Curmudgeoning (was Re: [CentOS] Problems with writing Dual Layer DVD)

Thu Aug 28 21:38:28 UTC 2008
David Dyer-Bennet <dd-b at>

On Thu, August 28, 2008 13:14, Bill Campbell wrote:

> I started in 1966 on a Bendix G-20, graduating to the Burroughs
> B-5500 thence to the Burroughs Medium Systems, B-2500->B-4800.
> Burroughs MCP (Master Control Program) ran circles around IBM's
> OS-3xx, and didn't require an army of support people to debug JCL
> and keep the thing running (sorta like the industry that exists
> to clean up after the Microsoft Virus, Windows, today).

I have the impression (never worked with it myself) that the B5500 was a
classic, and Burroughs generally had some very good stuff going on.

> We had an IBM 1130 for about a year, with a 1MB disk pack, about
> the size of a pizza box, and 8K words of magnetic core memory.

I played with an 1130 across the river at St. Olaf College, as well as two
1620s (our highschool actually had a 1620 in 1968, and they hadn't just
gotten it then).

>>I don't think I still remember much about how to make drum cards, though.
>>I *do* have some cards from back then out near my computer at home; found
>>them cleaning out some stuff, and could quite bear to just dump them, so
>>they're kicking around.
> Making the multi-program drum cards was a bit nasty with
> multi-punching so I wrote an assembly program for the IBM 1130
> that would read two program-1 cards, shift the second's codes
> appropriately, then punch multi-program cards.

Couldn't do that on the 1620 or the 1401, so I had to deal with them by hand.

> I had another
> assembly program that would detect blank cards, selecting them to
> the alternate hopper making it easy to recover the blanks that
> people left lying around the key punches (there was a period
> during the 1970s when punch cards got very expensive and in
> rather short supply).

I wrote a program for the 1401 (to control the 1402) that would take cards
from reader and punch and merge them in a defined sequence into the middle
output hopper, which was selectable from both sides.  The purpose being to
create complexly striped decks from colored cards.

Luckily cards never got scarce while I was still using them.  We were
pretty thorougly off cards by 1976, though.

I moved to DEC hardware -- PDP-11 (running RSTS), and then when I
graduated from college I moved to a DECSYSTEM-20 site, and then into DEC's
field software support organization, and then into their engineering
organization in Marlboro MA.
David Dyer-Bennet, dd-b at;