The PDP-11 is a series of computers introduced in 1969  by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), in production at DEC from 1970-1990. Their life-time spanned a period of momentous changes in the computer world: when they were first introduced (and for a little less than half their life), core memory was still the standard main memory technology; by the end, microprocessors had become ubiquitous.
The machine word size was 16 bits, and it was a general register architecture. Although it was not the first to feature the latter, its wide distribution (in 1980, it was the world's best-selling computer) has helped influence almost all later machines to follow that path.
PDP-11's came in two groups: those which used the UNIBUS for a bus, and the later ones which used the QBUS. Eventually DEC stopped producing UNIBUS PDP-11's (the last were the PDP-11/44 and PDP-11/24); later 'UNIBUS' machines (the PDP-11/84 and PDP-11/94) actually contained QBUS processors with a QBUS<->UNIBUS adapter board.
It could run a variety of operating systems. Many were produced by DEC themselves, but several were produced by third-parties. Often DEC would purchase or rebrand this OS and resell it as their own product. For example, UNIX sold as Ultrix by DEC.
After DEC discontinued production of PDP-11's, the line was sold to Mentec, who produced a few newer models.
Unix based Operating Systems
These are the original Bell Laboratories releases of Unix.
This was the first shipping unix distro by AT&T. It only supported the PDP-11 and VAX computers.
This version was a port of the 4.3 feature set to the PDP-11. Although considered impossible by many, it accomplished this by using overlays for portions of the kernel, and to allow for user programs larger then 64kb.
This version is still supported, and if one really felt the need to load a Unix for use on a PDP-11 this would be the best fit. It has support for TCP/IP, large memory space and is the best UNIX experence one can get going to get on a 16-bit mini.
PDP-11 Models and notes
|Model||Introduced||Bus Type||Addressing||Notes||Speed (VUPS)|
|11/03||1975||QBUS||16-bit||first QBUS model, first F-11||0.5|
|11/55||1976||UNIBUS||18-bit||fast bipolar memory|
|11/60||1977||UNIBUS||18-bit||writable control store|
|11/23||1979||QBUS||18-bit or 22-bit||0.12|
|11/24||1979||UNIBUS||22-bit||first UNIBUS model to use F-11 chip||0.18|
|11/44||1979||UNIBUS||22-bit||last non-LSI PDP-11||0.42|
|11/73||1983||QBUS||22-bit||first J-11 machine, 15MHz, integrated FPU, also first PMI PDP-11||0.45|
|11/53||1984||QBUS||22-bit||S-box or standard qbus, integrated FPU, 768KiW memory||0.29|
|11/83||1988||QBUS||22-bit||J-11 at 18MHz, integrated FPU||0.72|
|11/84||1988||UNIBUS||22-bit||J-11 at 18MHz, integrated FPU||0.72|
|11/93||1990||QBUS||22-bit||J-11 at 18MHz, integrated FPU, 2MiW onboard memory||1.0|
|11/94||1990||UNIBUS||22-bit||J-11 at 18MHz, integrated FPU, 2MiW onboard memory||1.0|
[*]The name PDP-11/10 was recycled by DEC from an earlier KA-11 CPU-based 11/10 from 1969, or at least it existed in advertisements
- PDP-11 Memory Management
- FP11 floating point
- UNIBUS memories
- QBUS memories
- UNIBUS boot ROMs
- QBUS boot ROMs