** 1900 Computing history **
** And general Operating Systems **
For contact with other ICT/ICL people use the links page for Friends of ICL
and for those who worked in the Putney area, Mike Curleys site for ICT PUTNEY
memorabilia's, we can recommend both sites.
My interest in the ICL 1900 series trancends the fact that I started out as an ICL hardware engineer, as
I did write some small pieces of code for fault finding around the Standard Interface, and
undertook dump cracking and analysis courses. However these were applied on the 2903 range
which ran DME. Although a variant of executive adapted for this smaller machine, the essential
elements of the multi tasking interface were all there on the 2903, which had a limited number
of program " slots " and some dedicated to just Comminications or Remote Job Entry.
RJE used a subset of George to provide a remote job system on this smaller machine. The 2903
ran the executive under an emulated micro code called "Micos" which interfaced the differing
2903 hardware to a DME executive. I found that my old " Hardware " programing skills moved
over easily to operating systems, and gave me a much better view of system support.
These in turn made the transistion to VME systems easier, Where VMEB would plod carefully along
on even a fast machine, checking its every move before undertaking any action. In stark
contrast to VMEK which would rush around trying to do everything at top speed, and when it took
on something it could not handle it would just Crash, Dump and Reload in a fraction of a second.
Yes folks ! even faster than WINDOZE does !
A rare item indeed seen at the 2004 ICL staff Putney Party reunion.
Alan Thompson's great addition to the reunion. The original, 'The One and Only',
4 program usage display , and a slot for "executive" from the Putney Computer center.
' Nice one Alan '.
This is one hell of a piece of history !
For those who remember or wish to find out about the ICL 1900 series of
computers, I can strongly recommend the following link.
Some considerable time has been spent with PC Systems so it will be no surprise to you to know that I have
also experienced some of the Best ( and Worst ) Operating Systems on the PC !
to list just a few:-
DOS:- ( yes good old dos ) from V2.0 up to todays Version 8 and above, IMHO 6.22 was about the best.
Windows:- ( from version 2.0 on ) yes version TWO ! and it worked, err.. sometimes.
Gem:- ( DR's lost product ) I still think it failed too early in its life. It had a good user interface and
mostly did what you expected it to do.
CPM:- an oldey but goody, in all its 8 and 16 bit forms, wonderful to write drivers for.
Mac:- The Gentle O/S it has been called, and I agree!
Linux:- How can we leave linux till last, well because I have only just restarted my interest. I
was stuck at 6.1 for a long while as the application worked fine on the machine it was intended
for but slowly stopped working as the releases moved on. I am now about to Launch into SuSe 9.1
so wish me luck!
Wierdest O/S of all has to be QDOS for the QL computer, it worked and worked well, but it was
very hard going to get it to do anything. Although the Amiga was not too helpful with its
GURU Meditation crashes, and the Atari ST just popping a number of pictures of Bombs on the
screen, yes you had to count them as well !
The nascom almost wins with the likes of Tbug and Nassys, but the 6301 tiny basic wins for me
One kilo byte of rom and it ran basic, drove an RS232 interface, and talked almost plain english!
All from a mininuative PCB and a 5 volt battery.
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