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!

So the Infocom source code base was just ‘released’.

https://twitter.com/textfiles/status/1118005126457888768

So I woke up to this incredible news. Jason Scott at the most excellent archive.org had just uploaded the old Infocom source code to github. It’s from the infamous ‘found hard disk’ that has been mentioned going back to the failed game ‘The restaurant at the end of the universe’.

So looking at the repos here, you can see the latest ones are all Infocom. It’s best to get them all via git for reason below:

git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/abyss.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/amfv.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/arthur.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/ballyhoo.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/beyondzork.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/borderzone.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/bureaucracy.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/checkpoint.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/cutthroats.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/deadline.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/enchanter.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/hitchhikersguide.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/hollywoodhijinx.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/infidel.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/infocom-sampler.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/journey.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/leathergoddesses-gold.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/leathergoddesses.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/lurkinghorror.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/minizork-1982.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/minizork-1987.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/minizork2-1988.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/moonmist.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/nordandbert.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/planetfall.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/plunderedhearts.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/restaurant.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/seastalker.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/sherlock.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/shogun.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/sorcerer.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/spellbreaker.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/starcross.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/stationfall.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/suspect.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/suspended.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/trinity.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/wishbringer.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/witness.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/zork-german.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/zork.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/zork1.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/zork2.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/zork3.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/zorkzero.git

NEW the ‘gold’ versions of various games, these are the ones with built in help systems

git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/wishbringer-gold.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/planetfall-gold.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/zork1-gold.git
git clone https://github.com/historicalsource/hitchhikersguide-gold.git

The reason being of course that if there are multiple versions they are stacked. Now why is this important? Who cares? it’s all in ZILL which there is no compiler for, as the TOPS-20 tools are still lost?

Enter ZILF!

Written by Jesse McGrew in an apparent vacuum, this toolchain can Z3 machine based ZIL source code. Yes that’s right it’s a compiler!

I know Zork will get all the headlines, but back the 80’s I preferred Planetfall. I’m not even going to talk about the insanity that was the Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy.

Zilf is really only suited for Z3 compilation, and looking at planetfall there are two commits of note:

$ git log| tail -11 commit e85ca899aac575e74a4b3845f44d09a891c1563a Author: historicalsource Date: Sat Apr 13 21:35:51 2019 -0400 Final Revision commit 281bd3417faada8011397244d4bfaad562cb7bfc Author: historicalsource Date: Sat Apr 13 21:34:42 2019 -0400 Revision 37 (Original Source)

The source for the Final version won’t build with ZILF. However the Revision 37 source will!

$ git checkout 281bd3417faada8011397244d4bfaad562cb7bfc Note: checking out '281bd3417faada8011397244d4bfaad562cb7bfc'. You are in 'detached HEAD' state. You can look around, make experimental changes and commit them, and you can discard any commits you make in this state without impacting any branches by performing another checkout. If you want to create a new branch to retain commits you create, you may do so (now or later) by using -b with the checkout command again. Example: git checkout -b HEAD is now at 281bd34... Revision 37 (Original Source)

Ok, now let’s trash the directory! (you did backup the repo first, right?)

C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall>..\bin\Zilf planetfall.zil ZILF 0.8 built 3/19/2017 1:34:17 PM Planetfall [warning MDL0417] C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\MISC.zil:509: ROUTINE: only 3 routine arguments allowed in V3, so last 2 "OPT" arguments will never be passed in INSERT-FILE called at planetfall.zil:14 in IFILE called at planetfall.zil:25 [warning ZIL0208] C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\SYNTAX.zil:143: preaction routine mismatch for 'V?ZAP': using PRE-ZAP as before [error ZIL0113] C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\MISC.zil:150: SETG: argument 1: bare atom argument must be a variable name [error ZIL0113] C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\MISC.zil:315: SETG: argument 1: bare atom argument must be a variable name [error ZIL0113] C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\MISC.zil:317: SETG: argument 1: bare atom argument must be a variable name [error ZIL0113] C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\MISC.zil:319: SETG: argument 1: bare atom argument must be a variable name [warning ZIL0504] C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\PARSER.zil:244: treating SET to 0 as true here [warning ZIL0502] C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\VERBS.zil:156: RETURN value ignored: block is in void context [warning ZIL0204] C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\VERBS.zil:1879: no such global variable 'WHERE', using the local instead [warning ZIL0505] C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\COMPTWO.zil:3035: COND: clauses after else part will never be evaluated [warning ZIL0308] : too many parts of speech for 'PORT': Object (C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\GLOBALS.zil:78), Adjective (C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\GLOBALS.zil:224), Direction (C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\GLOBALS.zil:11) [warning ZIL0306] C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\GLOBALS.zil:224: discarding the Adjective part of speech for 'PORT' [warning ZIL0308] : too many parts of speech for 'BRUSH': Object (C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\GLOBALS.zil:548), Adjective (C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\GLOBALS.zil:549), Verb (C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\SYNTAX.zil:283) [warning ZIL0306] C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall\GLOBALS.zil:549: discarding the Adjective part of speech for 'BRUSH' 10 warnings 4 errors C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall>dir *zap Volume in drive C is BOOTCAMP Volume Serial Number is 903B-72D4 Directory of C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall 04/17/2019 08:32 PM 247,803 planetfall.zap 04/17/2019 08:32 PM 162,476 planetfall_data.zap 04/17/2019 08:32 PM 1,336 planetfall_freq.zap 04/17/2019 08:32 PM 40,495 planetfall_str.zap 4 File(s) 452,110 bytes 0 Dir(s) 238,542,704,640 bytes free C:\temp\zilf\zilf-0.8\planetfall>..\bin\zapf planetfall.zap ZAPF 0.8 Reading planetfall.zap Reading planetfall_freq.zap Reading planetfall_data.zap Reading planetfall_str.zap Measuring.. Assembling Wrote 121952 bytes to planetfall.z3

Sure it said 4 errors, but it compiled! Using a z3 or higher interpreter we can load up Planetfall

Planetfall!

At first glance it may look the same, but check the serial number. 190417. That’s today!

I’ve played it about 1/5th of the way though. There is a walkthru here.

There seems to be so much in flux about this source dump. replicate while you can!

Confusion & MDL Zork

I don’t know how I missed this, but there is a MDL interpreter that can run MDL Zork!

This Zork created December 2, 2015.
West of House
This is an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door.
There is a small mailbox here.
A rubber mat saying ‘Welcome to Zork!’ lies by the door.
“DONE”
> open mailbox
Opening the mailbox reveals a leaflet.
> take leaflet
Taken.
> read leaflet
WELCOME TO ZORK
ZORK is a game of adventure, danger, and low cunning. In it you
will explore some of the most amazing territory ever seen by mortal
man. Hardened adventurers have run screaming from the terrors
contained within!

In ZORK the intrepid explorer delves into the forgotten secrets
of a lost labyrinth deep in the bowels of the earth, searching for
vast treasures long hidden from prying eyes, treasures guarded by
fearsome monsters and diabolical traps!

No PDP-10 should be without one!

ZORK was created at the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science, by
Tim Anderson, Marc Blank, Bruce Daniels, and Dave Lebling. It was
inspired by the ADVENTURE game of Crowther and Woods, and the long
tradition of fantasy and science fiction adventure. ZORK is written
in MDL (alias MUDDLE).

On-line information may be available using the HELP and INFO
commands (most systems).

Direct inquiries, comments, etc. by Net mail to [email protected]

(c) Copyright 1978,1979 Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
All rights reserved.

>

How is that for cool?  The MDL interpreter is called Confusion by Matthew T. Russotto, and can be found here.  There is even a port to Windows, by  David Kinder back in 2009!

I don’t know how I missed it, but this is as close as you can get to the original 1979 experience.

Speaking of which, gunkies should be on faster hardware, and the DNS records should be updated by the time you read this.

The Infocom Cabinet

You haven't played Planetfall??

What? You haven’t played Planetfall??

 

Over on archive.org:

A collection of digitized scans from a large cache of documents related to the game publisher Infocom, Inc. of Cambridge, MA. Assembled by Steven Meretzky of Infocom.

During his time at Infocom, Steve Meretzky meticulously gathered thousands of pages of notes, journals, maps, memos, forms and other printable materials related to all aspects of Infocom, and kept them in his basement for decades. During the GET LAMP production, Jason Scott scanned in roughly 9,000 pages of these documents across a number of months, borrowing the materials from Steve and scanning them as quickly as possible, at around 600dpi. From these scans, a portion was used in the GET LAMP movie to illustrate various scenes and descriptions by interviewees.

Pretty cool!

Includes detailed information on the Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, Planetfall parts 1 & part 2, Stationfall, Zork Zero, Leather Gods of Phobos, production schedules and ZIL the interpretive language.   And other goodies!

Great thanks to Steven Meretzky for being a hoarder (aka archiver) and Jason Scott for being a bigger hoarder, and digitizer sharing everything for all!

InfoTaskForce running on PowerPC (Dynamips)

choices..

choices..

Well considering what a hit it was, the last time I did this, I thought I’d give it another go!

And after a bit of fighting, I got it to run!

Now what were the obstacles?  Well for starters not having a full libc certainly hurts things.  Things like a malloc.  And without getting fancy with the memory map I did the lamest cheat ever, which is a 1MB static array I just handed out with a fake malloc (no free, I didn’t bother to track chunks), and you know it works enough.

Also I need to read files, and I need to look more into the hardware to see how to do that.  There seems to be plenty of hooks for NVRAM, but the ROMMON substitute doesn’t seem to support them.  Also there is no ROMMON hook for reading from the console!  The MIPS cilo is more ROMMON dependent, while the PowerPC c1700 talks to the uart directly so this is a PowerPC thing for right now.

I also learned something exciting about ld, which is how it can absorb binary images into objects, that you can link and access directly into your program!  No more having to convert it to hex, make these insane headders that CPP may or may not bomb over.  No you can make them objects right away!

ppc-elf-ld -r -b binary -o planetfa.o planetfa.dat

In this example I read the file planetfa.dat as BINARY, and encapsulate it in an object file called planetfa.o . It’ll now have a symbol name of _binary_planetfa_dat_start for where the image begins, _binary_planetfa_dat_size will tell me how big it is in memory, and _binary_planetfa_dat_end will mark the end of this ‘file’ in memory.

Now in the old days when it was a file I could access it like this:

fread ((char *)ptr,block_size,(int)num_blocks,game_file);

But that won’t work.  So now instead of calling fopen/fclose (which don’t exist in CILO), I set a counter to what my current offset is, change the ‘fseek’ to just set the global counter to where it should be, and when I fread I just memcpy:

memcpy(ptr,_binary_planetfa_dat_start+fseekp,num_blocks*block_size);
fseekp=fseekp+(num_blocks*block_size);

I suppose I could just have wrapped the f* calls into some emulation library but I don’t need to get all that crazy sophisticated.

C:\temp\dynamips>dynamips.exe -P 1700 -X -r 4 ciscoload.bin
Cisco Router Simulation Platform (version 0.2.15-experimental(merge uppc smips)Build-3-x86/MinGW stable)
Copyright (c) 2005-2011 Christophe Fillot.
Build date: Sep 19 2015 19:33:12

Local UUID: 0450c178-6480-11e5-a559-019031cf957a

Pcap version [WinPcap version 4.1.3 (packet.dll version 4.1.0.2980), based on libpcap version 1.0 branch 1_0_rel0b (20091008)]
Unsure if this file (c1700_i0_rommon_vars) needs to be in binary mode
Virtual RAM size set to 4 MB.
IOS image file: ciscoload.bin

ILT: loaded table “mips64j” from cache.
ILT: loaded table “mips64e” from cache.
ILT: loaded table “ppc32j” from cache.
ILT: loaded table “ppc32e” from cache.
vtty_term_init
CPU0: carved JIT exec zone of 64 Mb into 2048 pages of 32 Kb.
C1700 instance ‘default’ (id 0):
VM Status : 0
RAM size : 4 Mb
NVRAM size : 32 Kb
IOS image : ciscoload.bin

Loading BAT registers
Loading ELF file ‘ciscoload.bin’…
ELF entry point: 0x8000d9c8

C1700 ‘default’: starting simulation (CPU0 IA=0xfff00100), JIT enabled.
ROMMON emulation microcode.

Launching IOS image at 0x8000d9c8…
CILO
CiscoLoader (CILO) – Linux bootloader for Cisco Routers
Available RAM: 4096 kB
Available commands:
queen
hanoi
horse
fib
planetfall
halt

Enter filename to boot:
malloc 64512 offset is 0 offset is now 64522
malloc 38912 offset is 64522 offset is now 103444
PLANETFALL
Infocom interactive fiction – a science fiction story
Copyright (c) 1983 by Infocom, Inc. All rights reserved.
PLANETFALL is a trademark of Infocom, Inc.
Release 37 / Serial number 851003

Another routine day of drudgery aboard the Stellar Patrol Ship Feinstein. This
morning’s assignment for a certain lowly Ensign Seventh Class: scrubbing the
filthy metal deck at the port end of Level Nine. With your Patrol-issue
self-contained multi-purpose all-weather scrub brush you shine the floor with a
diligence born of the knowledge that at any moment dreaded Ensign First Class
Blather, the bane of your shipboard existence, could appear.

Deck Nine
This is a featureless corridor similar to every other corridor on the ship. It
curves away to starboard, and a gangway leads up. To port is the entrance to
one of the ship’s primary escape pods. The pod bulkhead is closed.

Deck Nine Score: 0/4451
PLANETFALL
Infocom interactive fiction – a science fiction story
Copyright (c) 1983 by Infocom, Inc. All rights reserved.
PLANETFALL is a trademark of Infocom, Inc.
Release 37 / Serial number 851003

Deck Nine Score: 0/4451
>

For anyone crazy enough, you can find my MinGW Dynamips on sourceforge, cross compilers for PowerPC, and the branch of the firmware source that includes InfoTaskForce, and the binary image.

While I don’t want to write an OS for this, it is almost tempting.  Or go the other route, and add in some non router based hardware… Like audio hardware, or a framebuffer.

Does anyone have a 1700 to test to see if any of this works?  Or a 7200?! 😀

Tracking down the InfoTaskForce from 1987.

So like all zork obsessed people (I really should get help or something), I was trying to build a z-machine interpreter for the x68000, using Lydux’s cross GCC compiler.  And it was honestly looking like a LOT of work in the IO department.  Thinking that the older versions were more simpler, I went looking for the oldest open Z-machine, called the “The InfoTaskForce Infocom interpreter”, released by the InfoTaskForce.  Unfortunately I can only find version 4.01 searching for the source code.  Which still looks too complicated.  But looking the history file, the project started back in 1987.  So with that to go on a new google search got me this:

Infocom Adventure Executor Source Files (1987)(InfoTaskForce)[C].zip

From an TRS-80 dump of all things.  I don’t know what version this is other than the brief copyright mention:

/* (C)opyright 1987 InfoTaskforce. */

All of the files are dated 4/12/2001 so they obviously aren’t original. And the version string is:

echo ( “Interpreter: C Version 1.0\n” ) ;

So assuming this is correct, from the 4.01 history file:

REV_E – June 25, 1987.
———————-

REV_E is the first major overhaul to the interpreter.

* The source is now significantly lint free.

* TERMCAP support has now been added [#define TERMCAP option].

* Screen paging and word wrap has been added, along with a new
command line option which disables screen paging (-p).

* Random number generator seeding using time () added [#define
TIMESEED option].

* Attributes in the object list are listed as bits.

* A debuging version can now be produced as an inbuilt options
[#define DEBUG option].

* The coded requirement that 25k is always free in the system can
now be removed [#define ALLOCALL option].

* A new command line option was added to print the object/room list
as a tree (-r).

* interp.c has been re-written to improve efficiency [large
switches have been replaced with arrays of pointers to funcions].

There are now 14 machines on the porting list:

Machine C Compiler Operational Porting details

128K Apple
Macintosh Aztec C Version 1.06F 18/05/87

128K Apple
Macintosh Lightspeed C 2.01 29/05/87 Use “rb” & “wb” in all fopen()s

IBM PC/AT Microsoft C 4 30/05/87 Link with binmode.obj

DEC VAX 11/780 UNIX V7 cc 01/06/87

HP-9000 HP-UX cc 02/06/87

gould cc 03/06/87

Amiga Aztec C 04/06/87

Pyramid 9810 cc 04/06/87

Pyramid 90x cc 04/06/87

Osiris cc 05/06/87

DEC PDP-11/? UNIX V? cc 07/06/87 EXTENSIVE
mods to fix problems with signed chars.

VAX VMS cc 16/06/87 Add #define
times ttmes to fix multiply defined symbol problem. [infocom.h]

Version 1.00 – August 17, 1987.
——————————-

The REV_C interpreter of June 2, 1987 was officially archived as
Version 1.00 on August 17, 1987.

So this means it’s very 16bit & 32bit friendly, especially on BIG endian machines like the 68000 processor.

Luckily this older version is pretty trivial to compile, and get running.  But I was over thinking the build process and decided to strip the executable as GCC would kick out a 500kb file, which objcopy would extract a 81kb executable.  Stripping it brought the size down to a 50kb executable but it wouldn’t run in either xm6 or run68.  I ended up going in circles for a while trying to find fault in what is broken where until I manually compiled the interpreter, and omitted the strip step and suddenly had a working interpreter.

Now there is one issue, saving doesn’t work.  Something in the libc is having issues using fopen with a file to write.  Reading works perfectly fine though.  So to fix it, I went ahead and redid the save feature to use the HumanOS native _open/_write/_close functions and I’m able to now save & restore a game.

D:\proj\run68\test>run68.exe infocom.X minizork.z3
MINI-ZORK I: The Great Underground Empire
Copyright (c) 1988 Infocom, Inc. All rights reserved.
ZORK is a registered trademark of Infocom, Inc.
Release 34 / Serial number 871124

West of House
You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front
door. You could circle the house to the north or south.
There is a small mailbox here.

West of House Score: 0/0
>restore
Filename: mz1.sav
Ok.

Living Room Score: 10/19
>inventory
You have:
A nasty knife
A rope
A sword
A brass lantern (providing light)
A brown sack
A glass bottle
The glass bottle contains:
A quantity of water
A leaflet

Living Room Score: 10/20
>

In this process I’ve also managed to build run68, and verified that it’s operating correctly, as both run68 and XM6 both failed to write to a file with fopen, and both work using the native calls.

Planetfall on a x68000

Planetfall on a x68000

I’m sure most people won’t care but I think it’s great having the ability to run a GCC generated C program in a relatively small interpreter.

If anyone cares, here is my updated cross compiler + run68 source along with tweaked Info Task Force 1.0 source.  Or a disk image that XM6 can boot up, and run some demo programs from Infocom of ages ago.

Virtual IIGS for Chrome, Active GS!

It’s a simple pluggin for Chrome, download it and you are good to go.  As a bonus, check out The Lost Treasures of Infocom!

No really!

Besides the disk swapping, it’s pretty cool!

Planetfall!

Planetfall!

 

Infocom Games

feelies!

Did you ever love Zork?  Personally I was into Planetfall.  And what made Infocom cool was the ‘feelies’.  I guess it’s pretty obvious that if you found me here, then you know all about the rise and fall of Infocom, and how it was how they wanted to diversify into business applications… And their portable strategy backfired big time.

But back to the games.  While talking to someone and the topic of Infocom came up, I had to see how many I had as I’d managed to buy one of the ‘collection’ sets of Infocom games.  Sure I felt like “I had them all” but after finding accardi-by-the-sea I found out that not only was I missing some, but they actually had every version of these games that had been released!

Talk about an exceptional collection!

And if you love all the packaging, check out here & here.

 

The oldest CP/M ‘simulator’ out there.

I was surprised to come across this little simulator simply called ‘com‘ tonight. This program started out as a 8080 instruction simulator for a mc68000 machine running CP/M, back in 1984, and was written by one Jim Cathey.

‘Com’ was then later written up, and published in Dr. Dobb’s Journal.

From there it’s evolved it’s assembly core to some other 68000 cpu families and platforms, then the MIPS and PowerPC. Then in 2006 the CPU core was re-written in C.

For a while it’s primary platform was a 68000 based Unix, and it still has a lot of unix’isims buried in the source. I’m sure it’d build in MinGW though.

But in the meantime I figured it was yet another reason to fire up the old gcc 1.37.1 for Xenix to give this thing a go.

The biggest, and dumbest thing I fought was without realizing there was both a ‘Makefile’, and a ‘makefile’, and gmake kept running the lowercase one, while I was editing the Makefile in vain… But with that out of the way, and a few includes to fix, it was VERY straight forward to build. Not to mention running Xenix on Virtual PC 2007 on my new intel core i7 cpu, it compiles the C version just about as quickly as I can hit the enter key.

Because it’s on Virtual PC the last few lines of the console are garbled.. Oh well, at least the floppy controller works (as long as you hard code /dev/fd0 to 2,60).

So, here is a picture:

Xenix 2.3.4 with ccom zork1

Xenix 2.3.4 with ccom zork1

And a disk image. All I’ve really done is tweaked a few things, and built this with gcc so it includes a binary for Xenix systems. Also the ‘com.tar.gz’ package did include quite a few sample programs… mandog.com is fun, along with zork 1,2 &3!

On a final note, I thought the Xenix thing was a good road to head down because in the 1990’s there was this BIG push for ibcs2 compatibility across all these Unix platforms on the i386 cpu. Well it’s been largely abandoned work, and the best I got was OpenBSD complaining that its always out of memory, and NetBSD kernel panics!.. Open Solaris has *NO* ibcs2 compatibility even left.

I suspect it doesn’t matter, esp now that you can run some real ibcs2 OS’s in a VM, who needs 3rd party emulation?

I guess I’m just too late to the party.