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cchaven
June 3rd, 2012, 04:02 PM
Does anyone have the Coherent package from Mark Williams? This was really my first exposure to a UNIX-type system and I've always wanted to find the whole package again. I think I was running it on either a 286 or 386SX machine at the time. About 5 years later I would discover NeXTstep on NeXT hardware.

Thanks
Jeff

Caluser2000
June 3rd, 2012, 11:22 PM
Apperantly it's at vetusware.com There's a link off wikipedia to ftp://ftp.mayn.de/pub/really_old_stuff/coherent/

natcha
June 5th, 2012, 03:36 PM
I grabbed the coherent disk images and they install fine on a virtual machine. Just installed the base system - but will probally try to install the c compilers, etc. Next step is to put it on a CF card and then try it on a Libretto CT and an Omnibook .

Bill

tingo
June 6th, 2012, 12:05 PM
Which hypervisor? VirtualBox or...?
And what settings?

natcha
June 6th, 2012, 01:49 PM
Used Oracle Virtual Box V4.1.16 r78094
32 MB system Memory
500 MB IDE Fixed size drive
IDE Controller, PIX3, use host i/o cache
Chipset: PIX3


Bill

tingo
June 12th, 2012, 02:14 PM
Thanks for the info. I must try this when I find time.

pitlog
June 14th, 2012, 06:02 AM
Seems to work fine, and the C compiler worked fine right out of the box. Or at least I was able to type out a hello.c program in vi, and type "make hello", resulting in a working Hello World. The extra compiler stuff looks to be a gnuC/C++ installation that I don't think is necessary for a toy or collectors item.

The base set comes with a lot of stuff, including n/troff and at least some of the macro packages. Shells are bourne shell and ksh. Nice to have ksh; it "feels right" on a system like this. Compact, not bloated, and plenty of power.

I was not able to find the right incantation to get the updates installed. Tried a couple of times to make install(1) do the right thing, but gave up after messing up a couple of installations. At least Virtual Box allows you to clone a system so after the first time I didn't lose anything important.

One thing I find annoying is that the system seems to fsck the filesystems on every boot. I configured mine with a single 500MB partition and filesystem, and it takes forever to check. Maybe if I do it over I'll try a small root filesystem, and then usr, tmp, and home filesystems and see if it just checks root.

But all in all, it feels like an old Unix system should - kind of like an SVR3.2, or even 2.0 system.

I'll be playing with it some more. Thanks for the pointers to this - I had never run it before.

Tom

natcha
June 14th, 2012, 02:56 PM
One thing I find annoying is that the system seems to fsck the filesystems on every boot

Yep, I notice the same thing - takes forever. I'd be interested in your results on using a smaller root file system. I imagine that this could be disabled somewhere in the startup - but not sure where that would be.

Bill

pitlog
June 15th, 2012, 06:50 PM
Bill,

Another annoyance I've discovered, is that I don't think there is any way for me to get files on and off the system. I'm running on a MacBook Pro. No serial ports, so can't use kermit. I don't think a USB serial adapter will work. Also can't use shared folders. No networking. Copy/Paste doesn't work from VBox.

Is there a solution? Does VMWare have this limitation?

Tom

natcha
June 15th, 2012, 07:27 PM
Tom,


I don't think there is any way for me to get files on and off the system

I've been creating virtual DOS floppy disks to copy to/from the system. A little bit crude, but does work. Earlied today, I loaded a TAR of JOE text editor, but couldn't get it to compile in the base system. I think it'll require the GCC compiler, so I'll try loading that in and then recompiling JOE. I like JOE, since it uses a wordstar or Turbo editor comand set. I never really liked VI or the other Unit editors.

Bill

pitlog
June 16th, 2012, 03:12 AM
Hmmm, somewhere along the line that occurred to me, then I forgot. Getting old, I guess :)

What are you using to create the virtual disks? I wonder if I can do the same on my Mac?

Tom

natcha
June 16th, 2012, 11:12 AM
What are you using to create the virtual disks?

I used RAWRITE to create some from real DOS Disks. Then use XP in Virtualbox to read/write to them. The XP in virtual has a shared drive so I can copy file to the shared drive. Virtual XP to copy to DOS Disk image and then use the disk images in Coherent or Xenix.

I crated a new Coherent Virtual with a 32 meg hard drive and it's much faster on the checking root system. After spending a couple of hours, I finally figured out how to install the GCC compiler. Following is the command to use:

install CohGCC /dev/fva0 4

To innstall X11R5, then following:

install CohX /dev/fva0 2



Took me forever to figure out the Package names (CohGCC & CohX).

NOTE: Disks 3 and 4 of GCC are labeled backwards - Disk 3 is actually disk 4 and disk 4 is actually disk 3.

The X11 requires a serial mouse, which I couldn't do with the VirtualBox - so couldn't test.

I have GCC loaded but so far haven't been sucessful in using GCC in Coherent.

I'm coming to conclusion that I like Xenix a lot better - that may be that I'm just more familar with Xenix - having actually used it for several years (many years ago).

Bill

pitlog
June 18th, 2012, 08:52 AM
OK, here's what I did:

Copied one of the Coherent install images and loaded it in the A: drive on a DOS 6.22 system I have running under VBox. Formatted the floppy in DOS. I think this would have worked directly in Coherent using the dosformat command. Then I mounted the DOS floppy image in OS X, copied trek.zip to the image, unmounted, mounted in Coherent, and copied the file out.

It was a lot easier than it sounds :)

The old trek sources compiled up with just a little work and seems to run just fine.

I'll see if I can get an old version of joe to compile, or maybe pico. Will let you know how it turns out.

Tom

Trixter
June 21st, 2012, 11:50 AM
But all in all, it feels like an old Unix system should - kind of like an SVR3.2, or even 2.0 system.



It was actually modeled after System 7, so it's even older than that.

I worked at MWC from 1992-1994 in various roles, so I might be able to answer some questions, if you have any.

Caluser2000
October 1st, 2015, 07:54 PM
Sorry for the thread bump but I thought it would be prudent to point out for vcf member who weren't aware that Coherent source files are Open Sourced and can have a gander at them http://www.nesssoftware.com/home/mwc/source.php You can also download the manual for for the OS from that page.

Trixter
October 3rd, 2015, 05:29 PM
Cool, I didn't know this! And there's my name in the preface (http://www.nesssoftware.com/home/mwc/doc/coherent/manual/pdf/preface.pdf) so now I can prove I worked at the company :) (it was my second job out of college)

Now all we need is the last version of the 286 and 386 binaries online, and people can run it again.

Caluser2000
October 3rd, 2015, 07:29 PM
Released Jan this year by the looks and archive.org has it. Someone on another forum mentioned eariler bineries could well be amongst those files.

gepooljr
October 4th, 2015, 04:33 PM
Now that the source and binaries are released, I was wondering how difficult it would be to complete the TCP/IP implementation with Ethernet support? According to various sources, MWC was very close to having it finished before it closed. Any ideas?

Geoff

Trixter
October 4th, 2015, 04:47 PM
Rumors of the TCP/IP stack being close to finished at the time of MWC's shutdown are greatly exaggerated. I left in 1994 with no mention of it whatsoever. What I DO remember is the choice Bob Swartz had to make when it was clear we were going to lose our business to Linux: Do we make a TCP/IP stack, or do we make a GUI (ie. X-Window)? He chose the GUI. So, Coherent remains the only Unix OS in history that can run on a 386 with 2MB of RAM and still provide a full X-Window environment (in B&W, need more RAM for color). But if you want to do anything useful with it other than software development, well...

Caluser2000
October 4th, 2015, 08:51 PM
It's nice to hear what went on there at the time Trixter thanks. Yeah I found some X Windows screne shots. I was going to ask about TCP/IP but I see that question has been answered ;)

I see the manual mentions you need Coherent 4.2 and a minimum of 4megs of ram the run X-Windows. 8megs is required for colour. Also requires a serial mouse as mention earlier http://www.nesssoftware.com/home/mwc/doc/coherent/x/pdf/X11.pdf

Trixter
October 4th, 2015, 09:11 PM
If you chose version 3.x of Coherent, and had a 286 with 2MB of RAM, and chose B&W (mono) X-Windows, it worked. Granted, you couldn't do much else (Coherent never supported swap), but it did work. I ran it for half a year when I was in tech support. It required 4MB of RAM with 4.x which required a 386.

I started there as technical sales right out of college and while I there I performed jobs such as coding software for the diskette duplicator, running the UUCP-based BBS, joining tech support, and then finally becoming "Director of Tech Support" (because I was the only one left when they had to let everyone else go due to the company starting to fail). It is one of my fondest work memories, as everyone there was very smart and taught a young cocky kid to be less cocky and more professional.

BTW my name is in the manual as "James Leonard". I'm still in touch with Hal Snyder (kernel dev, SCSI driver, sound card driver), Louis Giliberto (IDE and other drivers), Ed Bravo (tech support), Jeff Day (technical sales), Addison Snell (marketing, who later went on to work at SGI and is now a HPC consultant), and a few others. Unfortunately I've lost contact with Stephen Davis who I really wanted to stay in touch with, except he's from the UK and "Stephen Davis" over there is equivalent to "John Smith" in the USA -- one of the most common names in the country so it's nearly impossible to locate the exact person...

jim02762
October 4th, 2015, 11:27 PM
If you chose version 3.x of Coherent, and had a 286 with 2MB of RAM, and chose B&W (mono) X-Windows, it worked. Granted, you couldn't do much else (Coherent never supported swap), but it did work. I ran it for half a year when I was in tech support. It required 4MB of RAM with 4.x which required a 386.


I think you're mixing up version numbers. Coherent 3.2.1A was the last of the 3.x and it had no graphics or networking, except for UUCP. I don't think any of that came until 4.0(?), which as you said, required a '386.

I ran 3.2.0 and 3.2.1A for a couple of years. My first link to the Internet was a UUCP link between it and my small-town ISP in Wrentham, MA. Good times. I loved that system and am looking forward to recreating it. I still have everything except the box it came in.

Jim

Caluser2000
October 5th, 2015, 12:12 AM
How many disks was 3.2.1A Jim? Can you post any pictures by any chance?

Trixter
October 5th, 2015, 10:37 AM
I think you're mixing up version numbers. Coherent 3.2.1A was the last of the 3.x and it had no graphics or networking, except for UUCP. I don't think any of that came until 4.0(?), which as you said, required a '386.

You are correct, my memory is failing me. I ran 4.x on a 386 with 2MB of RAM with a functional monochrome X-Window system.


How many disks was 3.2.1A Jim? Can you post any pictures by any chance?

I can't recall, sorry. The only disks I have left with COHERENT on the label have been erased and repurposed. (I used to take the diskette duplicator rejects home, since otherwise they'd be tossed in the garbage.)

jim02762
October 6th, 2015, 12:46 AM
How many disks was 3.2.1A Jim? Can you post any pictures by any chance?

It took five 5.25" HD floppies, just like 3.2.0.

For some floppy porn, visit https://goo.gl/photos/iWNBMGYQLG6mK6gj7 . I just took a couple pictures of the 3.2.0 and 3.2.1A disk sets.

Jim