Thu, 10 Sep 1998 18:20:01 -0400 (EDT)
On Thu, 10 Sep 1998 email@example.com wrote:
> The LispMs had a lot of PLAs and the like in them (not true custom chips).
> They aren't all that prone to failure, but it only takes one blown one to
> make the machine fail, and there isn't anybody left around with the
> information needed to burn new ones.
> Not true. Symbolics is still alive (though just barely) and still has all the
> engineering information about the systems from the 3600 on (as well as spare
> parts, etc.). But a quick check for the LM-2 information revealed that it was
> no longer on line.
The original message (no longer quoted by the time we got here) was
focused on the LMI and TI systems, because of the likelihood that the
source code could be used with relatively few encumberances. (Those
sources were also used at MIT, which still has rights, and there is
some reason to believe that MIT would allow use of the code in
non-commercial projects.) Symbolics is still alive, as you point out, so
their code could not be used in a free-OS project.
I didn't intend to comment on any Symbolics hardware. I suppose that the
PLAs in the LM-2 are likely identical to the ones in the LMI CADRs (since
the systems are identical except for packaging), but CADRs and LM-2s are
even older than Lambdas, and thus less likely to be in working order.
Speaking of things for the remnants of Symbolics to do: they should
consider putting OpenGenera (the port to the Alpha) back on the market at
a more reasonable price (perhaps one with three digits rather than five).
Not the same thing as a free OS, but it would still be something good to
have in the world.
> sort of computer and get the data off it. You'd still be left with the
> task of writing code that could understand an LMFS file system, which
> probably isn't documented anywhere other than the unavailable source code,
> but I don't think it was all that complicated a file system, so it might
> be possible to figure it out, or find someone who knows how it worked.
> It wasn't all that complicated, and is still in active use and maintenance.
But is the version being used by Symbolics identical to the one on the LMI
and TI systems? Well, at least it's probably similar enough...