No RISC No Fun
OpenPA is an independent PA-RISC and Itanium technical resource with information on workstations, servers, architecture and supported operating systems. OpenPA has been online since 1999.
The PA-RISC information is structured in three main sections with many subpages:
- Design: The computers covered by this site are based on HP PA-RISC architecture and processors from the 1980s to 2000s. Most of the chipsets and system designs used were custom HP for its PA-RISC servers and workstations.
- Computers: Many different PA-RISC computers were produced between the 1980s and 2000s. The majority were developed by HP under its HP 9000 range of servers, workstations and mainframes.
- Software: A broad range of operating systems has been available over the years for PA-RISC workstations and servers, most of them Unix or Unix-like.
The information is based mostly on primary sources such as HP and PA-RISC technical reference manuals, handbooks and architecture documents, correlated with secondary sources like magazine articles, news releases and journals like the HP Journal. This site is independent of and does not represent The Hewlett Packard Company in any way.
Operating systems for PA-RISC computers have a history that started in the 1980s in parallel to the release of early PA-RISC servers and computers. Many Unix and similar operating systems were made available, first the early commercial HP-UX PA-RISC releases, followed by a plethora of research and development projects centered around the Mach microkernel and BSD Unix versions.
The heydays of PA-RISC operating systems were certainly in the 1990s with broad support and variety in concepts. During the early 2000s with the roadmap to 64-bit computing fulfilled, supported peaked in the commercial HP-UX 11.* releases. Significant support in mainstream open source projects got traction in the early to mid-2000s, with solid Linux and OpenBSD support in that decade.
The OpenPA frontend and backend have been cleaned and streamlined, plus the design was adjusted slightly for the 21st century.
Incidentally, OpenPA has witnessed four decades now — beginning with the birth of this site at the tail-end of the wild 1990s. The intense 2000s were the most active OpenPA years, where most of the PA-RISC content was written. Interest in PA-RISC and generally in non-mainstream IT platforms tapered off in the 2010s — making OpenPA rather dormant in that decade.
There are a few ideas left for the fourth decade, the 2020s:
- Superdome pages, focused on the PA-RISC versions
- rp74* and rp84* server system pages
- Proper article on PA-RISC operating systems history
- More Itanium rx computer pages
- Article on the PA-RISC to Itanium transition
- More information on PA-RISC in non-HP computers
We will see if any of that will be realized.
There is a new OpenPA print edition - the 11th release of the Book of PA-RISC since July 2006. This update includes all changes between the last edition from 2018 and now:
- HP 9000 and PA-RISC Computers Story article added
- OpenPA.net turned twenty in 2019
- Many updates to PA-RISC computers articles
- HP 9000 520 FOCUS article updated
- HP 9000 743/744 VME article update and extended for VXI boards
- PA-RISC in US Navy DTC and TAC information added
- Many revisions and corrections (thanks!)
- HP Agilent 16600 and 16700 PA-RISC logic analyzers article added
Download the OpenPA Print Version, Edition 2.8
(PDF, 764 KB, 358 pages, 2021)
Includes all content from the Spring 2021 online version.
OpenPA RSS feed with all news.