Linked by uridium on Tue 10th Apr 2018 22:49 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems

The HP 9000 Series of computers spanned almost three decades and very diverse platforms of Unix computers. Both RISC and Unix, with a longer history, were developed into coherent products during the 1980s, moving from academia via industrial R&D to productization at a time when much computing was still done on mainframes, minicomputers and time-sharing machines such as DEC PDP, VAX, IBM AS/400 and System/360.

Paul Weissmann tells the story of the development and history of the HP9000.

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I misread the title as HAL 9000
by Cramit on Tue 10th Apr 2018 23:54 UTC
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I misread the title as HAL 9000 and got overly excited...still interesting though.

Reply Score: 3

Pascal and Algol systems programming.
by moondevil on Wed 11th Apr 2018 08:41 UTC
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Another interesting fact not explored on the article, and only briefly touched at the end of it, is that the genesis of HP 9000 and PA-RISC computers go back to the HP 3000 mainframes.

They were developed in a mix of Assembly, Pascal and Algol dialects, namely HP Pascal (Modcal) and SPL.

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by NorthWay on Wed 11th Apr 2018 11:11 UTC
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I remember when our CS student lab got the first new 700 workstations - they were nice!

The also had a very unusual keyboard, the keys had a very strong rubber feel to them, though after having used it for a while it was the best keyboard ever. I'm still looking for one (I have a more modern one with a PS/2 connector, but that is hard plastic type keys).

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did you know ...
by p13. on Wed 11th Apr 2018 13:00 UTC
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That next/openstep was ported to pa-risc as well?

I own a 712 which runs it.

Thom ... Want to review it?

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Set up a few
by Drunkula on Wed 11th Apr 2018 13:03 UTC
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A company I worked for a few jobs back had a couple of HP workstations they needed set up. I never worked on this hardware before. Not sure of the details but they were tower workstations. They weighed a lot! They ran Unix of some sort (HP-UX?) and were PA-risc based. Very nice machines. Did I mention they weighed a lot?! ;-)

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Comment by ahferroin7
by ahferroin7 on Wed 11th Apr 2018 13:51 UTC
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I've actually got one of the E-series PA-RISC systems from the late 90's, though unfortunately haven't been able to get it running satisfactorily (no copy of HP-UX with it, storage controllers completely unsupported by Linux and BSD, etc, etc). It's a remarkably well built system (solid, durable, and surprisingly efficient (albeit very loud) cooling for the era).

The FPU is actually kind of neat though, you can force it to round numbers using any of the IEEE 754 rounding modes (nearest tied to even, nearest tied away from zero, truncate, ceiling, and floor), which makes it insanely useful for testing algorithmic stability.

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Remember when...
by Vanders on Wed 11th Apr 2018 14:01 UTC
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Remember when HP had a coherent product strategy and were capable of producing & delivering real products?

Boy, you have a good memory.

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RE: Remember when...
by uridium on Wed 11th Apr 2018 21:58 UTC in reply to "Remember when..."
uridium Member since:

Stop it. Your making me weep. :~)

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I cut my UNIX teeth on HP-UX...
by rklrkl on Wed 11th Apr 2018 16:14 UTC
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My company runs the HP-UX archiving and porting centre at where we still build open source packages for PA-RISC HP-UX 11. HP-UX was my first introduction to UNIX and although I'm mainly Linux-based now, a lot of HP-UX knowledge transferred over quite straightforwardly.

I always wondered why HP never ported HP-UX to x86_64 - maybe they felt that Linux had got a strangehold on UNIX on x86_64? It would have been nice to run HP-UX on commodity hardware (or even in a VM on top of a Linux host).

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christian Member since:

I always wondered why HP never ported HP-UX to x86_64 - maybe they felt that Linux had got a strangehold on UNIX on x86_64? It would have been nice to run HP-UX on commodity hardware (or even in a VM on top of a Linux host).

To protect their hardware business, I suspect. HP-PA machines were high margin, expensive machines, whereas contemporary x86 machines were much more commodity and cheap, with much lower margins in the server space (which HP were already in anyway with Wintel servers.)

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anevilyak Member since:

If memory serves, around the time x86_64 made its debut, HP were more in the Itanium boat. The writing was on the wall already for PA-RISC at that point.

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Sold a boatload of these
by whartung on Wed 11th Apr 2018 18:11 UTC
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As a VAR, we sold a bunch of these machines. I distinctly recall cramming a "small" 827 in to the cargo bay of a twin prop plane to Laughlin, Nevada for a demo.

Yes, here we are: Height: 43cm, Width: 44cm, Depth: 53cm, 50 kilos.

Drag that sucker through an airport...loads of laughs.

The hardware was really nice, we never had any issue with any of it.

Those were good times. Being cross platform, our stuff worked on RS600s, HP9000s, Suns, Data General, etc. etc. The hey day of the Unix server market. Replacing aging IBM behemoths with a tower and port expander. The ancient NCR mainframe we replaced with a pizza box Sparcstation -- talk about David and Goliath.

The HP and IBM Sys admin console utilities were really good (these being the full screen interfaces for standing up files systems and what not).

Oh, and may I suggest not hard mounting NFS file systems across a pair of servers when the power goes out, DAMHIK.

Reply Score: 3

HP-UX on x86
by Onyx_RE2 on Wed 11th Apr 2018 18:50 UTC
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HP-UX went from PA-RISC to Itanium. An x86_64 version was developed but never released.
HP-UX 11i v3 will continue to be supported until at least end of 2020 on PA-RISC and until end of 2025 for Itanium.
There is a containerization/translation layer being built to run Itanium based binaries on x86_64 Linux.

Reply Score: 5

v Nostalgia...
by shakeshuck on Wed 11th Apr 2018 21:45 UTC