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PDP-8 Timesharing - is anyone still doing this on real hardware?

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    PDP-8 Timesharing - is anyone still doing this on real hardware?

    Does anyone still have a timesharing system running on their PDP-8?

    I know Josh Dersch modified TSS/8 to run from an RK05 on the LCM's 8/e, but since the LCM closed down I don't know of any other timesharing 8's that are still running.

    With any luck I'll get ETOS running soon, as I found the required TSC8-75 board in a scrap pile. If it works all I should need to do is get my RK05 running and install a bunch of serial cards...

    I'd also be interested if anyone has any information on OMNI-8, as the only reference I've seen to it is here.
    Wanted: PDP-8/f panel, RK05 (or compatible), 16 Sector RK05 packs, Altair 8800 CPU card, KD11-A, memory for 11/40.
    Available for trade: ASR-33 Teletype, IBM 5150, XT, Intel MDS 230, Many PCs and parts from the 5150 era onwards, DEC Storageworks HDDs, misc DIP ICs, OMNIBUS/UNIBUS/QBUS cards, 6502/8080/85/86/88/Z80 CPUs, Misc radio valves (vacuum tubes), C64, Amiga 1200, Sinclair ZX81/Spectrum/+/.

    #2
    I ran EDU-something on an SBC6120/IOB6120 for a while. Not sure if that counts, however, as there's no actual timeshare support in the 6120, and so it is more of a multi-user BASIC than a general purpose timesharing.

    Getting all the ASCII terminals set up was moderately hardware/space intensive.

    I think Josh has had the TSS/8 running at home recently, rather than at LCM.

    Vince

    Comment


      #3
      There was someone once out there sharing an 11/45. Who boy, was it slow. Just...slow. Wow slow. "How did anyone get anything done" slow.

      Comment


        #4
        It'd be an interesting exercise to roll up a Telnet/SSH-to-serial bridge wherewith someone could set up an Internet-facing timesharing system on vintage minis that cannot themselves support a TCP/IP stack...wonder if the folks at some of the vintage-computer museums have already done something like that.
        Computers: Amiga 1200, DEC VAXStation 4000/60, DEC MicroPDP-11/73
        Synthesizers: Roland JX-10/SH-09/MT-32/D-50, Yamaha DX7-II/V50/TX7/TG33/FB-01, Korg MS-20 Mini/ARP Odyssey/DW-8000/X5DR, Ensoniq SQ-80, E-mu Proteus/2, Moog Satellite, Oberheim SEM
        "'Legacy code' often differs from its suggested alternative by actually working and scaling." - Bjarne Stroustrup

        Comment


          #5
          There was someone once out there sharing an 11/45. Who boy, was it slow. Just...slow. Wow slow. "How did anyone get anything done" slow.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by commodorejohn View Post
            It'd be an interesting exercise to roll up a Telnet/SSH-to-serial bridge wherewith someone could set up an Internet-facing timesharing system on vintage minis that cannot themselves support a TCP/IP stack...wonder if the folks at some of the vintage-computer museums have already done something like that.
            I once had thought to do that with my 11/84 system. I did have it on my own local network, but never went further. I also have a "Black Box" for it that provides a way to connect many terminals to it via TCP/IP. Never actually got that working and am not sure it is a working box. I'd rather have set up my ex pdp-8e with TSS/8 but at that timeI dd not know of the RK05 patch to allow swapping to RK05.
            PDP-8 and PDP-11 enthusiast. But enjoy most older PC stuff too.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by vrs42 View Post
              I ran EDU-something on an SBC6120/IOB6120 for a while. Not sure if that counts, however, as there's no actual timeshare support in the 6120, and so it is more of a multi-user BASIC than a general purpose timesharing.
              I remember stumbling across that on your site a couple of years ago, it's certainly on my to-do list if I can get an IOB6120.
              I wonder what it would take to add the timesharing support to the SBC6120? I've idly thought about it but never looked into it enough to know if it's a matter of slapping a handful of TTL on a daughter-board, or if it would rely on internal signals that aren't accessible on the bus.

              Originally posted by commodorejohn View Post
              It'd be an interesting exercise to roll up a Telnet/SSH-to-serial bridge wherewith someone could set up an Internet-facing timesharing system on vintage minis that cannot themselves support a TCP/IP stack...wonder if the folks at some of the vintage-computer museums have already done something like that.
              LCM did that with several of their systems. My long-term goal is to run a BBS on my 8/f and use an Avocent Cyclades console server to handle the Telnet/SSH side. The console server supports "port pooling", so incoming Telnet connections get automatically routed to a free serial port.
              Wanted: PDP-8/f panel, RK05 (or compatible), 16 Sector RK05 packs, Altair 8800 CPU card, KD11-A, memory for 11/40.
              Available for trade: ASR-33 Teletype, IBM 5150, XT, Intel MDS 230, Many PCs and parts from the 5150 era onwards, DEC Storageworks HDDs, misc DIP ICs, OMNIBUS/UNIBUS/QBUS cards, 6502/8080/85/86/88/Z80 CPUs, Misc radio valves (vacuum tubes), C64, Amiga 1200, Sinclair ZX81/Spectrum/+/.

              Comment


                #8
                I believe timesharing is not possible on the 6120. There are certain registers and signals that are not available externally. Then again I could be totally wrong, so someone prove me wrong.
                PDP-8 and PDP-11 enthusiast. But enjoy most older PC stuff too.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by tradde View Post
                  I believe timesharing is not possible on the 6120. There are certain registers and signals that are not available externally. Then again I could be totally wrong, so someone prove me wrong.
                  I think you are right about that. ISTR that the 6120 MMU swallows 62xx IOT instructions, making it difficult or impossible to detect and respond to them.

                  I have drawn MMU designs that are meant to supply time-sharing for the 6100 CPU. Never tested them, though.

                  Vince

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Wonder why it was designed like that? Guess they couldn't sell the bigger systems for time-sharing if the 6210 could handle it?
                    PDP-8 and PDP-11 enthusiast. But enjoy most older PC stuff too.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I'd suspect more that the target market for the 61x0 line was embedded systems and dedicated office equipment (i.e. the DECMate, which was sold primarily as a standalone word processor despite being a fully-functional general-purpose computer,) and there was just no call for it in time-sharing applications by 1975,* when the -8 architecture was already over a decade old, let alone by the time the 6120 rolled out. But it's a good question, and I'd be curious to hear more about the behind-the-scenes story with that line of parts.

                      * (Then again, DEC rolled out the 8/A with timesharing option just a year prior...)
                      Last edited by commodorejohn; November 23, 2021, 05:21 PM.
                      Computers: Amiga 1200, DEC VAXStation 4000/60, DEC MicroPDP-11/73
                      Synthesizers: Roland JX-10/SH-09/MT-32/D-50, Yamaha DX7-II/V50/TX7/TG33/FB-01, Korg MS-20 Mini/ARP Odyssey/DW-8000/X5DR, Ensoniq SQ-80, E-mu Proteus/2, Moog Satellite, Oberheim SEM
                      "'Legacy code' often differs from its suggested alternative by actually working and scaling." - Bjarne Stroustrup

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by commodorejohn View Post
                        * (Then again, DEC rolled out the 8/A with timesharing option just a year prior...)
                        And with its 128k memory option users could be swapped directly to another part of memory instead of to/from disk. Kinda neat.
                        PDP-8 and PDP-11 enthusiast. But enjoy most older PC stuff too.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Did the TSS/8 installation at the Living Computer Museum in Seattle shut down? I never registered for an account on it, but I've seen demo videos from just before the pandemic hit. https://livingcomputers.org/Computer...TRAIGHT-8.aspx

                          Comment


                            #14
                            My understanding is that the Living Computer Museum is cold and dark and that all the employees have moved on to other jobs. The last news article I could find was from October of 2020 and was about the death of David Cameron, one of their engineers.

                            I just hate the idea that it probably won't be back.

                            I will probably fire up TSS/8 one of these years. It wouldn't be too difficult to hook up the 4 port M8319 (KL8A) to 4 ports on a PC and allow telnet access.

                            Sorry that does not help you today.
                            Doug Ingraham
                            2nd owner of Straight 8 SN1173
                            5 other PDP-8's including an 8/i and a DECSet 8000
                            SOL-20

                            Comment


                              #15
                              It was my dream to come to the US sometime and visit LCM... I wonder what would happen to the collection...
                              WTB: Case for Altair 8800 ...... Rolands Github projects

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