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* [TUHS] Joe Condon [ long, slightly off-topic post ]
@ 2019-04-20 22:57 Jon Steinhart
  2019-04-21  0:22 ` [TUHS] 516-TSS, was re: Joe Condon Dennis Boone
  2019-04-21  5:52 ` [TUHS] Joe Condon [ long, slightly off-topic post ] Rob Pike
  0 siblings, 2 replies; 7+ messages in thread
From: Jon Steinhart @ 2019-04-20 22:57 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: tuhs

So as part of my attempt to remember the names of the folks with who I worked
I just read Joe's wikipedia page which doesn't seem accurate to me.  If this
is too off topic let me know.

The page says that Joe "was exposed to UNIX on the Honeywell 516 machines in
the early 1970s."  This seems wrong to me.  We did have a 516, but it ran an
experimental virtual memory system called 516-TSS.  I lived on this system
and still have some of the octal instruction opcodes burned into my brain-ROM.
I seem to recall that the department got a PDP-11/40 that ran UNIX version 3 in
maybe the summer of 1972 which I used for writing up the documentation for my
project.

The page also says that "Condon and Ken Thompson promoted the use of the C
programming language for AT&T’s switching system control programs.  Condon
acquired a small AT&T PBX (telephone switch) that handled about 50 phones;
he made the necessary hardware changes and Thompson wrote the necessary software
programs. The PBX code rewrite in C was a success and hastened the adoption of
C for all switching system software within AT&T."  This also doesn't match my
recollection.

One of the big projects in the department was what I think was called SS1 for
Slave Switch 1, which was an all-digital telephone exchange.  It replaced some
other monstrosity whose details I can't recall except that Joe and Dave Weller
signed the appropriate paperwork allowing me to take a good portion of it home
when it was decommissioned giving me a huge stock of Augat wirewrap boards and
7400-series parts.  The SS1 was originally going to use LSI-11s but the stupid
way in which DEC implemented the DRAM refresh made that impossible.  I think
that the final thing used a couple of PDP-10s.  As part of being all-digital
it used the digital filter work by Jim Kaiser and Hal Alles.  I do remember
going into Carl Christensen's office to ask him a question and found him staring
at a huge C listing; it turns out that a bug in the code had caused SS1 to send
KP pulses without their corresponding ST pulses with the result that every single
keypulse sender in the Berkeley Heights telephone exchange was taken off line and
needed to be manually reset to restore long distance service.  They were not happy.

Anyway, unless there was something that happened later after I was gone, I'm
thinking that the wikipedia page is incorrect and that this PBX was built, not
acquired.  It was, as far as I know, the first use of C to control machinery.

It's actually because of this machine that I'm trying to track down the name
of some folks from down at the end of the hall.  I have strong memories of the
Bell System exhibit at the '64 World's Fair, especially the booth where one
could go and talk and they had bar graphs on a monitor showing the spectrum
of your speech and could mess with it.  Many years later, while waiting for
some deck of cards to finish loading, I poked my head into the lab down the
hall to see what they were doing in there, and noticed polaroid photos of that
exhibit featuring the guys in the lab.  Once they stopped telling stories from
the World's Fair, they taught me a lesson about systems engineering that opened
my eyes.  They were developing a circuit that replaced the pound of iron hybrid
transformers that were on every telephone line with a small toroid and an op-amp.
Their circuit would sense when the iron was getting close to saturation and run
current through an additional winding to keep it in the linear region.  While
that circuit cost a lot more than a hybrid transformer, it paid for itself by
reducing the amount of concrete needed to build telephone exchanges.

Would love to know who these guys were which is why an org chart would help.
And maybe someone out there like Ken can help me out with the accurate history.

Jon

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 7+ messages in thread

* [TUHS] 516-TSS, was re: Joe Condon
  2019-04-20 22:57 [TUHS] Joe Condon [ long, slightly off-topic post ] Jon Steinhart
@ 2019-04-21  0:22 ` Dennis Boone
  2019-04-21  1:00   ` Jon Steinhart
  2019-04-21  3:07   ` Mary Ann Horton Gmail
  2019-04-21  5:52 ` [TUHS] Joe Condon [ long, slightly off-topic post ] Rob Pike
  1 sibling, 2 replies; 7+ messages in thread
From: Dennis Boone @ 2019-04-21  0:22 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: tuhs

 > The page says that Joe "was exposed to UNIX on the Honeywell 516
 > machines in the early 1970s."  This seems wrong to me.  We did have a
 > 516, but it ran an experimental virtual memory system called 516-TSS.
 > I lived on this system and still have some of the octal instruction
 > opcodes burned into my brain-ROM.

As a Prime 50-Series buff, I'd be interested in knowing more about this
516-TSS.  Pointers appreciated, if there are any bits, documentation, or
war stories lurking about.

De

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 7+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] 516-TSS, was re: Joe Condon
  2019-04-21  0:22 ` [TUHS] 516-TSS, was re: Joe Condon Dennis Boone
@ 2019-04-21  1:00   ` Jon Steinhart
  2019-04-21  3:07   ` Mary Ann Horton Gmail
  1 sibling, 0 replies; 7+ messages in thread
From: Jon Steinhart @ 2019-04-21  1:00 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: tuhs

Dennis Boone writes:
>  > The page says that Joe "was exposed to UNIX on the Honeywell 516
>  > machines in the early 1970s."  This seems wrong to me.  We did have a
>  > 516, but it ran an experimental virtual memory system called 516-TSS.
>  > I lived on this system and still have some of the octal instruction
>  > opcodes burned into my brain-ROM.
>
> As a Prime 50-Series buff, I'd be interested in knowing more about this
> 516-TSS.  Pointers appreciated, if there are any bits, documentation, or
> war stories lurking about.
>
> De

Well, if I could find my org chart I would probably find it with the 516-TSS
docs.  Here's a little bit of what I can remember...

Our machine had a whopping 12K 16 bit words of core memory, and a 500K disk.
I think that at some point we added another 4K of expensive but faster DRAM.
This sticks in my mind because it was fragile, and when we moved from building
2 to the newly constructed building 7 someone in the group decided to hand-carry
the memory but got caught by the union movers who lectured him on taking food
out of the mouths of their families.

I believe that much of the work on 516-TSS was done by Carl Christensen and
Heinz Lycklama.  Since Heinz is still alive you could ask him if he remembers
anything about it.

The 516 architecture included an index register.  This was used as the base
address register for the VM system.  I recall that there were special acrobatics
that I had to go through if I actually needed to use the index register, probably
involved turning off interrupts or something.

The system was multi-tasking, and was the main machine that the explorer scouts
used.  This is how I got involved before my youthful exuberance and the fact that
I was cutting school and hitchhiking up to the labs so that I could play with it
on non-scouting days got me hired.

The coolest thing about the system was "the loop" which I think was designed by
Dave Weller and Sandy Fraser.  It was an early LAN.  I remember that it had special
repeaters using the hot tech of the time, 74S00s.  Since it was a loop configuration
everyone had in and out jacks in their offices and labs.  When it was meeting time
and people weren't showing up Joe would unplug his to take the network down.  I also
remember one day when the error rate went through the roof; turned out some guy in a
lab down the hall left some cover off of his cyclotron.  Comforting.

One of the main things on the loop were the Glance-G graphics terminals, an early
vector graphics display.  That's what I was working on.  If I remember correctly
they had 74S181 bit slice ALUs and 1101 DRAMs.  Lots of cool stuff was done on them
including graphics editors, a display that showed the phone network routing around
faults which, of course, it no longer does.  The graphics that I did was used by
Jim Kaiser for his digital filter work.

I have some really vague memory of a Glance-G in the UNIX lab.

Some other departments had their own systems.  I eventually moved to area 20 to
work on a 516-TSS based integrated circuit test system where we had things like
wafer steppers and measurement equipment on the loop.  The main high-level language
on the system was called FSNAP, where the F was for floating point and SNAP was from
the SNAP language.  I remember adding pseudo-codes and statements to the language to
support IC test.

Other than that the system was nothing special.  Only had a single-level file system.
It was a great system for me a the time, but once we got our PDP-11 and UNIX I didn't
look back.

Oh, and we had a facility that let a modem on our system call the computer center to
submit printer and card punch jobs and such.  It had the ability to get called back
if we submitted compute jobs.  This may have been the predecessor to the UNIX gerts
command.

There's a special place in my heart for the computer center calling facility.  I had
finished up a large project and sent the whole thing up to the computer center to get
it all printed and cards punched.  I had sent so much stuff that I really annoyed the
summer student who was working in the computer center.  We spent a lot of time together
after she calmed down.  I tracked her down a few years ago and we're still friends.

Jon

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 7+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] 516-TSS, was re: Joe Condon
  2019-04-21  0:22 ` [TUHS] 516-TSS, was re: Joe Condon Dennis Boone
  2019-04-21  1:00   ` Jon Steinhart
@ 2019-04-21  3:07   ` Mary Ann Horton Gmail
  2019-04-21  3:52     ` Grant Taylor via TUHS
  1 sibling, 1 reply; 7+ messages in thread
From: Mary Ann Horton Gmail @ 2019-04-21  3:07 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: tuhs

The Honeywell 516 was the basis for the ARPANET IMP, which later became 
the ARPANET TIP (on a 316 by then.)  The IMP was the router that held 
the ARPANET together, the TIP an enhanced version that allowed terminals 
to telnet to hosts on the net.  This version of the 516 didn't run 
anything like UNIX.

Is it possible he got access via the ARPANET?  Or that somehow his 
access got confused with the ARPANET?

     Mary Ann

On 4/20/19 5:22 PM, Dennis Boone wrote:
>   > The page says that Joe "was exposed to UNIX on the Honeywell 516
>   > machines in the early 1970s."  This seems wrong to me.  We did have a
>   > 516, but it ran an experimental virtual memory system called 516-TSS.
>   > I lived on this system and still have some of the octal instruction
>   > opcodes burned into my brain-ROM.
>
> As a Prime 50-Series buff, I'd be interested in knowing more about this
> 516-TSS.  Pointers appreciated, if there are any bits, documentation, or
> war stories lurking about.
>
> De

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 7+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] 516-TSS, was re: Joe Condon
  2019-04-21  3:07   ` Mary Ann Horton Gmail
@ 2019-04-21  3:52     ` Grant Taylor via TUHS
  0 siblings, 0 replies; 7+ messages in thread
From: Grant Taylor via TUHS @ 2019-04-21  3:52 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: tuhs

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On 4/20/19 9:07 PM, Mary Ann Horton Gmail wrote:
> This version of the 516 didn't run anything like UNIX.

What OS did the 516 / TIP run?



-- 
Grant. . . .
unix || die


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^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 7+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] Joe Condon [ long, slightly off-topic post ]
  2019-04-20 22:57 [TUHS] Joe Condon [ long, slightly off-topic post ] Jon Steinhart
  2019-04-21  0:22 ` [TUHS] 516-TSS, was re: Joe Condon Dennis Boone
@ 2019-04-21  5:52 ` Rob Pike
  2019-04-21 16:46   ` Jon Steinhart
  1 sibling, 1 reply; 7+ messages in thread
From: Rob Pike @ 2019-04-21  5:52 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Jon Steinhart; +Cc: tuhs

[-- Attachment #1: Type: text/plain, Size: 5017 bytes --]

The Unix on 516s sounds wrong to me. Perhaps it conflates GCOS remote job
entry and Unix?

But the PBX story is correct. To demonstrate how message passing was a good
model for a switching system, in particular to make a point to the
switching systems division of Bell Labs/AT&T, Ken and Joe bought a
commercial PBX and swapped out its processor for a PDP-11/23 (I think), and
programmed it up. It was just before I arrived there but I was given the
impression it had the desired strategic influence on Indian Hill.

The feature we all loved it for was that instead of ringing the phone in
the Unix room when you got a call, it would announce your name through the
voice synthesizer: "Phone call for Ken." "Phone call for Joe". One rapidly
stopped even hearing the announcement if it didn't end with your name.

-rob


On Sun, Apr 21, 2019 at 8:58 AM Jon Steinhart <jon@fourwinds.com> wrote:

> So as part of my attempt to remember the names of the folks with who I
> worked
> I just read Joe's wikipedia page which doesn't seem accurate to me.  If
> this
> is too off topic let me know.
>
> The page says that Joe "was exposed to UNIX on the Honeywell 516 machines
> in
> the early 1970s."  This seems wrong to me.  We did have a 516, but it ran
> an
> experimental virtual memory system called 516-TSS.  I lived on this system
> and still have some of the octal instruction opcodes burned into my
> brain-ROM.
> I seem to recall that the department got a PDP-11/40 that ran UNIX version
> 3 in
> maybe the summer of 1972 which I used for writing up the documentation for
> my
> project.
>
> The page also says that "Condon and Ken Thompson promoted the use of the C
> programming language for AT&T’s switching system control programs.  Condon
> acquired a small AT&T PBX (telephone switch) that handled about 50 phones;
> he made the necessary hardware changes and Thompson wrote the necessary
> software
> programs. The PBX code rewrite in C was a success and hastened the
> adoption of
> C for all switching system software within AT&T."  This also doesn't match
> my
> recollection.
>
> One of the big projects in the department was what I think was called SS1
> for
> Slave Switch 1, which was an all-digital telephone exchange.  It replaced
> some
> other monstrosity whose details I can't recall except that Joe and Dave
> Weller
> signed the appropriate paperwork allowing me to take a good portion of it
> home
> when it was decommissioned giving me a huge stock of Augat wirewrap boards
> and
> 7400-series parts.  The SS1 was originally going to use LSI-11s but the
> stupid
> way in which DEC implemented the DRAM refresh made that impossible.  I
> think
> that the final thing used a couple of PDP-10s.  As part of being
> all-digital
> it used the digital filter work by Jim Kaiser and Hal Alles.  I do remember
> going into Carl Christensen's office to ask him a question and found him
> staring
> at a huge C listing; it turns out that a bug in the code had caused SS1 to
> send
> KP pulses without their corresponding ST pulses with the result that every
> single
> keypulse sender in the Berkeley Heights telephone exchange was taken off
> line and
> needed to be manually reset to restore long distance service.  They were
> not happy.
>
> Anyway, unless there was something that happened later after I was gone,
> I'm
> thinking that the wikipedia page is incorrect and that this PBX was built,
> not
> acquired.  It was, as far as I know, the first use of C to control
> machinery.
>
> It's actually because of this machine that I'm trying to track down the
> name
> of some folks from down at the end of the hall.  I have strong memories of
> the
> Bell System exhibit at the '64 World's Fair, especially the booth where one
> could go and talk and they had bar graphs on a monitor showing the spectrum
> of your speech and could mess with it.  Many years later, while waiting for
> some deck of cards to finish loading, I poked my head into the lab down the
> hall to see what they were doing in there, and noticed polaroid photos of
> that
> exhibit featuring the guys in the lab.  Once they stopped telling stories
> from
> the World's Fair, they taught me a lesson about systems engineering that
> opened
> my eyes.  They were developing a circuit that replaced the pound of iron
> hybrid
> transformers that were on every telephone line with a small toroid and an
> op-amp.
> Their circuit would sense when the iron was getting close to saturation
> and run
> current through an additional winding to keep it in the linear region.
> While
> that circuit cost a lot more than a hybrid transformer, it paid for itself
> by
> reducing the amount of concrete needed to build telephone exchanges.
>
> Would love to know who these guys were which is why an org chart would
> help.
> And maybe someone out there like Ken can help me out with the accurate
> history.
>
> Jon
>

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^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 7+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] Joe Condon [ long, slightly off-topic post ]
  2019-04-21  5:52 ` [TUHS] Joe Condon [ long, slightly off-topic post ] Rob Pike
@ 2019-04-21 16:46   ` Jon Steinhart
  0 siblings, 0 replies; 7+ messages in thread
From: Jon Steinhart @ 2019-04-21 16:46 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: tuhs

Rob Pike writes:
>
> The Unix on 516s sounds wrong to me. Perhaps it conflates GCOS remote job
> entry and Unix?
>
> But the PBX story is correct. To demonstrate how message passing was a good
> model for a switching system, in particular to make a point to the
> switching systems division of Bell Labs/AT&T, Ken and Joe bought a
> commercial PBX and swapped out its processor for a PDP-11/23 (I think), and
> programmed it up. It was just before I arrived there but I was given the
> impression it had the desired strategic influence on Indian Hill.
>
> The feature we all loved it for was that instead of ringing the phone in
> the Unix room when you got a call, it would announce your name through the
> voice synthesizer: "Phone call for Ken." "Phone call for Joe". One rapidly
> stopped even hearing the announcement if it didn't end with your name.
>
> -rob

Well, I think at this point I know that the 516 part of the story is incorrect
but am not sure exactly what is correct so I'm not going to edit it.  The GCOS
remote job entry had nothing to do with UNIX.  As I said earlier, it may have
been the model for UNIX V3 gerts but I don't know the timing.  I do remember
finding the V3 manual entertaining, I seem to remember that the gerts man page
that said something like "using this command requires divine guidance".  In
hindsight, this probably influenced my own documentation style.

The PBX story must be after my time.  Makes me wonder what ever happened to
the SS1 project.  Since it was written in C I would surmise that it laid the
groundwork for using C in the PBX project.

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 7+ messages in thread

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Thread overview: 7+ messages (download: mbox.gz / follow: Atom feed)
-- links below jump to the message on this page --
2019-04-20 22:57 [TUHS] Joe Condon [ long, slightly off-topic post ] Jon Steinhart
2019-04-21  0:22 ` [TUHS] 516-TSS, was re: Joe Condon Dennis Boone
2019-04-21  1:00   ` Jon Steinhart
2019-04-21  3:07   ` Mary Ann Horton Gmail
2019-04-21  3:52     ` Grant Taylor via TUHS
2019-04-21  5:52 ` [TUHS] Joe Condon [ long, slightly off-topic post ] Rob Pike
2019-04-21 16:46   ` Jon Steinhart

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