The most stringent test so far is that the following operating systems are known to boot:
- UNIX 5th edition. Released in June 1974 this very early UNIX uses only a fraction of the hardware capabilities, and also works happily on a CPU with out FPP. This system fits on a single RK05 volume ( download disk image; under Caldera license).
- 2.11 BSD UNIX. Released in 1992, this end-point of historical UNIX development on PDP-11's uses almost all features (22 bit addressing, separate I/D space, 3 processor modes) to squeeze a full UNIX with most of the 4.3 BSD features into a 16 bit machine. A system with the latest patches is needed to get the kernel FPP emulation (patch 445) and RK05 as boot device (patch 446/447) to work. The current w11a system has only RK11 or RL02 disks, so a very limited subset of the full 2.11BSD distribution was packed onto 5 RK05 disk volumes or a single RL02 disk volume. Both disk sets are available for download, see below under OS Kits. See Figure S-1 for a screen shot of a 2.11BSD boot sequence on a w11a system.
See w11a_os_guide.md for description of the FPGA board and backend server setup as well as the boot procedure of these UNIX systems.
License Situation Unix
License Situation DEC Operating systems
Unfortunately there is no hobbyist or non-commercial license available for historical DEC PDP-11 operating systems like RSX-11M V3.2, owned since 1994 by Mentec Inc. (see DEC press release dated 7/1/94). The Mentec license is commonly understood to cover the some older versions of DEC operating systems on software simulators, most notably on the 'simh' suite. The Mentec license does not cover the usage of these historic systems on any 'real hardware' implementation of a PDP-11. Usage on the w11 is not covered by the Mentec license. If somebody happens to have a valid license, please try and send a note to the author.
Available OS Kits
A number of ready to use operating system images are provided for usage on w11a or on simh in a configuration equivalent to a w11a. Consult the w11a_os_guide.md, and the README files in the tools/oskit folders for the procedures to use them and the license restrictions to obey. The available OS kits are
|2.11BSD||TM11||tmset||README||BSD||BSD||bootable tape for installation on a RP06 disk|