No RISC No Fun
OpenPA is an HP PA-RISC and Itanium computer information resource with technical descriptions of workstations, servers, architecture and supported operating systems, online since 1999. This site is independent of and does not represent The Hewlett Packard Company in any way.
Details on processors, chipsets and architecture of the PA-RISC platform are described in the Hardware section; the Computers section describes the majority of PA-RISC and IA64 computer systems between the 1980s and 2000s, with most PA-RISC operating systems detailed under Software.
OpenPA.net turns twenty this year! It's been a long and interesting ride since this site was founded in December 1999, at a time of the Internet when Google just started and Wikipedia did not exist yet.
The idea was to build a central single resource for information on PA-RISC Unix computers, which became available more widely in the hobbyist market in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Development and contributions to OpenPA.net peaked in the early years of 1999-2002 with a community around PA-RISC and open source systems. Most of the PA-RISC and HP 9000 content was written and completed in the early 2000s. Updates slowly declined from the mid-2000s on, as did PA-RISC support in open and commercial operating systems. The site has been maintained since then to catch errors and add missing pieces here and there.
An attempt to tell the story of HP 9000 and PA-RISC computers from the 1980s to the 2000s, this article tries to unify all the different leads and streams of HP 9000 and PA-RISC into a long, single story. The HP 9000 Series of computers spanned almost three decades and very diverse platforms of Unix computers. The article focuses on the PA-RISC part of that story, beginning with the formative HP 9000 800 servers in the late 1980s through the rise and renaming in the 90s until the big RISC and Unix contraction of the 2000s.
The article used much of the information available on OpenPA for years, and structured and compressed it into a single story. There is more to be written on the architecture and market side of things in the future. Along the way, many pages and sections on OpenPA were revised or rewritten altogether.
A process that started during the mid-2000s seems to be deepening now in the late-2010s — more and more information and sources from the early (public) Internet days of the 1980s and 90s are disappearing from the web, with magazines and journals closing, companies merging and people and memory passing away. This includes much of the PA-RISC documentation, either official or third-party. Some of it might be preserved at archive.org or mirrored in archives around the web, but the availability of definitive documentation and official sources just keeps diminishing. There are laudable initiatives out there, but it is getting harder writing articles on this decades-old technology.
All that is saying is there might be inaccuracies in the information on this site, it is getting difficult finding valid sources. This might just be the transitional nature of the Internet, but it was surprising to see so much go.
Download the OpenPA Print Version, Edition 2.6
(PDF, 732 KB, 339 pages, 2018)
Includes all content from the Winter 2017-18 online version.
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