The Unix Heritage Society mailing list
 help / color / Atom feed
* [TUHS] Bell Labs Sysadmins
@ 2020-07-22 17:11 Norman Wilson
  0 siblings, 0 replies; 3+ messages in thread
From: Norman Wilson @ 2020-07-22 17:11 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: tuhs

Henry Bent:

  Are there any former Bell Labs sysadmins on this list?  My father was the
  sysadmin for hoh* (Crawford Hill, mostly the radio astronomy folks) in the
  mid-late '80s and early '90s and I would be especially interested to hear
  from hou* (Holmdel, what a building!) folks but also ihn* (Indian Hill) and
  the like.  I'm very curious about what life was like on the ground, so to
  speak.

=====

It is worth pointing out that, like many universities, Bell
Labs had at least two layers of computing and therefore of
sysadmins.  There were official central Comp Centers, which
is the world Henry asks specifically about; but there were
also less-central computing facilities at the divisional and
center and department level.

I never worked for a comp center, but my role in 1127 was
basically that of sysadmin for our center's own systems;
the ones used both for our day-to-day computing (including
that known to the uucp world as research!) and for OS and
other experiments and research and hacking.

There were also two large VAXes called alice and rabbit,
which afforded general-use computing for other departments
in Division 112.  Us 1127 sysadmins (I wasn't the only one
by any means) ran those too; I don't know the full history
but I gather that happened because there was some desire
to run the Research version of UNIX rather than the comp-center
one for that purpose.

One system I had hands in straddled the researcher/comp-center
boundary: 3k, the Cray X-MP/24 bought specifically for
researchers.  It was physically located in the comp center,
but managed jointly: it ran Cray's UNICOS but with
substantial additions from the Research world, including
the stream I/O system (which is rather self-contained so
it was not too hard to graft into a different UNIX) and
Datakit support (using a custom interface board designed
and built by Alan Kaplan and debugged by me and Alan
over several late-night sessions.  (I remember that
the string "feefoefum\n", which is an obscure cultural
reference from one of my previous workplaces, was
particularly effective at shaking out bugs!)
Once UNICOS-a-la-Research was running stably, staff from
the Murray Hill Comp Center looked after day-to-day
operations, with Research involved more for software
support as needed.

Norman Wilson
Toronto ON

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 3+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] Bell Labs Sysadmins
  2020-07-21 22:19 Henry Bent
@ 2020-07-22 14:23 ` William Cheswick
  0 siblings, 0 replies; 3+ messages in thread
From: William Cheswick @ 2020-07-22 14:23 UTC (permalink / raw)
  Cc: The Eunuchs Hysterical Society

Yep.  I was postmaster in MH starting in early 1988.

ches

> On Jul 21, 2020, at 6:19 PM, Henry Bent <henry.r.bent@gmail.com> wrote:
> 
> Are there any former Bell Labs sysadmins on this list?  My father was the sysadmin for hoh* (Crawford Hill, mostly the radio astronomy folks) in the mid-late '80s and early '90s and I would be especially interested to hear from hou* (Holmdel, what a building!) folks but also ihn* (Indian Hill) and the like.  I'm very curious about what life was like on the ground, so to speak.


^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 3+ messages in thread

* [TUHS] Bell Labs Sysadmins
@ 2020-07-21 22:19 Henry Bent
  2020-07-22 14:23 ` William Cheswick
  0 siblings, 1 reply; 3+ messages in thread
From: Henry Bent @ 2020-07-21 22:19 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: The Eunuchs Hysterical Society


[-- Attachment #1: Type: text/plain, Size: 935 bytes --]

Are there any former Bell Labs sysadmins on this list?  My father was the
sysadmin for hoh* (Crawford Hill, mostly the radio astronomy folks) in the
mid-late '80s and early '90s and I would be especially interested to hear
from hou* (Holmdel, what a building!) folks but also ihn* (Indian Hill) and
the like.  I'm very curious about what life was like on the ground, so to
speak.

I'll start off with a quick anecdote.  When I started college I began
working for the computing center doing menial jobs.  There was an older,
ex-army guy leading the networking department who extolled the virtues of
the VAX up and down; I think Oberlin would have kept the VAX 6620 running
VMS 5.5 forever if he had his way.  Anyway, I mentioned his position to my
father and he told me that the best thing he ever did was replace the VAX
systems (and the endless mounting/remounting of RL02s for user data) with
early generation Sun 4 systems.

-Henry

[-- Attachment #2: Type: text/html, Size: 1045 bytes --]

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 3+ messages in thread

end of thread, back to index

Thread overview: 3+ messages (download: mbox.gz / follow: Atom feed)
-- links below jump to the message on this page --
2020-07-22 17:11 [TUHS] Bell Labs Sysadmins Norman Wilson
  -- strict thread matches above, loose matches on Subject: below --
2020-07-21 22:19 Henry Bent
2020-07-22 14:23 ` William Cheswick

The Unix Heritage Society mailing list

Archives are clonable: git clone --mirror http://inbox.vuxu.org/tuhs

Example config snippet for mirrors

Newsgroup available over NNTP:
	nntp://inbox.vuxu.org/vuxu.archive.tuhs


AGPL code for this site: git clone https://public-inbox.org/public-inbox.git