[rescue] DEC KA730, was Re: Electronics Recycling Day

John Francini francini at mac.com
Tue Nov 17 18:56:56 CST 2009

>   The official "Suicide Note" (as it's come to be called)
> predated Ultrix by a few years' time.  Interestingly, Ultrix
> soldiered on almost to the very end as "Tru-64" well and truly
> into the Alpha era.

While Tru64 and Ultrix had a lot of very similar features (BSD  
userland, in particular), under the hood Tru64 was a very different  
beast -- it used a Mach kernel, the AdvFS filesystem, and VMS-like  
clustering capabilities (which required AdvFS in order to work. Tru64  
was a direct descendant of OSF/1 with the BSD userland stapled on.

>   I am given to understand that this causes some consternation
> in historical circles because Ultrix has had such a long life-
> span and the "elder" systems such a comparitively "short" one
> (such as the PDP-10 Monitor) that it clouds the achievements that
> the company actually delivered on.  Too, the hardware required to
> properly run, say, TOPS-10 7.01, is rather scarce whilst almost
> anybody (within reason here, of course) can get iron that'll run
> Ultrix 4.x or Tru-64 on Alpha.

Not only is the hardware to run TOPS-10 (or TOPS-20, or ITS, for that  
matter) rather scarce, it'd be cost-prohibitive to power it up. IIRC,  
a KL-10B with MH10 external memory (256KW per 30" wide cabinet,  
minimum 4 required for full 4-way memory interleaving), an RP06 drive  
or two (176 MB each), a TU72 tape drive plus TX10 controller, and an  
LP07 line printer  requires easily 200+A of three-phase 208V power.  
The CPU itself uses a 100A 3-phase 208V connector.

What about emulation? Using KLH-10, you can emulate a full-scale KL10  
Model B on modern (and cheap) PC hardware, running much faster than  
the original iron. This is a MUCH better solution, and probably the  
only way most people can relive the software experience.

john (who has worked for DEC and its follow-ons, on TOPS-10, VMS,  
Ultrix, and Tru64.)

>> They they would have only one operating system instead of two
>> to support, and no royalties to pay AT&T.
>   Ultrix was -- is -- a BSD derivative.  I don't believe that DEC
> would havd had to pay royalties to AT&T.
> +------------------------------------------------ 
> +---------------------+
> | Carl Richard Friend (UNIX Sysadmin)            | West  
> Boylston       |
> | Minicomputer Collector / Enthusiast            | Massachusetts,  
> USA  |
> | mailto:crfriend at rcn.com                         
> +---------------------+
> | http://users.rcn.com/crfriend/museum           | ICBM: 42:22N  
> 71:47W |
> +------------------------------------------------ 
> +---------------------+
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