K.S. Bhaskar via plug on 21 Sep 2019 15:32:15 -0700

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Yes, the utility programs typically talked directly to the hardware. In some cases, even application programs talked directly to the hardware. It was pretty cool seeing a sort on the IBM 7044, using a dozen tape drives, each about 6 ft tall.

How one loaded programs depended on the computer. For example, on the IBM 1620, you typed in an instruction on the console typewriter to clear all 40,000 decimal digits of memory) and loaded the utility program (in my case, usually Forgo IV, a Fortran IV load-go system) from the card reader. IBM machines typically used punched card images, but the most advanced of those machines, the IBM 7044 could load those card images from a tape drive off a magnetic tape created by the IBM 1401 which read physical punched cards to create the tape, and then took the output tape of printer images from the IBM 7044 and printed them. The PDP-1 loaded utility programs off DECtape (the first word processor I ever used was called Expensive Typewriter and ran on PDP-1 using the console typewriter, and it was “Expensive” because it used the entire, room-sized, PDP-1 to run it).

– Bhaskar

On Sat, Sep 21, 2019 at 2:05 PM Steve Litt via plug <plug@lists.phillylinux.org> wrote:
On Sat, 21 Sep 2019 08:21:50 -0400
"K.S. Bhaskar via plug" <plug@lists.phillylinux.org> wrote:

> Also, I can say from personal experience that utility programs came
> before operating systems. None of the first five computers I
> programmed (IBM 1620, IBM 1401, IBM 7044, IBM 1800 and PDP-1) had an
> operating system, but the IBM 7044 and PDP-1 had utility programs.

What did you do, toggle in a bootloader and boot to lisp, or something
like that? Did the 7044 and PDP-1 have software that translated calls
from the utility programs to hardware, or did each utility program deal
directly with the hardware?

My Heathkit ET-6800 Microprocessor Trainer[1] supposedly had a "monitor"
instead of an OS, but from my point of view the monitor gave me a 16
button hex keyboard input, and a 4 digit 7 segment LED output, so I had
a shell. The machine behaved just like a single user, single process
Linux machine whose data was all hex numbers between 0 and 255, so to
this day I'm not sure why it was called a "monitor" and not an "OS".

[1] https://www.oldcomputermuseum.com/heathkit_et6800.html#


Steve Litt
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