Fig S-1: Screenshot of 2.11BSD boot sequence and some commands on a w11a_s3 system. The output of the two DL11 is directed in the DL0/DL1 windows. In the bottom right corner is a window with messages of the backend server process visible. See also hi-res jpg. (wfjm cc-by-4.0)

Running Systems

The most stringent test so far is that the following operating systems are known to boot:

See for a description of the FPGA board and backend server setup as well as the boot procedure of these UNIX systems.

License Situation Unix

Ancient UNIX systems for the PDP-11 can now be freely used, see Caldera license.

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 archived on
is commonly understood to cover 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, 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

System Disk Tarball Decription License Comment
Type w11 Simh
Unix 5th Ed. RK05 rkset README Caldera Caldera
Unix 7th Ed. RP04 rpset README Caldera Caldera
2.11BSD RK05 rkset README BSD BSD very limited subset on 5 RK05 volumes
2.11BSD RL02 rlset README BSD BSD very limited subset on a RL02 volume
2.11BSD RP06 rpset README BSD BSD full distribution, kernel without networking
2.11BSD RP06 rpethset README BSD BSD full distribution, kernel with networking
2.11BSD RP06 rpminset README BSD BSD full distribution, minimal kernel for small memory systems
2.11BSD TM11 tmset README BSD BSD bootable tape for installation on a RP06 disk
RT11 V4.0 RK05 rkset README NONE Mentec
RT11 V5.3 RL02 rlset README NONE Mentec
RSX-11M V3.1 RK05 rkset README NONE Mentec
RSX-11M+ V3.0 RP06 rpset README NONE Mentec