Something they talked about that wasn't mentioned here is how tightly Norsk Data worked with the military, and that one of their most powerful computers was specifically designed to analyze Sonar signals from sensors in North Norway to listen for submarines of the coast.
He seemed oddly familiar.
Turns out this was Lars Monrad-Krohn, one of the founders, and the CEO of Norsk Data. After the conference was over he smiled and asked "can I invite you gentlemen out for dinner so we can continue the conversation?".
We had a lovely evening and many interesting discussions. He is still sharp. And one of the nicest people I've met.
Interesting that a computer manufacturer was the second biggest company in Norway in 1987
Big and innovative companies at their time but suffering about the same fate as Norsk Data.
RC4000 seemed steam-driven even then. However, I didn't know its significance at the time, and that our British GEC4000 systems were a better implementation of that pioneering approach, though I've never confirmed the influence, and OS4000 didn't use Algol. Probably the UK could go in that mix with Norway and Denmark. "Zjuh compuuder ish all shcrewwed uupp" — excuse my Danish — was a common phrase around the RC4000 which went back to Liverpool, but there was less occasion for it with the GEC systems. Respect to former colleagues.
The most direct influence I've seen of the oil fund is that it provides capital behind some investments systems that are aimed to drive business creation in _non_-oil sectors (including technology).
It was destroyed by a right wing government which refused to "pick winners", and grant broader governmental innovation funding. And of course in addition not winning the CPU arms race which happened at the time.
However to think that Norway had an infant computer industry, with its own NON-UNIX mainframe system, complete with hardware in several sizes, operating systems and so on. It was even cloned by the Soviet Union, and cloned spare parts were sold behind the iron curtain!
What this company achieved was monumental.
Most of the machines and their software are entirely lost to history at this point, with the companies bankrupt or dissolved and documentation and hardware all scrapped.
Source: worked for ND 1988/9 (not in Norway, though) when the end was nigh and they were looking for a plan B as customers moved to open systems (= Unix)
Edit: didn't recall correctly; was ND-570 not ND-800 and ND-5000 not ND-4000 (in late 1980s these series were basically the same at the CMOS level and an ND-570 could be on-site migrated to 5000 by merely cutting a wire on the board with a knipper to engage additional instructions or address lines)
But it's basically correct that you could field-upgrade some of the models to a faster model, not exactly by just snipping a wire, but you could e.g. change the cycle time, and enable caching. But to go from the 5200 to the 5400 you would need to change some boards too. Here's an overview:
However, I have seen the cutting-a-wire-on-a-board in real life. We bough an upgrade from an ND-530 to an ND-570, and a technician came with a knipper. It was surreal: The upgrade was north of 100KUSD. And all they did was cut a wire.
The Conservative party took over the Norwegian government in 1981 and held the power alone or with coalition parties until 1990. I am by no means an expert in Norsk Data trivia, but if Norsk Data was the second largest company in Norway in 1987, I have a hard time understanding that Norsk Data was destroyed by 'the right wing government which refused to "pick winners"'.
In this article 1] the government is not mentioned and the author Arild Haraldsen asks the question:
"Could Norsk Data have been Saved? Nothing suggests that it could".
"No, 32 utropstegn, not 32 utropstegn, like this":
I found an #ifdef ND5000 sitting in a header somewhere, and had to investigate.
It looks a lot like the Siemens terminals. It was also marketed under the Tandberg name.
The Tandberg keyboard was, on every model, vastly better than anything else out there, including the Nokia. I should mention that A) I have one Nokia 301 S terminal at home, and B) I still have ND/Tandberg keyboards with PS/2 interfaces, I use it today on my Linux box and it's still better than anything, for a touch typist like me.
One thing the Nokia terminal has is that it can switch to VT220 mode too. It's got several identities built in, including that one.
(I've got an ND-110 mini as well, that's what I need the Nokia for - the console port is current loop only. Which the Nokia terminal supports.)
The Tandberg terminals:
If memory serves those were specially made and cost a fortune.
It's before my time, but I have used one. I can guarantee that it was never that tidy in practice. My experience with punching a tape is that the chads seem to go everywhere except the bin. It's a fire hazard before long.
It wasn't very good, but we learned a lot, and all 3 of us made a career in software.
I think there’s still a Norsk
Data coffee mug in his house somewhere.
Actually I implemented a Unix glob filter that did exactly that out of boredom on a project 20 years ago :)
I guess emacs users and LISPers in general would be loving it (the concept not my C implementation that is).
never heard anything like this - care to elaborate / point?
Post Cisco, Len Bosack actually started a company, XKL, intending to build the next-gen DEC20. By the time this actually happened, the world had long moved on and XKL redirected to optical networks stuff.
The perhaps incorrect deduction here is that the Nordics are ahead when it comes to core or fundamental science, but they are behind when it comes to tech business longevity and business expansion potential. Of course, many of its tech companies are rather old companies to start off with .
Some countries suffer from a kind of inverse of this: In South Africa, fundamental science is hard to come by. (The rest of Southern Africa is even worse.) An example of this is indeed also the tech industry: If you are a programmer in South Africa, you are quite likely to be deploying and maintaining software such as Salesforce and Oracle, AWS workflows, MS SQL databases, PostgreSQL and MySQL, and so forth; and you are unlikely to be writing the actual code for the core technology that constitutes AWS, Oracle, etc. There are people writing apps, but I don't know many examples where the apps have global traction. Most websites written for local companies are shoddy and even the ones that look nice don't have any core invention behind them. Mark Shuttleworth actually lives in the Isle of Man now (not to mention Elon Musk...) and most South Africans probably don't know what Canonical is.
By contrast, if you already have a solid business in South Africa, your expansion potential is almost limitless. There are about 60 million people and most of them are below the age of 30 . The youth unemployment rate, defined as unemployment of people between the age of 18 and I think 35, is usually around 60%. You also have, depending on who rates it, 7/10 of the top 10 universities in Africa as of 2020 . You don't have to pay people with degrees a lot of money for it to be considered a high salary by global—especially American—standards.
 Norsk Data was caught off guard by the PC revolution, which had one big across hardware OS; Nokia didn't realise the importance of smartphones with one big across brand OS, apart from the iPhone. (Though I am still waiting for Linux Phone OS.)
 Nokia started off as a pulp mill. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia#1865%E2%80%931967
 QS rates only nine universities in Africa, here is a pastebin as their website is difficult to navigate: https://pastebin.com/raw/ixLJ0Lqq. This means that the 10th university and below are not in the world top 500. It is quite likely that the University of Potchefstroom would be the 10th. Some sources claim 8/10 of the top 10, but I don't know which agency's ratings that is based on.
In fact, I know where this radio is right now, because I've seen it :-).
I was at the local university (NTNU) where the lab dungeon keeper occasionally will test and refurbish old surplus lab equipment and then sell it. I was there to pick up a few power supplies and we started talking. Eventually he brought us on a tour of the dungeons and I found the first GSM radio standing on a shelf in the basement storage.
EDIT: Not sure why this comment is getting downvoted. I'm just interested in why people find the article interesting and/or if there was some recent news which made Norsk Data relevant again…
Apparently, in an effort to gain market share in the Soviet block (Which cloned ND products like there was no tomorrow anyway) without falling foul of COCOM rules, they neutered a few 32-bit NORDs and duly exported them east.
Presumably the COCOM regulations of the time said 'No 32 bit exports!'...
I came across it (again) reading some physics history.
Edit, TLDR style, here's part of what dang says:
> You're misinterpreting that guideline, and I'm afraid HN might be missing out on some great submissions as a result! It's not limited to what good hackers would find interesting for hacker-related reasons. It's simply: what good hackers would find interesting.
But not release ready still. I'm busy working on the FUSE filesystem implementation at the moment.
There's another very good ND-100 emulator out there (runs executables like mine), it's on Github.