Dumb terminals and many sessions (was Re: VAXen and minimal memory)

Ethan Dicks ethan.dicks at gmail.com
Thu Feb 11 14:12:12 CST 2016

On Thu, Feb 11, 2016 at 12:11 PM, William Donzelli <wdonzelli at gmail.com> wrote:
>> DEC VT100s
>> were around $1,800 in the early-1980s,
> VT100s (and terminals in general) often were used as bargaining chips
> to sweeten deals, so the price was quite "flexible".

I have no doubts that was true when selling systems, but I remember
seeing the paperwork from when we were growing, so 10 new employees
meant 10 new terminals (and sometimes one more CS21)...

Eventually, we stopped growing, then started shrinking, so it was
feasible to log into two systems at once by having two terminals on
your desk.  We also had structured wiring from Nevada Western (DB25
modular adapters on each terminal, 6-pin silver satin cables to the
wall, and several 3U "switchboard" panels with blocks of jacks and
25-pair telco cables back to the VAXen) so it was also easy to employ
2-line switch blocks at our desks.  Eventually, we had "modern"
terminals like the CiTOH 101e that supported a second session over the
"serial printer" line (we never used the second line for hardcopy).

Now, I use computers with bitmap screens to maintain multiple
simultaneous character-based sessions.  Same workflow, less wire and
fewer large hunks of plastic and metal on my desk.


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