[TUHS] Old mainframe I/O speed (was: core)
clemc at ccc.com
Fri Jun 22 23:32:17 AEST 2018
On Fri, Jun 22, 2018 at 1:32 AM, Erik E. Fair <fair-tuhs at netbsd.org> wrote:
> The VAX 8800 was also the advent of the DEC BI bus attempt to lock
> third-party I/O devices out of the VAX market and prevent "unauthorized"
> competition with their own overpriced and underperforming I/O devices.
Interesting story on the BI. My friend, Dave Cane who had been #2 on the
780 and lead the 750 project was the primary force behind the BI and
developed by the team in the laboratory products division (LDP). The
whole idea behind BI was, BI was supposed to be (i.e. designed as) an
'open' bus and DEC was originally going to license the driver chips to a
number of 3rd parties (I believe Western Digital, Mostek, TI). The whole
idea was to create a 3rd party market for I/O devices for LDP. By making
sure everyone use the same interface chips, their was a reasonable belief
that the boards would not break bus protocol and have some of the issues
that they had had with Omibus and Unibus.
But ... once the BI was completed and actually put into the 8800 and the
main line system, DEC central marketing made it private and locked up.
Dave quit (his resignation letter was sent out on the engining mailing
list -- KO and GB were not happy -- and one of the thing he sites is the
fact that he thought taking the BI private was going to be bad).
FYI: Masscomp was formed shortly there after (my mostly ex-LDP, 750 and VMS
folks) and Dave used MultiBus and later VMEbus for the I/O (but he did a
private SMI like split transaction memory bus).
One of the other BI people, who's name now escapes me, although I can see
his face in my mind, maybe I'll think of it later), would go on to do the
PCI for Alpha a couple of years later. As I said, DEC did manage to get
that one public, after the BI was made private as Erik points out.
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