BBC Tube... Running UNIX?

Jules Richardson jules.richardson99 at
Wed May 25 17:26:36 CDT 2016

On 05/25/2016 08:36 AM, Aaron Jackson wrote:
> I just revisited the Wikipedia page for the BBC Micro Tube [1].
> Apparently with a 32bit NS320 processor it was possible to run some
> variant of UNIX? Does anyone know anything about this? I'd be very
> interested in experimenting with it, if it is true.

All evidence that I've seen suggests that it didn't exist, at least in the 
wild, even though some documentation does make a passing reference to it 
(it's quoted in the BBC user manual, I believe, and I've seen it in some 
Acorn Business Computer marketing material).

Acorn - with involvement from Logica - certainly attempted a port of Xenix 
to the hardware, but it's not clear how far they ever got. I've seen a few 
corporate emails which suggest that they were encountering severe 
performance problems, both with the ns32k CPU itself and with transfer of 
data across the Tube link.

For Unix "on a BBC" I think the only option was System III from Torch 
running on a m68k "Atlas" co-processor.



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