Or, The Platform I'm Currently Interested In

Minicomputers. The middle child between the giant mainframes and the things where you have the computer on the end user's desk. Think of a room of people all using the same computer that's in the corner.

1963 Timesharing: A Solution to Computer Bottlenecks

This was before my time. I'm old, but I have no experiance in a time-share system. AppleII? Yea, that's what I learned typing on and the ins ando uts of 'this is a computer.' So I have no first hand knowledge, and to be honest? Emulating would only go so far in replicating the experiance.

Beyond the PDP-11 being the machien that Unix was first used on (under the Unix name mind you, as there were prior versions written in assembly for I want to say the PDP-8 rather than C.) There is the fact that the Soviets invested a lot of resources in reverse engineering and cloning the PDP-11 and, assuming I'm reading correctly, actually making headway into extending the architecture.

Urban Exploration of a lab containing soviet era PDP-11 Clones

I get that right now the political climate is pretty anti-russia, but for me that is a distaste of their leadership and policy rather than of their people. Soviet computing history is genuinely facinating. While it saddens me that they went down the path of cloning and reverse engineering rather than continue on thier own architectures? In a way they did continue going their own way with turning the PDP-11 into essentially a desktop form factor in the 80's.

Would've been interesting to see if they'd take it into portable territory by the 90's, and how they might have extended and altered the architecture.

Past that bit of 'what if'? For me it represents a highly popular architecture just before personal computers came along. I get that DEC went the way they did with PC clones, but would've been interesting if DEC had taken their own efforts at turning the PDP-11 int oa desktop with xenix as its OS. Pipe dream for a variety of reasons, mostly cost, but that also represents something of a what if I wish smarter minds than mine would churn on.

It's an architecture that we can literally emulate in micro-controllers now. Kits exist to recreate the front panel of one of the older models that one can hook a raspberry pi into.

Emulation exists? As I said, though, emulation wouldn't give an 'authentic' experiance. Just a close approximation.

Apparently Hackaday has a lot of articles on this thing.

Tiny PDP11 on a Tiny Terminal

Hackaday's list of PDP Articles

More Hackaday PDP-11 articles



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