Re: Hi! What's a PDP-11? Anyone know?

Subject: Re: Hi! What's a PDP-11? Anyone know?
From: merrill -at- HYPERION -dot- PDIAL -dot- INTERPATH -dot- NET
Date: Fri, 19 Jan 1996 01:55:32 GMT

> Kent 'Snake' Tegels <snake -at- inetnebr -dot- com> writes:
> crw wrote:

> The PDP-11 is an old (70's/80's area) mid-range box that ran RSTS and struggled to heat water.
> Its not a bad computer if you are running on of DECs DCL-Based OSes (RSTS comes to mind). It
> might best be used as a word-processing/database/programming learning server.

Uh, excuse me, but this characterization of the PDP-11 is an insult. The PDP-11 was
the platform on which UNIX really came into its own. UNIX was developed, if memory serves
me, on the PDP-8 (an idle instance of which was found in a closet at Murray Hill by people whose
names are now legend). The 11 was the machine between the 8 and the VAX. Sure, it "ran RSTS".
But what is more important is that it ran UNIX -- and ran it well. I used to dial into an 11 at the
University of Illinois at Chicago that had something like 64K (words) of memory and was supporting
more than 25 users simultaneously. I wrote a bunch of stuff for that box (including a program for
doing double-sided printed circuit board design, an 8080 emulator, etc.). I had a friend who wrote
a PDP-11 emulator that ran on a 370! Not only did it run, he could actually load the binary UNIX
image on it and UNIX would run on the emulator!! A "mid-range box ... [that] struggled to heat
water"? Get a clue.

Gary Merrill

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