Y Combinator is restoring one of Alan Kay's Xerox Alto machines

Al Kossow aek at bitsavers.org
Tue Sep 27 10:21:22 CDT 2016

How would you suggest they do that? They have one disk drive.

This is the perennial problem with the Alto, it expects there is a network
so you can do things like network copydisk.

LCM solved their problem by having two machines, and building a 3 to 10mbit
gateway with a simulated file server.

Carl is working on a Diablo drive simulator. Ken is working on a 3 to 10mbit
bridge using a Beaglebone. LCM has promised me gateway boards, but no ETA on

It is possible to put two drives on an Alto, but given the marginal state of
the hardware yet, they have a bunch of burn in work to do.

They also need to lubricate the wick on the drive, which I told them to do but
it isn't clear if they bothered in their excitement. They also need to clean the
pins on the Winchester connectors on the drive. I ran into this bringing up one
of my drives on an exerciser yesterday.

Also, if they have a Lyon optical mouse, they need to come up with a pad, I pointed
them to a paper Dick wrote that shows the hexagonal pattern in enough detail to draw
a new one.

On 9/27/16 3:51 AM, Liam Proven wrote:

> Might it not be a good plan to copy the bootable disk onto the diag
> disk that's full of garbage?

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