Thursday, February 23, 2006

link dump for 22 Feb 2006

A bunch of stuff I was reading back then

Weak Data Structures write-up by Bruno Haible, courtesy of Gary King.

The classic UNIX HATERS Handbook.

Panda's TOPS-20 System.

Spare Time Gizmos store front to buy actual hardware emulators of the PDP-8.
Rainer Joswig e-mail on feel of old Symbolics Lisp Machines

An e-mail discussion about CHAOS vs. TCP in port collisions, a list of Symbolics CHAOS services

Google cache of mahalito
Symbolics Y2K statement
ITS site HACK directory

Google Groups discussion on Basic Chaosnet information
Google Groups discussion on Chaosnet and ARP
Google Groups discussion on Transmitting Chaosnet over Ethernet
Google Groups discussion on Why Chaosnet (nostalgia)
Google groups search for chaosnet

ITS build information build.doc.txt
Retro PDP-10

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Some ITS links

Wanted to collect a few links on ITS, the Incompatible Time-Sharing System

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Some ChaosNET thoughts

I looked a little more closely at Bjorn Victor's (TODO: add diacritic to o in Bjorn) work on Chaos emulation for ITS emulators, particularly the CHUDP protocol for passing Chaos packets through UDP.

Apparently, it uses a simple header (different from the user-mode UNIX header), and dynamically adds to its routing table when it receives incoming packets. This seems particularly handy.

Also, I noticed that the chaosd/server code for the user-mode UNIX implementation does not typically check the hardware destination, but jumps right to the software header for the destination information. This seems wrong.

I'm trying to figure out the most useful way to improve the Chaos support. Some of the use cases would be

  • use Internet hosts as repositories for CADR Lisp Machine microcode and "world" bands

  • use Internet hosts as file servers for Lisp machine source code

  • provide Internet-based early-21st-century substitutes for 1980's functionality, such as e-mail and instant messaging (e.g. get Zmail to use Google's Gmail service, use Jabber or AIM to support instant SEND messages, use NTP to provide TIME service)

Some of these would simply be a local process posing as a Chaos server which could respond to various contact names with useful functionality, configured by various users to, e.g., use the instant messaging protocol or e-mail provider of choice. Some of this would require or allow collaboration between nostalgists: someone volunteers, similar to the ITS community, to host the equivalent of AI, and provide ITS-like FILE service on an IP address & port, with a corresponding Chaos subnet/host address.

I suppose part of my problem is I don't understand all the issues involved in internetworking. Chaos addresses were supposed to be roughly "institution-wide" with specific gateways to other networks, advertised by response to a particular Chaos contact name (such as ARPA). How does this translate to isolated hosts on the Internet posing as institutions with Chaos servers? Can we replace it with a DNS-mediated free-for-all where various IP-based users advertise Chaos DNS entries? How would subnets be allocated? Or will we depend on strictly local, handmade routing tables, where each chaos address gets mapped to an IP host & port? In this case, how do the Chaos source and destination addresses get fixed up when they make it to the IP host & port? Can the sender and receiver basically hide their respective internal Chaos subnetting schemes from each other?

Thursday, February 9, 2006

What’s in a name?

I started this blog with a perfectly cryptic name: "wpblog." I suppose it is a natural impulse shared by many people who download WordPress and are faced with a blank box. I spent an additional minute on the issue today, and decided this was a blog about "getting down to brass tacks." Hence, my current name "BrassTacks." I'm not sure how good Google is at measuring the "uniqueness" of this sort of thing. "Voltaire" as the web host was a nod to my previous blog impulse left unfulfilled at, when I was hoping to develop a vicious talent for satire. The name alone proved ineffective, but easy to remember.

It turns out I have a few good names stored up; one is a nom de guerre, which, for security reasons, I will keep secret. I also have here a good name for an instrumental group: "The Cooper Brass Choir." Properly euphonious. If you have a good enough name for a techie blog, you may have it in exchange.