Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 27th Nov 2015 21:31 UTC
General Unix

The latest problem I was working out was how to run Unix on the Atari ST. The Tramiels had somehow wrangled a license for AT&T's SVR-something-or-other version of Unix (might have been SVR3, but this was in the bad old days when AT&T was actively fucking up Unix, and it could have been just about any version, including SVR666). The license was for a mind boggling, nay, jaw-dropping ten bucks a seat. The problem was that the ST didn’t have any kind of memory management hardware, just a raw CPU flinging real addresses at naked DRAM, and the machine's cheap-ass vanilla 68000 was incapable of recovering from a fault unless you cheated.

On a related note, there's MiNT.

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That takes me back
by cwaig_g on Fri 27th Nov 2015 23:45 UTC
cwaig_g
Member since:
2009-11-30

Nice to see Thom mention MiNT - Eric did a pretty good job on it considering the hardware at the time (all in the days before Linux).

I used to use MiNT on an Atari Falcon to run X11 for dialup sessions the university mainframe so I didn't have to drive into the city just to read my mail (days before home internet connections).

But X was painful and GEM couldn't multitask with MiNT, so I eventuallly wrote a little window system especially for MiNT and open sourced it ;)

Edited 2015-11-27 23:47 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE: That takes me back
by daveak on Sat 28th Nov 2015 00:37 UTC in reply to "That takes me back"
daveak Member since:
2008-12-29

Although Atari bought MiNT, and so it became MiNT is Now TOS instead of MiNT is Not TOS, and produced a version of GEM that would multitask, test versions were available, just never a real release version.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: That takes me back
by cwaig_g on Sat 28th Nov 2015 08:20 UTC in reply to "RE: That takes me back"
cwaig_g Member since:
2009-11-30

Yep. Actually they did a very slow version of MultiTOS before using MiNT (1991 I think that was). The final unreleased version of the AES for MiNT wasn't bad - it just wasn't fished.

XaAES was better though as it was writen from scratch for MiNT ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE: That takes me back
by Alfman on Sat 28th Nov 2015 08:24 UTC in reply to "That takes me back"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

I never experienced it, however it's very interesting to learn that this was available. While this is something we can never know, it's very curious to think about how different the evolution of computing would have been if Atari had risen to prominence instead of wintel.

Would things be the same as today, merely with different companies and people getting credit, or would there have been significant divergence in the evolution of personal computing?

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: That takes me back
by Kochise on Sat 28th Nov 2015 09:15 UTC in reply to "RE: That takes me back"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

Considering how the Tramiels were driving the company short sighted, with the only goal to ruin Commodore, I don't think it would have gone really far, especially regarding the quality of their SDK (ST, Falcon, Jaguar) and related documentation (or lack thereof).

Btw the ST line of computer (plus TT and Falcon) were really strange beast, very pleasant to code in this beautiful 680x0 assembler. But the OS was so out of date beyond the 80s.

More in-deep articles :

http://www.fultonsoft.com/

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: That takes me back
by tidux on Sat 28th Nov 2015 10:28 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: That takes me back"
tidux Member since:
2011-08-13

Of all the home computer OSes of 1980-1998, only MS-DOS and its clones have survived in any meaningful way. Windows and MacOS got replaced by ports/clones of VAX OSes (VMS and Unix respectively) with an API shim on top and some superficial graphical similarity, and the rest vanished into the mists of time entirely. Saying the ST's OS was "limited beyond the 1980s" is sort of obvious.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: That takes me back
by Alfman on Sat 28th Nov 2015 11:23 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: That takes me back"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

tidux,

Of all the home computer OSes of 1980-1998, only MS-DOS and its clones have survived in any meaningful way. Windows and MacOS got replaced by ports/clones of VAX OSes (VMS and Unix respectively) with an API shim on top and some superficial graphical similarity, and the rest vanished into the mists of time entirely. Saying the ST's OS was "limited beyond the 1980s" is sort of obvious.


That's what I was thinking as well. The question wasn't really meant in the context of Atari standing still for 35 years. Obviously MS evolved too. MS really became significant because of product bundling, it's products were otherwise quite a bit lacking at that time. I'm just curious where the technology would be now if there were different leaders influencing it, for better or worse.

Reply Score: 4

RE[5]: That takes me back
by Kochise on Sat 28th Nov 2015 13:16 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: That takes me back"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

The biggest advantage of PC, beside bundling the OS, was the modularity. Want a bigger video card ? Want a better sound card ? Want to switch from coax to Ethernet ? Just do it.

The ST line haven't much evolved in almost a decade, and when the Falcon came on the market, it was 16 MHz with a maximum of 14 MB of RAM, when the Mac line was at least 4 times more powerful in every aspect.

The TOS also have evolved too slowly, Mint then Multitos was a resource hog, yet relatively stable. A chance Atari has put some standard into the Falcon (IDE, SCSI, VGA via adapter).

The RAM slot would have been better with a standard SIMM support though. And two PS2 ports for keyboard and mouse.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: That takes me back
by Vanders on Sun 29th Nov 2015 00:38 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: That takes me back"
Vanders Member since:
2005-07-06

Windows and MacOS got replaced by ports/clones of VAX OSes (VMS and Unix respectively)

UNIX pre-dates VAX. Neither is a clone of the other.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: That takes me back
by tidux on Mon 30th Nov 2015 07:27 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: That takes me back"
tidux Member since:
2011-08-13

Learn to read. I said NT is a clone of VMS and OS X is a Unixlike.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: That takes me back
by henderson101 on Mon 30th Nov 2015 10:54 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: That takes me back"
henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

NT isn't a clone of VMS. NT was influenced by VMS.

Reply Score: 3

RE[7]: That takes me back
by Kochise on Mon 30th Nov 2015 11:39 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: That takes me back"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

If I remember correctly, MS hired the guy behind VMS.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: That takes me back
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Mon 30th Nov 2015 20:59 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: That takes me back"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Windows and MacOS got replaced by ports/clones of VAX OSes (VMS and Unix respectively)


Its unclear that's what you meant by that statement. The ports/clones section, you meant the ports to refer to BSD-Unix being ported to Mac hardware and clones referring to NT as a clone of VAX. So there are three sections in that phrase where you are dealing with comparing two different things.

The first one "Windows and MacOS"
Second "ports/clones of Vax"
Third " VMS and UNIX respectively"

In the first part you have Windows first then Mac
Second Mac then Windows
Third Windows then Mac.

Its also unclear that ports/clones of Vax is a two part and not trying to group Mac and Windows together to say that they both have either a clone or a port of Vax.

I'm not one to critique one's grammar normally, except when some one claims that some one else's valid interpretation of their sentence is wrong and they need to "Learn to read".

There is nothing wrong with Vanders reading comprehension, nor is there anything necessarily wrong with you writing. Its just unclear.

Edited 2015-11-30 21:00 UTC

Reply Score: 2

MWC
by cpuobsessed on Sat 28th Nov 2015 06:09 UTC
cpuobsessed
Member since:
2009-06-09

I had a 520STfm with 1Mb ram and an external 40Mb HD
There was Mark Williams C, it came with a Unix like command line that was close to c-shell.
msh with micro EMACS

Reply Score: 2

I remember
by Dano on Sat 28th Nov 2015 15:55 UTC
Dano
Member since:
2006-01-22

Unrelated to software... The worst keyboard ever created was in the 520ST. Totally awful it was barely usable.

Reply Score: 2

RE: I remember
by Kochise on Sat 28th Nov 2015 16:24 UTC in reply to "I remember "
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

Never had an issue, typed kilometers of listing without any problem. The ST mouse was an issue though, with its sharp edges to look like the computer. And the ball collecting dust like any other.

Edited 2015-11-28 16:25 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: I remember
by DeepThought on Sun 29th Nov 2015 17:40 UTC in reply to "I remember "
DeepThought Member since:
2010-07-17

Unrelated to software... The worst keyboard ever created was in the 520ST. Totally awful it was barely usable.


:-) I soon after I got my 1040ST bought replacement caps for the keyboard. A difference like day and night.

Reply Score: 1

not quite Unix, but ...
by OldProgrammer on Sat 28th Nov 2015 16:53 UTC
OldProgrammer
Member since:
2015-11-28

I ran Minix 1.2 on a 1040ST expanded to 4 MB w/an AERCO board (anybody here remember what that acronym meant? :-) and a 40 meg hard drive.

It wasn't quite "real" Unix I suppose - though it was darned close - but it was a heck of an improvement over TOS.

There was also a shell for the ST (written by Mark Mallett) that was far better than what passed for "bash" at the time - built-in command completion and such, which he patterned after TOPS-20 IIRC.

Reply Score: 3

RE: not quite Unix, but ...
by Kochise on Sat 28th Nov 2015 17:31 UTC in reply to "not quite Unix, but ..."
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

Get Minix 1.5 there :

http://www.minix3.org/previous-versions/Atari/
http://download.minix3.org/previous-versions/Ref-man-1.5/Atari.nrf

Use Hatari 1.9.0 or Steem SSE 3.7.2 to boot from disk01. Try to attach a 80 MB hard disk image to the emulator first, so that you can install Minix on it.

Edited 2015-11-28 17:33 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Comment by leech
by leech on Sat 28th Nov 2015 19:00 UTC
leech
Member since:
2006-01-10

Funny that this is brought up now, I think I'm going to attempt to get a Falcon, I tried to fire up my TT030 yesterday, and seems I have a broken reset switch, pulled it out best I can, and it booted to a white screen, but then I don't have a hard drive connected to it right now... may have to sell it off, to pay for the Falcon though... always wanted one, but could never find one.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by leech
by Kochise on Sat 28th Nov 2015 19:44 UTC in reply to "Comment by leech"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

The Falcon030 is hugely overrated and deceptive. Without a load of commercial products like NVDI or HDDRIVER, you won't get much juice out of it. Too expensive for what you'll get.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by leech
by LaceySnr on Sat 28th Nov 2015 21:44 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by leech"
LaceySnr Member since:
2009-09-28

It's too expensive for a 16Mhz machine in 2015, but they're unlikely to ever go down in value much if at all now.

I bought one 3 years ago after wanting once since they launched, and I can say it's a joy to use. Of all the computers I own it's my favourite, and coding on it makes for a nice break from the world of modern development.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Comment by leech
by Kochise on Sat 28th Nov 2015 22:12 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by leech"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

Yeah, coding on it is a breeze, now that documentation is available and dev tools released for free on DHS.

Don't forget to replace the NVRAM because when the battery will fail, you won't be able to boot the machine up.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by leech
by LaceySnr on Mon 30th Nov 2015 03:08 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by leech"
LaceySnr Member since:
2009-09-28

I'm actually using the DHS demo framework to get the video mode setup etc.. Been trying to write a columns clone but limited free time means it's really slow going (I got stuck on one bug for 6 months until I finally used a 68k simulator on windows to debug the relevant code).

Replacing the NVRAM with a socket & new chip was the first thing I did with my Falcon... didn't do the world's greatest job but it does work!

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Comment by leech
by leech on Mon 30th Nov 2015 09:27 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by leech"
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

I'm actually using the DHS demo framework to get the video mode setup etc.. Been trying to write a columns clone but limited free time means it's really slow going (I got stuck on one bug for 6 months until I finally used a 68k simulator on windows to debug the relevant code).

Replacing the NVRAM with a socket & new chip was the first thing I did with my Falcon... didn't do the world's greatest job but it does work!


Hmm, I'm guessing the person I'm going to be buying mine from has already done that, he's added in the CF card, so at least there's that. I was kind of wondering if that's why my TT030 didn't boot, though I think it has TOS3.05, which doesn't have the Atari Logo+Mem test if I recall, so it could very well be it's just giving me the white screen 'cause I have no hard drive connected to it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Comment by leech
by Kochise on Mon 30th Nov 2015 10:17 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by leech"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

White screen on TT is a memory problem, clean your SIMM connector with alcohol and put it back back nicely.

Never understood why Atari have not put a battery holder in the Falcon like they did in the Mega ST and TT.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Comment by leech
by leech on Mon 30th Nov 2015 15:22 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by leech"
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

Cool, I'll give that a shot. The internal speaker still works, because I hooked up my Mega STe keyboard to it (lost the TT030's beautiful white one, long story, need to get a replacement, it makes me feel sad..) and if I hit a key, it makes the 'tink' noise, so at least I know that bit is working.

I wonder if I could still find TOS 3.06 for it...

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by leech
by cwaig_g on Sun 29th Nov 2015 00:27 UTC in reply to "Comment by leech"
cwaig_g Member since:
2009-11-30

Funny that this is brought up now, I think I'm going to attempt to get a Falcon, I tried to fire up my TT030 yesterday, and seems I have a broken reset switch, pulled it out best I can, and it booted to a white screen, but then I don't have a hard drive connected to it right now... may have to sell it off, to pay for the Falcon though... always wanted one, but could never find one.

I've still got the Falcon I wrote XaAES on sitting in the garage (it was modified a bit - afterburner bus accellerator, PC keyboard interface, reboxed in a Mac IIc desktop case for space, bigger HD, more RAM, etc). No idea if it still boots though... It's not been powered up since the end of the 90's - I don't think I actually have a PS/1 keyboard to use with it now... the VGA and Atari paper white monitor adaptors are probably kicking around as well.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by leech
by LaceySnr on Mon 30th Nov 2015 07:43 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by leech"
LaceySnr Member since:
2009-09-28

Don't suppose it needs a good home? ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by leech
by leech on Mon 30th Nov 2015 09:24 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by leech"
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

I've still got the Falcon I wrote XaAES on sitting in the garage (it was modified a bit - afterburner bus accellerator, PC keyboard interface, reboxed in a Mac IIc desktop case for space, bigger HD, more RAM, etc). No idea if it still boots though... It's not been powered up since the end of the 90's - I don't think I actually have a PS/1 keyboard to use with it now... the VGA and Atari paper white monitor adaptors are probably kicking around as well.


Isn't XaAES still maintained? Looks like there's a picture of you out there! http://xaaes.atariforge.net/history.php?xaaes=history

Reply Score: 2

TT030
by leech on Sat 28th Nov 2015 19:04 UTC
leech
Member since:
2006-01-10

Related to the topic at hand, System V Unix WAS available for the Atari, just not the ST, but the TT030, just like it was for the A3000. Unfortunately the A3000 version was written with only it in mind, so it doesn't run on even an A4000.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atari_TT030

Reply Score: 3

Old news...
by henderson101 on Mon 30th Nov 2015 10:29 UTC
henderson101
Member since:
2006-05-30

I submitted this story in 2011, back when he wrote the original article:

http://www.osnews.com/story/24287/How_the_Atari_ST_Almost_Had_Real_...

Not sure this really adds much to that, other than filling out the stories here slightly.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by kovacm
by kovacm on Mon 30th Nov 2015 13:30 UTC
kovacm
Member since:
2010-12-16

it is nice to see so much ex-atari people here... ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by kovacm
by ezraz on Mon 30th Nov 2015 14:12 UTC in reply to "Comment by kovacm"
ezraz Member since:
2012-06-20

it is nice to see so much ex-atari people here... ;)


The first computer I purchased was a 130XE with disk drive and thermal printer. Hooked it up to my TV and went to town, this would have been about 1985.

Very shortly thereafter I had a 1200 baud modem dialing into the Cleveland Freenet, which hooked into at least 10 other freenets around the globe, one of the earliest 'internets'.

I'll never forget coming downstairs for dinner so proud of myself and telling my mother I was browsing the stacks at the Helsinki, Finland public library and to not pick up the phone.

She jumped up, nearly spilled her food, and demanded I disconnect from Finland immediately!! Did I know how much this was going to cost!!!

I explained to my mom it was a local call and then the computer did the connecting, no long distance needed. I think it took her another 10 years before she understood that ;-)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by kovacm
by karaquazian on Mon 30th Nov 2015 15:24 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by kovacm"
karaquazian Member since:
2011-11-07

I had a 130XE too, great machine.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Comment by kovacm
by JLF65 on Mon 30th Nov 2015 19:11 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by kovacm"
JLF65 Member since:
2005-07-06

I had an Atari 400 with 16K expansion (total of 32K ram) and the 410 cassette. Over the years, I expanded it, adding a BKey replacement keyboard, the Mosaic 64K ram expansion, a Percom DS/DD floppy, and the RS232 expansion box with a JCat 300 baud modem (FEEL THE SPEED!!!). When it was time to move to 16-bit, I did a little research and bought the Amiga 500 since the Amiga was the real successor to the Atari 8-bit computer. I still have that Atari 400, stored in its original box for safety while I use a 65XE for everyday use. I also have that old A500, also stored in its original box for safety while I use an A1200 for everyday use. If I hadn't gotten the A500, I'd have gotten the 520ST. My oldest brother had one and it was a fine machine.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by leech
by leech on Mon 30th Nov 2015 15:37 UTC
leech
Member since:
2006-01-10

That's an awesome story, my first computer was my Atari 800XL, which I newly discovered had no color issues at all, and I just needed to tweak the potentiometer in it! I had thought I'd broken something because at one point in time many moons ago, I had dropped it down the stairs.

I still have my Atari 300 baud modem for it in a box too... Though I didn't really start using modems until my 1200 baud modem with my Atari Mega STe. Nothing like downloading for a full day to get 1mb of a demo that ended up not working... Granted it took several attempts because people kept picking up the phone...

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by leech
by JLF65 on Mon 30th Nov 2015 19:19 UTC in reply to "Comment by leech"
JLF65 Member since:
2005-07-06

Yeah, that was really weird - using a potentiometer to set the clock rate. I had to adjust mine as well (used the TV, a game, and a magazine screenshot to do so). I knew another Atari guy who cranked his up as high as it would go to "overclock" his 800. He was using the monitor out to avoid the color issue. That was one of the nice things about the Atari line - other than the A400, all the Ataris had a monitor output with separate color and luminance lines. I use that on my 65XE with a 21" multimedia monitor these days.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by kovacm
by kovacm on Tue 1st Dec 2015 09:16 UTC
kovacm
Member since:
2010-12-16

If you have time, please come to atari forum and vote in poll:

http://www.atari-forum.com/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=28767

read stories about how people get involved in computer world and leave your story as well ;)

and also check out Atari software archive with screenshots and some video files of ST software: http://milan.kovac.cc/atari/software/index.php?folder=/DTP

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by kovacm
by leech on Tue 1st Dec 2015 15:34 UTC in reply to "Comment by kovacm"
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

Ha, that page is incorrect, Calamus in high res wouldn't run on an SC1224, it had to run on the SM124. Sadly (long story) my working SC1224 was tossed in a dumpster, my non-working SC1435 is sitting in my other room, sadly with a cracked PCB, I need to see if I can fix it one of these days...

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by kovacm
by kovacm on Tue 1st Dec 2015 18:21 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by kovacm"
kovacm Member since:
2010-12-16

:) maybe I should add one "IF" in PHP... ;)

I have LCD hooked to ST but SM124 and SC1224 is real deal!

Reply Score: 2