Sunday, May 1, 2016

Great help from an "old IRIS programmer"

This page is a part of the "Understanding IRIS" collection.  

David Takle wrote an old [SimH] group message that caught my attention, so I reached out to him, and he responded.

[Simh] help with binaries on NOVA 

NOVA emulation --- I have RDOS running nicely and am trying to get used to
it, reading all the docs I can find (I'm an old IRIS programmer). But I keep
hitting a roadblock. I cannot get any binaries to run, either as a program
under RDOS or as a standalone program that would be booted by the RDOS
"program?" prompt. My guess is that there are some conventions that I am
missing regarding how an assembly program must be structured, and/or some
particular parameters that are required by the Assembler and Relocatable
Binary Loader.

I would greatly appreciate it If anyone can supply a step-by-step plan for
writing a compatible Assembly program along with the correct ASM and RLDR
parameters to create (a) a runnable SAVE program ( and (b) and
standalone bootable program.



The thread ends with Paco Linux quoting Bruce Ray

So, we reached out to him via email.  We got a fast reply, and what follows are the chronicles of the journey that ensued:


In an email to us on 4/25/2016:

Wow. Seems like forever since I tried that little project.
Unfortunately, I was never able to secure a copy of IRIS, either source or binary, so it became a moot point. 

Last I remember, though, the real trick is to format a Logical 0 drive, such that it will boot up when the simulator is turned on. But you probably know that. 

Looking at your website, it would appear you have a binary copy of IRIS, which is quite an accomplishment in itself. I hope you get it to run. I have a lot of fond memories of writing drivers and system-level enhancements to IRIS. Ah, the stories we could tell .....

Let me know if you get a SimH IRIS system going. It could make an interesting hobby.


Next email 4/26/2016:

My first intro to DG was in 1974 when I went to work for Hagen Systems in Minneapolis. They were buying systems from EDS which became Point 4. We also had a few CPU's from another manufacturer, but never directly from DG. We were writing order/invoice/inventory systems in Basic. I got interested in the assembly language and write one of the first drivers for some new low cost disk controller that allowed us to move beyond the Diablo 10MB drives to the CDC 25 and 50MB drives. By the early 1980's I was contracting with Simple Systems in Mpls to write various drivers, etc. We created print spooling, sped up the system in several places to where we were running over 50 terminals with 2 second response time in a travel agency. Around 1985 I wrote the drivers for an Apple-Talk interface that allowed us to network Nova's together so that they could read disk drives attached to other CPUs on the network. It was all great fun.

David went on to provide a LOT of help for us.  See the directory of his full IRIS OS analysis and explanation at "Understanding IRIS

Continued in the next pages/posts...

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