[rescue] looking for IBM System/36 software

Dave McGuire mcguire at neurotica.com
Sat Mar 28 17:57:22 CDT 2015

On 03/27/2015 07:27 PM, Nigel Williams wrote:
>>   I'm looking for software on 8" floppies for the IBM System/36.
>> Specifically, I'd like to find a copy of the BASIC compiler, and if
>> possible, FORTRAN.
> Good luck finding those languages, a friend and I have been looking
> for both for years and highlighting their un-found status everywhere
> we go but so far neither have turned up. We have not returned to
> looking for a while, it is good to see someone else take up the
> search.
> It is worth noting that the FORTRAN at least was a special order item,
> and mainly there for government contract requirements, we haven't
> found any evidence that it actually shipped to anyone. The novel part
> of the FORTRAN implementation (and BASIC too I think) was the
> System/36 lacked floating point instructions so FORTRAN came with
> additional "microcode" (bit unclear if it was truly microcode or just
> an emulation library - either way it took up valuable memory
> restricting the number of jobs that could be run).
> The other (still missing) prize of System/36 world is the ASSEMBLER -
> unlike the above two this was used frequently to extend the system
> (and save memory) and the System/36 magazines published hex-dumps of
> routines that could be entered to add useful functions. It is of
> course possible to hand-assemble for the System/36 (or people wrote
> their own in RPG) but it would be interesting to have the original
> product too.

  It seriously sucks that that stuff is so difficult to find.  I'm going
to put forth a strong effort to get ahold of that stuff.  We all know
it's out there somewhere...it's just a matter of finding it.

  Have you guys approached IBM about it?  Hell, if people are able to
get 3174 establishment controller floppies out of them, maybe this stuff
can be shaken loose as well.  I don't think even IBM has any illusions
of commercial resale viability for System/36 hardware these days.

> SSP (the operating system) is also incomplete across the various
> versions, particularly around the PTF sets.

  I have hundreds of floppies for my system, including what appears to
be several releases of SSP and I believe lots of PTFs as well.  They
have been well-stored and are probably readable.  Do you know if these
are standard 3740-format floppies?  I assume so, but I know the
System/36 uses 2560-byte blocks, but 20 whole 128-byte sectors will fit
into 2560 bytes, so they could have made that work if they wanted to.


Dave McGuire, AK4HZ/3
New Kensington, PA

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