Acquiring a bunch of Lisp Machines

Ian Finder ian.finder at
Fri Sep 25 20:34:09 CDT 2015

The "wasn't" was a hint to indicate that the "OS" for the purpose of this
conversation - actually the disklabel and FEP code- was never available or
intended to be loaded outside of a factory / support environment.

For all I know, the disk controller may require special microcode to be
able to write the volume header. I have no real idea-

I'm not claiming any amount of expertise- only that a microcoded,
undocumented 36-bit machine with it's own secondary frontend IOP, multiple
microcoded bit-slice based custom IO subsystems, and no known external
software tools is a little different than an 8-bit toy computer kit.

Guy's response touches on the broader strokes- the ISA for the main
processor itself isn't even documented.

On Fri, Sep 25, 2015 at 6:17 PM, dwight <dkelvey at> wrote:

>  > From: ian.finder at
> >
> > I'm sorry, I usually try and keep it together on this list.
> > Dwight- your post is a shitpost.
> >
> > (
> >
> > I'm not gonna delve into details, but the Symbolics machines have a
> > substantial number of unique challenges going for them. It's not as if
> none
> > of us have invested substantial time into understanding what's going on.
> >
> > It's an extremely complicated, largely undocumented system.
> >
> > Impossible? No. That said, your experience with bootstrapping an IMSAI
> > could not possibly be a more irrelevant anecdote.
> >
> > But I do appreciate that you bootstrapped an S-100 machine once.
> >
> > "A lisp machine would clearly be difficult but not impossible for a
> > determined
> > hacker.
> > If it was designed to run it can be made to run again."
> >
> > > If it was designed to run it can be made to run again.
> >
> > It wasn't. That's part of the problem.
> >
> I don't know you and you obviously don't know me.
> I know many people like you. Many that claim to know what they are
> doing and are experts in there fields.
> I am curious about you statement" It wasn't", as to designed to run.
> Dwight

   Ian Finder
   (206) 395-MIPS
   ian.finder at

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