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Running GEORGE 3 on a Raspberry Pi

Andrew Back
Open source (hardware and software!) advocate, Treasurer and Director of the Free and Open Source Silicon Foundation, organiser of Wuthering Bytes technology festival and founder of the Open Source Hardware User Group.


January 1, 2020 13:39

Hi Andrew, fascinating read, takes me back. I was a Systems programmer supporting G3 and then worked at Dataskil enhancing it.
I think the Plan program needs to be formatted correctly, can't remember the columns but possibly 6,13 and, that doesn't seem right... Gin, the assembler for G3 wasn't fussy. Also, I think the instruction for displaying text was DISTY but, hey, it's a long time ago. Thanks again... Chris

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January 9, 2020 08:56

@ChrisParsons Hi Chris, that must have been fun! I sometimes wish I'd be around in those early days of computing, it must have been very exciting. But then that's one of the nice things about technology — it never stands still and there's always something new to learn.

August 15, 2016 10:05

Hi Dave,

Thanks for the comment. It's always fascinating to learn more about classic computer systems and would love to see more posts with histories on them, hello world tutorials and the like — as I'm sure many others would.


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August 13, 2016 23:14

I used to work on ICL 1900 series with George 3 in the late 60s and 70s, and recently tried out the CCS emulator software on a Linux PC. I think it might have gotten a little easier since your write up, due to the software packaging and run-time macros being supplied, but it is still very tricky getting your head around the concepts.

Running jobs under :MANAGER is all very well, but that is a bit like running applications as "root" under Linux, or as "Administrator" under Windows. This is highly undesirable when you are not running proven applications, as you must since George 3 doesn't include any user applications. What you really need to start with is setting up a user account, and allocating it some money and some time resources from :MANAGER's budget. Then you can run jobs under the user's account.

So first you need to write your application code, using PLAN (a low level language, like Assembler) or COBOL (ICL 1900 COBOL, a high level language). Learning these museum languages is hardly worth the effort, but the reference manuals are all in the CCS library. Note that lower case symbols haven't been invented yet.

Here is the "Hello world" code in PLAN (untested), which displays the string to the user's console:

"Building" the app is a two-stage process called compiling and consolidating. For PLAN the compiler is called XPLT and the consolidator is XPCK. There are system macros that run these programs for you, but you have to supply the appropriate parameters. I'm ashamed to say I couldn't manage to do it, but then I should really be in a museum too.

It's way too much of a learning curve for anybody to achieve anything today, let alone on a R-Pi. But thanks for the trip down memory lane.

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