Confessions of a paranoid DEC Engineer: Robert Supnik talks about the great Dungeon heist!

What an incredible adventure!

Apparently this was all recorded in 2017, and just now released.

It’s very long, but I would still highly recommend watching the full thing.

Bob goes into detail about the rise of the integrated circuit versions of the PDP-11 & VAX processors, the challenges of how Digital was spiraling out of control, and how he was the one that not only championed the Alpha, but had to make the difficult decisions that if the Alpha succeeded that many people were now out of a job, and many directions had to be closed off.

He goes into great detail how the Alpha was basically out maneuvered politically and how the PC business had not only dragged them down by management not embracing the Alpha but how trying to pull a quick one on Intel led to their demise.

Also of interest was his time in research witnessing the untapped possibilities of AltaVista, and how Compaq had bogged it down, and ceded the market to the upstart Google, the inability to launch a portable MP3 player (Although to be fair the iPod wasn’t first to market by a long shot, it was the best user experience by far).

What was also interesting was his last job, working at Unisys and getting them out of the legacy mainframe hardware business and into emulation on x86, along with the lesson that if you can run your engine in primary CPU cache it’s insanely fast (in GCC land -Os is better than -O9).

The most significant part towards the end of course is where he ‘rewinds’ his story to go into his interest in simulations, and of course how he started SIMH when he had some idle time in the early 90’s. SIMH of course has done an incredible amount of work to preserve computing history of many early computers. He also touches on working with the Warren’s TUHS to get Unix v0 up and running on a simulated PDP-7 and what would have been a challenge in the day using an obscure Burroughs disk & controller modified from the PDP-9.

Yes it’s 6 hours long! But really it’s great!

Microsoft Fortran PowerStation for NT 1.00

So I came across this recently, and unlike the previous version I had for Windows 3.1, This version is for Windows NT.  And unlike the Windows 3.1 version this version does actually run on the shipping version of Windows NT 3.1, and thus will work all the though including Windows 10 on x64.  The setup program unfortunately doesn’t complete leaving it ‘unlicensed’ however it’ll still run.

The diskettes for the Windows 3.1 version I have are dated 11-23-93, but once installed the compiler is actually from February of 1993, with the Windows NT version being dated October of 1993.

So the nice thing with the Windows NT version is that you don’t have to mess with the compiler, and linker, it’ll just run.  And just like Visual C++ 1.0 / 1.10 for NT the linker doing a release build will always result in an exe being at least 2 megabytes in size.

I know that this is pretty much useless for 99.9999% of people.  Yes it’s ancient Fortran.  Yes Fortran PowerStation 4.0 is far more comprehensive.  Yes after it was sold to Compaq as part of some deal over the collapse of Dec & Windows NT, then sold out to Intel.  And GFortran is free.

But here we go.

32bit Fortran from 1993 in 2018!

Dungeon 2.5.6 on MacOS

Years and years ago I had bought this copy of Language Systems Fortran for MacOS with the intention of using my Quadra to build Dungeon for MacOS.  Except I couldn’t figure out the first thing about MPW, and life was always busy and I never did figure it out.  Well after getting GCC to compile something on MacOS, I thought I’d dig up some images I made of the disks, and without the benefit of having the manuals anymore see if I could figure it out.

FORTRAN Dungeon 2.5.6 on MacOS

FORTRAN Dungeon 2.5.6 on MacOS

And much to my amazement it compiled without any real issues.  All the EOF markers in the files had to be fixed up, and gdt.f for some reason was mangled at the end, but it was trivial to repair.  I didn’t bother trying to integrate the gettime call, so the clock and any clock events don’t work correctly.  I guess I should make the seconds increment by 15 between calls, or something.  Oh well I don’t think anyone will really care.  I compiled it for the 68020 with 68881 hooks, although I doubt it even makes any calls.  It runs for me.

If anyone cares, the binary is here:dungeon-2.5.6-m68k-MacOS.sit

As always, you’ll have to read the 404 screen to get the download.

VAX Snoopy!

Hey Snoopy!

Hey Snoopy!

Following up on Adventures with Snoopy, Mihai has delivered!  Snoopy printed out from a VAX onto a real 9 pin printer, onto paper!

Just the way we used to do things a million years ago!

Be sure to check out the whole thing on hawk.ro,  complete with pictures, and source material!  Totally check it out, for that real programmer’s vibe!

And for those who have no idea, here is where it all started.

Bringing back the WinZork demo via jsDOSBox

So with all the excitement with jsDOSBox it was about time I tried to get something from my old java dosbox stuff running again.

As a quick note, as of right now, you cannot boot into a disk image… Nor can you really run bat files, or any kind of drivers beforehand.  It’s basically either use a script that adds files one by one, or use an image file which gets mounted, and you run your exe/com file from that.

So here we go, back again is the old Fortran Dungeon (zork) compiled with QuickC for Windows, running on the working model version of Windows 3.0.

Dungeon via F2C

Dungeon via F2C

Click here, and enjoy!

For anyone interested my old post about this Fortran/Zork adventure is here.

 

Dungeon on A/UX

Dungeon on A/UX

Dungeon on A/UX

I know it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, but now that I’ve been playing with A/UX on Shoebill, I noticed that A/UX comes with a Fortran compiler!

So I downloaded dungeon, and took a few minutes, mostly making a GNU Makefile, and I was able to produce a working binary!

For anyone who cares it’s here.  I guess f2c is kind of pointless, seeing that the OS already comes with a F77 compiler.