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PDP-11 Programmers WANTED!

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  • brian_cirulnick
    Dunno if you ve seen this article, but it turns out that Nuclear Plants are going to keep their existing PDP-11 s running until 2050, so right now, GE is
    Message 1 of 7 , Jun 19, 2013
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      Dunno if you've seen this article, but it turns out that Nuclear Plants are going to keep their existing PDP-11's running until 2050, so right now, GE is scouring Vintage Computer forums in search of PDP-11 programmers....

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/06/19/nuke_plants_to_keep_pdp11_until_2050/

      Yes boys and girls, vintage computing is alive and well in places like Insurance, Banks, and Nuclear Power. Funny how things that are CRITICAL to running our infrastructure aren't running Windows.
    • Brian Schenkenberger, VAXman-
      ... Funny? I sing my praises to the great spaghetti monster that these places have NOT been placed in jeopardy by great malefactor of the IS/IT industry! --
      Message 2 of 7 , Jun 19, 2013
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        "brian_cirulnick" <techrat@...> writes:

        >Dunno if you've seen this article, but it turns out that Nuclear Plants are=
        > going to keep their existing PDP-11's running until 2050, so right now, GE=
        > is scouring Vintage Computer forums in search of PDP-11 programmers....
        >
        >http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/06/19/nuke_plants_to_keep_pdp11_until_205=
        >0/
        >
        >Yes boys and girls, vintage computing is alive and well in places like Insu=
        >rance, Banks, and Nuclear Power. Funny how things that are CRITICAL to runn=
        >ing our infrastructure aren't running Windows.=20

        Funny? I sing my praises to the great spaghetti monster that these places
        have NOT been placed in jeopardy by great malefactor of the IS/IT industry!

        --
        VAXman- A Bored Certified VMS Kernel Mode Hacker VAXman(at)TMESIS(dot)ORG

        Well I speak to machines with the voice of humanity.
      • David Riley
        ... I m glad someone ran this article, because it s important, but I d have liked it even more if the reporter hadn t kept referring to the PDP-11 as both the
        Message 3 of 7 , Jun 19, 2013
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          On Jun 19, 2013, at 9:42 AM, "brian_cirulnick" <techrat@...> wrote:

          > Dunno if you've seen this article, but it turns out that Nuclear Plants are going to keep their existing PDP-11's running until 2050, so right now, GE is scouring Vintage Computer forums in search of PDP-11 programmers....
          >
          > http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/06/19/nuke_plants_to_keep_pdp11_until_2050/
          >
          > Yes boys and girls, vintage computing is alive and well in places like Insurance, Banks, and Nuclear Power. Funny how things that are CRITICAL to running our infrastructure aren't running Windows.

          I'm glad someone ran this article, because it's important, but I'd have liked it even more if the reporter hadn't kept referring to the PDP-11 as both the computer (which it is) and the operating system (which it is not). Drove me a little nuts, even if it didn't really matter in terms of the gist of the piece.

          Still, it's an important article; definitely emphasizes the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" aspect of vintage computing in modern industrial settings. ESPECIALLY nuclear power, where it makes a LOT of sense to maintain a system whose fault modes are known and well-characterized.


          - Dave
        • Dave McGuire
          ... Yup. And in that industry, it isn t vintage computing . It s just the way it s done, the right tool for the job. -Dave -- Dave McGuire, AK4HZ New
          Message 4 of 7 , Jun 19, 2013
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            On 06/19/2013 09:42 AM, brian_cirulnick wrote:
            > Dunno if you've seen this article, but it turns out that Nuclear Plants are going to keep their existing PDP-11's running until 2050, so right now, GE is scouring Vintage Computer forums in search of PDP-11 programmers....
            >
            > http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/06/19/nuke_plants_to_keep_pdp11_until_2050/
            >
            > Yes boys and girls, vintage computing is alive and well in places like Insurance, Banks, and Nuclear Power. Funny how things that are CRITICAL to running our infrastructure aren't running Windows.

            Yup. And in that industry, it isn't "vintage computing". It's just
            the way it's done, the right tool for the job.

            -Dave

            --
            Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
            New Kensington, PA
          • Dan Roganti
            ... There s all kinds of original equipment still used in mission critical operations. There s still almost 2 acres of floor space in the datacenter with 2
            Message 5 of 7 , Jun 19, 2013
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              On Wed, Jun 19, 2013 at 1:09 PM, Dave McGuire <Mcguire@...> wrote:
              On 06/19/2013 09:42 AM, brian_cirulnick wrote:
              > Dunno if you've seen this article, but it turns out that Nuclear Plants are going to keep their existing PDP-11's running until 2050, so right now, GE is scouring Vintage Computer forums in search of PDP-11 programmers....
              >
              > http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/06/19/nuke_plants_to_keep_pdp11_until_2050/
              >
              > Yes boys and girls, vintage computing is alive and well in places like Insurance, Banks, and Nuclear Power. Funny how things that are CRITICAL to running our infrastructure aren't running Windows.

                 Yup.  And in that industry, it isn't "vintage computing".  It's just
              the way it's done, the right tool for the job.


              There's all kinds of original equipment still used in mission critical operations. There's still almost 2 acres of floor space in the datacenter with 2 dozen systems from SEL and two CDC Cyber 840's still kicking at Vandenberg AFB. This is still running after 35years and it was designed as a result of the SALT-II treaty and began operations in 1978. I recently heard from an old colleague that our systems will still be in service for another decade after the contract renewal. Frankly, it's more cost prohibitive to replace systems with this level of reliability without undergoing extensive (and expensive) regression tests all over again - that's a requirement - we're not talking about some POS system for your local dept store. Sure they can replace Tape drives and Hard drives with compatible equipment, but the computer hardware and software have to be proven, eg. no bugs (hard or soft). Of course they make newer reliable equipment, but that may be fine only for new mission critical projects,  but try to get an approval for defense contract or FAA certification to replace a 30+yr old system that's still a reliable diehard - only because you like to open your Facebook acct while the missile is streaming off course.
              U.S. Air Force Western Space and Missile Center (WSMC), Vandenberg AB
              http://www.rogtronics.net/computers_mini_gallery_tips.html

              Dan

            • Mike Hatch
              ... We are in the middle of refurbishing several EIA 2050 Missile Range Plotters - http://www.yesterdaystechnology.com/html/catalog.html - (image 20/21 down
              Message 6 of 7 , Jun 20, 2013
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                On 19/06/2013 22:31, Dan Roganti wrote:
                >
                > There's all kinds of original equipment still used in mission critical
                > operations.

                We are in the middle of refurbishing several EIA 2050 Missile Range
                Plotters -
                http://www.yesterdaystechnology.com/html/catalog.html - (image 20/21
                down the page), still used for missile tracking and required for at
                least another 5 years. Electronic manuals still exist but no mechanical
                drawings so the mechanics has had to be redrawn from scratch.

                Mike.



                There's still almost 2 acres of floor space in the
                > datacenter with 2 dozen systems from SEL and two CDC Cyber 840's still
                > kicking at Vandenberg AFB. This is still running after 35years and it
                > was designed as a result of the SALT-II treaty and began operations in
                > 1978. I recently heard from an old colleague that our systems will still
                > be in service for another decade after the contract renewal. Frankly,
                > it's more cost prohibitive to replace systems with this level of
                > reliability without undergoing extensive (and expensive) regression
                > tests all over again - that's a requirement - we're not talking about
                > some POS system for your local dept store. Sure they can replace Tape
                > drives and Hard drives with compatible equipment, but the computer
                > hardware and software have to be proven, eg. no bugs (hard or soft). Of
                > course they make newer reliable equipment, but that may be fine only for
                > new mission critical projects, but try to get an approval for defense
                > contract or FAA certification to replace a 30+yr old system that's still
                > a reliable diehard - only because you like to open your Facebook acct
                > while the missile is streaming off course.
                > U.S. Air Force Western Space and Missile Center (WSMC
                > <http://www.titan-ii.com/VAFB.html>), Vandenberg AB
                > http://www.rogtronics.net/computers_mini_gallery_tips.html
                >
              • Mike
                Regarding the SEL systems-32, I recently noticed that somebody has come up with a SEL software compatible system, so potentially the HW could be replaced with
                Message 7 of 7 , Jun 20, 2013
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                  Regarding the SEL systems-32, I recently noticed that somebody has come up with a SEL software compatible system, so potentially the HW could be replaced with something more modern and the software reused. Presumably it runs on a modern processor in emulation. Like you say, it would still have to be re-qualified, but I imagine maintaining those old systems will only get more expensive as time goes on. They are also still in use in flight simulators. I have also seen some SEL systems-32 cards on ebay with fairly high prices, given the age and relative obscurity of the system.

                  regards,
                  Mike Willegal

                  --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, Dan Roganti <ragooman@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > On Wed, Jun 19, 2013 at 1:09 PM, Dave McGuire <Mcguire@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > > On 06/19/2013 09:42 AM, brian_cirulnick wrote:
                  > > > Dunno if you've seen this article, but it turns out that Nuclear Plants
                  > > are going to keep their existing PDP-11's running until 2050, so right now,
                  > > GE is scouring Vintage Computer forums in search of PDP-11 programmers....
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/06/19/nuke_plants_to_keep_pdp11_until_2050/
                  > > >
                  > > > Yes boys and girls, vintage computing is alive and well in places like
                  > > Insurance, Banks, and Nuclear Power. Funny how things that are CRITICAL to
                  > > running our infrastructure aren't running Windows.
                  > >
                  > > Yup. And in that industry, it isn't "vintage computing". It's just
                  > > the way it's done, the right tool for the job.
                  > >
                  >
                  >
                  > There's all kinds of original equipment still used in mission critical
                  > operations. There's still almost 2 acres of floor space in the datacenter
                  > with 2 dozen systems from SEL and two CDC Cyber 840's still kicking at
                  > Vandenberg AFB. This is still running after 35years and it was designed as
                  > a result of the SALT-II treaty and began operations in 1978. I recently
                  > heard from an old colleague that our systems will still be in service for
                  > another decade after the contract renewal. Frankly, it's more cost
                  > prohibitive to replace systems with this level of reliability without
                  > undergoing extensive (and expensive) regression tests all over again -
                  > that's a requirement - we're not talking about some POS system for your
                  > local dept store. Sure they can replace Tape drives and Hard drives
                  > with compatible equipment, but the computer hardware and software have to
                  > be proven, eg. no bugs (hard or soft). Of course they make
                  > newer reliable equipment, but that may be fine only for new mission
                  > critical projects, but try to get an approval for defense contract or FAA
                  > certification to replace a 30+yr old system that's still a reliable diehard
                  > - only because you like to open your Facebook acct while the missile is
                  > streaming off course.
                  > U.S. Air Force Western Space and Missile Center
                  > (WSMC<http://www.titan-ii.com/VAFB.html>),
                  > Vandenberg AB
                  > http://www.rogtronics.net/computers_mini_gallery_tips.html
                  >
                  > Dan
                  >
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