[TUHS] First CRT terminal on Unix?

Nigel Williams nw at retrocomputingtasmania.com
Thu Nov 23 05:40:22 AEST 2017


On Thu, Nov 23, 2017 at 4:55 AM, Henry Bent <henry.r.bent at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 22 November 2017 at 11:42, Ben Greenfield via TUHS <tuhs at minnie.tuhs.org>
> wrote:
>> > On Nov 22, 2017, at 11:33 AM, Random832 <random832 at fastmail.com> wrote:
>> > As far as I know (and I've gone looking for this specifically, oddly
>> > enough, out of idle curiosity), no version of termcap/terminfo has
>> > contained a description for the VT05.

The VT05 needed a delay added on CR as it was slow to scroll the
screen buffer, so every logon would have required: stty cr3
I amused to see that stty cr3 still works on Linux but on my desktop
there is no visible effect on scrolling speed.

>> For those who are reading about this as history and didn’t live it this
>> experience this statement needs more background.
>>
>> I will look up the VT05, but hope that you may add some to color as to
>> this stands out.

I suspect the VT05 was not popular as it was slow, uppercase only, 72
characters x 20 lines, and not cursor addressable (much like Teletypes
of that time). I also think the VT05 never sold in significant
numbers, certainly to this day there are only a small number in the
hands of collectors (despite being much sought after).

> There is a pretty good overview of the VT05 at
> https://vt100.net/dec/vt05.html and

This caught my eye: "It is completely portable, weighing only 55
pounds...". The VT05 is a beast, it is so deep (Depth 76cm / 30
inches) and heavy, although one person could lift it, the size and
shape really make it a two person lift.

In searching for images on the Internet I'm not finding as many images
of DEC PDP-11 installations from the 1970s as I hoped, mostly the
usual DEC marketing photos. This suggests a todo item is to compile
photos of early Unix installations sequenced in time.

At my local university I recall the early CRT terminals connected to
Unix systems were: GTC GT-101, ADM 3a, VT100 [1] and Tek 40xx. The
first CRT as output displays (these arrived before the terminals) were
Matrox graphics card connected monitors.

[1] The DEC VT100 was rare as it was expensive at the time and the
usual reason anyone had one was it shipped as the console bundled with
a PDP-11.


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