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Vintage Computers Any vintage computer systems, calculators, video games etc., but with an emphasis on 1980s and earlier equipment.

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Old 22nd May 2019, 3:10 pm   #1
cmjones01
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Default Amazing story: the preservation of an IBM 360 mainframe computer

This story is still unfolding. I have no connection with the places or people but stumbled across a link to it.

Basically, it seems that these guys more-or-less accidentally bid on an IBM mainframe on eBay after a pub conversation. The offending computer was holed up in an abandoned factory in Nuremberg, Germany. They are currently recovering it to the UK! The sheer scale of the task is quite something.

That's what I call technology preservation. There's a blog at:

https://ibms360.co.uk/

Chris
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Old 22nd May 2019, 4:45 pm   #2
M0FYA Andy
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Default Re: Amazing story: the preservation of an IBM 360 mainframe computer

What an amazing story!

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Old 22nd May 2019, 4:55 pm   #3
G6Tanuki
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Default Re: Amazing story: the preservation of an IBM 360 mainframe computer

As someone who had a lot of night-shift-experience 'driving' the operator- and tape-ape consoles of the 3032/3033 (the ultimate evolution of the IBM360-series mainframes) I'm deeply-fascinated by this.
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Old 22nd May 2019, 5:40 pm   #4
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Default Re: Amazing story: the preservation of an IBM 360 mainframe computer

Just to clarify, the Peter Vaughan on the link in the original post, is NOT me!!
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Old 22nd May 2019, 7:33 pm   #5
Dave Moll
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Default Re: Amazing story: the preservation of an IBM 360 mainframe computer

They don't seem to say what their eventual plans are, but I hope they succeed in getting it up and running.

I have to admit that, as well as being a facinating story, this was something of a nostalgia trip for me, as I started my professional life progamming first 360s then 370s.
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Old 22nd May 2019, 8:44 pm   #6
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Default Re: Amazing story: the preservation of an IBM 360 mainframe computer

I only wish that my memories of System 360 machines were pleasant! For scientific work it was powerful but obscure and clumsy. Error codes were incomprehensible except for the closing phrase which always said ' probable user error'. IBM JCL made vi editor commands look like nursery rhymes and the floating point exponent range was so limited that you were forever chasing underflow / overflow errors.. It did however have a mind boggling 256kB of memory and ran at 1MIP (360/195).

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Old 22nd May 2019, 8:48 pm   #7
Dave Moll
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Default Re: Amazing story: the preservation of an IBM 360 mainframe computer

It was probably better suited to the commercial environment - which was my involvement.
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Old 22nd May 2019, 8:54 pm   #8
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Default Re: Amazing story: the preservation of an IBM 360 mainframe computer

Yes horrid things. My first proper IT job was replacing a global payroll system written on a 360 and dragged along for about 25 years filling IBM’s pockets up with gold penance. Not sure what hardware platform it was on as I was working from the specifications.

It was replaced with a 600 4U rackmounted pentium 3 running an 8000 line long perl script from a cron job. Took four weeks and gained an automated test suite that didn’t require 12 people to run it from a binder of notes.

Processing time? 1 hour down to 22 seconds.

And that’s how the mainframe died. Commodity hardware saving about 2 million a year.
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Old 26th May 2019, 3:28 pm   #9
vic0239
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Default Re: Amazing story: the preservation of an IBM 360 mainframe computer

Ah what memories! I started my first proper IT (DP in those days) job as a trainer operator on one such system. One of my tasks was to run bank giro forms through a 1287 optical reader which used to scare the life out of me.The thing had a life of its own when in full flow and I could never quite steal myself to stick a hand into the scanner compartment to retrieve a jammed slip!
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Old 26th May 2019, 4:08 pm   #10
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Default Re: Amazing story: the preservation of an IBM 360 mainframe computer

Quote:
Originally Posted by vic0239 View Post
trainer operator
Sorry should read trainee operator.
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Old 26th May 2019, 5:06 pm   #11
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Default Re: Amazing story: the preservation of an IBM 360 mainframe computer

Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerEvans View Post
Error codes were incomprehensible except for the closing phrase which always said ' probable user error'. IBM JCL made vi editor commands look like nursery rhymes and the floating point exponent range was so limited that you were forever chasing underflow / overflow errors.. It did however have a mind boggling 256kB of memory and ran at 1MIP (360/195).
Ah yes, those error codes. Something like "Byte-level inconsistency in xxnvpqjt_yyy when executing sqdlprj", followed by a dump of the registers. The only vaguely comprehensible one was the one which ended "probable cause: the line printer has run out of paper". Only operators had access to the line printer so that didn't help much. However much JCL you had there was always at least one statement missing. Our 360/65 had a whole MB of memory but divided into partitions so you could never get more than about 50kB. I had one program which required 500kB. It took them a month to schedule setting up the partition and then they had lost the input tape.

Then there were the spoof assembler instructions such as WWLR (write wrong length record), PED (punch and eject disk) and CFS (catch fire and stop).
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Last edited by bluepilot; 26th May 2019 at 5:16 pm. Reason: Added last sentence.
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Old 26th May 2019, 7:47 pm   #12
Sean Williams
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Default Re: Amazing story: the preservation of an IBM 360 mainframe computer

Why do I find this strangely fascinating? - Possibly because it is the sort of stupid thing I would go and do

Really hope they can find a sensible way of getting this lot back - Would think that they could hire a single 7.5T wagon and move it all in one go, may even be able to blag some sponsorship to do so.

Amazing recovery story so far though.
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