[rescue] PERQ?

Skeezics Boondoggle skeezicsb at gmail.com
Fri May 23 12:25:10 CDT 2014

On Fri, May 23, 2014, Bill Bradford wrote:

On Thu, May 22, 2014 at 01:52:10PM -0700, Skeezics Boondoggle wrote:
> >So I'm thrilled that this "barn find" means I might have another working
> >machine to work with.  And, as soon as I can crack the hairy RasterOp
> >emulation and get a new release together, I'll put up a new PERQemu for
> >everyone to play with.  (I've got it running under Mono on MacOS X and
> >Linux, as well as Windows .NET; ideally it'll get rolled into CMU's
> "Olive"
> >project too!)
> I've always been fascinated with the PERQs and *loved* being able to
> fire it up on Windows at home a couple nights ago!


I'll tip my hand a bit... I'm actually preparing the first new release of
POS, the aptly-named PERQ Operating System (ahem!), in 30 years.  That's a
complete source and binary release on (virtual) floppy images,
painstakingly built from scratch after a line-by-line review of nearly
200,000 lines of Pascal and microcode.  The last hurdle to getting Accent
(and possibly PNX) to boot is the incomplete RasterOp emulation, but Josh's
workaround for POS works well enough to allow all the great demos and games
to run.  There's some really neat stuff in there, so I hope to provide a
new virtual disk with some additional documentation about how to get
started with the PERQ.

This is a real labor of love for me, since I knew the guys at Three Rivers
back in the day, and I wanted to clean up the code and make it beautiful.
 Despite the quirks, flaws and criticisms (some fair, some not so) of the
PERQ, it really was a groundbreaking machine in a lot of ways, "taking the
arrows in the back" as Gordon Bell wrote.  Someone had to get the Xerox
Alto out of the lab and into the world!  As I type this on a Mac running OS
X, looking back fondly at my NeXTstation on the bench, I'm glad they did.

Watch this space... :-)

-- Chris

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