[rescue] rescue projects VAX-4000/500, DEC PDP-8e, DEC PDP-11/44, etc...

Jochen Kunz jkunz at unixag-kl.fh-kl.de
Wed Sep 8 03:07:11 CDT 2004

On Tue, 7 Sep 2004 23:21:40 -0400
"Mark G. Thomas" <Mark at Misty.com> wrote:

> - Pair of Vax 4000-500 machines, plus loaded DSSI R400X storage box.
>        Hmmm.  What to do with a Vax...
Run NetBSD? ;-)

>        I'd want to find a controller capable of a SCSI hard drive, so
>        I could use one or two low-power SCSI hard drives instead of
>        this huge thing of DSSI drives.
As already noted there are SCSI-to-DSSI (RIAD) controlers like the DEC
HSDxx. There are similar products from 3rd party vendors like MTI also.

> - PDP 11/44.  It's got lots of async ports, but I don't know what I
> would
>        be able to find for cheap or free to attach as disk storage.
The /44 is a UNIBUS machine. Good luck to find a UNIBUS SCSI controler.
Getting one usually requires selling your grandma to the devil. ;-)
There are several different controler types and not every OS supports
every controler. If your OS supports MSCP you can try to get a UDA50 and
some RA7[0-9] (5.25") or RA9[0-9] (9") SDI disks. Avoid the RA8[0-9]
disks. They are 14" and not that reliable, to be kind. A RL02 is a good
choice too. It is only 10 MB, but with removable media.
3rd party vendors made several controlers for UNIBUS. Usually they speak
MSCP or emulate some DEC controler on one side and interface to MFM/RLL,
SMD, ESDI or SCSI disks on the other side. SMD would be an appropriate
solution for a /44.

>        Might be fun to bring up some OS on,
Google for vtserver and have a look at http://www.tuhs.org/ and

> - Alpha 3000-500S.
>        but I'm lacking an adapter cable and mouse.
ePay, soldering iron?

>        It looks like this OS is now tru64,

>        but unlike with
>        Suns and Solaris, it doesn't look like I can just go and
>        download current OS from a web site.
Yes. You need to get a hobbyist licence from DEC^WComcrap^WHP for $100.
Also note that the latest version of Tru64 doesn't support the
TurboChannel machines. AFAIK 5.0 was the last version with TurboChannel

>        NetBSD might be the way to go, but then again, I can run NetBSD
>        on just about anything, so why this machine...
Because it runs on this machine? When you go with NetBSD try 2.0-beta or
-current. IIRC 1.6 still needed a special kernel config to support the
framebuffer on that machines. 2.0 should be able to run framebuffer
console and X11 with the GENERIC kernel.


Homepage: http://www.unixag-kl.fh-kl.de/~jkunz/

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