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The night before the event (2.11BSD UNIX Repair)

Posted <2017-07-17 Mon 22:18> by Aaron S. Jackson.

The vintage/retro computing event for the graduation is tomorrow morning. I am quite excited. I hope that the graduands will find the machines interesting, but if nothing else, it has been a fun experience getting things up and running. Some good news and some bad news. Let's start with the good news:

We managed to replace /etc/termcap which had been deleted for some reason. We replaced /bin/ls which had been corrupted by the failing disk, causing it to fail when you run ls -l. We did this by copying over a program to decode ascii hex encoded files. If you straight cat to the serial port the PDP tends to freak out a bit (probably wouldn't happen with hardware handshaking). Instead, we wrote a little script to copy it line by line:

while read -r line; do
    echo $line > /dev/ttyUSB0
    sleep 0.001
    echo $line
done <$1

This works very reliably but it is quite slow.

The bad news is that my VAXstation 3100 M76 does not want to boot anymore. I am not sure if the room is too hot or if the there is something more seriously wrong with it. I hope the former, time will only tell.

And as usual, here are some photos.

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