Research UNIX v8

    v8 on SIMH

So what the heck is Research UNIX v8?  Or even what is Research UNIX?  Well a query against utzoo gave me this answer:

>I've seen people that use System V and the like refer to their Unix as
>"tenth edition" or "ninth edition", or whatever. I've always seen things as
>"System V release n", or whatever. Anyone know the difference between these
>different naming schemes ?

There are actually three designations: Versions, Editions, and
System/Releases. The proper names of the first six Unixen were
"The #th Edition". Colloquially, people called them "Version #".
The Version Sixth Edition split off several variations, one of which
became Version Seven (the Seventh Edition) and sired BSD. From
several others, System III was born, and later named System V.
Tacked onto this name were Release numbers and yes, Versions.
So you will see things line SVr3v2.

The Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Editions seldom left Bell Labs
and are also referred to as "Research UNIX". Another system
(not UNIX) they are playing with is called "Plan 9". Every so
often, a feature, such as STREAMS, finds its way into System V.

In some ways, Research UNIX is closer to BSD than to System V.

In short, UNIX began it’s life as a research project.  Until recently versions 1-6 & 32v were available to the public.  However the later versions, 8,9,10 were not.  However thanks to the work over at TUHS it’s available for non commercial use:
Alcatel-Lucent USA Inc has permitted usage saying "will not assert its
copyright rights with respect to any non-commercial copying, distribution,
performance, display or creation of derivative works of 
Research Unix®1 Editions 8,9, and 10."

So awesome!

The version of Research v8 is split onto 2 tape images, one for the graphical terminals, and the other for the OS install onto the VAX.  The distribution is not suitable for any standalone operation, and requires a previously installed 4.1BSD machine, with a second disk to install v8 onto.  Part of the installation requires you to compile your own kernel.  I ran into a bit of problems as it’s not a 100% process, but after referencing this guide from David du Colombier, I had the system up and running.  Naturally reading the installation manual helped a great deal too.

As always there is strange artifacts left in the backup, such as this scoreboard from rogue:

Top Ten Rogueists:
Rank Score Name
1 5545 Rog-O-Matic XIII for mjs: quit on level 17.
2 5043 ken: killed on level 23 by a dragon.
3 3858 zip: killed on level 16 by an invisible stalker.
4 3249 Rog-O-Matic VII: killed on level 16 by an invisible stalker.
5 2226 Rog-O-Matic VII: killed on level 13 by a troll.
6 2172 St. Jude: killed on level 13 by a troll.
7 1660 Rog-O-Matic VII: quit on level 11.
8 1632 Chipmunk the Jello: killed on level 10 by a centaur.
9 844 Rog-O-Matic VII: quit on level 5.
10 401 Rog-O-Matic VII: killed on level 4 by a snake.

Does this mean Ken Thompson was an avid rogue fan?  Perhaps.  Naturally I quickly compiled the v100 version of aclock, and had it running.

aclock on v8

I’ll have to edit this and more and more as I find out, but I’ve been busy in real life, and of course I know that in addition to v8, there is also v9 & v10 to tackle.

As always, if you want you can download my pre-installed from my site : researchv8.7z

You will have to bring your own copy of the SIMH VAX-11/780 simulator.  As of 31/3/2017 ther is issues with the github version of SIMH, and you will have issues with the disks on the VAX.  You need to disable the async with a simple set command in your ini file:

set noasync

And you should now be good to go!  As always you’ll have to battle the 404 page for the correct link and the username & password.


CDC 1700 emulator added to SIMH

For those of us, who have never heard of the CD 1700, there is a brief page on wikipedia:

And from the announcement on the SIMH mailing list:

For the past couple of years or so, I have been working on a SIMH-based
simulator for the CDC1700 series, a 16-bit system from the mid-1960’s, using
the documentation and software available at bitsavers. It has now sufficiently
stable to allow others to make use ot the software. The base system implements:

  • a 1714 CPU with:
    • 1705 multi-level interrupts and direct storage access bus
    • up to 32KW of memory
    • memory protect system
    • Optional 64KW support
  • 1711-A teletypewriter
  • 1721-A paper tape reader
  • 1723-A paper tape punch
  • 1740 or 1742-30 line printer
  • 1738-B disk pack controller with up to 2 disk packs:
    (853 disk pack – 1.5MW)
    (854 disk pack – 3.0MW)
  • 1733-2 cartridge disk controller with up to 4 drives:
    Each drive has 1 fixed disk and 1 removeable disk:
    (856-2 CDD – 1.13MW per disk)
    (856-4 CDD – 2.25MW per disk)
  • 1732-A or 1732-3 magtape controller with 4 transports

The simulator is able to boot the diagnostic tape (SYSTEM17_SMM_DIAGS.TAP at and successfully execute tests for each of the above
components. Some test sections fail due to various reasons; lack of
documentation, timing issues, feature not implemented etc.

The simulator is also able to boot and install MSOS 5 from an installation
tape (MSOS5_SL136.tap at onto a 1733-2 cartridge drive. This
is a copy of a distribution tape provided by CDC to run on a 64KW system at

I would like to thank Doug Gwyn for answering questions about the system
architecture and providing details about specific diagnostics tests and
Al Kossow for for peripheral documentation so that I could get MSOS 5

So today I came across a ‘new’ 4.1 BSD tape on bitsavers:

4.1 BSD tape

4.1 BSD tape

The label is dated 7/10/81, so I thought this would be fun to install on SIMH.  I chose with the starunix 4.0BSD as a starting point thinking that this should be close enough to boot up 4.1.  However I could not get the boot code to correctly work.  So failing that, I went ahead and ran the 4.0 mkfs, and restor programs, and then swapped tapes to the 4.1 to restore it’s root. dump.  And using the 4.0 disk boot program it worked pretty well!

So I went ahead, and extracted the boot program from the 4.0 tape, and rebuilt the 4.1 tape with the 4.0 standalone boot programs so you can install it from SIMH, if you want to cook up your own install.  You can download it from my site (read the 404 message for the current password) or from sourceforge.

And for those of you who like dmesg output:


VAX 11/780 simulator V4.0-0 Beta        git commit id: b8049645

: hp(0,0)vmunix
123060+27528+24628 start 0xF5C
Berkeley VAX/UNIX Version 4.9  Wed Feb 17 15:27:46 PST 1982
real mem  = 8322048
avail mem = 7738368
mcr0 at tr1
mcr1 at tr2
uba0 at tr3
dz0 at uba0 csr 160100 vec 300, ipl 15
mba0 at tr8
hp0 at mba0 drive 0
hp1 at mba0 drive 1
hp2 at mba0 drive 2
hp3 at mba0 drive 3
mba1 at tr9
ht0 at mba1 drive 0
tu0 at ht0 slave 0
tu1 at ht0 slave 1
root on hp0
WARNING: clock lost 153 days -- CHECK AND RESET THE DATE!
WARNING: should run interleaved swap with >= 2Mb
Automatic reboot in progress...
Mon Feb  2 00:59:55 GMT 1976
/dev/hp0a: 676 files 4278 blocks 3345 free
/dev/rhp0g: 3605 files 18925 blocks 122653 free
Mon Feb  2 00:59:56 GMT 1976
Mounted /usr on /dev/hp0g
preserving editor files
clearing /tmp
starting daemons: update cron accounting network mail printer.
Mon Feb  2 00:59:56 GMT 1976

Berkeley 4.1 VAX/UNIX (Amnesia-Vax)

login: root

Welcome to Berkeley Vax/UNIX (4.1bsd revised 1 Sept. 1981)
Erase is delete
Kill is control-U

For the brave the direct link is here to the original tape image on bitsavers.


SIMH on demand!

Ok starting with my shellinabox post, I’ve expanded to include SIMH’s Altair emulator!

CP/M 2.2 in a box!

CP/M 2.2 in a box!

Executing this is really simple!  A small shell script will take care of the whole thing.

set -m
mkdir /tmp/$PID
cd /tmp/$PID
cp /usr/local/altair/1.ini .
cp /usr/local/altair/cpm22.dsk .
/usr/local/altair/altair 1.ini
cd /tmp
rm -rf /tmp/$PID

Of course I’m assuming dead processes get reaped.  But check it out!

I’ve put BASIC-80 rev 5.21 and ZORK I in there!

Some advice on SIMH thought, you can execute a shell with the ! command (hitting Control-E will interrupt SIMH) so to prevent that alter the line in scp.c to make sure it’s a noop_cmd instead of spawn_cmd.  Not that anyone was doing anything sneaky as the nobody user, but to prevent it.

{ “!”, &noop_cmd, 0, HLP_SPAWN },

Also an ini file of:

attach dsk0 cpm22.dsk
set throttle 2%
go 177400

Keeps SIMH pretty tame.

Additionally I guess I should do a 12 hour cronjob to kill displaced altairs.

Setting up DECNet on VMS 4.7

Years ago, I was given an image of VMS 4.7.  I only tested it for idle capabilities, and that is as far as I got with it.  I never used it for anything else.

But today I needed to verify my Win32 Hecnet project works, so I needed to generate some legit DECNet traffic.  Luckily I still have the VMS image, and in the prevailing years I managed to get a copy of PathWorks for Windows NT (And one for MS-DOS as well!).

So googling around, I found blinkenbone who mentions the command needed to setup some DECNet love.  Now the one thing that is strange about DECNet is that the MAC address needs to be changed to the DECNet area & node id.  Thankfully there is an online calculator, powerdog.  Since I’m just testing, I’ll put my VAX in area 1, node 1, that means the VAX MAC needs to be set to:


So in SIMH, I just use the line:

set xq mac=AA-00-04-00-01-04

Cool.  Now I use ansicon, in the hopes it’ll make the console better, and fire up VMS.

VMS 4.7 booted

VMS 4.7 booted

And then login as system/manager

Now I can setup decnet very simply like this:

Username: SYSTEM
Welcome to VAX/VMS version V4.7
Last interactive login on Saturday, 20-SEP-2008 17:32
$ @sys$manager:netconfig

DECnet-VAX network configuration procedure

This procedure will help you define the parameters needed to get DECnet
running on this machine. You will be shown the changes before they are
executed, in case you wish to perform them manually.

What do you want your DECnet node name to be? : rabbit
What do you want your DECnet address to be? : 1.1
Do you want to operate as a router? [NO (nonrouting)]:
Do you want a default DECnet account? [YES]:

Here are the commands necessary to setup your system.

$ RUN SYS$SYSTEM:NCP ! Remove existing entry, if any
/UIC=[376,376] /ACCOUNT=DECNET –
Press RETURN to continue


Do you want to go ahead and do it? [YES]:
%UAF-I-ADDMSG, user record successfully added
%UAF-I-RDBADDMSGU, identifier DECNET value: [000376,000376] added to RIGHTSLIST.
%UAF-I-DONEMSG, system authorization file modified
%UAF-I-RDBDONEMSG, rights database modified
%NCP-I-NMLRSP, listener response – Success
Logging sink type = monitor
%NML-I-RECADDED, Database entry added

The changes have been made.

If you have not already installed the DECnet-VAX license, then do so now.

After the license has been installed, you should invoke the procedure
SYS$MANAGER:STARTNET.COM to startup DECnet-VAX with these changes.

(If the license is already installed) Do you want DECnet started? [YES]:
%%%%%%%%%%% OPCOM 28-OCT-1987 15:42:37.64 %%%%%%%%%%%
Message from user DECNET
DECnet starting

%RUN-S-PROC_ID, identification of created process is 00000109
%RUN-S-PROC_ID, identification of created process is 0000010B
%%%%%%%%%%% OPCOM 28-OCT-1987 15:42:42.67 %%%%%%%%%%%
Message from user DECNET
DECnet event 4.10, circuit up
From node 1.1 (RABBIT), 28-OCT-1987 15:42:37.69
Circuit QNA-0

It basically set itself up.

And on the Windows NT side, I simply set itself up as node 2 in area 1.

Windows NT + Pathworks

Windows NT + Pathworks

And now I can use CTERM to connect to the VAX.



Nice!.  And it even works through my port of HECNet.

On reboots you have to manually start the network.  I don’t have EDT, or I don’t know where to find it (remember the gold key? ugh).

Manually starting the network

Manually starting the network

But it’s a simple command:


And you are good to go!

Likewise shutting down is accomplished with this:


And that’s about all I know about VMS.  But it’s good to see that configuring this was pain free!

Wyse Telnet & Serial emulator

While messing around with SIMH & CP/M, I had some weird terminal issue, and wanted to try something that wasn’t ANSI.  So I thought I’d try to find a free Wyse 50/60 emulator, and as I kind of expected this type of emulation isn’t cheap.

But then I found, and they made their Win16 stuff free as in beer ware.  Well that sounds pretty good.  Even better is that WINE can still run Win16 applications!

WyseTerm on SIMH

WyseTerm on SIMH

The only real catch I’ve found is that it ONLY will telnet to port 23.

But yeah, a free Wyse terminal emulator.  So far as a CP/M console it seems to be running pretty well.


Somehow, I missed this as a ‘beta’ driver for the last public release of SIMH.

68k CP/M 1.2

68k CP/M 1.2

What makes the 68000 version of CP/M different from the i8080 version is that it was coded in C.  And of course 68k CP/M suffered the same problem every other processor incompatible ‘same os’ OS has ever suffered which is no applications.  But that is when I remembered the COM, which started out it’s life as an 8080 emulator for the 68000.  With a LOT of creative googlling, I managed to find the source, mysteriously labelled 8088M.ZIP.  I also found a binary here. But unfortunately that is as far as I got.  I haven’t managed to figure out a way to inject files into the SAGE CP/M IMD disk images.

So this is where I’m stuck, and this is my call for help.  If anyone knows how to get files in/out of these IMD files give me a shout.  For anyone interested in 68k CP/M this is your chance to get it running.

The one funny thing I found in a hex editor of the disk image was this:

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 12.20.20 AM

Cryptic message

Oh well.



Never mind, me and a friend of mine (hi Lorenzo!) got the disk image thing figured out!

Qemu enters the 1.7 testing phase

I built 1.7rc2 on OSX, and I’ve only tested the x86 portion… x86_64 of course still fails on vista & friends… 2003 of course hangs at “starting windows” so no progress there.  I haven’t tried any MIPS, PowerPC, or SPARC things…

Also the Adlib/SoundBlaster is still broken in this release, there is a source change in adlib.c that has to be made.  Also I just noticed that IRQ sharing works in ISA mode again, so the Ne2000 can go back to 0x300 IRQ 9.

Also speaking of emulation, I was thinking of shoving a VAX-11/780 into the world for the heck of it.  Although I don’t think anyone would care.  I’ll have to dig out the source to 4.3 and give the shell the ability to add new users.  I wrote it once, and I fear I’ve lost those changes but it was cool for something back then.

Anyways post back here if you want an account on !

So a few things …

So after this comment, I decided to put a SIMH VAX running 4.3 BSD.  Back in the day, I used to keep a bunch of legacy systems online for the heck of it.  Although I don’t think it ever really took off.. But yeah I figured I should get something back online.

So this time I thought I’d make it somewhat.. different.. So anyways if you feel so inclined go ahead and telnet to

And from there you can create a user account on the mud, and then it’ll create a user in the operating system.


I’ve loaded up a bunch of 3rd party stuff.. And since we are living in the past I managed to get the old news reader ‘rn’ to talk to  The first time it runs it’ll complain a bunch but there isn’t much you can do except enjoy the ride.

Lynx is present but.. downloading stuff kind of stalls.

All I ask is you play nice.

I’ve added in the flash telnet app.

Some minor work on SIMH

So it’d been a while since I’ve booted it up, and I just went with the 3.8-2 rc2 release (I forget did that version ever get released..?) Anyways since I wanted to run my SIMH instance under a Linux VM..

Soooo I went through some fun to recompile it as a 32bit binary, as the slirp doesn’t work on 64bit machines..

I just built the 11/780 emulator as I wanted to run 4.3 UWisc on my VM (in a VM)..

You can download the build here.

As a reminder the installation instructions for 4.3 BSD Uwisc can be found on gunkies, and all the files needed are on sourceforge.  Also the 4.x BSD if_de.c driver errors out on receiving packets, and I’ve found it easier to just remove the error checking from the driver, and recompile the kernel and just boot that up.

I’m thinking of rebuilding the login process on 4.3 BSD to bring back AberMud, and self service user creation.  Years ago I used to host all kinds of ancient UNIX, and I’d like to bring back at least one..