TU-58 support under Unix

Jerry Weiss jsw at ieee.org
Sun Feb 3 20:51:56 CST 2019

My speculation would be that TU58 did not add anything of value or 
convenience to these systems.

I used Ultrix-11, V7M, Venix in this era.  My recollection is that in 
most cases to build these systems and patch them, you needed regular 
access  to 800/1600 BPI tape. Given this relatively standard media, the 
addition of a smaller, slower, proprietary secondary tape media would at 
best be a low priority.    Throw in the raise of floppy media, then 
Ethernet, it becomes even less so.  Also this was a fixed block type 
device, so any use between different OS's would have required additional 
utilities and/or OS support to transfer files.

We had TU58's in our VAX 11/750  and few computerized medical systems.  
Only on the later did we ever use them to move data on a regular basis.  
This was for research purposes as vendor had not made any other 
arrangements for data offloading.  The TU58's were in a small 
semi-portable cabinet.  Thus they could be added and removed quickly w/o 
altering the qualification of the medical device.


On 2/3/19 1:13 PM, Bill Gunshannon via cctalk wrote:
> Here's a question for someone who has been around long enough to
> remember.
> Why did none of the available PDP-11 Unixes support the TU-58?
> I have looked at Ultrix-11, V7M and BSD 2.11 (didn't try 2.9
> but I suspect if it isn't in 2.11 it wasn't in 2.9) and none
> of them had support for the TU-58.  Seems to me it would have
> been a rather simple device to handle as it ran over a serial
> line.
> bill

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