hangs I am not sure where it is failing.

Tim Radde

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Jul 22, 2022, 1:58:57 PM7/22/22
to Bill Saltzstein, PiDP-8
It appears I will have to do some file compares between 8.24 code and 8.25 to see what actually changed.  This may be
why no 8.25 is available to boot.  I had read that Vince had managed to extract all the system files from 0,2 so I will
ask him about that.  If so I could install the base code and do a refresh and reload those.  That should fix up any
issues with something changing in the directory structure and the like.

Mike Katz

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Jul 22, 2022, 2:13:12 PM7/22/22
to Steve Tockey, PiDP-8
Steve,

Actually, I was referring to hardware that I could use in my 8/E.

Eventually when I get my TU56 and RK05 working I really want to bring up TSS/8 and make it available on the web with a webcam to show the lights and dectape movement.

    Mike
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William Cattey

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Jul 22, 2022, 2:25:20 PM7/22/22
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Note: I built the tools that enable OS/8 to build from sources where the sources are kept in POSIX land under source control,
and the build is run in simh under script control.  If we have TSS8 sources, such a setup could be created.

William Cattey

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Jul 22, 2022, 3:12:05 PM7/22/22
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One issue concerns me... With regards to OS/8, we actually have a license in-hand that says we can redistribute everything for non-commercial use. See: https://tangentsoft.com/pidp8i/doc/trunk/media/os8/LICENSE.md
Does such a thing exist for TSS/8?  

Although moribund software is often thought of as having expired rights, in practice that's not the case!

Bill Saltzstein

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Jul 22, 2022, 3:41:50 PM7/22/22
to William Cattey, PiDP-8
I’d have to believe that there aren’t any issues here.  Others who have investigated it believe we’re all fine, but here are a couple of references that I’ve found to the TSS/8 licensing situation:

And this from Tangent; see the end of this page:

Likely others may have more info?
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Bill Saltzstein

On Jul 22, 2022, at 12:12 PM, William Cattey <bill....@gmail.com> wrote:

One issue concerns me... With regards to OS/8, we actually have a license in-hand that says we can redistribute everything for non-commercial use. See: https://tangentsoft.com/pidp8i/doc/trunk/media/os8/LICENSE.md
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timr...@gmail.com

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Jul 22, 2022, 11:24:42 PM7/22/22
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I believe I have found what might be causing this issue.  Or at least it's one issue.  JOBMAX for 8.24 is defined as 20.  JOBMAX for 8.25 is defined as 6.  This causes much less swap space to be allocated so the image I used may not start the MFD at the right spot.  I will need to investigate more.

timr...@gmail.com

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Jul 23, 2022, 1:04:47 AM7/23/22
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I was wrong on this.  I was looking at the wrong param file.  So back to square one.  Something is funky.  8.25 boots.  But R CAT at 0,1 shows nothing and an error.  So I am
guessing something changed in the MFD or UFD specification.  Too bad there is no docs for 8.25 that I have seen.

timr...@gmail.com

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Jul 23, 2022, 11:50:35 PM7/23/22
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I am attempting to write a small piece of code to extract all the SV programs stored on the existing good disk.  I will then figure a way to put them into the
other disk with the changed MFD/UFD format.

folke...@gmail.com

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Jul 24, 2022, 9:28:00 AM7/24/22
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I've extracted the TSS/8 programs from the disk by using PIP inside the running system to write them to papertape - ZIP file with all programs attached. I've successfully used these files to build a TSS/8 system from scratch with a custom configuration - assembling the Melrose kernel and programs, loading INIT from papertape and then using BUILD to initialize the disk. After that, PIP can be used to restore the other programs back from papertape.

If you're interested, that custom system is running in my 8/I WASM implementation on https://pdp8.app - simply load and start 04200, type START, enter a date in 1974 or so and login with LOGIN 2 PASS, then you can run FOCAL, BASIC, etc. in your browser on 5 terminals. Papertape and punch are also functional, so you can save and restore to and from papertape there.

Note that the PUTR version from the disk doesn't run on an 8/I since it uses 8/E instructions, so when BUILD asks for the PUTR tape, I simply inserted the PIP tape instead and used that since my system implements the 8/I circuits.

I also tried running the UWM build, but its INIT program only supports restoring the system from DECtape and I don't have that tape.
progs.zip

timr...@gmail.com

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Jul 24, 2022, 12:24:22 PM7/24/22
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Most helpful. Never even thought to do that.  That will save me some time.  I always thought BUILD was a separate program but it's part of INIT.
I may try to convert the UWM dectape only BUILD to use papertape BUILD from 8.24.  Don't know if this will work or not.   But it gives me something
to do and it's fun as I always enjoyed working with TSS/8 even back in the day when I was using a real TSS/8 8i over a modem and on a TTY.

folke...@gmail.com

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Jul 24, 2022, 12:51:40 PM7/24/22
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I always thought BUILD was a separate program but it's part of INIT.
Chapter 2 (page 14 in the PDF) describes the process to bootstrap TSS/8 from papertape. The SI, FIP, INIT and TS8 tapes can be directly used from assembling the Melrose assembly listings. For PUTR, I inserted the PIP tape as explained above. "START 0" in a later step will then bring up PIP and allows transferring all the remaining programs.

These steps, the kernel assembly listings and the files from the ZIP I posted before allow bootstrapping a complete installation with a custom configuration without depending on disk images etc. I had to learn these steps because the kernel on the disk is for an 8/E and doesn't work with the KW8/I clock of the 8/I. But the Github repository for TSS/8 even includes a Makefile, so it was easy to customize the kernel in melrose.pa and assemble the bootstrap tapes.

timr...@gmail.com

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Jul 24, 2022, 4:38:46 PM7/24/22
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I have not dabble with TSS/8 for years (decades).  I may have known that at one time back in the 70s.  May I ask where you found PUTR or PIP source to build?  I got up
to loading that via build, but don't have a binary tape.  Tried using one of the existing but the FIELD value was not 5 so would not load.  Yep, I have looked at and printed
portions of the Sys Mgr guide.  I had noticed the "START 0" but wasn't sure how it did what it did since I don't have PUTR or PIP.  I now have the SV version of PIP.
But don't know how to convert that to a binary image to load into field 5.  Slowly re-learning about TSS/8. I was happy to see the GitHub stuff had a macro8x assembler
included to build each part.  Maybe I have just missed where you found PIP.

folke...@gmail.com

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Jul 24, 2022, 4:56:31 PM7/24/22
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May I ask where you found PUTR or PIP source to build?

Unfortunately I don't have the sources for PUTR or PIP. The binary tapes in the ZIP file I posted earlier are extracted from the disk image: I started that in SIMH and used PIP to store all the SV files as binary tapes. You can do that using PIP by entering "B" as an option. Same to retrieve it later. So when INIT asks you for PUTR, insert the PIP (or PUTR if you have an 8/E) file from my ZIP archive and attach it to the reader in the same way as you loaded the other tapes.

After the bootstrap process, you should be able to login. There are no programs present, so you can't even .R CAT or .R PIP. But the last step of the bootstrap actually loaded the last tape into core, so doing START 0 starts whatever program you loaded as the last part of the bootstrap process when it asked for PUTR. And if you inserted PIP like I did, it will then start PIP. Enter nothing as INPUT to indicate that you want to load from tape, enter the program name as output (e.g. "PIP"), then enter B as option. If you then insert the PIP tape again, PIP will be saved on disk. Then you can later run PIP with .R PIP. That way, you can transfer all the files from the archive back onto your disk.

timr...@gmail.com

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Jul 24, 2022, 4:57:39 PM7/24/22
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I know only PIP knows how to handle SV tapes.  I wonder if I can use that to switch back to binary?  I'll have to read up on PIP.  Thanks again.

timr...@gmail.com

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Jul 24, 2022, 6:09:46 PM7/24/22
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Weird.  I am pretty sure I tried to use your PIP.SV file and BUILD did not accept it.  Now it does and I was able to build an 8.24+ system up to being able to login.
Now to build the system library.  If I get all this to work I will attempt to figure out how to build the 8.25 version.  I may just try to build a Simh dectape file and
let it go from that.  But I have to find out how the dectape was set up.  But so far your help has been invaluable.  So thank you again.

timr...@gmail.com

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Jul 25, 2022, 12:09:08 AM7/25/22