Data General software agreement pre-announcement (Merry Christmas)

Bruce Ray bruce at
Sun Dec 27 11:59:42 CST 2009

Some details for those who have e.mailed me on- and off-list:

Good News / Bad News...

The DG Agreement is a "good news / bad news" situation for us hard-core 
preservationists.  It gives Wild Hare a legal umbrella to restore and 
archive for non-commercial and educational purposes the tapes from DG (EMC) 
"Manufacturing" means the DG department that shipped DG software to 
customers, so this represents tapes from past-the-end of the software 
development cycle.

The good news is that we finally were given all remaining DG tapes ad EMC,
the bad news is that most software source code tapes were tossed years 
(decades) ago.  <sigh>

Physical tape recovery

Approximately 1,200 DG tapes were kept in an unused inside office in the 
basement in Hopkinton in tape racks and boxes.  They were in pretty good 
physical condition and almost all had accurate DG labels.

The tapes were 'triaged' and assigned priorities, and all of the critical 
tapes have been read - over 750+ tapes read/recovered so far.  The hundreds 
of unread tapes unread at this point are lower priority items such as CEO 
foreign language add-ons, laser printer fonts(!), and Computer Based 
Training (CBT) data tapes.

About 10% of tapes so far are "unreadable" with current hardware/software 
recovery setup and have been set aside for further processing.  No tapes 
that I consider "critical" have been lost.


The object code of most DG operating systems and languages have been 
recovered - that is what DG Manufacturing shipped to customers.
Unfortunately, the DG manufacturing tapes do not contain source code for 
most DG operating systems and languages.  I've also found that the official 
DG tapes do not have the latest OS version in a few cases(!), but have found 
tape labeling issues that may account for this.

The Plan

I plan to create OS "packs" that can be run on SimH, Wild Hare's reNOVAte, 
reNOVAte/J or other Nova emulators.  These would include a "quick start" 
disk image, official DG release tape image(s), the corresponding DG 
documentation set in .pdf format, and instructions for use.  This also 
'verifies' all critical [tape] data through original DG procedures.  This 
will be initiall done for SOS, RDOS and MP/OS and the commonly used 
languages  (ALGOL, FORTRAN IV, FORTRAN 5, MAC, DG/L, Extended BASIC).

There are several other projects planned, but more about them later...


Bruce Ray
Wild Hare Computer Systems, Inc.
bkr at

...preserving the Data General legacy:

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