I'd certainly advocate a unix/linux solution on the PC side although
having produced that porting to windows might not be a big issue.

On the PC hardware front, I'd expect PCI to last a good long while yet
(after all ISA is only just disappearing) and legacy PCI printer port
cards probably will be generally available for a good while yet given the
simplicity of parallel port -> PCI interfacing.

I think what has killed off previous PC base solutions is probably cost
since they were targeted at the commercial world and thus were $$$. I'd
hope it would be possible to put together a solution for the $100-$200
price range (not including the PC) to make it affordable to all.

I've previously used vtserver but this is only useful for getting images
onto existing legacy disks which doesn't really solve the long term
problem of disk survivability. I've also got about 12 PDP-11s of which
only 3 have working disks so some sort of solution for the other 9 would
be good.

I'd ideally like to go for as simple a solution as possible for the
design, so a few registers on the -11 side to read status and write
requests plus the logic for handling the DMA. Then on the PC side
capability to read/write to same registers plus stream data to/from the
DMA logic.


Toby


> "Tobias Russell" wrote in message
> news:<4079.62.3.202.30.1096289685.squirrel@webmail.russe llsharpe.com>...
>> One line of thought I've had is instead of trying to interface IDE disks
>> directly to an -11, why not interface a PC onto the -11 and let it
>> handle
>> the disks. This way we can use whatever disk technology we prefer and
>> the
>> PC can handle all the intelligence between the PDP and the disk.

>
> The problem (in my mind) is keeping the PC-side software and drivers
> in sync. With a new version of Windows coming out every few years, and
> the threat that new versions of that OS will lock-out hardware and drivers
> not meeting Microsoft's DRM (digital rights management), it's looking
> worse and worse. Non-Windows OS's don't seem quite so bad from where
> I'm sitting.
>
> PC hardware changes rapidly too, and despite the fact that Intel declared
> a couple of years ago that serial ports and parallel ports were deprecated
> they are still available. But they may not be forever. And for internal
> busses PCI seems to be good for a couple more years at least.
>
> I'd like to note that past PDP-11 disk products that used PC-clone
> motherboard
> hardware are essentially orphaned at this point, and I'd expect the
> same to eventually happen to any new attempt. The PDP-11 will always
> outlive
> the PC :-).
>
> As a generic standalone tool, Warren Toomey has Vtserver,
> whose purpose is to be a standalone program that knows how to send
> disk images over a serial line:
>
> ftp://minnie.tuhs.org/pub/PDP-11/Vtserver
>
> It's terminology is Unix-centric but the principle is fine (even though
> you may not like the speed of doing all this over a serial line...)
>
> Tim.
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Tobias Russell
Managing Director
Russell Sharpe Ltd
Tel: 01483 894158
Fax: 01483 898932
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