[vcf-midatlantic] Museum 3B1 & PDP-8

Dave McGuire mcguire at neurotica.com
Thu Oct 31 12:14:05 EDT 2019

On 10/31/19 11:18 AM, Jeffrey Brace via vcf-midatlantic wrote:
> I like to show the Unix prompt and how it works because it is a command
> line based OS which is much different than modern GUI.

  It would be better to show it off a bit and explain the fact that
there's nothing inherently more or less modern about a GUI.

> Personally I would like a better editor than the built in “ed”. Maybe there
> is the “vi” available?

  Yes, vi is available on that platform.  Even when the 3B1/7300 was new
in the 1980s, essentially nobody used ed, but it was just never removed
from the distribution.

  Also, emacs can be built on the 3B1, though it takes awhile.  It runs
well on that platform but you'll want additional memory; do you have a
1.5MB RAM expansion board installed in that system?  I think the version
I built on the 3B1 (when it was new) was 18.59, the source code for
which is still available.

> I would for some show a C program and how to compile from the command line.
> But is there a GUI version.

  There are no true "GUI versions" of compilers that I'm aware of; even
the IDEs that the millenials all flock to run command-line compilers
underneath the covers.  There are better compilers, though; GCC produces
excellent code for the 68K family, and it does run on the 3B1.  If you
install that, at least you'll have ANSI compatibility which opens up a
positively gigantic world of software that can be compiled on that system.

> And just for fun is there a BASIC interpreter or compiler available?

  Look for Bywater BASIC (bwbasic); it should compile on that platform.

  I will be digging into some of my 3B1/7300 systems before too long.
If I end up building any of that stuff, I'll send you binaries along
with some guidance on how to install them.


Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
New Kensington, PA

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