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Subject: simulating a Burroughs B6700 system?
Date: Monday, September 30, 2019, 5:38 PM
Post by email@example.com Post by Nigel Williams
I have a project (slowly) underway to build a simulator for one of the
700-series machines and follow-on plans to recover ALGOL, ESPOL, MCP,
Intrinsics and so on with the aim to have a functional Burroughs Large
The simulated model is likely to be the B5700 and/or B6700. The
current indecision is due to being unable to determine the differences
between these models and the lack of any source-code for the B6700 on
I have copies of Organick, Doran, all the relevant Bitsavers files,
results of search-engine trawling etc., however the following are
o reference manuals for the B5700 - to determine differences with
o an accurate summary of the model differences, initially B5700 -
o machine readable copies of BINDER, CANDE, WFL, ESPOL, ALGOL,
MCP, Intrinsics  
o pictures of 700-series front-panel (blinkenlight) consoles,
particularly the B6700
 manageable by a modern system.
 ultimately all the Bxx00 models - see the website below for an
attempt at a comprehensive Burroughs large systems product-model
 it has been suggested to me, a couple of times, that only the
source-listings have survived.
 and any other required software pieces needed to start and operate
www.retroComputingTasmania.com (see the B6700 link)
I started on the "A Series" so I am a bit late in the game. I still have a lot of the old Gregory Publishing stuff somewhere. I wonder if any of that would be helpful? I wrote a good bit of code in Algol and DCAlgol.
The B5500/5700 is well in hand at this point. Multiple emulators exist
and are working (e.g., Rich Cornwell's SimH-based one at
https://sky-visions.com/burroughs/ and Nigel's and my browser-based one
at http://www.phkimpel.us/B5500/). We have a complete Mark XIII software
release from 1971, all of the source code from the Mark XV release, and
Rich has done a lot of work transcribing patch listings from
bitsavers.org in an attempt to build Mark XVI from Mark XV. Bitsavers
has a lot of documentation, including a good number of engineering
documents. See http://bitsavers.org/pdf/burroughs.
For the B6500/6700, we are nowhere near as well off. Bitsavers has a
good selection of user-level documents, but we have almost no
engineering documents for the system. There is also a good collection of
documents at the Charles Babbage Institute in Minneapolis, but those are
not on line.
Bitsavers does have listings for a pre-release version of the B6500 MCP
(Mark 0), a B6500 ESPOL compiler written for the B5500, and a batch-mode
simulator, also written for the B5500. We have transcribed those and
successfully compiled the resulting source, but not yet tried to do much
with them. See
We have a piece of the Mark II.1 source code, including the MCP, but not
the Algol or ESPOL compilers, nor the system intrinsics. The dialect of
ESPOL used with Mark II.1 changed too much to allow us to use the B5500
version of that compiler, at least in its present form. Without those
compilers and the intrinsics, it's going to be difficult to do much of
Thus, the project to emulate the B6500/6700 is stalled until we can
recover a couple more critical pieces of software.
We remain hopeful that more pieces (and perhaps a more complete software
release) in the form of listings and tapes are out there and will
eventually surface. We have access to recovery services for old magnetic
tapes, and some participants have successfully recovered data from
40-year old tapes. We are interested in knowing about ANYTHING anyone
has, but especially media, listings, and documents from the 1970s. If
anyone has anything they think might be relevant, please post on this
newsgroup or contact me directly. Thanks.