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May 14, 2010

Shared 3000 Knowledge: Allegro

This week I wrote an article that counted the number of resources the 3000 community calls upon. But there's another aspect to the richness of help in this 35-year-old community. A handful of its most senior partners have shared their knowledge for decades. This series will take a look at the wealth that comes from using a mature computer.

Our first stop might as well be Allegro Consultants. When we say call upon in this overview, we mean it literally. All of these companies operate telephone help desks for customers. And they all host Web sites stocked with rich layers of instruction, tools, techniques and even some legend. Allegro's 26 years in the community has generated many white papers and free software.

Allegro shares more than the technical lessons relevant to the 3000. President Steve Cooper and his partners believe in sharing information, as do the other companies on this roundup. The concept was once dubbed "information just wants to be free." Like anyone who donates, he's found that the practice delivers rich returns, based on the deep relationships a service company can spark by giving useful things away.

"We've got customers who have been with us for 20-plus years," Cooper said. "We've been good community members with a wall full of plaques -- I'm proud of that -- and it's paid off in spades. Because we're still here."

Allegro's Web site has been expanded often and refurbished recently. A pair of pages bear special notice. (A tip of the hat here to Adager's Rene Woc for the page tracking.) Allegro's Papers and Books page reports on the Beyond RISC! handbook for the 3000's architecture (still a few available for sale from the company), as well as white papers on

The last item might fall into the category of legend, but even an old hand like myself was interested to learn about the specific date the 3000 became usable. (It's November of 1974 if you count from the CX Model 50 and Model 300.) The former bottom-end of the line was $129,500 list priced with 96 kilobytes of memory (insert wisecrack here).

But the point of respecting such lore is that it requires a fanatical attention to detail to keep such a spreadsheet. Knowing what's come before can help repair or support what follows.

Even more useful, and unique from the community's perspective today, is the free software available via Allegro's Web site. There's even a version of BOUNCE: A utility to bounce (logoff) idle users available for download. This one doesn't have the murky license problems of the BOUNCER program on the Contributed Software Library, either.

While OpenMPE figures out when to make those CSL programs available, Allegro has not only written a raft of useful utilities, but linked to the work of others who are also independents. This is one resource your community has counted upon since before the era of RISC -- to eliminate operational risks.

04:24 PM in Homesteading, Web Resources | Permalink

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