[TUHS] Atari System V media and books?

Michael Parson mparson at bl.org
Fri Feb 7 09:15:23 AEST 2020

On Thu, 6 Feb 2020, Arno Griffioen wrote:
> On Thu, Feb 06, 2020 at 09:50:39AM -0600, Michael Parson wrote:
>> No offense taken.  It's not so much that it's "likeable", at least, any
>> more than playing with any old software is "likeable".  It only crossed
>> my radar because someone mentioned that it was available for Atari UNIX
>> (ASV), would those bits be able to be used on Amiga UNIX (AMIX)?  I was
> Just nitpicking a little :)
> I know Amiga UNIX is often referred to as AMIX, but 'in the day' there
> was an actual 'AMIX' which was an CBM in-house only port of SVR3.2 to
> 'A2500UX' labeled machines. (basically 68020+MMU equipped boxes)
> These ran the internal email and file distribution network, but was
> never publicly released. Quite noticeable as it boots into an ASCII
> console with a bright orange background.
> Same background that some of the 68020/030 cards boot ROMs show when
> choosing the 'boot UNIX' option.

Neat.  This is the first time I've heard of this UNIX from Commodore.
I'd heard of Amiga UNIX, which ran on the A3000 and A2000s with the
appropriate 68020(+MMU) or 030 upgrades, and their failed CBM 900
project, which was based on the Z8001, which was reported to be a port
of MWC Coherent rather than based on the AT&T code.

> Worked on that old platform for some time.. Part of my projects was to
> migrate some of the tools to the 'next version' which was..
> The actual product sold as 'Amiga UNIX'. (not 'AMIX' ;) )

$ uname -a
UNIX_System_V amy 4.0 2.1c 0800430 Amiga (Unlimited) m68k

> This was the SVR4 port in a V1 and V2 version with the latter getting
> a bunch of updates to streamline it on the platform.
> V1 was really only sold/used to launch-customers while V2 was more
> publicly available. (V1 was trivial to hack around the '1 user' base
> license with a little 'od' and binary patching ;) )
> Interesting issue at the time was that, according to the internal
> grapevine at CBM at the time, the Amiga UNIX SVR4 was not m68k ABI
> compliant, so it could not run pre-packaged m68k-svr4 software that
> did use this interface.

The docs claim that there was an attempt to make it ABI compliant, but
the ABI wasn't "finalized" or something, so, future compatibility was
not guaranteed.

> Reason was rumoured to be that CBM (in ther never-ending efforts to
> do things 'cheap') got the cheapest source license they could get for
> SVR4 which AFAIK was for the 3B2 or similar AT&T platform and they did
> not get an actual m68k source and license.
> Never got that really verified, but I do know that at the time the
> lack of support for the m68k ABI was a big hurdle for acceptance.

*shrug* Atari UNIX and Amiga UNIX seem close enough that some stuff
compiled on Atari works on the Amiga.

Out of curiosity, how much m68k SysV software was out there?

>> but it requires setting LD_LIBRARY_PATH to load the ASV X11 libs, so,
>> I thought, if I could get my hands on the source, I could compile
>> it against the AMIX supplied libs, then maybe try and get Mosaic
>> compiled as well.
> The SVR4 Amiga UNIX used CDE and all bits for the X11 environment, so
> the binaries should all be there.

The install bits that have survived and escaped onto the Internet have
X11R4 with XView/OpenLook, no Motif/CDE.  There was a port of X11R5 to
it that supported some of the newer graphics cards, but still no Motif.

> No sources were available to people outside the CBM UNIX group at the
> headquarters at the time, but perhaps they got out onto the net when
> it all went down.

Would be cool if someone found a tape and got it in the right hands.

> The UNIX group inside CBM got disbanded way before they went totally
> out of business, so it may have well gone into the shredder at some
> point.

Rumors were that *the* box that had the source on it crashed.  Sounded
like a ridiculous reason to me, but that's what I'd heard.

> Quitting the CBM-UNIX group was done very crudely I might add with
> some of the guys from the US being over in europe when they got told
> that they were fired and their company creditcards got blocked at the
> same time.. classy...

>From what I've heard about the last days of Commodore under Mehdi Ali,
this doesn't surprise me.

Michael Parson
Pflugerville, TX

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