Help reading a 9 track tape

Jay Jaeger cube1 at
Wed Aug 4 09:25:16 CDT 2021

James, I am located in Madison WI.  I would need to fire up my SCSI 9 
Track drive (software on Linux) and test it as I have not used in a 
couple of years, but I have done recovery of old tapes from this era 
before, and have a primitive setup for "baking" tapes before trying to 
read them.

Assuming my HP 9 track is still happy, I can produce AWS format tape 
images, raw block files and extract individual files (translated into 
ASCII if that is desirable).

I don't remember exactly the time period when tape coatings were such 
that reading them without "baking" them is very risky - this might be 
before that era - Al Kossow would probably know - so I'd likely "bake" 
it first before trying to read it.

Given the name "IEBUPDTX" this tape was certainly intended to be used on 
a 360 or 370, as you described below (IBM has a utility IEBUPDTE).

So, if you haven't found somebody to read this thing yet, feel free to 
contact me.


On 8/2/2021 10:11 AM, James Liu via cctech wrote:
> Thanks for feedback and offers to assist.  I received the tape from
> one of the maintainers of Schoonship at CERN, and it was probably made
> around 1978 at SLAC.
> For some background, Tini Veltman developed Schoonship in the 1960's
> at CERN on the CDC 6600.  My understanding is that he more or less
> insisted on coding in assembly since he thought FORTRAN or other high
> level languages would just get in the way and slow things down.  The
> code was maintained by Veltman and Strubbe well into the 1970's, but
> its future was held back by being so closely tied to CDC hardware.
> In the mid 1970's, Strubbe began a conversion of Schoonschip to IBM
> S/360 and S/370.  It was sort of a curious technique, as far as I
> gathered.  The idea was to first translate CDC COMPASS source to an
> intermediate PL/I like language.  But then, instead of using the IBM
> PL/I compiler, a bunch of macros were developed to implement the PL/I
> like language in IBM assembly.  This conversion was never fully
> completed for reasons unknown to me.
> Later on, when Tini joined the University of Michigan (that's where
> I'm located), he realized that Schoonschip needed to be updated.  But
> the update was ... instead of CDC assembly he decided on m68k
> assembly.  (At this time, in the early 1980's, C probably would have
> been the natural language of choice.)  Moreover, he insisted on
> developing his own toolchain (assembler, linker, etc).  This was
> before my time at Michigan, but basically he ported Schoonschip to
> just about all the m68k machines of that era (Sun, Atari, Amiga, Mac,
> NeXT, and others I am not familiar with).  We have a pretty good
> collection of m68k code
> (, but nothing
> earlier.
> Getting back to the tape, I'm pretty sure it has Strubbe's PL/I like
> code as it is an archive of the PL/I conversion.  It may also have CDC
> source, but that is less obvious until we can see the contents.  The
> CDC source is historically the most relevant, and I am hoping it
> exists on the tape.
> - jim

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