Prime 50-Series emulator announcement

Michael Kerpan mjkerpan at
Fri Mar 13 08:35:55 CDT 2020

Great news. I look forward to trying it out. Other than compilers, is there
much else to run on Prime at the moment? Do any applications still exist to
try and run? Is Prime Information (apparently the platform's "killer app")
available? Are there any games? Was there the equivalent of a DECUS or
Usenix through which freeware speed across the community?

On Wed, Mar 11, 2020, 11:41 AM Dennis Boone via cctalk <
cctalk at> wrote:

> I'm reposting this announcement from Jim Wilcoxson.
> De
> ####
> Newsgroups:
> Date: Wed, 11 Mar 2020 08:34:13 -0700 (PDT)
> Message-ID: <0c560b91-35d2-4dcc-b859-a8eb4d22bd17 at>
> Subject: Prime emulator source released on GitHub
> From: Jim Wilcoxson <prirun at>
> Today, with much help from Dennis Boone, I'm releasing the Prime
> emulator source code on GitHub for non-commercial use.  This is the full
> version of the emulator running on Linux and supports:
> - all Prime CPU modes: 16S, 32S, 32R, 64R, 64V, 32I
> - all Prime models, from the P400 to P6550
> - up to 512MB of memory, depending on the Primos rev and CPU
> - a system console
> - 128 incoming telnet terminal connections
> - 8 disk controllers, 8 drives each
> - support for all 25 disk drives sold by Prime
> - a tape controller, 4 drives, using the .TAP format
> - a PNC controller emulating RingNet over TCP/IP
> - a bypass for Primos system serial number checks
> - Unix utilities to read/write physical tapes & Magsav tapes
> Dennis owns the emulator GitHub repo and has also kindly agreed to take
> over hosting of the public Prime emulators that have been online since
> 2008.  There are 7 public emulators running in a virtual Prime ring,
> allowing both remote terminal sessions (netlink) and remote disk access
> via PrimeNet.  The Prime emulator on Linux is currently running 45-55
> Prime MIPS in 64V mode.
> A wide range of Prime software is loaded on the public emulators:
> - ftn screaming fast Prime Fortran 66 compiler, written in assembler
> - f77 the not-so-screaming but full-featured Fortran '77
> - pl1g the PL/I Subset G compiler
> - pl1 the full PL/I compiler
> - plp the original Prime systems language (like PL/I)
> - spl the 2nd generation Prime systems language
> - cc the C compiler written by Garth Conby of Pacer Software
> - pascal the Pascal compiler
> - modula Wirth's successor to Pascal
> - dbg Prime's source level debugger rivaling modern debuggers
> - pma the Prime assembler
> - basicv the Prime BASIC compiler
> - cobol the original Prime COBOL compiler
> - cbl the Prime COBOL '74 compiler
> - emacs the full screen editor still used by many today (me!)
> - midas the Prime indexed sequential file software
> This week we are working on releasing Prime disk images for all of the
> public emulators to make it easy for others to get their own Prime up
> and running.  For the truly adventurous who want to bootstrap their own
> Prime system, there are links in the emulator readme to Prime tape
> images at Bitsavers and to a large library of Prime manuals.
> I learned more about operating systems, compilers, concurrency, and
> other systems programming topics by reading Prime source code, making
> changes to Primos, and fiddling with Prime hardware, than I did from all
> of my college degree work.  I loved Prime computers, Prime software,
> Prime hardware, and the Prime Computer company, and am grateful to all
> of the former Prime engineers that provided this robust and interesting
> hardware and software platform.
> I hope you enjoy it too!
> Jim

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