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Luna 88K at VCFWest 2022

I was asked to report back to the list. Before I forget, I did hurriedly
dump the EPROMs before I loaded everything into the car. Those bits are
here: http://www.shiftleft.com/random/luna88k-rom.tar.gz

The EPROMs are hand-labeled "88K Ver 1.10" --and yes, I hope to try and
image the hard drive soon.

$DAYJOB did blow up, but I still managed to put together a so-so exhibit
at VCF West 2022. This was my first time exhibiting, so I limited myself
to three items maximum. The theme was "Multiprocessor Workstations from
the 1980s," and aside from the Luna this included the VAXstation 3540
(4-CPU "Firefox"), and Transputer add-in cards. Sadly I didn't get the
Dolch lunchbox PC running in time, but I had one Inmos B008 carrier with
a B004 TRAM as a display/prop.

The pitch was that these systems, commercializing research on
multiprocessor systems from the 70s and 80s, were important steps on the
path to making good use of all those cores in your smart phone. The
thread from the Luna, through Mach to NeXTstep, then to Mac OS X, and
finally iOS was something anybody could follow, and there was a NeXT
Cube just across the aisle that I could point to.

For those with more time/patience, I would suggest that the VAX could be
seen as a maximum compatibility play - at the cost of performance; that
the Transputer offered performance and scaling at the cost of all
compatibility; and the Luna represented a middle ground where if you
could recompile your code for a new CPU, and maybe refactor things a bit
to use threading or multiple processes, you could achieve a very
substantial speed-up.

There was a lot of interest in how efficiently packed the Luna was,
especially when contrasted with the deskside VAX released at about the
same time. Perhaps next year I'll have the keyboard and mouse in hand,
and can show the Luna running. While I'm wishing on stars, maybe I can
get one of the AViiONs working too...

I have a few pics of the display/table here:

When I wasn't talking, I slowly got more of the PHIGS and GKS demos
running on the VAX.


PS - There was at least one Luna 68k server at the "VME Systems" exhibit
next to me, but I think the star of their show was the Atari TT030
running SVR4.

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