Sage II and IV


Sage Computer Technology

Updated 23 July 2015

I have four Sage Computer Technology Sage IV systems and many operating systems. These computers were built in Reno, Nevada. The software guru was Bill Bonham, who wrote an elegant multiuser bios which enabled the Sages to run several operating systems at once, serving different sets of the six serial ports, all at the same time in 1mb of RAM.... all in 1983. The Sage was the standout scientific computer of its day, and within a year had generated a Sage Fair meeting in Reno as fervently supported and attended by this community as Apple venues were by a wider group years later. It is surprising in view of this enthusiasm, and the enduring use of Sages (and subsequent Unix 5.4 Strides) for over 15 years afterwards that so little is on the net about them.... 

UCSD Pascal was the prime operating system for the Sage, and various versions of this p-code based series of systems are now available in a variety of forms (see for example). It is surprising that few people realise that UCSD Pascal was the foundation for Java! But then-- computng has rarely he;d an active perception and knowledge of history!

John O'Brien of Whitesmiths Australia ported Idris (Peter Plauger’s Version 6 Posix compliant 'Unix' which did not require hardware memory mapping) to the Sage IV very swiftly, and Absoft ported their Fortran to it and a basic port of Ada was also made to it(which I saw running)  but never escaped into the wild. A number of Sage systems were still running until 1998 doing solid work in CSIRO in Perth Australia running the multiuser Unix style Idris operating system for satellite data downloading until they were eventually decommissioned - and were finally passed on to me, both still working well.

The Eyring Institute ported the PDOS embedded system development and multiuser operating system to the Sage IV, and Absoft developed a real time Fortran for it. The whole PDOS system was then ported to the Mac II (which I have running today). PDOS Sages were used in some US satellite downlinks for nearly 20 years, just humming away...

MetacComCo in Bristol UK ported the complete multiuser Cambridge Tripos operating system to the Sage IV, together with a Fortran 66, an ISO Pascal, a BCPL and Cambridge Lisp - and then ported the REDUCE symbolic algebra system to the Lisp. This could be running five terminals while the Sage happily ran USCD Pascal IV on the 6th.....this is set up on one of my Sage IV's. TRIPOS was also later ported to the Amiga as ‘exec’

MicroAPL built an APL operating system (MIRAGE) which linked Sage/Stride systems via the GPIB Bus that was fitted to all the Sage computers , and hosted their APL system. A Stride 420 was running this in active use at MicroAPL in the UK as recently as 2004.

Voilition Systems wrote a Modula2 compiler system on a UCSD 2 platform, which was used for one of the early statistical packages for the Sage, Statpack, by Western Software Development. The Modula2 was quite fast for the time, especially as an interpreted p-code based system, the Sage coming in third of a series of benchmarks published by Anderson in Journal of Pascal and Ada 3(2))

IO Research in North London built the Pluto vector colour graphics system for the Sage which plugged onto the system. I have three Pluto boxes but have never set them up to and in fact they have never even been tested.

I have verified that I have properly licensed discs for the following operating systems:

- UCSD IV.12

- Mirage (sadly this floppy has now proved to be corrupted, so I am seeking a live one to copy.. any offers?)

- HyperForth Plus

- Modula 2

- LispKIt Lisp

- CP/M68k

- TriPos

- Idris


All my Sage computers are Sage IV systems, with a single 40mb external ST506 hard drive.

The documentation includes Sage 2 and 4 service manuals and circuits and the 2.4 version multuser bios source code, plus the complete USUS Pascal based software library..

Operating Systems held here, documented  and installed, include UCSD IV, Whitesmiths Idris, Eyrings PDos, Cambridge TriPOS, Hyperforth+, ListKit Lisp, Volition Systems Modula2, Digital Research’s CP/M68k  plus an extended CP/M 68K implementation by Wayne

Excellent resource sites include

Associated with the Sage was the first provable program (or at least one of the first) done by Tim Saunders as a driver for UCSD Pascal for the Sage for the Sanders Media VarioMatrix ‘typesetting’ printer (further details of this will be added at a later date) at Tony Hoare’s Oxford University Programming Group in Keble Road (only a few yards from Steve Abrams*’ Parapsychology Lab (see page) , which in turn is now an archeology lab...