Mandatory Update 1988

Just a short post tonight whilst I wait for gcc version 2.95.3 to compile. As I previously mentioned my attempts thus far at getting Modula-3 running on my AlphaServer 300 running Digital Unix 4.0g have not been successful. I originally had a version running 'back-in-the-day' but to be honest I can't remember whether it was on my linux box or the DEC Alpha. I've got a funny feeling that it was the linux box, however, undettered I'm going to give it one last go. The original Modula-3 system was produced by DEC, but when they were taken over by Compaq that all went tits-up and various newer versions appeared. The most promising 'retro' version is the PM3 or the Polytechnique Montreal Modula-3, although a newer version (without the retro-hardware support) CM3 is still actively maintained.

One of the problems with getting this kind of system working is their reliance on gcc - differences between gcc versions, glibc and support tools can be significant and fairly catastrophic of you're not a C expert. Typically Unix boxes of old came with a native C compiler, but the quality varied considerably. I've always had a love-hate relationship with gcc, probably stemming from the poor support it had for Digital Unix 3.2C that I used on the DEC 3000/600 AXP during my PhD. I needed gcc to compile a Scientific Visualisation package called 'Khoros', and it was always a struggle getting it to work. Mind, Linux had its' fair share of problems back then (remember the pre-ELF and shared library days when each library requiring reuse had to have a unique address?). I think Suns were probably the best supported hardware that you could run gcc on.

So whilst I'm strugging away with that, configuring uucp on my atom-based linux server and writing this blog entry, I'll leave you with another short video of a 1988 vintage TK50 tape labelled 'VMS 4/5 mandatory update' being read successfully.

As a side note, whilst making the video (which was done in my garage as that's where the MicroVAX 3100/95 is) I heard continuous, female screaming coming from down the road. After I'd decided it wasn't revellers messing around on their way home (this was 00:30) I grabbed a crowbar and torch and went to investigate. Turns out that a young lass who'd had a fair bit to drink staying at a hotel down the road had run a bath with only the hot tap and then slipped into it by accident. Poor thing was in a very bad way, with some really serious burns as a result. I waited for the ambulance to turn up, then let the professionals take over.

I find it horrid that something as 'inert' as water can cause such horrible injuries - and only whilst in a very temporary (hot) state.