[rescue] mouse for AT&T 5620 terminal

Paul Fox pgf at foxharp.boston.ma.us
Sun Oct 7 07:13:40 CDT 2018

I wanted to thank you all for the interest/suggestions regarding
my Depraz mouse.  I'll be sending it (and some old Bell Labs UNIX
manuals) off to Dave McGuire for his museum.  Glad it's all going
to a good home.

I realized that I actually have one more true souvenir of my time at
Bell Labs (and AT&T Information Systems).  This email has gotten
to be too long as I reminisce with myself, but I think this
crowd that might be amused/interested.

I joined the Labs in 1980, and after a brief stint in a group doing a
big telecomm switch, I moved into a team that was far more interesting
to me, developing a 68000-based UNIX workstation.  It was doomed,
because in their foresight they designed it with a character-only
display -- no graphics, on a new computer, in 1983.  But it got my
foot in the door.

I went on to work on a full UNIX port to the Olivetti 6300 -- swapping
only, no paging of course, and memory management was based on the 8086
segment registers.  No security at all.  We knew that, but it was fun
to do.  It never left the building.

Happily, the 68000 project was fairly quickly followed by the UNIX
PC, designed by Convergent Technologies.  That was a great little
machine, and I did a lot of work on it, as well as on the StarLAN
network -- first 1Mbps (!) and then 10Mbps on twisted pair -- it fed
heavily into the original 10baseT standard.  I did have my own UNIX PC
for a while, but no longer.

But one of my last projects before leaving the company in '88 was on
an SVR3 port to an in-house design for a new 386 PC.  AT&T had an
agreement with Olivetti for the 6300, but was considering bringing PC
development back inside.  So there was this huge motherboard screwed
to a (literal) breadboard, along with power supply, 10Mb MFM disk,
etc.  We got the port running, but as I recall there was a bug in the
boot loader, and I was the only one who really knew how to do the
in-memory patch to get the system up.  The group had moved on to 3B2
work (those things were LOUD!) by the time I resigned, and I asked my
boss if I could take the 386 prototype with me -- it was no longer in
use, and I was the only one who could boot it.  It went into storage
while my wife and I travelled for a while, then came out when we
needed a machine on which to write our first post-AT&T resumes.  I
built a box around the big breadboard and we ran it for many years --
first with the original SVR3, and then starting in '92 with Linux.
It had 4M of ram, and 10M of disk.

Anyway, I still have the motherboard, though it's obviously no
longer functional.  It's right here on our kitchen wall:

With all of those rework wires, frankly I'm surprised it ever ran at all.


I wrote:
 > Hi - 
 > I worked at Bell Labs in the 80s, and I think my sole remaining
 > souvenir (well, aside from a screwdriver or two) is a bright red
 > hemispherical Logitech mouse for the 5620. 
 >     https://www.foxharp.boston.ma.us/tmp/z/mouse/
 > I have no idea whether it works.
 > I'm wondering what to do with it.  The Computer History Museum
 > already seems to have a couple of them, but I suspect they'd take
 > another.  Are they still a worthwhile destination for stuff like
 > this?
 > Or, perhaps, someone here might be interested?
 > paul
 > =----------------------
 > paul fox, pgf at foxharp.boston.ma.us (arlington, ma, where it's 50.4 degrees)
 > _______________________________________________
 > rescue list - http://www.sunhelp.org/mailman/listinfo/rescue

paul fox, pgf at foxharp.boston.ma.us (arlington, ma, where it's 56.5 degrees)

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