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Thread: Greetings from GE Canada!

  1. #1

    Default Greetings from GE Canada!

    I would like to reach out to you to let you know about a fantastic opportunity in Peterborough Ontario Canada for a PDP-11 programmer. The role supports the nuclear industry who has committed to continue the use of PDP-11 until 2050!! Yes I know this is a hard-to-find (existing) skill. We will also consider programming experience with other assembly language. If you are interested, or know of anyone who is, please feel free to email me at

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Kamloops, BC, Canada
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    Being more than wiling to operate and program DEC systems for a career path, in this day in time where the hell do you even get this level of training now? I know of not a single university in British Columbia that would even touch on the subject.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Colfax, CA, USA, Grid Square CM99mb


    The same place we learned it back in the day--with books and a machine to use. Today you've got PDFs and emulators, of course.

    At my university they offered IBM BAL on the CS track, 8085 on the EE track. I learned to program the PDP when I got into a job that used one, but had experience in assembly and ML on a bunch of other systems first. Between the various hardware and programming books laying around, and taking advantage of every opportunity to read others' code, I managed.
    Mark, W8BIT

  4. #4


    There's probably a retiree out there somewhere whose investments have tanked badly enough that they'd be willing to dust off their resume again.

  5. #5


    Eventually they'll need someone to get PDP-11 code running in emulation on a more modern machine, if they really want to keep it going until 2050. The last PDP-11 machines were built in 1997, and I don't know anyone who would be comfortable with the idea of a nuclear power plant depending on a 50-year-old computer system!

  6. #6


    Mine was built in (IIRC) 1981, ran as a terminal server to a business for who-knows-how-long, and either sat unattended in storage for years until finally being thrown out, or went directly from field service to the recycle center, where it was manhandled by the apes who work there, and it booted right up without a hitch when I brought it home, everything working perfectly - disk drives and all. It's older than I am, has seen harsher schedules, and has still aged more gracefully! It really wouldn't surprise me if they could keep their system running for another thirty-seven years with nothing but TLC, elbow grease, and judicious replacement of any aging parts.

    And frankly, I'd be more worried about replacing a nuclear controller system with an emulator than I ever would about keeping a real PDP-11 running.

    Buy DEC while you can, guys - I smell a north-of-the-border buyup in the works.
    Computers: Amiga 1200, DEC VAXStation 4000/60, DEC MicroPDP-11/73
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    "'Legacy code' often differs from its suggested alternative by actually working and scaling." - Bjarne Stroustrup

  7. #7

    Default Brings back memories!

    When I was with DEC I used to practically crank out MACRO-11 code for RSX11M and RSX11M+ systems in my sleep. Did it for quite a few years, the PDP-11 is actually very nice to program in assembler as long as you don't get the dreaded notification from TKB that you've exceeded the 64K address space! (Of course then you get to experience the joy of manually setting up program overlays. It was sheer luxury when the separate I & D space processors arrived!)

    It's been at least 20 years and probably more since I worked with PDP-11 systems. I think I still have some genuine DEC RSX11M docs in orange binders around somewhere. Amazing in an age where cheap consumer-grade computers have gigabytes of core and terabytes of mass storage that this stuff is still being used somewhere!

  8. #8


    I still have all of my PDP-11 books and reference cards! I worked on a PDP-11/44 many years ago and I was an assembler programmer but I did more assembler work on System/7 process control systems.
    If they have a problem I might be able to brush up on my assembler and help.

  9. #9


    Wow... This takes me back! I figure the only people still running PDPs would be a few collectors. I worked for DEC for about 15 years and did 90% of my programming in assembly - mostly under the RSX-11M operating system but also did some work using RT-11 as well. In my early days I worked with a PDP-11/05 with RK03 disk drives (later updated to RK05's), followed by PDP-11/34s to PDP-11/23s with RLO2 disks and then PDP-11/73s with 5 inch(??) drives that slid into the same chassis as the processor (I can't think of the name for them at the moment). All of my work involved writing system software for test systems used to test Digital's power products in five manufacturing sites spread around the globe. After leaving Digital I worked a few years for Modular - the small company Ken Olsen started after he left Digital. I'm about to retire in a few weeks from the company I'm working for now where I am still write all my code in assembly. For the last 13 years I have been working with 32-bit ARM processors used in many handheld devices mostly writing low level, bare metal code.

    I'm sure they want someone working on site so that probably rules me out since I wouldn't want to move to Canada. Oh Well.......

  10. #10


    We still teach assembler language here at Sheridan College. Some Ontario Colleges teach three senior courses in assembler, but we have reduced it to one course in assembler on micro controllers and then move to C for the other two.

    I would love to play with a pdp11 again, but alas, the college pays me well and does not let me take on any outside work except in the summer holidays!!

    Perhaps companies who need it could sponsor a program of study. I still have my books!

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