Gould 32/77 (was: NWA auctions)

ANDY HOLT andy.holt at tesco.net
Sat Oct 15 12:07:16 CDT 2016

----- Original Message -----
> From: "David Brownlee" <abs at absd.org>

> We had a PN9080 and PN6040 at City University as the main systems in the
> late 90's 
Ah, yes, "The Magic Roundabout" - was three 6040s and one 9080. I still
possess the Gould nameplate from the 9000.
They were the last machines we had that we though of as mainframes (even
if many would call them minis - but I think the racks were wider than 19"
so they clearly weren't minis!)

There's some interest in the story of how this system came together:
we did have a Honeywell dual 66/60 which was supplemented by the 9000 as
a time-sharing system when we had had it 5 years. 
After two more years we calculated that we could buy and maintain the 
trio of 6000s for less than the maintenance cost for the three years 
that the Honeywell was due to remain and gain a noiceable increase in
computing power (and a noticeable decrease in power consumption) by 
doing so … and actually managed to convince the bean counters of this.

> (accessed via the usual mix of ADM3As, ADM5s, some Sun3s and a
> whole bunch of Whitechapel MG-1s, ans some colour terminals of which I
> cannot recall the name, but I remember them having a setting where they
> would auto colour characters based on their clas - alpha one colour,
> numbers another, and two or three other colours for the rest of ASCII)

I also forget what those colour terminals were. The first Sun came along
when it turned out that it was cheaper to buy it and an Ada* compiler than
the Ada for the Honeywell.
* Computer Science /insisted/ they needed an Ada compiler.
They never used it - but the Sun was useful :-)

> When the CS department finally moved away from their own 6040 it was left
> forgotten in a room over the summer - in the autumn the aircon was found to
> have failed, overflowed and the machine was sitting there with water all
> over the floor and in a steam bath. Still running fine.

Don't remember that - but certainly believable

> Quite robust that ECL :)
Um, I don't think the 6000s were ECL - think they were a reimplementation of
the 9000 using cheaper technology - probably whatever was the current 
"state of the art" TTL (don't think CMOS had taken-over for speed yet)

Thanks, Abs, for reminding me of those times.


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