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Author Topic:   Operating system preferences survey
ringo
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Posts: 19302
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 5.0


Message 31 of 40 (889246)
11-12-2021 10:53 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by Percy
11-09-2021 2:32 PM


Percy writes:

I started out on a PDP-8 programming assembler.


Well, old-timer, if we're going back to prehistoric times, I learned BASIC on the university's PDP-11, working from a teletype. Remember 8-inch floppy disks? Later on, I learned Fortran on a Xerox Sigma 9, working from punched cards.

My brother got a Commodore PET around 1977. Then I got a VIC-20 and eventually a C-64, both of which were still running until a few years ago.


"I call that bold talk for a one-eyed fat man!"
-- Lucky Ned Pepper

This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by Percy, posted 11-09-2021 2:32 PM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
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Percy
Member
Posts: 20410
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.7


Message 32 of 40 (889254)
11-12-2021 5:37 PM
Reply to: Message 25 by nwr
11-10-2021 11:54 PM


nwr writes:

My Heathkit used the Z80 processor, which supports a superset of the 8080 instruction set. It did not have a hard drive. It used 5 1/4 floppies.

Good old Zilog - those were the days. I never had a computer built from any of the early microprocessors. At work we would talk about building our own computers and collected spare chips from salvage (boards field service's repair depot couldn't fix). Only one of us ever did anything, cobbling something together that displayed on his TV. It was kind of hard to get motivated since we had mainframes at our beck and call at work. We kept up with the rapidly evolving microprocessor offerings, studying their architectures from the 8008 to the 8080 to the Z80 to the 8085 to the 8086 to the 80186 and then I must have lost interest.

--Percy


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Percy
Member
Posts: 20410
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.7


Message 33 of 40 (889255)
11-12-2021 5:42 PM
Reply to: Message 31 by ringo
11-12-2021 10:53 AM


ringo writes:

Well, old-timer, if we're going back to prehistoric times, I learned BASIC on the university's PDP-11, working from a teletype.

RSTS/E using an ASR-33?

--Percy


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dwise1
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Posts: 4740
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 4.5


Message 34 of 40 (889261)
11-13-2021 1:52 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by Percy
11-09-2021 2:32 PM


I started out on a PDP-8 programming assembler.

One assignment in one of my classes (I think it was a EE class) required me to use a program on a PDP-8. As I seem to recall, it was parked in a hallway next to a Teletype Model 33 terminal (we all encountered one at one time or another; you can see one in the background three minutes into The Big Short).

It was connected to the PDP-8 through a 110 baud serial port. Not only could I type faster than it could handle (and I'm not a fast typist), but I had to pause often to let it catch up.

Edited by dwise1, : added qs block to provide context


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 Message 13 by Percy, posted 11-09-2021 2:32 PM Percy has responded

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Percy
Member
Posts: 20410
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.7


Message 35 of 40 (889266)
11-13-2021 11:31 AM
Reply to: Message 34 by dwise1
11-13-2021 1:52 AM


The first PDP-8 I used fit in several 6-foot cabinets of discrete DTL logic on scores of cards, with only five or ten logic gates per card. Two of the cabinets were logic, one was the hard drive two or three feet in diameter and mounted vertically, and another contained the paper tape reader/puncher and the switch panel, 12 of them, one for each bit. This was in the days before boot proms, and the boot program had to be toggled in, though this was also in the days of magnetic core memory, so the computer didn't forget the program when you turned it off. If you were the last one to use it then when you turned it on your program would resume running. The paper tape reader was originally completely mechanical, but they replaced it with a new one with an optical reader, super-fast and quiet.

I never had any ASR-33 speed problems. Ten characters per second was far faster than I could manage. Entering and editing programs was the hardest part because you had to keep telling it to type a range of 5 or 10 lines on the bathroom-style roll of paper so you could see the portion of interest.

The second PDP-8 I used was actually a PDP-8e that fit in a single box about the size of a serious home AV receiver. It used TI 7400 logic.

--Percy


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ringo
Member
Posts: 19302
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 5.0


Message 36 of 40 (889280)
11-14-2021 1:34 PM
Reply to: Message 33 by Percy
11-12-2021 5:42 PM


Percy writes:

RSTS/E using an ASR-33?


I don't know what version of BASIC it was.

The teletypes were something like that, with the long-stroke keys and the big rolls of paper. They printed every space.

There were also some more modern terminals called DECwriters but you had to get to class early to get one of those.


"I call that bold talk for a one-eyed fat man!"
-- Lucky Ned Pepper

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 Message 33 by Percy, posted 11-12-2021 5:42 PM Percy has acknowledged this reply

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 Message 37 by dwise1, posted 11-14-2021 5:49 PM ringo has acknowledged this reply

  
dwise1
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Posts: 4740
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 4.5


(2)
Message 37 of 40 (889285)
11-14-2021 5:49 PM
Reply to: Message 36 by ringo
11-14-2021 1:34 PM


There were also some more modern terminals called DECwriters but you had to get to class early to get one of those.

We had those and they did have a certain coolness factor. The unit was a keyboard and dot-matrix printer in one. It stood on a stand under which there would be a box of 132-column fanfold computer printer paper that fed through the unit from below.

It was featured on the July 1976 cover of BYTE magazine which showed Thomas Jefferson writing the Declaration of Independence on a DECwriter:

Redirect Notice (scroll down to third image -- could someone able to post images here please do so?)

In 1977, our university had an IBM S/370. Lower division students were required to use punch cards, but upper division students could get a VSPC account (Virtual Space Personal Programming). At the time, hardly anybody had a terminal at home, so we had to go to the computer center to log in. There were six DECwriters, each with a telephone and an acoustically coupled modem. We had a few 300 baud lines and several 110 baud lines; we were almost willing to kill to get a 300 baud line. I was lucky to have duty until midnight, so I would get to the computer center at about 0030 when the computer center was much less crowded than during the daytime and I would rarely have to wait for a terminal.

Later we got a few ADM terminals with dedicated 300 baud lines and another year or two later a couple other terminals on 1800 baud lines. I preferred the 300 baud terminals because I would read the entire file listing as it scrolled by, but I couldn't do that at 1800 baud.

We used VSPC mainly to write our programs (I think it used a line editor) and then to submit our job. VSPC also provided a version of BASIC, so I taught myself BASIC using David Ahl's computer games books as a model. Running Hamurabi and having the plague hit every single year made me realize that the RND function was different in VSBASIC than in Microsoft BASIC which the books were written in.

FWIW, the Google image collection of BYTE magazine cover art is at byte magazine covers - Google Search .

Share and enjoy!

Edited by dwise1, : added having duty until midnight

Edited by dwise1, : added request to have image posted


This message is a reply to:
 Message 36 by ringo, posted 11-14-2021 1:34 PM ringo has acknowledged this reply

Replies to this message:
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 Message 39 by xongsmith, posted 11-15-2021 1:57 PM dwise1 has not yet responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 20410
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.7


(1)
Message 38 of 40 (889297)
11-15-2021 9:44 AM
Reply to: Message 37 by dwise1
11-14-2021 5:49 PM


At my university in 1973 most people were still using punchcards. There were ASR-33's available but not used much - I guess many found them just too painful. But that year I had the great good fortune to discover a Tektronix video terminal in an open side room of the computing center running at 9600 baud. In two column mode it could display around 60 lines of program all at once. It was wonderful and very few people used it. Maybe many thought a portrait oriented green screen too weird.

--Percy


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xongsmith
Member
Posts: 2092
From: massachusetts US
Joined: 01-01-2009
Member Rating: 5.1


(1)
Message 39 of 40 (889300)
11-15-2021 1:57 PM
Reply to: Message 37 by dwise1
11-14-2021 5:49 PM


opened link in new window, scrolled down, clicked open image in new tab:


"I'm the Grim Reaper now, Mitch. Step aside."

- xongsmith, 5.7d


This message is a reply to:
 Message 37 by dwise1, posted 11-14-2021 5:49 PM dwise1 has not yet responded

  
jar
Member
Posts: 33496
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 4.1


Message 40 of 40 (889301)
11-15-2021 3:19 PM


it's amazing
I find it amazing just how many of us are or were or wuddashudda been involved in computers and from somewhat close to the early days of UNIX™ and mini/micro/standalone systems.

My Website: My Website

  
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