PiDP-8/I Software

OS/8 V3D vs V3F
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OS/8 version 3D is the release most commonly found in the wild, but it was not the last version of OS/8 released by DEC. They made additional releases to add such things as:

The device drivers were made available as the "OS/8 Device Extensions Kit."

Eventually, the separately sold FORTRAN IV, MACREL, and BASIC language packs, the Device Extensions, and all known bug fix patches were integrated into one product sold as the "OS/8 Combined Kit." But by that time, very few customers were interested in paying for such an incremental update, and there were very few new OS/8 customers buying new hardware and spending the big bucks for a source license.

Although images of pristine OS/8 V3D distribution media kits for both source and binary have long been available if you knew where to look, the "Combined Kit" was thought to have been lost.

A snapshot of most of the sources of the V3D Device Extensions Kit was available on the Internet as a self-extracting archive os8v3f.exe. When fear of executables with malware took hold, this archive was nearly lost as it was purged from various PDP-8 software archive sites.

Heres's the exciting bit:

The os8v3f.exe archive was found, and is in the process of being assembled integrated and validated. That work is documented elsewhere.

As a result, you can now configure the PiDP-8/I software to build and boot OS/8 V3F with the Device Extensions via the IF=3 boot option:

$ ./configure --boot-tape-version=v3f

The PiDP-8/I software project does not currently build disk pack images (e.g. RK05) with OS/8 V3F, so this IF=3 option is currently the only supported way to get an OS/8 driver capable of working with RX02 floppy disk images.

Recently, we've connected up with folks who have made significant progress recovering source and binary of the OS/8 Combined Kit. If all goes as planned, the OS/8 disk pack images built in future releases of the PiDP-8/I software distribution will contain that kit.

The primary driver in the development of the os8-run scripting language was to make it easy to build OS/8 from source that would be managed in a modern source code environment but then to generate system images in arbitrary formats with arbitrary configurations and contents.

Between this work and the tape driver option, the PiDP-8/I build system currently creates four TU56 images:

To be clear, all four tape images are always created. The --boot-* options simply select which one of the four gets used by the IF=3 boot option.