Restoring UNIX v0 on a PDP-7: A look behind the scenes

Very nice. Unix running on a restored PDP-7. Here’s a video of it in action.

[Ayse H.] I recently sat down with Fred Yearian, a former Boeing engineer, and Jeff Kaylin, an engineer at Living Computers, to talk about their restoration work on Yerian’s PDP-7 at Living Computers: Museum + Labs. The PDP-7 (short for ‘Programmed Data Processor’) was introduced by The Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) in 1964.
On November 7th, 2018, after over a year of correspondence following Yearian’s initial visit, a handful of Living Computers engineers including Jeff Kaylin, Cynde Moya, and Stephen Jones arrived at Yearian’s house to extract the PDP-7 from his work room and load it onto a truck bound for the museum.

From there, the team began working to load the UNIX Version 0 operating system onto the machine. This goal was an homage to the fact that Ken Thompson wrote UNIX Version 0 on an old PDP-7 at Bell Labs in 1969. UNIX also turned 50 this year, which made the restoration project all the more timely.
After countless hours of work, the team booted UNIX v0 on Yearian’s PDP-7 on Monday October 28th, 2019 for the first time. The engineers logged in as user ‘dmr’ as a tribute to Dennis M. Ritchie, who created UNIX with Ken Thompson in 1969.


Marvellous! I noted the appearance of hello world written in B - or is it BCPL??


First bringup is in this video, including the all-important toggling in of a bootstrap: