What was the last OS to permit use of punched cards?

Did unix permit reading of Punched Cards as device.Had places using cards
drop punches/readers remove from service as Unix took over? The same
goes for 9 track magnetic tape?

I didn’t personally use punched cards with Unix. I suspect it could, with the reader appearing as a serial device. Record translation would have been fiddly, but that’s why dd and recode exist with some of their more baroque options.

I have used 9-track tape with Solaris, though. It was a slot-loading drive with a (very slow) SCSI interface and a massive blower to create suction to pull in the tape leader. We (Collins Dictionaries, c.1999) had it attached to a dedicated Sun ELC (a slow all-in-one SparcStation). It appeared as a regular raw device in /dev and it worked well with tar. It earned its keep when we received a tape of a Russian-English dictionary text written on an IBM mainframe at the University of Moscow. With a little utility downloaded from comp.sources and recode, we were able to translate the tape image from KOI-8 EBCDIC to something much more Unix-friendly.

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We used a card reader on VMS V4 (before OpenVMS). It was for moving Fortran code from EIA8400. I would assume the CR driver is still available in the most current version of OpenVMS.

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The PDP-8/A in my high school ran OS/8, and entering
on the VT50 fired up the noisy card reader. Much quieter secondary storage was available on the 8" floppies.

This was in 1982, but the system had already been labeled obsolete by most of the “cool nerds”.

I agree that a card reader is a straightforward serial device, so any OS that offered serial support at an acceptable bit rate could be equipped through a suitable driver.

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Only the new card readers are serial. I still think of the Big Iron card readers with thick
connecting cables. In 1972 we had all this new Big Iron Systems out; the 370 for IBM and
the PDP 10 for DEC. The 8008 was just hitting the market place, serial stuff chugged away @ 110 baud. (Star Trek was TV computing)

10 years later, The IBM-PC replaced every thing in 1982, other than the APPLE II’s and UNIX pizza boxes. How quickly the stuff become outdated,.Speed was one change: PDP/8 1.2 us core memory to .120 us 64K dram chips. Size from racks of equipment to desk top devices.Surplus sales never had it better.
The 1980’s was also the last decade for Homebrew computing equiment, as buses
went faster than 12 Mhz and 32 bits or wider. Paper Tape and punch cards,long gone.
Networks starting to connect the USA. (Star Trek, still the only TV computing)

I’ve used a 9-track CCT drive on IRIX. I still have an SGI Octane and a CCT drive. Works fine through differential SCSI. Would probably work fine on a Linux PC with SCSI if I rip out the differential adapter. Or add one, as it were. As for punched cards - I never personally used them. Paper tape, yes. On minis. And that’s just serial. Punched cards… technically it shouldn’t be difficult to interface a punched card reader of some kind to a modern *nix system.

As an aside, presuming you needed to read in a stack of punch cards and didn’t have a working card reader, something could be done with your typical sheet-feet scanner, and then extract the data from the card (you could OCR the text on the top of the card, but I’d expect interpreting the punched holes would be more accurate).

Although that would be nowhere near as fun as making a vintage card reader work on a modern computer (or I expect someone would probably make an interface to a SBC which could then talk some newer protocol).

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There was a card-reader for the Sharp MZ-80, released in 1979. However, I don’t know what the OS would have been, since the Sharp 8-bits were famously “clean” machines and you were required to load an OS or language from external storage. (I guess, it would have been accessible by some flavor of BASIC, probably the Disk BASIC.) This may have been well one of the last consumer machines to support a dedicated card-reader.