[TUHS] Sad News - we last two wonderful people in the past few weeks.

Dave Horsfall dave at horsfall.org
Sat Apr 9 08:29:15 AEST 2022

On Fri, 8 Apr 2022, Clem Cole wrote:


> Also in other news, not Unix related, but PDP-11 and the computer 
> graphics world.  We lost Jack Burness a few weeks ago.  Jack was the 
> author of the original "Moonlander" for the PDP-11 with which many of us 
> wasted many hours trying to pick up "a Big Mac with fries" at "Mare 
> Assabet."  [Note: There was no WWW/Wikipedia in those days to find it, 
> but to look up Assabet River, so many people naively thought it was a 
> legitimate lunar landmark - its the River that the DEC Maynard bldg 
> sits]. He was a larger than life person [his joke's mailing list was a 
> whos-who of the computer industry - it was an honor to be on it]. We all 
> have a passel of stories about Jack.  I have written separately about 
> Jack a number of times and if you have never looked at the source to 
> Moonlander, you own it yourself to read it.   Remember he wrote it as a 
> throw-away demo for the GT-40 for trade show [his integer 
> transcendental funcs are quite instructive].   As one of the folks on 
> the Masscomp Alumni list put it, 'Jack was someone that just does not 
> deserve to die.'

I have fond memories of playing it on the GT-40, and if Andrew Hume is 
reading this he'll remember reverse-engineering the code and modifying it 
for three-play operation; I think Peter Ivanov also implemented reverse 

Eventually DEC Field Circus stopped replacing GT-40 switch registers if 
they'd suspected that they were used for playing it :-)

The GT-40 had a primitive loader; it was Craig McGregor of the CSU (UNSW) 
who used it to download an 8-bit loader for things like Lunar Lander (I 
only wrote a simple "Life" program for it, using the light-pen).

-- Dave

More information about the TUHS mailing list