The Unix Heritage Society mailing list
 help / color / mirror / Atom feed
* [TUHS] BTL summer employees
@ 2020-08-02 13:40 Doug McIlroy
  2020-08-02 13:57 ` arnold
                   ` (3 more replies)
  0 siblings, 4 replies; 17+ messages in thread
From: Doug McIlroy @ 2020-08-02 13:40 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: tuhs

> My unscientific survey of summer students was that they either came
> from scouts, or were people working on advanced degrees in college.

Not all high-school summer employees were scouts (or scout equivalents -
kids who had logins on BTL Unix machines). I think in particular of Steve
Johnson and Stu Feldman, who eventually became valued permanent employees.
The labs also hired undergrad summer employees. I was one.

Even high-school employees could make lasting contributions.  I am
indebted to Steve for a technique he conceived during his first summer
assignment: using macro definitions as if they were units of associative
memory. This view of macros stimulated previously undreamed-of uses.

Doug

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 17+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] BTL summer employees
  2020-08-02 13:40 [TUHS] BTL summer employees Doug McIlroy
@ 2020-08-02 13:57 ` arnold
  2020-08-02 17:13   ` Doug McIlroy
  2020-08-02 15:12 ` Robert Diamond
                   ` (2 subsequent siblings)
  3 siblings, 1 reply; 17+ messages in thread
From: arnold @ 2020-08-02 13:57 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: tuhs, doug

Doug McIlroy <doug@cs.dartmouth.edu> wrote:

> Even high-school employees could make lasting contributions.  I am
> indebted to Steve for a technique he conceived during his first summer
> assignment: using macro definitions as if they were units of associative
> memory. This view of macros stimulated previously undreamed-of uses.

Can you give some examples of what this looked like?

Thanks,

Arnold

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 17+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] BTL summer employees
  2020-08-02 13:40 [TUHS] BTL summer employees Doug McIlroy
  2020-08-02 13:57 ` arnold
@ 2020-08-02 15:12 ` Robert Diamond
  2020-08-02 19:05   ` Jon Steinhart
  2020-08-10  0:48 ` Dave Horsfall
  2020-08-10  6:33 ` Lars Brinkhoff
  3 siblings, 1 reply; 17+ messages in thread
From: Robert Diamond @ 2020-08-02 15:12 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: tuhs

[-- Attachment #1: Type: text/plain, Size: 2438 bytes --]

I was one of those high school employees, but worked year-round on weekends and full time in the summers into college. I came from the Explorer’s Club (scouts). Walter L. Brown of the Radiation Physics deptartment hired me mainly as a sysadmin on his lab’s PDP 11/45. (I still have all the manuals!). I also did some coding for him - one project I remember was doing some sort of processing of raw data from a magnetometer on the Voyager-1 spacecraft. I also worked for Steve Bourne re-writing some FORTRAN code into C. 

I would use the terminals in the Unix room typing my school papers using troff, printing them out on the phototypesetter, and presenting them in a Bell Labs white cover. I got to chat with Brian and Dennis and Doug (hi Doug!) and others often. 

I remember having lunch downstairs in the cafeteria and learning to play GO and having conversations with random employees that blew the mind of this teenager. I remember Steve Marcus showing me his speech synthesizer and speech recognition system, playing with a Unix system running in a box the size of a toaster oven, going to talks that mostly went over my head but still learning a huge amount, wandering those long hallways and peeking into people’s labs, ogling at the Cray in the computer center, etc. 

Those years created a future for me: I worked at AT&T (Long Lines and International) and Sun Microsystems, and still use Unix every day at Two Sigma (a quantitive hedge fund with a huge Unix infrastructure). 

Not sure I made any lasting contributions, but it left a lasting impression on me. 

Rob

> On Aug 2, 2020, at 9:42 AM, Doug McIlroy <doug@cs.dartmouth.edu> wrote:
> 
> 
>> 
>> My unscientific survey of summer students was that they either came
>> from scouts, or were people working on advanced degrees in college.
> 
> Not all high-school summer employees were scouts (or scout equivalents -
> kids who had logins on BTL Unix machines). I think in particular of Steve
> Johnson and Stu Feldman, who eventually became valued permanent employees.
> The labs also hired undergrad summer employees. I was one.
> 
> Even high-school employees could make lasting contributions.  I am
> indebted to Steve for a technique he conceived during his first summer
> assignment: using macro definitions as if they were units of associative
> memory. This view of macros stimulated previously undreamed-of uses.
> 
> Doug

[-- Attachment #2: smime.p7s --]
[-- Type: application/pkcs7-signature, Size: 2265 bytes --]

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 17+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] BTL summer employees
  2020-08-02 13:57 ` arnold
@ 2020-08-02 17:13   ` Doug McIlroy
  2020-08-03  9:24     ` arnold
  0 siblings, 1 reply; 17+ messages in thread
From: Doug McIlroy @ 2020-08-02 17:13 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: tuhs, doug, arnold


>> Even high-school employees could make lasting contributions.  I am
>> indebted to Steve for a technique he conceived during his first summer
>> assignment: using macro definitions as if they were units of associative
>> memory. This view of macros stimulated previously undreamed-of uses.

> Can you give some examples of what this looked like?

One useless, but telling, program of mine was a Turing-machine
simulator. Tape cells were represented by macros that contained
a symbol and the (macro) names of adjacent cells. New cells
could be generated as needed, with names derived from a counter.
A natural way to store the state-transition table (I forget
how it was actually done) would be as macros whose names
are the concatenation of state and symbol names.

Path-compression as used in union-find algorithms originated
in a macroprocessor implementation by Bob Morris. Each graph
node was represented by a macro that pointed to or toward
the root of a tree spanning its graph component.

Doug

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 17+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] BTL summer employees
  2020-08-02 15:12 ` Robert Diamond
@ 2020-08-02 19:05   ` Jon Steinhart
  2020-08-03  5:14     ` Heinz Lycklama
  0 siblings, 1 reply; 17+ messages in thread
From: Jon Steinhart @ 2020-08-02 19:05 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: tuhs

Robert Diamond writes:
> I was one of those high school employees, but worked year-round on weekends
> and full time in the summers into college. I came from the Explorer’s
> Club (scouts). Walter L. Brown of the Radiation Physics deptartment hired
> me mainly as a sysadmin on his lab’s PDP 11/45. (I still have all the
> manuals!). I also did some coding for him - one project I remember was doing
> some sort of processing of raw data from a magnetometer on the Voyager-1
> spacecraft. I also worked for Steve Bourne re-writing some FORTRAN code
> into C.
> 
> I would use the terminals in the Unix room typing my school papers using
> troff, printing them out on the phototypesetter, and presenting them in
> a Bell Labs white cover. I got to chat with Brian and Dennis and Doug
> (hi Doug!) and others often.
> 
> I remember having lunch downstairs in the cafeteria and learning to play
> GO and having conversations with random employees that blew the mind of
> this teenager. I remember Steve Marcus showing me his speech synthesizer
> and speech recognition system, playing with a Unix system running in a
> box the size of a toaster oven, going to talks that mostly went over my
> head but still learning a huge amount, wandering those long hallways and
> peeking into people’s labs, ogling at the Cray in the computer center, etc.
> 
> Those years created a future for me: I worked at AT&T (Long Lines and
> International) and Sun Microsystems, and still use Unix every day at Two
> Sigma (a quantitive hedge fund with a huge Unix infrastructure).
> 
> Not sure I made any lasting contributions, but it left a lasting impression
> on me.
> 
> Rob

I wasn't claiming to be authoritative on who got to be summer students; it was
just my observation based on who I ran into.  I do remember some other kids in
there but not sure how it happened or what became of them; Heinz may know.  My
first summer a group of underprivileged kids from Newark was brought in.
It mainly sticks in my mind because one of them was terrified because the
computer was so much smarter than he was, so someone (Hal Alles?) tasked him
with programming a PDP-11/10 via the front panel switches which gave him a
completely different perspective.

My experience as similar to Robert's.  Computers were slow in those days, and
so while I was waiting I would wander around and poke my head into doors where
I saw interesting looking stuff and ask people what they were doing.  Two that
really stick out to me were discovering the UNIX room, of course, and also
Max Matthew's music lab.

Like Robert, I'm not sure that I did anything timeless but I learned lots of
amazing stuff from some of the smartest and strangest people that I ever met
and it changed my life.

Not sure how it would have played out had I thought about trying to go there
after college.  My summer jobs were all software even though I was an EE because
hardware projects couldn't be finished in a summer.  I grew up with very
provincial parents in New Jersey and had never really been anywhere until I got
a summer job in 1976 for Tektronix in Oregon.  The great outdoors were so much
greater than back east that I never even thought about being anywhere else.

Oh yeah, does anyone have an early 1970s BTL phone book?  I've been trying to
remember someone's name.  Our lab moved to 7C-217 when buildings 6 and 7 were
completed.  Would appreciate it if someone could tell me who else was on that
side of the hall to the right of the lab if facing the lab door from the hall.
I seem to remember that there was another lab that had the SS1, the department
stockroom, and a few more offices including Dave Weller's.  I think that our
department's terminal room was across from Dave's.  Anyway, would really like
to know the names of the folks in those offices because there's one person that
I wanted to acknowledge in my book, and I've been fixing mistakes for another
printing and would add it if I could.

Jon

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 17+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] BTL summer employees
  2020-08-02 19:05   ` Jon Steinhart
@ 2020-08-03  5:14     ` Heinz Lycklama
  2020-08-03 12:55       ` John P. Linderman
  0 siblings, 1 reply; 17+ messages in thread
From: Heinz Lycklama @ 2020-08-03  5:14 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: tuhs



On 8/2/2020 12:05 PM, Jon Steinhart wrote:
> I wasn't claiming to be authoritative on who got to be summer students; it was
> just my observation based on who I ran into.  I do remember some other kids in
> there but not sure how it happened or what became of them; Heinz may know.  My
> first summer a group of underprivileged kids from Newark was brought in.
> It mainly sticks in my mind because one of them was terrified because the
> computer was so much smarter than he was, so someone (Hal Alles?) tasked him
> with programming a PDP-11/10 via the front panel switches which gave him a
> completely different perspective.
Jon, this brings back memories of working with summer students and
Explorer Scout high schools students (like yourself) during my years
at Bell Labs in MH. I have to credit Carl Christensen for bringing me
in to work with him in helping making computers and training resources
available to Explorer Scouts on Monday evenings shortly after I started
at Bell Labs in 1969. I enjoyed this time in helping and motivating the
students as well as taking them on hiking and spelunking trips in NY.
I had one summer student work for me on the LSX projects. He was so
brilliant that I had a challenge to keep him busy with the tasks I gave
him because he finished them so quickly. One of the motivations
for doing LSX was actually providing a platform for the music synthesizer
that Hal Alles was building.

If I can remember any other names for you I will let you know, but
this was more than 45 years ago ...

Heinz

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 17+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] BTL summer employees
  2020-08-02 17:13   ` Doug McIlroy
@ 2020-08-03  9:24     ` arnold
  0 siblings, 0 replies; 17+ messages in thread
From: arnold @ 2020-08-03  9:24 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: tuhs, doug, arnold

Doug McIlroy <doug@cs.dartmouth.edu> wrote:

> >> Even high-school employees could make lasting contributions.  I am
> >> indebted to Steve for a technique he conceived during his first summer
> >> assignment: using macro definitions as if they were units of associative
> >> memory. This view of macros stimulated previously undreamed-of uses.
>
> > Can you give some examples of what this looked like?
>
> One useless, but telling, program of mine was a Turing-machine
> simulator. Tape cells were represented by macros that contained
> a symbol and the (macro) names of adjacent cells. New cells
> could be generated as needed, with names derived from a counter.
> A natural way to store the state-transition table (I forget
> how it was actually done) would be as macros whose names
> are the concatenation of state and symbol names.
>
> Path-compression as used in union-find algorithms originated
> in a macroprocessor implementation by Bob Morris. Each graph
> node was represented by a macro that pointed to or toward
> the root of a tree spanning its graph component.

Thanks Doug.

I have to admit, I didn't really grok this.  My mental processes
seem to have frozen somewhat and I need to see something like this
in code before I really understand it. :-)

Thanks,

Arnold

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 17+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] BTL summer employees
  2020-08-03  5:14     ` Heinz Lycklama
@ 2020-08-03 12:55       ` John P. Linderman
  2020-08-03 16:26         ` Jon Steinhart
  0 siblings, 1 reply; 17+ messages in thread
From: John P. Linderman @ 2020-08-03 12:55 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: heinz; +Cc: The Unix Heritage Society

[-- Attachment #1: Type: text/plain, Size: 2362 bytes --]

Students living near MH had a bit of a leg up, having access to the
Explorers (did that include any young women?). Offspring of employees,
particularly executive level employees, seemed to appear quite often. Adam
Buchsbaum and Rich Cox and Terry Crowley come to mind. But, as the names I
remembered demonstrate, they were exceptionally bright, and often became
(valued) regular employees. I share Heinz's recollection about trying to
keep them busy. Terry Crowley joined us as a summer student, and we gave
him the "summer project" of making some improvements (like eliminating the
512-byte record size limit) to /bin/sort. He came back in under a week and
asked "What's next?" -- jpl

On Mon, Aug 3, 2020 at 1:15 AM Heinz Lycklama <heinz@osta.com> wrote:

>
>
> On 8/2/2020 12:05 PM, Jon Steinhart wrote:
> > I wasn't claiming to be authoritative on who got to be summer students;
> it was
> > just my observation based on who I ran into.  I do remember some other
> kids in
> > there but not sure how it happened or what became of them; Heinz may
> know.  My
> > first summer a group of underprivileged kids from Newark was brought in.
> > It mainly sticks in my mind because one of them was terrified because the
> > computer was so much smarter than he was, so someone (Hal Alles?) tasked
> him
> > with programming a PDP-11/10 via the front panel switches which gave him
> a
> > completely different perspective.
> Jon, this brings back memories of working with summer students and
> Explorer Scout high schools students (like yourself) during my years
> at Bell Labs in MH. I have to credit Carl Christensen for bringing me
> in to work with him in helping making computers and training resources
> available to Explorer Scouts on Monday evenings shortly after I started
> at Bell Labs in 1969. I enjoyed this time in helping and motivating the
> students as well as taking them on hiking and spelunking trips in NY.
> I had one summer student work for me on the LSX projects. He was so
> brilliant that I had a challenge to keep him busy with the tasks I gave
> him because he finished them so quickly. One of the motivations
> for doing LSX was actually providing a platform for the music synthesizer
> that Hal Alles was building.
>
> If I can remember any other names for you I will let you know, but
> this was more than 45 years ago ...
>
> Heinz
>

[-- Attachment #2: Type: text/html, Size: 2828 bytes --]

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 17+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] BTL summer employees
  2020-08-03 12:55       ` John P. Linderman
@ 2020-08-03 16:26         ` Jon Steinhart
  0 siblings, 0 replies; 17+ messages in thread
From: Jon Steinhart @ 2020-08-03 16:26 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: The Unix Heritage Society

Heinz Lycklama writes:
> Jon, this brings back memories of working with summer students and
> Explorer Scout high schools students (like yourself) during my years
> at Bell Labs in MH. I have to credit Carl Christensen for bringing me
> in to work with him in helping making computers and training resources
> available to Explorer Scouts on Monday evenings shortly after I started
> at Bell Labs in 1969. I enjoyed this time in helping and motivating the
> students as well as taking them on hiking and spelunking trips in NY.
> I had one summer student work for me on the LSX projects. He was so
> brilliant that I had a challenge to keep him busy with the tasks I gave
> him because he finished them so quickly. One of the motivations
> for doing LSX was actually providing a platform for the music synthesizer
> that Hal Alles was building.

Yes, aside from all of the amazing technical stuff, I'm really glad that
you and Carl introduced me to spelunking.

I'm fuzzy on the details on Hal's synthesizer.  I thought that he was building
the digital filter stuff for the SS1, and making music was a side-effect that
took on a life of its own.  I do remember the really clever keyboard that Dave
Hagelbarger built for it, and the day that Stevie Wonder came to check it out
and the halls were clogged with his admirers.

John P. Linderman writes:
> Students living near MH had a bit of a leg up, having access to the
> Explorers (did that include any young women?). Offspring of employees,
> particularly executive level employees, seemed to appear quite often. Adam
> Buchsbaum and Rich Cox and Terry Crowley come to mind. But, as the names I
> remembered demonstrate, they were exceptionally bright, and often became
> (valued) regular employees. I share Heinz's recollection about trying to
> keep them busy. Terry Crowley joined us as a summer student, and we gave
> him the "summer project" of making some improvements (like eliminating the
> 512-byte record size limit) to /bin/sort. He came back in under a week and
> asked "What's next?" -- jpl

There were three young women in scouts when I was there although two of them
(Andrea and Kristen) were daughters of Hans Lie who was an advisor along with
Heinz and Carl.

Living near MH was a mixed blessing.  I lived 8 miles away and bicycled there,
uphill both ways.  The final daily test was making it up Glenside Road on my
old heavy Raleigh bike.  I remember some issues around that; there were no
employee showers at the labs.  But, it turned out that dress code was up to
your supervisor and Joe was OK with me wearing shorts.  I occasionally had to
explain that to old-timers who would see me in a hall and who thought that
there was a fixed dress code.

Jon

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 17+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] BTL summer employees
  2020-08-02 13:40 [TUHS] BTL summer employees Doug McIlroy
  2020-08-02 13:57 ` arnold
  2020-08-02 15:12 ` Robert Diamond
@ 2020-08-10  0:48 ` Dave Horsfall
  2020-08-10  0:53   ` Larry McVoy
  2020-08-10  6:33 ` Lars Brinkhoff
  3 siblings, 1 reply; 17+ messages in thread
From: Dave Horsfall @ 2020-08-10  0:48 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: The Eunuchs Hysterical Society

On Sun, 2 Aug 2020, Doug McIlroy wrote:

> Even high-school employees could make lasting contributions.  I am 
> indebted to Steve for a technique he conceived during his first summer 
> assignment: using macro definitions as if they were units of associative 
> memory. This view of macros stimulated previously undreamed-of uses.

I'd like to see an example or two of that...

Of course, if you want to see macros etc abused, then take a look at the 
Obfuscated C Code Contest :-)

-- Dave

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 17+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] BTL summer employees
  2020-08-10  0:48 ` Dave Horsfall
@ 2020-08-10  0:53   ` Larry McVoy
  0 siblings, 0 replies; 17+ messages in thread
From: Larry McVoy @ 2020-08-10  0:53 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Dave Horsfall; +Cc: The Eunuchs Hysterical Society

On Mon, Aug 10, 2020 at 10:48:00AM +1000, Dave Horsfall wrote:
> On Sun, 2 Aug 2020, Doug McIlroy wrote:
> 
> >Even high-school employees could make lasting contributions.  I am
> >indebted to Steve for a technique he conceived during his first summer
> >assignment: using macro definitions as if they were units of associative
> >memory. This view of macros stimulated previously undreamed-of uses.
> 
> I'd like to see an example or two of that...

I don't have any up my sleeve, but I've seen this play out over and
over.  Some hot shot young kid shows up, the gray beards say "solve
this impossible problem" and half the time they do.  It's pretty cool.

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 17+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] BTL summer employees
  2020-08-02 13:40 [TUHS] BTL summer employees Doug McIlroy
                   ` (2 preceding siblings ...)
  2020-08-10  0:48 ` Dave Horsfall
@ 2020-08-10  6:33 ` Lars Brinkhoff
  3 siblings, 0 replies; 17+ messages in thread
From: Lars Brinkhoff @ 2020-08-10  6:33 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Doug McIlroy; +Cc: tuhs

Not a summer employee, but an MIT undergrad intern for most of a year,
Alan Snyder was involved with the transition from B to C, suggested the
use of a preprocessor, and the && and || operators.  He brought Yacc and
C with him back to MIT and the Dynamic Modeling PDP-10.  He wrote a
retargetable C compiler and a host of Unix utilities for ITS.  This
confused the rest of the users, who couldn't make sense of the terminal
after AS has logged off.  The C language enjoyed a rather modest success
on the ITS operating system; for example the "R" typesetting program and
the Dover printer spooler was written using Snyder's C compiler.

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 17+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] BTL summer employees
  2020-08-10 17:08 ` Lawrence Stewart
@ 2020-08-10 18:13   ` Lars Brinkhoff
  0 siblings, 0 replies; 17+ messages in thread
From: Lars Brinkhoff @ 2020-08-10 18:13 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Lawrence Stewart; +Cc: TUHS main list, Noel Chiappa

Noel Chiappa wrote:
> It'd be interesting to look at the Dover spooler on ITS, and see
> if/how one got to the CHAOS network from C - and if so, how it
> identified the protocol translating box.

It uses the C version of ITS system calls: chaoso() to open I/O
channels, and pktiot() to send/receive packets.

This is now straying out of TUHS territory, but I wouldn't want people
to miss out on the Dover poem:

Dover, oh Dover, arisen from dead.
Dover, oh Dover, awoken from bed.
Dover, oh Dover, welcome back to the Lab.
Dover, oh Dover, we've missed your clean hand...

And now your toner's toney,
And your paper near pure white,
The smudges on your soul are gone
And your output's clean as light..

We've labored with your father,
The venerable XGP,
But his slow artistic hand,
Lacks your clean velocity.

Theses and papers
And code in a queue
Dover, oh Dover,
We've been waiting for you.

Disk blocks aplenty
Await your laser drawn lines,
Your intricate fonts,
Your pictures and signs.

Your amputative absence
Has made the Ten dumb,
Without you, Dover,
We're system untounged-

DRAW Plots and TEXage
Have been biding their time,
With LISP code and programs,
And this crufty rhyme.

Dover, oh Dover,
We welcome you back,
Though still you may jam,
You're on the right track.

-KWH 6/14/81

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 17+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] BTL summer employees
  2020-08-10 14:02 Noel Chiappa
@ 2020-08-10 17:08 ` Lawrence Stewart
  2020-08-10 18:13   ` Lars Brinkhoff
  0 siblings, 1 reply; 17+ messages in thread
From: Lawrence Stewart @ 2020-08-10 17:08 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Noel Chiappa; +Cc: TUHS main list

[-- Attachment #1: Type: text/plain, Size: 2870 bytes --]



> On 2020, Aug 10, at 10:02 AM, Noel Chiappa <jnc@mercury.lcs.mit.edu> wrote:
> 
>> From: Lars Brinkhoff
> 
>> I haven't investigated it thoroughly, but I do see a file .DOVR.;.SPOOL
>> 8 written in C by Eliot Moss.
>> ...
>> When sending to the DOVER, the spooler waits until Spruce is
>> free before sending another file.
> 
> Ah, so there was a spooler on the ITS machine as well; I didn't know/remember
> that.
> 
> I checked on CSR, and it did use TFTP to send it to the Alto spooler:
> 
>  HOST MIT-SPOOLER,       LCS 2/200,SERVER,TFTPSP,ALTO,[SPOOLER]
> 
> I vaguely recall the Dover being named 'Spruce', but that name wasn't in the
> host table... I have this vague memory that 'MIT-Spooler' was the Alto which
> prove the Dover, but now that I think about it, it might have been another one
> (which ran only TFTP->EFTP spooler software). IIRC the Dover as a pain to run,
> it required a very high bit rate, and the software to massage it was very
> tense; so it may have made sense to do the TFTP->EFTP (I'm pretty sure the
> vanilla Dover spoke EFTP, but maybe I'm wrong, and it used the PUP stream
> protocol) in another machine.
> 
> It'd be interesting to look at the Dover spooler on ITS, and see if/how one
> got to the CHAOS network from C - and if so, how it identified the protocol
> translating box.
> 
>   Noel

“A pain to run” and “tense” indeed!  The Dover printing system was an Alto (6 MIPs <microinstructions>) driving “Orbit” hardware about half the size of the Alto itself*, driving the raster video to the printer.  The hardware was called “orbit” because it could directly “OR” bits into the raster image, rather than requiring read-modify-write cycles.  “Spruce” was the spooler and printer driver that ran on the Alto.  Evidently the hardware is a typical Butler Lampson knife edge design up in the corner of what was possible, implemented by Bob Sproull and Severo Ornstein.  Additional software by Dan  Swinehart.

There’s a page about this in https://bwlampson.site/38-AltoSoftware/Abstract.html <https://bwlampson.site/38-AltoSoftware/Abstract.html> and a patent https://patents.google.com/patent/US4203154 <https://patents.google.com/patent/US4203154>.  I have a feeling I’ve seen a longer description of Orbit somewhere but I can’t remember where.

Like most Stanford folks of the era I printed my thesis on one, assisted about 1 AM by Lyle Ramshaw who knew where to get a new drum for the printer.

In any event, a vast improvement over the XGP and a godsend for those of us who <didn’t> have a phototypesetter.

* An earlier one-off called EARS had printer hardware about 3 times the size of the attached Alto.  That one was font-image based.  To do things like lines and  graphics the software constructed custom font glyphs to make up the image.



[-- Attachment #2: Type: text/html, Size: 4108 bytes --]

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 17+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] BTL summer employees
@ 2020-08-10 14:02 Noel Chiappa
  2020-08-10 17:08 ` Lawrence Stewart
  0 siblings, 1 reply; 17+ messages in thread
From: Noel Chiappa @ 2020-08-10 14:02 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: tuhs; +Cc: jnc

    > From: Lars Brinkhoff

    > I haven't investigated it thoroughly, but I do see a file .DOVR.;.SPOOL
    > 8 written in C by Eliot Moss.
    > ...
    > When sending to the DOVER, the spooler waits until Spruce is
    > free before sending another file.

Ah, so there was a spooler on the ITS machine as well; I didn't know/remember
that.

I checked on CSR, and it did use TFTP to send it to the Alto spooler:

  HOST MIT-SPOOLER,       LCS 2/200,SERVER,TFTPSP,ALTO,[SPOOLER]

I vaguely recall the Dover being named 'Spruce', but that name wasn't in the
host table... I have this vague memory that 'MIT-Spooler' was the Alto which
prove the Dover, but now that I think about it, it might have been another one
(which ran only TFTP->EFTP spooler software). IIRC the Dover as a pain to run,
it required a very high bit rate, and the software to massage it was very
tense; so it may have made sense to do the TFTP->EFTP (I'm pretty sure the
vanilla Dover spoke EFTP, but maybe I'm wrong, and it used the PUP stream
protocol) in another machine.

It'd be interesting to look at the Dover spooler on ITS, and see if/how one
got to the CHAOS network from C - and if so, how it identified the protocol
translating box.

   Noel

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 17+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] BTL summer employees
  2020-08-10 12:53 Noel Chiappa
@ 2020-08-10 13:21 ` Lars Brinkhoff
  0 siblings, 0 replies; 17+ messages in thread
From: Lars Brinkhoff @ 2020-08-10 13:21 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Noel Chiappa; +Cc: tuhs

Noel Chiappa writes:
> > the Dover printer spooler was written using Snyder's C compiler
>
> I'm not sure if that's correct.

I haven't investigated it thoroughly, but I do see a file .DOVR.;.SPOOL 8
written in C by Eliot Moss.

/* This program scans the directory .DOVR. for files whose
first name starts with A-Z, and attempts to send them to the
DOVER.  If they are not PRESS files, or if they are successfully
transmitted, they are deleted.  It writes a log into
.DOVR.;YYMMDD %LOG where YYMMDD is the year, month and day.
It will keep N log files, where N is a compile time parameter.

When sending to the DOVER, the spooler waits until Spruce is
free before sending another file.

[...]

Written  24 January 1980, by EBM

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 17+ messages in thread

* Re: [TUHS] BTL summer employees
@ 2020-08-10 12:53 Noel Chiappa
  2020-08-10 13:21 ` Lars Brinkhoff
  0 siblings, 1 reply; 17+ messages in thread
From: Noel Chiappa @ 2020-08-10 12:53 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: tuhs; +Cc: jnc

    > From: Lars Brinkhoff

    > the Dover printer spooler was written using Snyder's C compiler


I'm not sure if that's correct. I don't remember with crystal clarity all the
details of how we got files to the Dover, but here's what I recall (take with
1/2 a grain of salt, my memory may have dropped some bits). To start with,
there were different paths from the CHAOS and TCP/IP worlds. IIRC, there was a
spooler on the Alto which ran the Dover, and the two worlds had separate paths
to get to it.

From the CHAOS world, there was a protocol translation which ran on whatever
machine had the AI Lab's 3Mbit Ethernet interface - probably MIT-AI's
CHAOS-11? If you look at the Macro-11 code from that, you should see it - IIRC
it translated (on the fly) from CHAOS to EFTP, the PUP prototocol which the
spooler ran 'natively'.

From the IP world, IIRC, Dave Clark had adapted his Alto TCP/IP stack (written
in BCPL) to run in the spooler alongside the PUP software; it included a TFTP
server, and people ran TFTP from TCP/IP machines to talk to it. (IP access to
the 3Mbit Ethernet was via another UNIBUS Ethernet interface which was plugged
into an IP router which I had written. The initial revision was in Macro-11; a
massive kludge which used hairy macrology to produce N^2 discrete code paths,
one for every pair of interfaces on the machine. Later that was junked, and
replaced with the 'C Gateway' code.)

I can, if people are interested, look on the MIT-CSR machine dump I have
to see how it (a TCP/IP machine) printed on the Dover, to confirm that
it used TFTP.

I don't recall a role for any PDP-10 C code, though. I don't think there was a
spooler anywhere except on the Dover's Alto. Where did that bit about the
PDP-10 spooler in C come from, may I enquire? Was it a CMU thing, or something
like that?

  Noel

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 17+ messages in thread

end of thread, other threads:[~2020-08-10 18:14 UTC | newest]

Thread overview: 17+ messages (download: mbox.gz / follow: Atom feed)
-- links below jump to the message on this page --
2020-08-02 13:40 [TUHS] BTL summer employees Doug McIlroy
2020-08-02 13:57 ` arnold
2020-08-02 17:13   ` Doug McIlroy
2020-08-03  9:24     ` arnold
2020-08-02 15:12 ` Robert Diamond
2020-08-02 19:05   ` Jon Steinhart
2020-08-03  5:14     ` Heinz Lycklama
2020-08-03 12:55       ` John P. Linderman
2020-08-03 16:26         ` Jon Steinhart
2020-08-10  0:48 ` Dave Horsfall
2020-08-10  0:53   ` Larry McVoy
2020-08-10  6:33 ` Lars Brinkhoff
2020-08-10 12:53 Noel Chiappa
2020-08-10 13:21 ` Lars Brinkhoff
2020-08-10 14:02 Noel Chiappa
2020-08-10 17:08 ` Lawrence Stewart
2020-08-10 18:13   ` Lars Brinkhoff

The Unix Heritage Society mailing list

This inbox may be cloned and mirrored by anyone:

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

	# If you have public-inbox 1.1+ installed, you may
	# initialize and index your mirror using the following commands:
	public-inbox-init -V1 tuhs tuhs/ http://inbox.vuxu.org/tuhs \
		tuhs@minnie.tuhs.org
	public-inbox-index 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