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This forum is part of our mission to promote the preservation of vintage computers through education and outreach. (In real life we also run events and have a museum.) We encourage you to join us, participate, share your knowledge, and enjoy.

This forum has been around in this format for over 15 years. These rules and guidelines help us maintain a healthy and active community, and we moderate the forum to keep things on track. Please familiarize yourself with these rules and guidelines.


Rule 1: Remain civil and respectful

There are several hundred people who actively participate here. People come from all different backgrounds and will have different ways of seeing things. You will not agree with everything you read here. Back-and-forth discussions are fine but do not cross the line into rude or disrespectful behavior.

Conduct yourself as you would at any other place where people come together in person to discuss their hobby. If you wouldn't say something to somebody in person, then you probably should not be writing it here.

This should be obvious but, just in case: profanity, threats, slurs against any group (sexual, racial, gender, etc.) will not be tolerated.


Rule 2: Stay close to the original topic being discussed
  • If you are starting a new thread choose a reasonable sub-forum to start your thread. (If you choose incorrectly don't worry, we can fix that.)
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To put things in engineering terms, we value a high signal to noise ratio. Coming here should not be a waste of time.
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Rule 4: "PM Sent!" messages (or, how to use the Private Message system)

This forum has a private message feature that we want people to use for messages that are not of general interest to other members.

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Why do we have this policy? Sending a "PM Sent!" type message basically wastes everybody else's time by making them having to scroll past a post in a thread that looks to be updated, when the update is not meaningful. And the person you are sending the PM to will be notified by the forum software that they have a message waiting for them. Look up at the top near the right edge where it says 'Notifications' ... if you have a PM waiting, it will tell you there.

Rule 5: Copyright and other legal issues

We are here to discuss vintage computing, so discussing software, books, and other intellectual property that is on-topic is fine. We don't want people using these forums to discuss or enable copyright violations or other things that are against the law; whether you agree with the law or not is irrelevant. Do not use our resources for something that is legally or morally questionable.

Our discussions here generally fall under "fair use." Telling people how to pirate a software title is an example of something that is not allowable here.


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If you are unsure you may consider sending a private message to a moderator instead.


New user moderation

New users are directly moderated so that we can weed spammers out early. This means that for your first 10 posts you will have some delay before they are seen. We understand this can be disruptive to the flow of conversation and we try to keep up with our new user moderation duties to avoid undue inconvenience. Please do not make duplicate posts, extra posts to bump your post count, or ask the moderators to expedite this process; 10 moderated posts will go by quickly.

New users also have a smaller personal message inbox limit and are rate limited when sending PMs to other users.


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Greetings from GE Canada!

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    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 chris.issel@ge.com.
    Thanks!

    #2
    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.
    [Need something to waste time on? Click here to visit my YouTube channel CelGenStudios]
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    [No time for videos? Click here to visit my Twitter feed @CelGenStudios]

    = Excellent space heater

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      #3
      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.
      sigpic Mark, W8BIT http://saundby.com/

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        #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.

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          #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!

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            #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
            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

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              #7
              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!

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                #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.

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                  #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.......

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                    #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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                      #11
                      >>>
                      Originally posted by Rick Shamel View Post
                      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

                      I was an FE, but never worked for Digital. I started on the PDP11/20 with paper tape at Bell Canada! My assembler was mostly diagnostic programming.

                      >>> 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).

                      Could you mean RD50, RD51, RD52, and RD53? I bought an RD50 for my Rainbow somewhere around 1986, it cost $700 for a 5MB drive!

                      >>> 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.

                      Ken Olsen, what a guy! I was at his memorial service last year - discovered he gave away all his wealth!

                      >>>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.......
                      You mean the free Health Care does not sound attractive

                      regards,
                      Nigel

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