Hey John.  Bad cut/paste.  I did not say 1980.  That was from Eds msg. I said we got what would become X series parts in winter 79.    As I understand it from Les; he, Nick and Tom built try the TTL prototype in Early 78 with Les and Tom turning it into Si later that year while Nick was writing ucode and all of the writing AVTs we high ran against then TTL system. 

Les says Tom did a masterful job of keeping management out of their hair such they they stayed under the radar.  

From what I understand there was so much focus on countering the Z80 with the 6809 that management thought they were just experimenting with a more 16 bit 6809.    But what they were doing was an AD experiment.  The fact that it worked was amazing.   

On Wed, Feb 3, 2021 at 7:41 PM John Gilmore <gnu@toad.com> wrote:
Clem Cole <clemc@ccc.com> wrote:
> > MC 68K was created in 1980 or thereabouts.

Wikimedia Commons has a pic of a 1979 XC68000L:


After a USENET posting pointed me at them, I browsed the Sunnyvale
Patent Library to bring home the patents for the Motorola 68000.  They
include a full listing of the entire microcode!  I ended up copying it,
taping the sheets together to reconstitute Nick Tredennick's
large-format "hardware flowcharts", and hanging them in the hallway near
my office at Sun.  Fascinating!

I never saw X68000 parts; Sun started in 1981, so Moto had production
parts by then.  But Sun did get early prototypes of the 68010, which we
were very happy for, since we and our customers were running a swapping
Unisoft UNIX because the 68000 couldn't do paging and thus couldn't run
the BSD UNIX that we were porting from the Vax.  Later, I was part of
the Sun bringup team using the XC68020.  We built a big spider-like
daughterboard adapter that would let it be plugged into a 64-pin 68010
socket, so we could debug the 68020 in a Sun-2 CPU board while building
32-bit-wide boards for the Sun-3 bringup.  We had it successfully
running UNIX within a day of receiving it!  (We later heard that our
Moto rep was intending to give that precious early part to another
customer, but decided during their meeting with us to give it to us,
because we were so ready to get it running.)

When the 68000 was announced, it was obviously head-and-shoulders better
than the other clunky 8-bit and 16-bit systems, with a clean 32-bit
architecture and a large address space.  It seems like the designers of
the other chips (e.g. the 8088) had never actually worked with real
computers (mainframes and minicomputers) and kept not-learning from
computing history.

Some of my early experience was in APL implementation on the IBM 360
series.  I knew the 68000 would be a great APL host, since its
autoincrement addressing was perfect for implementing vector operations.
In the process of designing an APL for it (which was never built), I
wrote up a series of short suggestions to Motorola on how to improve the
design.  This was published in Computer Architecture News.  For the
68010 they actually did one of the ideas, the "loop mode" that would
detect a 1-instruction backward decrement-and-branch loop, and stop
continually re-fetching the two instructions.  This made
memory-to-memory or register-vs-memory instruction loops run at almost
the speed of memory, which was a big improvement for bcopy, bzero,
add-up-a-vector-of-integers, etc.

I'll append a USENET posting about the 68000 patents, followed by my
addendum after visiting the Patent office.


>From decwrl!decvax!harpo!npoiv!npois!houxm!houxa!houxk!tdl (T.LOVETT) Tue Mar 15 16:55:28 1983
Subject: 68000: 16 bits. With references
Newsgroups: net.micro.68k

With due respect to Henry Spencer I feel that I must correct
some of his statements regarding the 68000. He is correct in
saying that the 68000 is basically 16 bits wide; however,
his explanation of the segmented bus is incorrect.

The datapath of the 68000 is divided into three pieces, each of
which has two busses, address and data, running through it. Six
busses total. There are muxes which can be switched so that all
address busses are connected and all data busses are connected.
The three sections of the datapath are the data section
(includes low 16 bits of all data registers and ALU), the
"low" section (contains the low 16 bits of address registers and
the low half of the Address Adder(AAU)), and the "high" section
(contains high 16 bits of all address and data registers and
the upper half of the AAU).

Theoretically they could do 6 16 bit transfers simultaneously,
but in looking through the microcode I don't remember seeing more
than three transfers at a time. The "low" and "high" sections can
be cascaded to provide a 32 bit arithmetic unit for address
calculations. 32 bit data calculations must be done in two passes through
the ALU.

For the masochists out there, you can learn more than you ever wanted
to know about the 68000 by reading Motorola's patents on it. They are
available for some nominal fee (~ one dollar) from the Office
of Patents and Trademarks in Arlington. The relevant patents are:

1 - #4,307,445 "Microprogrammed Control Apparatus Having a Two
        Level Control Store for Data Processor", Tredennick, et al.

        First design of 68000 which was scrapped?

2 - #4,296,469 "Execution Unit for Data Processor using Segmented
        Bus structure", Gunter, et al.

        All about the 16 bit data path

3 - #4,312,034 "ALU and Condition Code Control Unit for Data Processor",
        Gunter, et al.


4 - #4,325,121 "Two-Level Control Store for Microprogrammed Data Processor",
        Gunter et al.

        Bonanza! Full of block diagrams and everything you ever wanted
        to know. Includes complete listing of microcode with
        Tredennick's "hardware flowcharts".

Hope this clears things up.

Tom Lovett BTL Holmdel  harpo!houxk!tdl  201-949-0056

My [gnu] notes on additional 68000 patents:

Pat #           Appl #  Filed date      Issued date     Inventors

4,338,661       041,201 May 21, 1979    Jul 6, 1982
                Tredennick & Gunter
        Conditional Branch Unit for Microprogrammed Data Processor

4,342,078       041,202 May 21, 1979    Jul 27, 1982
                Tredennick & Gunter
        Instruction Register Sequence Decoder for Microprogrammed
        Data Processor and Method

4,312,034       041,203 May 21, 1979    Jan 19, 1982
                Gunter, Hobbs, Spak, Tredennick
        ALU and Condition Code Control Unit for Data Processor

4,325,121       041,135 May 21, 1979    Apr 13, 1982
                Gunter, Tredennick
        Two-Level Control Store for Microprogrammed Data Processor
                Bonanza! Full of block diagrams and everything you ever wanted
                to know. Includes complete listing of microcode with
                Tredennick's "hardware flowcharts".

4,296,469       961,798 Nov 17, 1978    Oct 20, 1981
                Gunter, Tredennick, McAlister
        Execution Unit for Data Processor Using Segmented Bus Structure
                All about the 16 bit data path

4,348,722       136,845 Apr 3, 1980     Sep 7, 1982
                Gunter, Crudele, Zolnowsky, Mothersole
        Bus Error Recognition for Microprogrammed Data Processor

4,349,873       136,593 Apr 2, 1980     Sep 14, 1982
                Gunter, Zolnowsky, Crudele
        Microprocessor Interrupt Processing

4,524,415       447,721 Dec 7, 1982     Jun 18, 1985
                Mills, Moyer, MacGregor, Zolnowsky
        Virtual Machine Data Processor
                68010 changes to 68000

4,348,741       169,558 Jul 17, 1980    Sep 7, 1982
                McAlister, Gunter, Spak, Schriber
        Priority Encoder
                Used to decode the bit masks for MOVEM.

XXXXXXXXX       446,801 Dec 7, 1982
                Crudele, Zolnowsky, Moyer, MacGregor
        Virtual Memory Data Processor

XXXXXXXXX       447,600 Dec 7, 1982
                MacGregor, Moyer, Mills Jr, Zolnowsky
        Data Processor Version Validation
                About how bus errors store a CPU mask version # to
                prevent their being restarted on a different CPU mask
                in a multiprocessor system

XXXXXXXXX       961,796 Nov 17, 1978
                Tredennick et al
        Microprogrammed Control Apparatus for Data Processor
                (continued into 4,325,121, probably never issued)

XXXXXXXXX       961,797 Nov 17, 1978
                McAlister et al
        Multi-port RAM Structure for Data Processor Registers

4,307,445       961,796 Nov 17, 1978
                Tredennick, et al
        Microprogrammed Control Apparatus Having a Two Level
        Control Store for Data Processor
                First design of 68000 which was scrapped?

Sent from a handheld expect more typos than usual