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From: ron minnich <>
To: The Eunuchs Hysterical Society <>
Subject: [TUHS] Re: Burroughs funded $30,000 for a port to E-mode stack machine in 1983!
Date: Sun, 15 Jan 2023 16:51:47 -0800	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

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has the burroughs info.

On Sun, Jan 15, 2023 at 11:09 AM ron minnich <> wrote:

> I just stumbled across an old letter, from a VP of Burroughs to me and
> Steve Bartels, authorizing $30,000 for a port of Unix to the E-mode stack
> machine. I had forgotten getting it.
> Burroughs was famed for its stack machines. E-mode was a kind of last gasp
> attempt to save the stack architecture, which failed as far as I know, see
> this table:
> I worked as a hardware engineer on the A15. I also had been a Unix user
> for 7 years at that point and kept pointing out how awful the Burroughs
> CANDE time-sharing system was, and how much better Unix was. At some point
> I guess they asked me to put up or shut up. I got that money, and left
> Burroughs a week later for grad school.
> Funny note: A15 was Motorola ECL (MECL), and ran at 16 Mhz., considered
> fast at that time.  We used a technique called "stored logic" which was,
> believe it or not, using MECL RAM to map logic inputs to outputs, i.e.
> implement combinational logic with SRAM. Kind of nuts, but it worked at the
> time. We also used a precursor of JTAG to scan it in. Those of you who know
> JTAG have some idea of how fun this had to be.
> One side effect of working with MECL is you realized just how well
> designed the TI 7400 SSI/MSI parts were ... MECL always just felt like an
> awkward family to design with.
> Another funny story, pointing to what was about to happen to Burroughs. We
> had an app that ran for hours on the stack machine. We quick ported it to a
> VAX, started it up, and headed out to lunch -- "this will take a while,
> let's go eat." We got to the front door and: "Oh, wait, let me hop back
> into the office,I  forgot my jacket". And, noticed, the program was done in
> ... about 3 minutes. Not 8 hours.
> That's when we knew it was game over for Burroughs.
> If a picture of this letter would be useful in some archive somewhere, let
> me know, I can send it.

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  parent reply	other threads:[~2023-01-16  0:53 UTC|newest]

Thread overview: 4+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2023-01-15 19:09 [TUHS] " ron minnich
2023-01-15 19:19 ` [TUHS] " Luther Johnson
2023-01-16  0:51 ` ron minnich [this message]
2023-01-16  1:59   ` Lawrence Stewart

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