henry_flower: A melancholy wolf (Default)
henry_flower ([personal profile] henry_flower) wrote2017-02-26 03:16 am

These things cost thousands

From: David <david-j9qY4gOmSpxAfugRpC6u6w@public.gmane.org>
Newsgroups: gmane.org.unix-heritage.general
Subject: Access to Unix
Date: Fri, 24 Feb 2017 08:30:56 -0800
Message-ID: <3F95348D-9D95-4BE6-AC7C-757D30784E39@kdbarto.org>
X-Mailer: Apple Mail (2.3124)

(somewhat long story)

After reading all the stories about how Unix source was protected and
hard to access to I’ve got to say that my experience was a little

I was at UCSD from 76-80 when UCSD got a VAX and I think it was
running 32V at the time. Well being a CS student didn’t get you access
to that machine, it was for the grad students and others doing all the
real work.

I became friends with the admin of the system (sdcsvax) and he
mentioned one day that the thing he wanted more than anything else was
more disks. He had a bunch of the removable disk packs and wanted a
couple more to swap out to do things like change the OS quickly etc.

My dad worked for CDC at the time, and he was making removable media
of the same type that the VAX was using. My luck. I asked him about
getting a disk pack, or two. He said that these things cost thousands
and he couldn’t just pick them up and bring them home.

Then one day a couple of them ‘fell off a truck’ and my Dad just
happened to be there to pick them up and bring them home. You know, so
the kids could see what he did for a job.

I took them into the lab and gave them to the admin who looked the
disks, then at me, and asked what I wanted in exchange. I asked for a
seat at the VAX, with full access.

Since then I’ve had a ucsd email account, and been a dyed in the wool
Unix guy.


UCSD is University of California San Diego.
CDC is Control Data Corporation that was Seymour Cray's supercomputer firm. Removable "disk packs" of the 70s looked like this.

juan_gandhi: (Default)

[personal profile] juan_gandhi 2017-02-26 06:32 am (UTC)(link)
Good question. Why would they? Because I need it? They did not have no money to satisfy my needs. Instead, they had their own home-made OS, which I never dared to touch (look through the docs and laughed).