• Intro; Docs or source wanted for Prime DIPLOT

    From Jim Ward@21:1/5 to All on Tue Jan 4 17:44:42 2022
    Hi friends, I'm Jim Ward and I'm new here. I worked for Prime Engineering in MA from '75 to '79, then served as Prime's western region OS guy in Palo Alto in '79 and '80. (I hired on at Apollo in late '80.)

    One of my more obscure engineering projects was creating plotting software for Tektronix storage displays and Versatek plotters called DIPLOT, which shipped around '76, possibly in Rev 9. Some friends and I have stumbled upon a set of (binary) plotter
    data files that I'm certain DIPLOT produced. We've mostly sussed out the format, but not completely so.

    So, if anyone has a handle on the source for this package—or its PE-T—I'd love to have a look at it.

    Cheers!

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  • From Dennis Boone@21:1/5 to All on Wed Jan 5 13:04:25 2022
    One of my more obscure engineering projects was creating plotting
    software for Tektronix storage displays and Versatek plotters called
    DIPLOT, which shipped around '76, possibly in Rev 9. Some friends and I have stumbled upon a set of (binary) plotter data files that I'm certain DIPLOT produced. We've mostly sussed out the format, but not completely
    so.

    Jim,

    No source, no PE-T. Did find this snippet in a PULSE catalog:

    PROGRAM NUMBER: 0277-03-09
    PROGRAM NAME: DIPLOT
    CONTACT: PRIME COMPUTER, FRAMINGHAM, MASS
    HARDWARE REQD: PRIME CPU, TEKTRONIX 4010 OR OTHER GOULD
    OR VERSATEC ELECTROSTATIC PRINTER/PLOTTER.
    LANGUAGE: FORTRAN
    PURPOSE: DIPLOT (DEVICE INDEPENDENT PLOT PACKAGE) IS DESIGNED TO
    ALLOW THE USER TO DIRECT HIS PLOTTER OUTPUT TO ANY ONLINE
    PLOTTER USING THE INDUSTRY ACCEPTED CALCOMP CALLING SEQUENCE.
    THE PACKAGE CURRENTLY HAS 2 MODES OF OPERATION:
    IMMEDIATE AND DEFERRED. IN THE IMMEDIATE PLOT MODE, PLOTTER
    OUTPUT GENERATED BY THE PROGRAM IS PLOTTED ON A TEXTRONIX
    4010 TERMINAL CONNECTED TO THE SYSTEM AS EITHER THE USER
    TERMINAL OR ON AN ASSIGNABLE AMLC LINE. IN THE DEFERRED
    PLOT MODE, ALL PLOTTER OUTPUT IS WRITTEN TO A FILE WHICH
    THEN MAY BE PLOTTED ON A HARD-COPY DEVICE. AT THE PRESENT
    TIME, THE ONLY DEVICES SUPPORTED FOR HARDCOPY OUTPUT ARE
    THE VERSATEC AND GOULD ELECTROSTATIC PRINTER/PLOTTER.

    I have (part of?) a PULSE distribution, one reasonably full tape if
    it was written at 1600. It doesn't seem to contain DIPLOT; the stuff containing the string "plot" in the name is:

    ./TVLR/SOURCE/PLOTXY1
    ./ZETA/PLOT
    ./PTC-5/PLOT
    ./PRTX/PRINTRONIX/SCATTER.PLOT ./MISCELLANEOUS/SAMPLE_UNSUPPORTED_CPL/GOPLOT.CPL ./MISCELLANEOUS/SAMPLE_UNSUPPORTED_CPL/PASPLOT.CPL ./MISCELLANEOUS/SAMPLE_UNSUPPORTED_CPL/FTNPLOT.CPL ./MISCELLANEOUS/SAMPLE_UNSUPPORTED_CPL/F77PLOT.CPL ./AUS.UTILS/PRINTRONIX/PLOT.FTN
    ./AUS.UTILS/PRINTRONIX/PLOTS.FTN

    Would be interested in the PE-T document, if it's ever found, to put
    with other Prime materials on sysovl.info.

    De

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  • From Jim Ward@21:1/5 to Dennis Boone on Thu Jan 6 04:54:50 2022
    Hi De,

    Thanks for the citation. Looks like the PULSE distribution you have postdates the DIPLOT release by many years. It's likely that this software, first released for DOS/VM on the P300, faded into oblivion sometime after 1980. The filenames you posted are
    unfamiliar to me—and longer than 6 characters(!), a constraint at the time.

    Lacking source or spec has slowed us down, but one of my co-conspirators has made headway deciphering the file format.

    Jim

    On Wednesday, January 5, 2022 at 12:04:31 PM UTC-7, Dennis Boone wrote:
    One of my more obscure engineering projects was creating plotting
    software for Tektronix storage displays and Versatek plotters called DIPLOT, which shipped around '76, possibly in Rev 9. Some friends and I have stumbled upon a set of (binary) plotter data files that I'm certain DIPLOT produced. We've mostly sussed out the format, but not completely so.
    Jim,

    No source, no PE-T. Did find this snippet in a PULSE catalog:

    PROGRAM NUMBER: 0277-03-09
    PROGRAM NAME: DIPLOT
    CONTACT: PRIME COMPUTER, FRAMINGHAM, MASS
    HARDWARE REQD: PRIME CPU, TEKTRONIX 4010 OR OTHER GOULD
    OR VERSATEC ELECTROSTATIC PRINTER/PLOTTER.
    LANGUAGE: FORTRAN
    PURPOSE: DIPLOT (DEVICE INDEPENDENT PLOT PACKAGE) IS DESIGNED TO
    ALLOW THE USER TO DIRECT HIS PLOTTER OUTPUT TO ANY ONLINE
    PLOTTER USING THE INDUSTRY ACCEPTED CALCOMP CALLING SEQUENCE.
    THE PACKAGE CURRENTLY HAS 2 MODES OF OPERATION:
    IMMEDIATE AND DEFERRED. IN THE IMMEDIATE PLOT MODE, PLOTTER
    OUTPUT GENERATED BY THE PROGRAM IS PLOTTED ON A TEXTRONIX
    4010 TERMINAL CONNECTED TO THE SYSTEM AS EITHER THE USER
    TERMINAL OR ON AN ASSIGNABLE AMLC LINE. IN THE DEFERRED
    PLOT MODE, ALL PLOTTER OUTPUT IS WRITTEN TO A FILE WHICH
    THEN MAY BE PLOTTED ON A HARD-COPY DEVICE. AT THE PRESENT
    TIME, THE ONLY DEVICES SUPPORTED FOR HARDCOPY OUTPUT ARE
    THE VERSATEC AND GOULD ELECTROSTATIC PRINTER/PLOTTER.

    I have (part of?) a PULSE distribution, one reasonably full tape if
    it was written at 1600. It doesn't seem to contain DIPLOT; the stuff containing the string "plot" in the name is:

    ./TVLR/SOURCE/PLOTXY1
    ./ZETA/PLOT
    ./PTC-5/PLOT
    ./PRTX/PRINTRONIX/SCATTER.PLOT ./MISCELLANEOUS/SAMPLE_UNSUPPORTED_CPL/GOPLOT.CPL ./MISCELLANEOUS/SAMPLE_UNSUPPORTED_CPL/PASPLOT.CPL ./MISCELLANEOUS/SAMPLE_UNSUPPORTED_CPL/FTNPLOT.CPL ./MISCELLANEOUS/SAMPLE_UNSUPPORTED_CPL/F77PLOT.CPL ./AUS.UTILS/PRINTRONIX/PLOT.FTN
    ./AUS.UTILS/PRINTRONIX/PLOTS.FTN

    Would be interested in the PE-T document, if it's ever found, to put
    with other Prime materials on sysovl.info.

    De

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  • From Dennis Boone@21:1/5 to All on Thu Jan 6 09:46:59 2022
    Thanks for the citation. Looks like the PULSE distribution you have postdates the DIPLOT release by many years. It's likely that this
    software, first released for DOS/VM on the P300, faded into oblivion sometime after 1980. The filenames you posted are unfamiliar to me—and longer than 6 characters(!), a constraint at the time.

    Jim,

    Ah. Wasn't sure what era was relevant. Sadly, the oldest runnable
    software in captivity is a very bare Rev18, and that's not really
    useful. The oldest code around is a partial set of source for Rev16.
    (Well, I suppose some of the stuff in that PULSE distribution is older,
    but it's not operating system stuff.) There are some docs from the mid
    70s.

    I would dearly love to find older stuff.

    De

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  • From Daiyu Hurst@21:1/5 to Dennis Boone on Fri May 13 21:42:59 2022
    On Thursday, January 6, 2022 at 10:47:04 AM UTC-5, Dennis Boone wrote:
    Thanks for the citation. Looks like the PULSE distribution you have postdates the DIPLOT release by many years. It's likely that this software, first released for DOS/VM on the P300, faded into oblivion sometime after 1980. The filenames you posted are unfamiliar to me—and longer than 6 characters(!), a constraint at the time.
    Jim,

    Ah. Wasn't sure what era was relevant. Sadly, the oldest runnable
    software in captivity is a very bare Rev18, and that's not really
    useful. The oldest code around is a partial set of source for Rev16.
    (Well, I suppose some of the stuff in that PULSE distribution is older,
    but it's not operating system stuff.) There are some docs from the mid
    70s.

    I would dearly love to find older stuff.

    De

    I didn't have the pockets to get the entire PULSE library at the time I got what we have. But I got it from Randy Styka
    at COMPUTRONICS. He had it all, at least, he did 20 years ago. His company supported other minis as well.

    +-----------------------------------------------------------------+
    | Computronics Randy Styka, randy (at) computron (dot) com | | 4N165 Wood Dale Road Phone: 630/941-7767 |
    | Addison, Illinois 60101 USA Fax: 630/941-7714 | +-----------------------------------------------------------------+

    Looks like at least the website still exists:

    http://www.computronics.com/

    It couldn't hurt to contact him.

    -Dai

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  • From Jim Ward@21:1/5 to Daiyu Hurst on Sat May 14 10:13:16 2022
    On Friday, May 13, 2022 at 9:43:00 PM UTC-7, Daiyu Hurst wrote:
    On Thursday, January 6, 2022 at 10:47:04 AM UTC-5, Dennis Boone wrote:
    Thanks for the citation. Looks like the PULSE distribution you have postdates the DIPLOT release by many years. It's likely that this software, first released for DOS/VM on the P300, faded into oblivion sometime after 1980. The filenames you posted are unfamiliar to me—and longer than 6 characters(!), a constraint at the time.
    Jim,

    Ah. Wasn't sure what era was relevant. Sadly, the oldest runnable
    software in captivity is a very bare Rev18, and that's not really
    useful. The oldest code around is a partial set of source for Rev16. (Well, I suppose some of the stuff in that PULSE distribution is older, but it's not operating system stuff.) There are some docs from the mid 70s.

    I would dearly love to find older stuff.

    De
    I didn't have the pockets to get the entire PULSE library at the time I got what we have. But I got it from Randy Styka
    at COMPUTRONICS. He had it all, at least, he did 20 years ago. His company supported other minis as well.

    +-----------------------------------------------------------------+
    | Computronics Randy Styka, randy (at) computron (dot) com |
    | 4N165 Wood Dale Road Phone: 630/941-7767 |
    | Addison, Illinois 60101 USA Fax: 630/941-7714 | +-----------------------------------------------------------------+

    Looks like at least the website still exists:

    http://www.computronics.com/

    It couldn't hurt to contact him.

    -Dai

    Thanks for the pointer, Dai.

    One of my compadrés reversed-engineered the file format and reproduced the imagery using current-day tech. So, that problem is solved.

    Interesting, though, to read through Randy's website. I wonder how much of the Prime software goods he actually has in his possession. I'll ask.

    Cheers,
    Jim

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  • From Dennis Boone@21:1/5 to All on Sat May 14 14:34:44 2022
    Interesting, though, to read through Randy's website. I wonder how much
    of the Prime software goods he actually has in his possession. I'll
    ask.

    Randy's a good guy. Last I talked to him, he was still supporting
    a small number of small customers with occasional spare parts.

    De

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