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Burroughs B6500 Status Report (1968) [video] (youtube.com)
38 points by da02 on June 11, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 8 comments

Burroughs is absolutely fascinating. In the video they mention:

2:50 Simulation, which I assume actually means a combination of integration and unit testing.

3:52 compiler language! i.e. non-machine language

6:05 Some kind of integrated documentation process, I guess akin to rejecting commits that don't have docstrings / sphinx docs included

6:37 "production unit" I wonder if that's where the terminology of "production server" comes from

7:40 list of features including dual processors (SMP), virtual memory!

9:00 simultaneous software & hardware design process + automated wire routing magic


This company lasted from 1886 building adding machines to 1986 when it got merged with another company to form Unisys, which I guess didn't do so well after that. That's a 100-year-old computer company! Some company records were stored in UMN, would be interesting to dig into that sometime: http://discover.lib.umn.edu/cgi/f/findaid/findaid-idx?c=umfa...

Also important to know that Dijkstra was a Burroughs research fellow. Must have been an amazing place to work at.

More interesting stuff: http://conservancy.umn.edu/bitstream/107105/1/oh098b5c.pdf http://www.academia.edu/1522947/Too_far_ahead_of_its_time_Ba... http://ed-thelen.org/comp-hist/B5000-AlgolRWaychoff.html

A while ago I transcribed the voice-over of this clip as part of our efforts to document and resurrect several early Burroughs systems:


The voiceover is William Schallert, who played Patty Duke's father on The Patty Duke Show[1].

[1] http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0769974/

Holy crap- automated wire-wrapping. I used a wire-wrapped Lisp Machine in 1984 like this one:


Zaphod and Arthur were made available to us. Arthur crashed more.

It's not that long ago I did my prototyping in wire-wrap - I still have proto boards in wirewrap sitting on my old-stuff shelf. These days we just get boards done in China and delivered in days. I think that it was largely the shift to surface mount parts that killed wirewrap as a prototyping medium

wow - of course this was pre-video tape - it really was a film shown to potential customers

The free-form pseudo electronic jazz in the background makes it particularly hard to listen to

The free-form pseudo electronic jazz in the background makes it particularly hard to listen to

I don't know, daddy-o. Those cats were really flyin'. I dug it.

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