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X > XEROX  > 6085


This mini forum is intended to provide a simple means of discussion about the Xerox  6085 computer. If you want to share your own experience or memories, or add relevant information about this system: post a message!

  Click Here to add a message in the forum


Friday 28th October 2022
Dan C (United States)

I ran a computer center in the 80s $ 90s when I had Xerox sales reps visit me quite often. I pleaded with them in 1985-86 to get management to push their computers as they were the best at that time. Alas, all they wanted was to sell copiers. What a missed opportunity.

Monday 23rd November 2020
Col Blake (UK)

This is a real trip down memory lane for me. I acquired one of these ''brown beasts'' in the 90s. Sadly I didn''t know how to do a ''factory reset'' and it went in the skip. It was very nice while it lasted, it was decades ahead of its time. If only someone had made an effort to sell it and a certain Mr Gates not visited Palo Alto, the story would have been so different!

Wednesday 30th October 2019
Robert Stackk

Nowhere hve I seen any mention of the 6085 ''s backward compatibility with the STAR system nor the ability to near instantly interact with systems around the world.

There was a little network game called Maze Wars. You put your player into a maze and searched for other players navigating with the arrow keys. When you spotted someone you shot them by depressing the space bar and gained points for a kill. (the killed player was reincarnated at a random place in the maze.

The players of the game could be located anywhere in the world!

Wednesday 23rd October 2019
Rainer Holtappels (Deutschland)

Hello, I loved to work with Xerox 6085 in 1988/1989 at Xerox Leasing Germany. I think, I have been one of two persons these times in this 30-people-company, that new what to do with it:-)

Sunday 12th April 2015
Gregory Casamento (United States)
Heron''s Perch

I worked with one of these for several years and, when they decided to get rid of it they offered to give the system to me, complete with scanner. I told them no since it was big and I didn''t have the room for it. That''s a decision I''ve regretted ever since. I loved working with this machine and I remember how gorgeous the UI was due to it''s simplicity and elegance. I have recently acquired one by chance, but have no way to use it at the moment. This site brings back so many memories and I hope to get my 6085 working sometime soon. $)

Wednesday 23rd October 2013
Arun Baheti (Los Angeles, CA, USA)
arun baheti

Wow, this brings back memories. My father was a program manager on the 6085 (I still have one of the posters, a mug, and a t-shirt as momentos).

The system was incredibly sophisticated and, frankly, is not matched even today in some of its capabilities. It was a very focused, tightly integrated system designed for doing documents (including drawings). I lived through the design and manufacturing and release, and every now and then still think to myself "why can''t my PC just do it THIS way?" (The properties button being my biggest item.)

What I recall most was the speed with which you could create documents and do typesetting work at a very professional level.

The PC emulation was an actual card with its own chip, wasn''t it? So you really were running two computers vs using the main CPU for the emulation, as I recall. And the emulation worked pretty well.

Thanks for this. It brings back some great technology memories but also personal memories of my father and Xerox (and all my buddies in the El Segundo 820/CP/M users group).

Arun Baheti

Saturday 22nd October 2011
David W. Green (South Florida, USA)

I loved Viewpoint/6085! I used it for a couple of years at Ryder System as a technical writer documenting their new AS/400-based Ryder Truck Rental System, which was deployed internationally.

We had six 6085 workstations, three 4045 laser printers, one scanner, a file server and a print server$all connected via Ethernet (a decade before the Internet). What a wonderfully productive network we had in 1986!

It even had a terminal emulator application, which I used to grab screen shots from the IBM AS/400 over Ethernet to develop user friendly documentation, 100$ electronically.

As a technical writer and user of the Xerox Star and 6085 workstations, I waited for years to find anything comparable. In some ways, I''m still waiting.

I think few people understood how advanced Viewpoint and the 6085 really were. The applications were tightly integrated and highly intuitive, and they included professional level word processing, drawing and charting, as well as work-flow, library and project management tools. The mouse was optical (laser) and had zero mechanical failures. It used a mouse pad with a fine mesh for precise control over screen coordinates.

The keyboard had a Properties key, which when pressed would pop-up a context-sensitive dialog box that let you control all properties of the currently $ed desktop object. It was way ahead of its time! Only now, in the new millennium, are things getting as intuitive, productive and downright fun to use as the Xerox 6085.

My work for Ryder System was submitted to the Xerox Electronic Publishing contest in 1987. I was awarded the 1988 Xerox Electronic Publishing Award for the work I developed using the 6085.

Tuesday 24th July 2007
Roland Cleaver (Swansea, UK)

Fantastic machines with 128bit High Level Instruction Set CPU (and a 386 for the PC emulator and cold loader).

These machines ware known as "Doves", AFAIR, and you can see this with the CPU microcode file called "moonrise.dove". The XNS fileserver was a "Raven" and had a belt driven hard-disc!

If you've got one, there's a profile document that you can export to a PC disc and text edit. Set "Developer" to "True" and you can activate all the optional software.

Mesa was very similar to Modula-2 and was compiled to "Binary Configuration Descriptions" (.bcd). The BCD modules were late-linked, tied together via an interpreter of "Atomic Profiles", rather like COM/CORBA interface descriptions (IDLs). The modules would register to send and receive event messages. The 6085 could run Viewpoint, Xerox Development Environment and InterLISP as different worlds, and it's presumably from LISP that the Atomic system is descended.

I've seen these machines languishing in a few auction houses and clearance sales with no-one understanding what they were. Shame I didn't have the space to buy them.

Thursday 23rd February 2006
Donna Miller (King of Prussia, PA USA)

I was trying to describe to someone how sophisticated the 6085 was, and I am so glad to have your website to point them to! I spent many years supporting this program as a trainer and analyst and it was great to revisit it in your museum. Now I wish I hadn't thrown out all my documentation!

Sunday 12th December 2004
Thierry JOUBERT (France)

I made my first project as a software engineer on this machine in a French bank (1985-1986). I still have the MESA programming reference (1984), some screen shots made on a vintage Xerox laser printer, my programs and drawings on a 5"1/4 floppy disk and the serial number plate of my machine (E30-027684).

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