out-of-mainstream minis

John Wallace johnwallace4 at yahoo.co.uk
Sat Jul 4 14:29:10 CDT 2015

For the UNIX/68k box possibly labelled Unisys, and in the absence, so far, of anything more definitive:

Have a look at Convergent Technologies Miniframe. A reasonable amount of info around. The pictures at 
may be helpful - one is of a back panel with multiple serial ports and a couple of others. That website is in German but others are available in other languages, and anyway a picture speaks approximately 1K words.

No guarantees, but worth a look by the sound of it.

I had the mixed fortune to use one of these briefly in the mid 1980s, primarily to use troff/nroff etc for documentation generation and software testing. Real development work was done in a platform-independent manner on a VMS box before being tested on the UNIX box. The System-V-based (?) Minframe software at the time was so unproductive that most of the document production was also done on the VMS box (a VAX11/725, for goodness sake, more productive than a hip/trendy UNIX box). Write in troff/nroff using EDT on VMS, put through a simplistic translation from troff/nroff to RUNOFF, check the output, repeat till it was about right, with only the final version being generated from troff/nroff on the CT box.

My recollection is that the 68K OS we had didn't do demand paging, just swapping, even though if it really did have a 68010, demand paging would have been possible (and preferable). 

I believe these boxes were rebadged by various other vendors; the one I had was reportedly a prototype prior to being rebadged by Gould. Maybe Unisys were doing the same. It may have been Gould's (not CT's) software.

Have a lot of fun
john wallace

Re: out-of-mainstream minis
Saturday, 4 July, 2015 0:54

    "mark at markesystems.com" <mark at markesystems.com>
    cctalk at classiccmp.org

In the late 80’s, I bought from a surplus/junk shop a (by then somewhat obsolete) Unix computer, branded UniSys, I think.  It had 10 serial ports; one was the primary console, one was intended for a printer, and the other 8 were regular user TTYs.  The processor was a 68000 (not 010, 020, or anything else), I don’t remember how much memory, and it had an integral full-height hard drive as well (60 mB, maybe?).

When I say Unix, I mean real System-7 Unix – not Linux or any other *nix.  I thought it was really a pretty neat system – 8 (or 9) users and a printer, just perfect for a small office – or my apartment at the time, which had a terminal or two in every room.  I learned how to program in Unix on that machine, since it matched exactly the System 7 manuals I had. Sadly, time moved on, I got married, and got rid of a bunch of “useless junk”, like that computer.

Recently, I’ve been reminiscing and poking around some on the Web to try to find information about it, but it seems to have vanished completely with nary a ripple.  Has anyone else stumbled across this unit, or at least have any knowledge of it?  It was a black case, about the size of a standard IBM-PC, with ten serial ports on the back and not much else.  I’d sure be interested to know where I might locate data about that unit, or (gasp!) possibly even an existing one...
Mark Moulding

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