PiDP-8/I Software

OS/8 <code>MACREL</code>
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MACREL, the MAcro RELocating assembler, was a late development. It was an attempt to replace PAL8 with a Macro assembler capable of producing relocatable modules. When MACREL first came on the scene, several companies decided to port their next major upgrade to MACREL from PAL8. MACREL was so buggy that everybody basically had to revert to PAL8 and back-port all the new code originally intended for the new major upgrade. This situation befell ETOS Version 5.

We have a binary distribution DECtape image of MACREL version 1, DEC part number AL-5642A-BA. Unfortunately the version numbers of the patches did not match what was shown in the binaries.

With the MACREL V1 patches, I wanted to do more research before recommending application of the patches. In the course of that research, I discovered that all the archived manuals to be found online were for MACREL v2.

See: Willem van der Mark's PDP-8 Manuals archive for:

Or see the PDP8 doc tree on ftp.dbit com for:

Version 2 was the clearly better baseline. I didn't hold out much hope to find binary and source distributions of MACREL v2. (DEC Part numbers AL-5642B-BA for the binary DECtape and the 4 source DECtapes, AL-5643B-SA, AL-5644B-SA, AL-H602B-SA, and AL-H602B-SA.)

Very recently we found a complete set of MACREL version 2 binaries as part of a buildable RTS-8 Archive at ... pdp-8/rts8/v3/release

We found a source distribution of MACREL v2 in Dave Gesswein's misc_floppy archive. Part one is flagged as having errors, but another obscure site had a mis-labeled archive of this same stuff so we may be ok.

The MACREL v2 source would not build under MACREL v1, but now we have MACREL v2 and initial tests look promising.

Baseline MACREL v2 will be integrated into the system packs. Because we didn't have MACREL v2, no work was done to create patch files, or to validate them. With both source and binary for MACREL v2 now in hand, this work can proceed. The plan is to fetch the patches, validate them, and install all mandatory patches that can be verified.

The current integration of MACREL v2 includes a hand-applied patch to FUTIL. We want the latest version of FUTIL because it contains new code handles extended memory and certain MACREL data structures. However version 8A of FUTIL shipped on the MACREL v2 tape had a bug that causes it to hang when run under BATCH.

Patch 35.13.1M fixes this problem and upgrades FUTIL to version 8B. This patch was applied by hand tested, and grouped with what we integrate onto the system packs when we add MACREL.

To reduce uncertainty around the operation of OVRDRV.MA, Source patch 41.5.1M has been applied by hand to OVRDRV.MA.

See also: our documentaiton on the OS/8 Patching


Copyright © 2017 by Bill Cattey. Licensed under the terms of the SIMH license.