[vcf-midatlantic] UNIX PC, was Re: Museum Report 7/16 & 7/17

Dave McGuire mcguire at neurotica.com
Tue Jul 19 17:53:17 EDT 2016

On 07/19/2016 05:32 PM, Jeffrey Brace via vcf-midatlantic wrote:
> Yes! I got the login and password from Evan. Then Jonathan G. and David ?.
> helped me figure out the command to properly shutdown:
> sync;sync;sync;shutdown.
> I just wanted to check that the machine worked so that I could demo it to
> visitors. I just wonder what I could demonstrate to them that is
> interesting. I also have to research the significance of that machine. Evan
> put it in the museum for a reason.

  The big deal with the UNIX PC is that it's a full-blown UNIX system on
a desktop for less than $10K, when such a thing was unheard of.

  It runs SVR2 on a 68010 at 10MHz.  The base configuration was 512KB of
RAM and a 10MB hard drive.  This was enough to run the whole OS and get
work done.  The original spec was a 5MB hard drive, but as far as I know
that version never shipped, as 5MB wasn't enough to install even the
first release of its OS.  The graphics are 720x348 monochrome, the same
as the ubiquitous Hercules video system at the time.  The graphical
environment, called "ua" (User Agent), is quite advanced for the time,
and for its memory footprint.

  It was done for AT&T by Convergent Technologies.

  As a matter of opinion, this machine has the finest keyboard I have
every used on any platform.

  I worked in a store in NJ which received some of the first released
UNIX PCs.  We had a regular churn of academic types who had seen the
press release and came in to ogle it.

  Contrary to popular belief, it has nothing at all in common with the
3B2 family, other than the name of the company that sold it.

  Overall the machine was groundbreaking in many ways, and way ahead of
its time.


Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
New Kensington, PA

More information about the vcf-midatlantic mailing list