Neat VAX 11/780 picture

While checking out this page, I came across this:



Looks pretty neat eh?

And from the poster:

“Starlink” will provide the astronomical community in the United Kingdom with unsurpassed facilities for rapid and efficient analysis of the vast amount of data produced on telescopes throughout and above the world, thus providing essential support to research which probes the furthest reaches of the Universe.

Then googling about you can find some more here.

So as we can tell, the above picture should have been captioned:

“Starlink VAX11/780 in the Atlas Centre, August 1980. Anton Walter and Lorna Claringbold”

Anyways I wonder if they have the old programs from the starlink…..

Qemu 0.10.5 for windows

Well I screwed up the Proxmox VE thing and I needed to test some x64 stuff… Sadly the VM I used to build the x64 stuff was the proxmox… And I need it now!

So I found this site, which has the new qemu stuff built!

Just unzip it with 7zip.

And you should be good to go..

However for Windows 2003 x64 R2 it seems that those binaries crash on ‘starting windows’, apparently they were compiled with GCC 4 while the ancient qemu 0.90 built with GCC 3 works…

I’ve also found a source ‘fix’ for why 0.91 crashes on vista…:

patch hw/ide.c:

just replace all ‘free(buf)’ in guess_disk_lchs function to ‘qemu_free(buf)’.

Sounds easy enough. I’ll have to get a working toolchian.

I’ve been slacking

Ok, I’m still unpacking stuff in the new apt, so I don’t have anything that exciting.

I’m hoping that this blog will become more interesting as the guy fills out content… Ah yeah, remember the ‘good’ old days of 16 bit development? Ok they weren’t *THAT* good, but we all know the pain of legacy code.

I don’t know if it’s worth mentioning, but yet another version of Qemu has been released, 0.15..

And it would appear that proxmox has been updated to 1.3… I’m going to have to upgrade and give it a whirl… I just hope it doesn’t trash my raid.

And finally you can view Warren Toomey’s presentation about recovering an ancient version of UNIX…

Video of the presentation is here:


Have a fun weekend!

Fun links

Well today it’s raining, and I was trying to get my Verizon DSL working… To no avail, they just keep closing tickets saying it works fine, but my modem just blinks… No connection.

Apparently terminating an analog port is beyond them. I’ll have to cancel the thing on Monday as it’s become a complete waste of time.

Anyways I came across this link, of an incredible PDP-11 collection. This guys got quite a set, and even snuck an 11/750 in there. Sadly he’s running VMS on it… Anyways it’s a great source for some pictures!

And this one is not exactly safe for work, so here is the NSFW tag.. lol but anyways this guy seems to be having way too much fun with his PDP-11.

On that note, I got BOCHS to compile, now I just need to rip apart it’s ethernet code and see if I can inject some SLiRP into it…



Tropix booted to the login prompt

So I was browsing some stuff, and playing with a few other emulators getting something together when I found an article briefly mentioning TROPIX.

Now TROPIX is interesting as some people from Brazil tried to get a UNIX license in the 1970’s but they were denied. Not to take that as a loss, they bought ‘a’ UNIX system (some kind of v7 box) and built their own OS around the v7 ‘feel’. The result is a multiprocessor, real time UNIX clone written in Portuguese!

Now what is interesting is during the time of TROPIX (the mid 80’s) Brazil was still a dictatorship, and they would refuse to import western things, if there was a local equivalent.. So UNIX vendors never could get a foothold in Brazil because of TROPIX, well back then it was called Plurix. Conversely TROPIX/Plurix never got out because it’s all localalized in Portuguese. Which is too bad, as if it had the ability to spread on the internet I’m pretty sure it would have been popular..

More information can be found here:

However it’s all in Portuguese, so you’ll probably want to use a translator. is what I’m using.

The latest release was in December of 2008, and added support for USB 2.0 & SATA. So while it may feel dated, it’s being updated to support modern hardware. They even dedicate it to Newton Faller who’s a big name IT wise in Brazil, they even give out awards similar to the Turing award in his honor.

Now onwards to the install!

I am using Qemu as it can emulate the required hardware. Virtual PC will work, but the networking will NOT.

First download the ISO image from here . You’ll need a copy of gzip & tar for whatever your platform is to extract the ISO image. The install is actually somewhat straight forward once I translated the install document, which can be found here.

Basically the following input got me to a working system…


















login root
password tropix

mkfs /dev/rhda1
mount /dev/hda1 /aroot
cd /usr/etc/install

n (it’ll copy files)


I’m still trying to figure out the DHCP or the default gateway as neither appear to be working at the moment… Take note that the TCP/IP in TROPIX was written by them, it is *NOT* a 4.3 BSD derived thing. So there is no ifconfig / route / arp commands. Not to be disapointing but it also needs it’s first partition somewhere in the first 512mb as it seems to have some old BIOS booting issues.. Now it could be Qemu, but I’m not sure, a 10gig disk didn’t boot from the HD, although the CD could be make to use the HD for a root…

Right now the only ‘fun’ program to run is coremap & fortune.

But it’s very interesting to see a UNIX developed from another part of the world, and just how similar and different it is… Oh and it’s Si/Non, not YES/NO.

Ancient UNIX on the front page of slashdot

So today on slashdot I saw this:

“In this its 40th year of operating system life, some Unix stalwarts are trying to resurrect its past. That is, they are taking on the unenviable and difficult job of restoring to their former glory old Unix software artifacts such as early Unix kernels, compilers and other important historical source code pieces. In a paper to be presented at next week’s Usenix show, Warren Toomey of the Bond School of IT is expected to detail restoration work being done on four key Unix software artifacts all from the early 1970s — Nsys, 1st edition Unix kernel, 1st and 2nd edition binaries and early C compilers. In his paper, Toomey states that while the history of Unix has been well-documented, there was a time when the actual artifacts of early Unix development were in danger of being lost forever.”

It’s always cool when this stuff gets some attention. I just wish someone who would write this stuff, would show people HOW to run it… It’s not that hard is it???

I hate to say it, but 4.3 BSD RENO sucks.

Ok so I spent the day building stuff on RENO, I thought maybe I could bring it up to par package wise, like the UWisc 4.3 BSD… Oh boy what a PITA!

First the syscalls changed to RENO so hardly any of the packages built on Uwisc work on reno.. expect LOTS of unhandled syscalls. Wow, that’s lame.

I got bash 2.0 to build without much pokeing, but get this.. Control+C kills it!

myname# bash
bash-2.00# Bus error (core dumped)

Yeah. Nice.

gcc 2.5.8 can build binutils 2.8.1 & gcc so I thought that was cool to go onwards to gzip & lynx…

Well launching lynx on ANYTHING other then file:// gives me this:

Alert!: Unsupported URL scheme!

Alert!: Unsupported URL scheme!

lynx: Start file could not be found or is not text/html or text/plain

Oh yeah, and it built dammed near clean except for adding a va_list definition….

I was going to try to build more stuff, but it just feels so futile. Since adventure (zork) had been removed in RENO I was going to try to build GNU Fortran 77 & get a build of that going, but now it’s most likely it won’t work at all. I guess I’ll do some kind of update on RENO but why would anyone actually want to load it? Why is it so popular?

I wonder if there is an easy accessable 4.4 BSD release, all that is on TUSH is 4.4 Alpha… At this point I wonder if Net/2 would be better…

Anyways that’s been my day.

PUPS mail archive….

I thought this was interesting as it’s from the start of the PUPS movement..

And I can say I got involved in the PUPS thing for sure on the 8th of May 1998..

It’s hard to think that it’s been 11 years now I’ve been lucky enough to stuble uppon Bob Supnik’s excellent emulator, and the work of the PUPs people to run version 6 research UNIX on MS-DOS….

Speaking of which, I’m kind of surpesed that there is nearly 50 downloads of the MS-DOS build of SIMH. I’m sure it has everythig to do with the small test OS’s and whatnot… But it’s still cool to me.

Also I’ve started work re-tweaking the RENO install package. I’m moving away from the 4 ra disks, to a single HP disk, that only consumes 160MB unlike the 2GB of the old setup. I hope to have that done sometime in the next week, along with fixes to the cursor keys & some more testing… I’m also going to try to track down the missing ‘adduser’ script/exe from RENO.. there is a few odds & ends missing from the TUHS RENO tape….