out-of-mainstream minis

Jules Richardson jules.richardson99 at gmail.com
Sat Jul 4 07:41:35 CDT 2015

On 07/03/2015 06:54 PM, mark at markesystems.com wrote:
> In the late 80’s, I bought from a surplus/junk shop a (by then somewhat
> obsolete) Unix computer, branded UniSys, I think.  It had 10 serial
> ports; one was the primary console, one was intended for a printer, and
> the other 8 were regular user TTYs.  The processor was a 68000 (not 010,
> 020, or anything else), I don’t remember how much memory, and it had an
> integral full-height hard drive as well (60 mB, maybe?).
> When I say Unix, I mean real System-7 Unix – not Linux or any other
> *nix.  I thought it was really a pretty neat system – 8 (or 9) users and
> a printer, just perfect for a small office – or my apartment at the
> time, which had a terminal or two in every room.  I learned how to
> program in Unix on that machine, since it matched exactly the System 7
> manuals I had. Sadly, time moved on, I got married, and got rid of a
> bunch of “useless junk”, like that computer.
> Recently, I’ve been reminiscing and poking around some on the Web to try
> to find information about it, but it seems to have vanished completely
> with nary a ripple.  Has anyone else stumbled across this unit, or at
> least have any knowledge of it?  It was a black case, about the size of
> a standard IBM-PC, with ten serial ports on the back and not much else.
> I’d sure be interested to know where I might locate data about that
> unit, or (gasp!) possibly even an existing one... ~~ Mark Moulding

Hmm, you could try and get hold of an NCR Tower machine; I've seen those 
re-branded as Unisys, and the older ones have a configuration similar to 
what you describe ('010 rather than plain 68k, ram boards were 8MB each I 
think, FH ST506/412-type drive, serial for console and local printer, then 
serial boards each capable of supporting 8 ttys). The cases are different - 
cream, tall, narrow and floor-standing rather than a black desktop, but the 
user experience would be the same.

Around 1991 I acquired a Tower 32/700, which was one of the later machines 
in the line from around 1987 or so - '040 CPU, dual SCSI disks, Ethernet, 
32MB of ECC battery-backed RAM and 16 serial lines. Multibus for everything 
apart from the RAM. OS was SVR3, IIRC. Very nice machine, with lots of 
support logic to keep the performance high (I seem to remember several 
m68k-family and x86-family CPUs on the various cards) - even if the OS was 
a little quirky.



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